President Obama: Go For It – The status quo is destroying Israel (Israel Policy Forum)

President Obama moet zo snel mogelijk een einde maken aan het conflict in het Midden-Oosten. Het willen handhaven van de huidige situatie – zoals de zogenaamde ‘vrienden van Israel’ beogen – leidt onherroepelijk tot de vernietiging van Israel.

..Since the early twentieth century the slaughter of innocents has been considered a legitimate military tactic or, not much better, unavoidable collateral damage. The Arab-Israeli conflict has not yet fully descended into mass carnage (with the awful exceptions of the Hamas suicide bombings and massacres like Baruch Goldstein’s Hebron slaughter) but, no doubt, that is where we are heading unless we begin treating the Arab-Israeli conflict with the urgency it warrants.

So far that hasn’t happened. Here in Washington, otherwise intelligent people say that immediate action to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict might be nice, but isn’t critical. Invariably, the people who make this case are strongly attached to Israel and believe that the certainties of the status quo are less threatening to Israel’s future than the uncertainties of negotiation.

They could not be more wrong. The status quo is destroying Israel.

A few hundred thousand settlers are holding the entire country hostage. The once universally respected Israeli army is now treated with scorn by rightists who view them as symbols of the government of Israel, the legitimacy of which they reject. Settlers abuse and humiliate Palestinians, steal their homes, and destroy their livelihood. They are on a continuous rampage—grabbing Palestinian homes in Hebron, terrorizing olive farmers and destroying their crops, poisoning the land so that sheep and goats cannot graze, and snatching territory in the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem.

Of course, their Hamas counterparts are even worse. So far, no Hamas rockets have landed on a school and killed a few hundred kids, which must be a source of disappointment for the terrorists. But if the cease-fire breaks down, fails to be renewed, or continues to be violated, it is inevitable that innocent Israeli kids will die. Meanwhile, in Gaza, Palestinian kids are suffering, and dying, from the Israeli blockade which, like the rockets, makes no distinction between children and terrorists.

Yet there is no sense of urgency about ending this conflict. And it is quite possible that there won’t be until more unspeakable carnage takes place.

As a Jew, and a lifelong supporter of Israel, it infuriates me that people who call themselves friends of Israel work with such fervor to preserve this situation.

A few months ago when Secretary of State Rice wanted to go to the region for one final push to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, a top Jewish spokesman rushed to the White House, met with the President, and succeeded in thwarting Rice’s plan.

No doubt he went back to New York feeling that he had done something good for Israel. He hadn’t. He damaged Israel, as he and others who share his views have repeatedly done every time they throw obstacles in the way of Arab-Israeli peace. If it had been up to that crowd, Israel would still have no dealings with the Palestinians, the Israel-Egypt treaty would have gone unsigned, and Jordan and Israel would still be in a state of war.

Do you doubt this? Go to the archives of any of “the friends of the status quo” organizations and you will find one press release after another warning America not to “pressure” Israel and that “now is not the time” to ask Israel to do anything (it is always the time to issue demands to the Palestinians).

These spokesmen devote their efforts to a status quo that cannot be sustained. There are four million Palestinians in the occupied territories. Do the proponents of doing nothing imagine that they will disappear? Do they believe that they can be denied basic human rights (like self-determination) forever? Do they think that the Israel Defense Forces can control four million people when they decide—perhaps with the assistance of Iran and Al Qaeda—that armed resistance offers the only chance to achieve their rights? Do they really want to wait and find out?

Pro-Israel? Only if that means preserving conditions that will lead to Israel’s demise.

Enough is enough. We have a new President who has pledged to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian agreement from day one. We have a Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who is fully committed to peace with Israel and works with Americans and Israelis to secure it. Most important of all, we have a pledge from all 22 Arab states to establish full normalized relations with Israel in exchange for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 territories.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said last week that the two-state solution is now the 22-state solution. Actually, it’s 23. 22 plus one Jewish state: Israel.

For Israel’s sake, and our own, President Obama should appoint a Special Envoy to the Middle East charged with implementing the Arab Initiative and Arab-Israeli peace. With 365 electoral votes, a Congress in the hands of his party, and with the votes of 80% of American Jews in his pocket, President Obama has no excuse not to act. Nor do I think he is looking for one. Barack Obama will be the President who ends this conflict.

