Friday, June 17, 2011

Me vs. Ron Kampeas

I comment at Ron Kampeas of JTA:

Ron is nonplussed. He writes “I’m not sure how Rubin in the same post gets to Israel giving up the Western Wall”. May I suggest how? (And I also explained it to an American diplomat here in Israel when called for my opinion)

A. The Oslo Accords, Article IV, state “The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, whose integrity will be preserved during the interim period.”.

B. If Obama states that the 1967 lines are a starting point, as I pointed out [], two things follow - (1) the Arabs, all Arabs, assume that anything and everything on the other side of the former Armistice Lines of 1949 (yes, 1949; let’s move them back from 1967) is theirs. they have put all that territory on their side of the negotiating table; (2) using “start” means well, maybe we can go back further, to the 1947 Partition Lines. Erekat already said that when he tried to deflect the claim that it was the UN already then which defined Israel as the Jewish state. He said, cynically, ‘well, if israel goes back to ‘47, we’ll agree it can be Jewish’ (paraphrased) and see Jonathan Tobin at

C. In case your readers are unaware, the Western Wall is on the other side of the 1949-1967 Green Line, the Arabs deny the existence of the Temple ever being on the Temple Mount, the claim the Western Wall is Al-Buraq Wall, etc., etc.

D. The US does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over West (yes, WEST) Jerusalem (see the Zivitofksy appeal here: so why would the US be presumed to authomatically support an Israel claim for holding on to a part of “East” Jerusalem?

I think that’s a logical and rational presentation.

What do you think?

Well, this is what SoccerDad thinks:

Sargent spinning

Greg Sargent of the Plum Line is the Washington Post's dedicated left-wing blogger. I don't follow him carefully, but have noticed that recently he seems to be have become fascinated with Israel. More specifically he's been striving mightily to show that President Obama is pro-Israel and hasn't been bullying Israel. The latest focus of Sargent's attention was a conference call last week between an administration official and a number of Jewish leaders, as reported by Eli Lake.

The White House is pressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt President Obama’s view that Israel’s pre-1967 borders should be the basis for future peace talks.

A senior administration official Friday told American Jewish leaders that the request for Israel to endorse the president’s peace principles was part of an effort to head off Palestinian plans to declare an independent state at the United Nations in September.

Steven Simon, the new White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa, said he was looking to get both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to adopt Mr. Obama’s “principles as a basis for negotiation,” according to a recording of the call played for The Washington Times.

Sargent claims:

The right has been a tear over this ever since the Washington Times reported that Steven Simon, a top White House official on Mideast affairs, told Jewish leaders on the call that the administration is pressing Benjamin Netanyahu to publicly adopt Obama’s stance that the 1967 lines with swaps should be the basis for peace talks. The WashTimes claimed to have listened to audio of the call. The Post’s Jennifer Rubin amplified the claim in a piece that drew wide notice, insisting that this represents an effort to “bully Israel.”

Rubin argued that this represents a departure from Obama’s stated position at his AIPAC speech, in which he reiterated that Israel can’t be expected to sit down with those who want to destroy it. Republican officials pounced. Former Bush official Elliott Abrams argued: “If the reports are right, the U.S. is now abandoning the Quartet Principles — and asking Israel to negotiate with a Palestinian side that includes Hamas without Hamas taking one single step away from terror.”

But the reports are not right, according to two people who were on the call: Alan Solow, the former head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and Stuart Eizenstat, a former Clinton administration official who has worked extensively on Mideast issues.

They both tell me that there was no discussion whatsoever of pressuring Israel to come to the table absent a recognition by Hamas of the Quartet Principles — which demand recognition of Israel, renouncing terrorism, and abiding by past agreements. They both asserted that on the call, Simon merely restated Obama’s public position on these issues.

But I don't see how Lake's reporting is significantly different from that of Nathan Guttman of the Forward:

Putting the onus on the Israeli side, a senior Obama adviser told Jewish leaders on Friday that the U.S. would like to see Israel re-enter peace talks based on parameters recently set forward by President Obama.

Steve Simon, senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the National Security Council, indicated in a conference call with leaders of Jewish organizations that the response so far from the Palestinian side has been more positive than from the Israelis.

“The Palestinians have been fairly forthcoming on this score. So we are kind of comfortable with that, but not completely, and now we are working with the Israeli government to see whether or not they can accept these principles as a basis for negotiations,” he said.

Simon made clear that adopting Obama’s guidelines for resuming peace talks would present the best chance for convincing the Palestinians to withdraw their bid for statehood in September at the United Nations Security Council.

or Natasha Mozgovaya of Ha'aretz

Last week, Steven Simon, the new U.S. National Security Council director for the Middle East and North Africa - replacing Daniel Shapiro, who becomes the ambassador to Israel - warned in a conference call with U.S. Jewish leaders that "we've got basically a month to see if we can work something out with the Israelis and Palestinians on accepting [President Barack Obama's] principles as a basis for negotiations." If that happens, he said, the U.S. administration is "somewhat confident that the Palestinians would drop their action in the UN."

