Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Not Quite Frozen

I'm reading coverage of Israel's decision to build 455 new settler homes that makes it sound like it's all about getting to frozen:
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to build 455 new homes in the West Bank achieved its primary goal of rallying support from conservative political allies, paving the way for an expected settlement freeze.

"Though the move stoked frustration in the US, Europe, and especially in Arab countries, Netanyahu appears to have reduced the risk of a right-wing rebellion over what is expected to be a temporary building moratorium. While the US hoped that such a freeze would help jumpstart peace negotiations, the Israeli prime minister was concerned it could have triggered the deterioration of his governing coalition...

"The new housing units help hard-liners like Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman argue that the government is actually sidestepping a freeze. 'He said, "We don't mention this word,"' says Tal Nahum, a spokesman for Lieberman's right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party."

The reason this move helps hard-liners argue that the government is sidestepping a freeze is that the government is, in fact, side-stepping a freeze. These units are being added to 2500 others also under construction, meaning that much like Netanyahu has endorsed a Palestinian state that is no state, he's also about to declare a settlement freeze that's still dripping all over the place.

We've seen this movie before, during the 1990's. Netanyahu will talk the language of peace while quietly, or sometimes not so quietly, taking steps that undermine negotiations and prejudice a final settlement. Olmert may have wanted to move dramatically toward peace but was unable to due to his coalition. Netanyahu, however, isn't even that interested in making real moves.

UPDATE: Comment from a friend: "It's just the defrost cycle."

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Blogger Barry Meislin said...

Olmert may have wanted to move dramatically toward peace but was unable to due to his coalition.

You seem to be saying that if Olmert had not been hampered by his coalition, then peace would have been achieved between Israel and Palestinian---either that or they would be well on the way toward a peace agreement.

Is this what you truly believe?

7:54 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'm not sure I'd go that far, but Olmert was definitely convinced of the need for a resolution due to the demographic threat, and brought down by right-wing elements who knew his secrets from his more conservative days. If he were politically stronger, I think you would have seen him take more risks.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

1. Might there be any other possible reasons why Olmert was not able to, as you say, move dramatically toward peace?

2. Do you have any references to support your assertions that Olmert was "brought done" or otherwise prevented by "right-wing elements who knew his secrets..."?

9:29 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

1.) Are you going for the fact that Gaza became a source of attacks on Israel? Yes, that also contributed to the overall conservative political climate within Israel.

2.) I used to.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

You mention that Hamas "also contributed to the overall conservative political climate within Israel" (at least I think you're referring to Hamas).

You seem reluctant, however, to indicate that Hamas has any responsibility for the impasse.

It appears from your analysis, to me, at least, that only Israel is at fault here. More precisely, those sinister elements in Olmerts cabinet that prevented him from making peace. (Too bad about those missing references, though; they might have been interesting.)

But let's leave Hamas aside for a moment. After all, an organization that is committed, in words and deeds, to the destruction of Israel; an organization that has vowed and continues to vow that it will destroy Israel; that stockpiled---and continues to stockpile---weapons in, and routinely fired them from, civilian areas into Israel civilian centers; that murders its own citizens; that controls Gaza like a personal fiefdom and has created a totalitarian enclave---with all the ramifications for Christians, women, and Fatah supporters; such an organization is an easy target for possible blame.

So let's leave Hamas out of it.

So I'll ask you again: Might there be any other reasons, aside from Hamas (and aside from Israel), which could (possibly) explain why peace talks did not succeed?

3:10 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I'd be more general than Hamas, which didn't truly dominate Gaza until 2007. But if you have a point to make, make it.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

Point already made, thanks.

3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:47 PM  

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