MJ Rosenberg is the Director of Israel Policy Forum’s Washington Policy Center

President Obama: Go For It (MJ Rosenberg in Israel Policy Forum)

USA and Israel: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk

Obama clearly does not buy into the conventional wisdom (propagated by the neocons), which deems it unnecessary to address the Arab-Israeli conflict immediately. Yes, the neocons say, it’s a tinderbox—but there are others that are more dangerous, like the conflict over Kashmir and Pakistan’s inability to control its home based terrorists.

Obama seems to understand that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of virtually all of America’s problems in the Middle East. Paradoxically it is the Middle East problem most amenable to resolution by way of American leadership. Indians and Pakistanis care what the United States thinks, but neither depends on us the way Israelis and Palestinians do. Israelis and Palestinians need us, both for our aid and for political and moral support. Neither side can say “no” to an American President with impunity—especially when all he is demanding is that each live up to commitments they have already made.

Of course, issuing demands to the Palestinians is nothing new. We have been doing that for 20 years. Our first demand was that the PLO recognize Israel’s right to exist and renounce terrorism. It did that first with a unilateral statement in 1988 and then, again, in 1993 with the Oslo Declaration. Today the Palestinian Authority works with Israel to combat terrorism, is fully committed to the two-state solution, and is engaged in negotiations with Israel on a final status agreement. The Palestinians have also acceded to our demands that the PLO amend its charter to remove references to the destruction of Israel and eliminate anti-Semitic references in Palestinian textbooks.

The most significant Palestinian concession was to give up the claim to all of historic Palestine. For the first 30 years of its existence, the PLO (and Palestinians in general) rejected Israel’s right to any part of Palestine. Today they concede 78% of the land to Israel—i.e. the land encompassed by the ’67 borders—while insisting on establishing a state in the 22% that is the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

Israel’s most significant concession was recognizing the Palestinian right to statehood. It took five decades but today the government of Israel accepts the Palestinian claim to that 22% figure, although it wants some flexibility in determining what lands will constitute it. (For instance, it would swap some land in Israel proper in exchange for West Bank territory adjacent to Israel).

Essentially, the two sides are already in agreement about what an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty will look like.

The main obstacle to achieving it remains the occupation. Ironically, the number of Israeli settlements, and settlers, has increased dramatically since Israel committed itself to ending it. There is no need to spell out the details here. Everyone knows about the checkpoints, the wall, the roads reserved for settlers only, the systematic destruction of the Palestinian economy, the incessant harassment by settlers.

Worst of all, the occupation keeps getting more violent..

Settler Scourge )MJ Rosenberg in Israel Policy Forum)

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9 thoughts on “President Obama: Go For It – The status quo is destroying Israel (Israel Policy Forum)

  1. Ik denk dat Zimbabwe en Darfur meer prioriteit hebben. Wat verklaarde Human Rights Watch deze week ook alweer? 5000 doden per week.

  2. Hallo Betty – alles wel aan boord?
    Zimbabwe en Darfur, hoe vreselijk ook wat betreft menselijk leed, vormen geen gevaar voor de wereldvrede zoals ‘het’ conflict in het Midden-Oosten. Reden warom ik mij daarop concentreer, naast Afghanistan/Pakistan/India.

  3. Ik was Congo vergeten in het rijtje.
    Armoede, honger en totalitaire regimes zijn altijd een bedreiging voor de wereldvrede. Het brengt namelijk grote migratiegolven teweeg, met all trammelant van dien.
    Hoe meer men aandacht schenkt aan het MO-conflict, hoe kleiner is de kans dat het opgelost wordt. Zoals Joris Luijendijk ook zegt, camera’s beinvloeden de zaak.
    Laat het rusten en geef terroristen zoals Iran, Hezbollah en Hamas niet altijd een podium.

  4. @Beste Betty, hoewel geen J/joodse – maar wel een zioniste – behoor je tot de groep van goedwillende maar, qua effect, slecht presterende ‘pro-Israel’ mensen, waarvan Rosenberg schrijft:As a Jew, and a lifelong supporter of Israel, it infuriates me that people who call themselves friends of Israel work with such fervor to preserve this situation..
    Wij hebben over het M-O conflict genoeg van gedachten gewisseld om van elkaar te weten dat we dezelfde doelstelling – oplossing op basis VN/VR-resoluties 242 en 338 – , op verschillende wijze nagestreefd willen zien.