Two major deadlines have been pushed back in the past two and a half years - assessments on the Iranian bomb and "peace agreement in one year." But this one, based on the Palestinians' support and their confidence that this time they're winning - plus Simon's hint that the Palestinians gave a somewhat positive answer to Obama's parameters and Israel is dragging its feet, means now it's for real.

Both Guttman and Mozgovaya are saying that the Obama adminstration is insisting on an answer from Israel. Yesterday Sargent cited Ron Kampeas as agreeing with him, but that doesn't change that Lake's reporting is right in line with how others are reporting the call.

Let's say for a moment that Sargent is correct and President Obama understands that Israel should not negotiate with a government that includes Hamas; so what answer is President Obama insisting on from Israel? That they'll accept his terms if Hamas ever changes or leaves the government? That would be ludicrous.

This isn't exhaustive but here's a statement from Vice President Biden about the announcement of new housing units to be built in Ramat Shlomo:

President Obama and I believe that -- believe that in President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, men who I’ve known for a long time, Israeli leaders finally have willing partners who share the goal of peace between two states and have the competence to establish a nation. Their commitment to peace is an opportunity that must be seized. It must be seized. Who has there been better to date, to have the prospect of settling this with? But instead, two days ago the Israeli government announced it would advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. I realize this is a very touchy subject in Israel as well as in my own country. But because that decision, in my view, undermined the trust required for productive negotiations, I -- and at the request of President Obama condemned it immediately and unequivocally. (Applause.)

Now, some legitimately may have been surprised that such a strong supporter of Israel for the last 37 years and beyond, but 37 years as an elected official, how I can speak out so strongly given the ties that I share as well as my country shares with Israel. But quite frankly, folks, sometimes only a friend can deliver the hardest truth. And I appreciate, by the way, the response your Prime Minister today announced this morning that he is putting in place a process to prevent the recurrence of that sort of that sort of events and who clarified that the beginning of actual construction on this particular project would likely take several years -- a statement he put out. That’s significant, because it gives negotiations the time to resolve this, as well as other outstanding issues. Because when it was announced, I was on the West Bank. Everyone there thought it had meant immediately the resumption of the construction of 1,600 new units.

Look, folks, as we move forward I promise you this: The United States will continue to hold both sides accountable for any statements or any actions that inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks. The most important thing is for these talks to go forward and go promptly and go forward in good faith. We can’t delay, because when progress is postponed, extremists exploit our differences and they sow hate.

So according to Biden you only condemn the one you love?

A few weeks ago at AIPAC this is what President Obama said about the Hamas-Fatah merger:

Now, I have said repeatedly that core issues can only be negotiated in direct talks between the parties. (Applause.) And I indicated on Thursday that the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas poses an enormous obstacle to peace. (Applause.) No country can be expected to negotiate with a terrorist organization sworn to its destruction. (Applause.) And we will continue to demand that Hamas accept the basic responsibilities of peace, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist and rejecting violence and adhering to all existing agreements. (Applause.) And we once again call on Hamas to release Gilad Shalit, who has been kept from his family for five long years. (Applause.)

And yet, no matter how hard it may be to start meaningful negotiations under current circumstances, we must acknowledge that a failure to try is not an option. The status quo is unsustainable. And that is why on Thursday I stated publicly the principles that the United States believes can provide a foundation for negotiations toward an agreement to end the conflict and all claims -- the broad outlines of which have been known for many years, and have been the template for discussions between the United States, Israel, and the Palestinians since at least the Clinton administration.

But the administration did not condemn Fatah for joining with Hamas and creating this obstacle. In fact despite acknowledging the obstacle, President Obama tells the Israelis that the status quo is unsustainable, which apparently means that he expects Israel to go forward regardless.

But the Fatah-Hamas agreement is not an obstacle to peace; it is a repudiation of peace. Fatah was legalized because it officially (if insincerely) rejected terror. Now it accepts terror once again. For some reason having Hamas in the government is not unsustainable.

Thank you, DG.


Anonymous said...

I think you are a moron and a bigot and that you should be on the lookout for alternative accommodation.

YMedad said...

knowing, I think, your political opinons, I would consider that I compliment. I'd want to be as afr away from you as possible.

ever think of coming out of the anonymous closet

NormanF said...

What accommodation - national suicide? Not every Jew in Israel has a death wish. And that's true no matter how much inept Israeli governments frequently screw things up!