Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Soccer Dad

Soccer Dad

Emanual goldstein of the middle east

Posted: 14 Jul 2010 04:18 AM PDT

Z-Word observes that a world leader said last year (regarding President Bashir of the Sudan), "It's not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide..."

It reminds of last year's Arab summit in Qatar, which welcomed al-Bashir with honor, leading the editors of the Washington Post to write at the time:

FOR DECADES, summit meetings of the Arab League have resounded with rhetoric about the alleged "double standards" of the West in enforcing U.N. resolutions or respecting international law. No communique of the group -- including the one issued from its summit this week in Doha, Qatar -- has been complete without a demand that conflicts be resolved "within the framework of international legitimacy."

So it was interesting to see what else was in the latest statement issued by the kings, princes and authoritarian presidents of the Middle East and North Africa. First there was a call on "the international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza. Then came an ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges.

It's an important reminder. Israel's greatest critics have quite a few blind spots in their morality and act quite a lot worse towards their own citizens than Israel does to the Palestinians. Israel, of course, provides a nice distraction from their own despotism. Israel's the Emanuel Goldstein to the Big Brothers of the Middle East.

When westerners choose to blame Israel first for the failure to achieve peace they are not promoting peace, but ensuring that the tyrants, who insist that Israel is not fit to consort with, can continue their corrupt ways.

Council speak 07/14/10

Posted: 14 Jul 2010 04:18 AM PDT

The council has spoken

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

For a complete list of this week's nominees see here.

The president plans; abbas throws pie in his face

Posted: 14 Jul 2010 04:05 AM PDT

Last week I offered qualified praise to the editors of the Washington Post for their observations about President Obama's meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The one part of the editorial that I didn't like was towards the end:

Now Mr. Abbas has a choice: Begin direct negotiations in exchange for prisoner releases and other "confidence-building measures" that Mr. Netanyahu has been offering -- or show himself to be not so ready for peace, after all.

If talks begin, Mr. Netanyahu, too, will be challenged. Mr. Obama's counterproductive focus on issues such as Jewish housing in Jerusalem has allowed the Israeli leader to rally domestic support and delay spelling out where he stands on truly central questions, such as the borders of a Palestinian state and whether Jerusalem will be its capital.

Nachum Barnea has made a similar point here:

The ball is now shifting to Abbas' court. In the coming weeks, various supporters ranging from President Mubarak through George Mitchell and several European leaders will explain to him that he must enter direct negotiations. This is the only way to expose Netanyahu to massive American and European pressure and to domestic criticism, they will say.

This is the only way for Abbas to guarantee immediate Israeli concessions on the ground and expansion of Palestinian Authority sovereignty in the West Bank. Should he refuse, the Americans would have to condemn him as a peace refusenik.

Given Abbas's record of saying, "no," I hardly thought that it was Netanyahu who needed to be challenged.

Now the Washington Post carries an AP report:

The Palestinian Authority president, who is under U.S. pressure to resume direct talks with Israel, said that doing so under the current circumstances would be pointless.

Have the Post's editors noticed that Abbas threw "...pie in Obama's face" as Barry Rubin put it?

JoshuaPundit elaborates:

Abbas' latest pre-conditions to even sit at the table are designed to make sure that it never happens. He demands that Netanyahu agree to an internationally mandated 'settlement freeze', which means the Israelis are essentially going to be unable to build anything in the areas the Palestinians claim for themselves while the Palestinians get free reign to build whatever they want.And he insists that negotiations start by writing in stone as a starting point an offer disgraced Israeli ex-PM Olmert supposedly made to him that was neither accepted by the Palestinians at the time or even cleared with the Israeli Knesset or cabinet - let alone the Israeli electorate!

The Israeli term chutzpah doesn't even begin to cover this nonsense.To twist the old Mafia phrase around, it's an offer designed to be refused.

However hopeful President Obama is that he can bring peace (or impose it) on the Middle East, this refusal should serve as a data point. More generally, Yaacov Lozowick writes:

Since 1993 Israel has performed a series of concrete actions on the ground, changes in the reality, which have weakened its control over the Palestinians. Not one of them resulted in any advantage durable enough to survive two days of violence in September 2000, when the Palestinians launched the 2nd Intifada. Since 2000 the pendulum has swung both ways, with Israel reconquering the West Bank in 2002, and slowly lifting its hand since 2004; with Israel fully evacuating Gaza in 2005, then reconquering less than a third of it in 2009 and again relinquishing direct control and now, slowly, also indirect control. The wary recognition of having an independent Palestine next door, which was the expression of Rabin's position, has been replaced by a Likud prime minister publicly accepting the goal of a sovereign Palestine.

And in all that time, I dare you to find one single concrete step taken by the Palestinians to assure us they, too, are ready for partition. Not words, which can be uttered in English today and denied in Arabic today. Actions. Find me one. Because I could easily write a 10,000-word article about all the things they've done which prove the opposite; actually, I expect I could limit myself to the first half of 2010.

The President has called for direct negotiations, and Mahmoud Abbas, not Binyamin Netanyahu, has rebuffed him. Will the President be outraged? Will the Washington Post's editors notice?

Crossposted on Yourish.

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