  5. JW, het wordt tijd dat je eens aan het andere eind begint: namelijk Hamas, Hezbollah et al er op aanspreken dat zij de staat Israel zullen moeten accepteren. Dat valt immers ook onder 242. Tot nu toe heb ik van jou nog geen oproep richting hen gehoord. Het is me allemaal te eenzijdig en zolang je dat niet doet, ben je voor mij niet diegene die je zegt te zijn, een neutrale toeschouwer. Je weigert opzettelijk om ook H&H et al op hun verantwoordelijkheden te wijzen.

  6. Betty – daar gaan we weer:
    Het Arabisch Vredesinitiatief van 2002 houdt in een acceptatie van de staat Israel door de gehele Arabische wereld. Ongetwijfeld zullen er, aan beide zijden, splintergroepen zijn van extremisten die de zaak willen frustreren, maar die moeten in toom worden gehouden.
    Israel is nooit ingegaan op dit initiatief.http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/bericht/232670

  7. JW, moet ik je de video’s van Meshal en Nasrallah nog een keertje doorklikken, waarin zij verkondigen dat "Palestine will be Alla’s forever", of waarin zij de vernietiging van de staat Israel in woord en geschrift propaganderen?
    Dat zie jij even gemakshalve over het hoofd. Ik noem dat geen splintergroepen, Hezbollah heeft inmiddels 10.000den raketten in het land gesmokkeld, met medewerking van landen die zogenaamd het Arabisch peaceplan steunen. Ik zal je resolutie 1701 nog even voorschotelen, een resolutie die Hezbollah, Syrie en Iran volledig naast zich neerleggen en waarover ik jou ten aanzien van dat feit nooit hoor klagen.
    Text: UN Lebanon resolution
    The text of Resolution 1701, passed unanimously by the UN Security Council aimed at ending the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
    The Security Council,
    Recalling all its previous resolutions on Lebanon, in particular resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 520 (1982), 1559 (2004), 1655 (2006), 1680 (2006) and 1697 (2006), as well as the statements of its president on the situation in Lebanon, in particular the statements of 18 June, 2000, of 19 October, 2004, of 4 May 2005, of 23 January 2006 and of 30 July 2006;
    Expressing its utmost concern at the continuing escalation of hostilities in Lebanon and in Israel since Hezbollah’s attack on Israel on 12 July 2006, which has already caused hundreds of deaths and injuries on both sides, extensive damage to civilian infrastructure and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons;
    Emphasising the need for an end of violence, but at the same time emphasising the need to address urgently the causes that have given rise to the current crisis, including by the unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers;
    Mindful of the sensitivity of the issue of prisoners and encouraging the efforts aimed at urgently settling the issue of the Lebanese prisoners detained in Israel;
    Welcoming the efforts of the Lebanese prime minister and the commitment of the government of Lebanon, in its seven-point plan, to extend its authority over its territory, through its own legitimate armed forces, such that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon, welcoming also its commitment to a UN force that is supplemented and enhanced in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operation, and bearing in mind its request in this plan for an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli forces from southern Lebanon;
    Determined to act for this withdrawal to happen at the earliest;
    Taking due note of the proposals made in the seven-point plan regarding the Shebaa farms area;
    Welcoming the unanimous decision by the government of Lebanon on 7 August 2006 to deploy a Lebanese armed force of 15,000 troops in south Lebanon as the Israeli army withdraws behind the Blue Line and to request the assistance of additional forces from Unifil as needed, to facilitate the entry of the Lebanese armed forces into the region and to restate its intention to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces with material as needed to enable it to perform its duties;
    Aware of its responsibilities to help secure a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution to the conflict;
    Determining that the situation in Lebanon constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
    1. Calls for a full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive military operations;
    2. Upon full cessation of hostilities, calls upon the government of Lebanon and Unifil as authorised by paragraph 11 to deploy their forces together throughout the South and calls upon the government of Israel, as that deployment begins, to withdraw all of its forces from southern Lebanon in parallel;
    3. Emphasises the importance of the extension of the control of the government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1559 (2004) and resolution 1680 (2006), and of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, for it to exercise its full sovereignty, so that there will be no weapons without the consent of the government of Lebanon and no authority other than that of the government of Lebanon;
    4. Reiterates its strong support for full respect for the Blue Line;
    5. Also reiterates its strong support, as recalled in all its previous relevant resolutions, for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized borders, as contemplated by the Israeli-Lebanese General Armistice Agreement of 23 March 1949;
    6. Calls on the international community to take immediate steps to extend its financial and humanitarian assistance to the Lebanese people, including through facilitating the safe return of displaced persons and, under the authority of the government of Lebanon, reopening airports and harbours, consistent with paragraphs 14 and 15, and calls on it also to consider further assistance in the future to contribute to the reconstruction and development of Lebanon;
    7. Affirms that all parties are responsible for ensuring that no action is taken contrary to paragraph 1 that might adversely affect the search for a long-term solution, humanitarian access to civilian populations, including safe passage for humanitarian convoys, or the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons, and calls on all parties to comply with this responsibility and to cooperate with the Security Council;
    8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
    Full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
    security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorised in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
    Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state;
    No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government;
    No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government;
    Provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel’s possession;
    9. Invites the secretary general to support efforts to secure as soon as possible agreements in principle from the government of Lebanon and the government of Israel to the principles and elements for a long-term solution as set forth in paragraph 8, and expresses its intention to be actively involved;
    10. Requests the secretary general to develop, in liaison with relevant international actors and the concerned parties, proposals to implement the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), including disarmament, and for delineation of the international borders of Lebanon, especially in those areas where the border is disputed or uncertain, including by dealing with the Shebaa farms area, and to present to the Security Council those proposals within 30 days;
    11. Decides, in order to supplement and enhance the force in numbers, equipment, mandate and scope of operations, to authorize an increase in the force strength of Unifil to a maximum of 15,000 troops, and that the force shall, in addition to carrying out its mandate under resolutions 425 and 426 (1978):
    a. Monitor the cessation of hostilities;
    b. Accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the South, including along the Blue Line, as Israel withdraws its armed forces from Lebanon as provided in paragraph 2;
    c. Coordinate its activities related to paragraph 11 (b) with the government of Lebanon and the government of Israel;
    d. Extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons;
    e. Assist the Lebanese armed forces in taking steps towards the establishment of the area as referred to in paragraph 8;
    f. Assist the government of Lebanon, at its request, to implement paragraph 14;
    12. Acting in support of a request from the government of Lebanon to deploy an international force to assist it to exercise its authority throughout the territory, authorizes Unifil to take all necessary action in areas of deployment of its forces and as it deems within its capabilities, to ensure that its area of operations is not utilised for hostile activities of any kind, to resist attempts by forceful means to prevent it from discharging its duties under the mandate of the Security Council, and to protect United Nations personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel, humanitarian workers, and, without prejudice to the responsibility of the government of Lebanon, to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence;
    13. Requests the secretary general urgently to put in place measures to ensure Unifil is able to carry out the functions envisaged in this resolution, urges member states to consider making appropriate contributions to Unifil and to respond positively to requests for assistance from the Force, and expresses its strong appreciation to those who have contributed to Unifil in the past;
    14. Calls upon the government of Lebanon to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel and requests Unifil as authorised in paragraph 11 to assist the government of Lebanon at its request;
    15. Decides further that all states shall take the necessary measures to prevent, by their nationals or from their territories or using their flag vessels or aircraft;
    a. the sale or supply to any entity or individual in Lebanon of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, whether or not originating in their territories, and;
    b. the provision to any entity or individual in Lebanon of any technical training or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, maintenance or use of the items listed in subparagraph (a) above, except that these prohibitions shall not apply to arms, related material, training or assistance authorised by the government of Lebanon or by Unifil as authorised in paragraph 11;
    16. Decides to extend the mandate of Unifil until 31 August 2007, and expresses its intention to consider in a later resolution further enhancements to the mandate and other steps to contribute to the implementation of a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution;
    17. Requests the secretary general to report to the Council within one week on the implementation of this resolution and subsequently on a regular basis;
    18. Stresses the importance of, and the need to achieve, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, based on all its relevant resolutions including its resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 and 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973;
    19. Decides to remain actively seized of the matt

  8. @Betty – het heeft weinig zin om hier oude (en nieuwe) uitspraken van Israelische zionistische fanatici te reproduceren, noch de talloze VN/VR-resoluties die Israel naast zich neer legt.
    Ook diept het niet op om in te gaan op het ontstaan van Hezbollah en de achtergronden van de laatste oorlog in Libanon. Wij worden het nooit eens over historische achtergronden en (daarmee) actuele ontwikkelingen.
    Wel waren we het eens met de doelstellingen van VR 242 en 338, al antwoordde je nog niet op mijn vraag of je voor of tegen een deling van Jeruzalem bent.
    Daarom een aansluitende vraag: zou je uitvoering van die resoluties steunen als je wist dat de veiligheid van Israel wordt gegarandeerd door effectieve vredestroepen ter plekke?

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