If there’s war in the Middle East, it won’t be Bibi’s fault

Netanyahu Congress 3

I keep hearing that the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu — the Israeli prime minister hailed as a lame duck heading into this week’s elections, in which his Likud party actually strengthened its position — means war is in the offing. That’s in part because, late in the campaign, Netanyahu renounced his previous support for the “two-state solution” with the Palestinians.

Put another way — that is, a way Netanyahu’s critics would never admit to — the Israeli premier has moved away from a position the Palestinians have never actually accepted and toward the one they have really maintained all along.

As usual, Charles Krauthammer explains this in a very clear way:

“I have news for the lowing herds: There would be no peace and no Palestinian state if Isaac Herzog were prime minister either. Or Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert for that matter. The latter two were (non-Likud) prime ministers who offered the Palestinians their own state — with its capital in Jerusalem and every Israeli settlement in the new Palestine uprooted — only to be rudely rejected.

“This is not ancient history. This is 2000, 2001, and 2008 — three astonishingly concessionary peace offers within the last 15 years. Every one rejected.

“The fundamental reality remains: This generation of Palestinian leadership — from Yasser Arafat to Mahmoud Abbas — has never and will never sign its name to a final peace settlement dividing the land with a Jewish state. And without that, no Israeli government of any kind will agree to a Palestinian state.”

Despite the rhetoric from the Abbas government carefully couched for Western ears, and much at odds with what its officials tell its people in their own tongue, Palestinian leaders have no intention of agreeing to terms that Israel could accept. It is doubtful it could deliver on such terms even if it wanted to. The main obstacle to a Palestinian state lies with the Palestinians themselves.

But that’s not all. Even if the Palestinians were more accommodating, Krauthammer says, Israel would have to be wary because the removal of dictators who were brutal but willing to make a deal means rest of the region is in such tatters from a security standpoint.

“That authoritarian order is gone. Syria is wracked by a multi-sided civil war that has killed 200,000 people and that has al-Qaeda allies, Hezbollah fighters, government troops, and even the occasional Iranian general prowling the Israeli border. Who inherits? No one knows.

“In the last four years, Egypt has had two revolutions and three radically different regimes. Yemen went from pro-American to Iranian client so quickly the U.S. had to evacuate its embassy in a panic. Libya has gone from Moammar Qaddafi’s crazy authoritarianism to jihadi-dominated civil war. On Wednesday, Tunisia, the one relative success of the Arab Spring, suffered a major terror attack that the prime minister said ‘targets the stability of the country.’

“From Mali to Iraq, everything is in flux. Amid this mayhem, by what magic would the West Bank, riven by a bitter Fatah–Hamas rivalry, be an island of stability? What would give any Israeli–Palestinian peace agreement even a modicum of durability?”

Read the whole thing. These depressing realities make Bibi look Nobel Prize-worthy by comparison. Just don’t expect an acknowledgment of that from those who want to heap all the blame on him and his country.

Reader Comments 0

76 comments
skruorangeclown
skruorangeclown

US pays $250 million dollars to UNWRA to house and feed over five  million Palestinians claiming to be permanent refugees from Israeli conflicts. Last year US committed 340 million dollars to rebuild Gaza due to Israeli destruction.

Israel gets 3.1 billion dollars in US military aid, one quarter of which goes to its own defense industry. So for Natanyahu, American dollars keep flowing if the Neocons keep him in office.And how much will we spend on ISIL, Iraq and potential war with Iran if Natanyahu and the 47 signers of that letter get their way? And of course there will be no tax increase to pay for all this due to Grover's mandate and the threats of the Heritage and tea head folks..

CommonSenseisntCommon
CommonSenseisntCommon

I'm sure the majority of your blog followers will agree it's all OBAMA'S fault

Starik
Starik

An argument can be made for occupying the West Bank as a protective military zone, I suppose, but settlers? Why? Who does Jerusalem belong to? It's holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims.  Why not internationalize it?  The Jews Bibi relies on for Likud's political power are the ultra-orthodox, and it shows.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

“We cannot negotiate with people who say what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiable."  JFK


This is what Israel has been faced with since 1947. 

IReportYouWhine#1
IReportYouWhine#1

carter, clinton and now obama, all of them more interested in signing some worthless agreement and winning a "peace" in the Middle East" prize than actually achieving peace in the Middle East. And they all left problems for the next administration and next generation to clean up.

AvailableName
AvailableName

"Despite the rhetoric from the [Israeli] government carefully couched for Western ears, and much at odds with what its officials tell its people in their own tongue, [Israeli] leaders have no intention of agreeing to terms that {Palestinians} could accept. It is doubtful it could deliver on such terms even if it wanted to. The main obstacle to a Palestinian state lies with the [Israeli's] themselves."


See how that works?  Two bullies in the school yard.  A pox on both their houses.

straker
straker

One way or another, Israel is determined to survive as a State.


One way or another, the Islamic Middle East is determined to destroy Israel.


This will only end when one side annihilates  the other.

MHSmith
MHSmith

"If" there’s war in the Middle East, it won’t be Bibi’s fault?

When was there ever peace in the middle-east? 

 

TicTacs
TicTacs

Truth is he is too scared to go alone, and he should be.  Major countries are working to help him but he is beyond help, it seems.

MarkVV
MarkVV

In these debates about Israel and the Palestinians, we should realize that there are conflicts in the world, in which no side is entirely blameless and no side is to blame in all respects, which makes a solution completely just for everybody extremely difficult, if not impossible. Northern Ireland is one such place, and the Israel-Palestinians conflict is another prime example. Our opinions of such conflicts is inevitably colored by our sympathies toward one or the other side, but one-sided drivels, such as Krauthammer’s, are hardly helpful.

GB101
GB101

@MarkVV Can you point out one element in Krauthammer's analysis that is wrong?  

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@MarkVV

Nonsense.  Sometimes one side IS right and the other side is wrong.

If you start from the position that Israel has a right to exist, then it really isn't arguable that most of the wrong is done by Palestinians.

Do you agree that Israel has a right to exist?

TGT88
TGT88

The myth of the "Palestinian people:" 


"While the modern media maybe short on information about the history of the “Palestinian people” the historical record is not...according to official Ottoman Turk census figures of 1882, in the entire Land of Israel, there were only 141,000 Muslims, both Arab and non-Arab. This number was to skyrocket to 650,000 Arabs by 1922, a 450% increase in only 40 years. By 1938 that number would become over 1 million or an 800% increase in only 56 years. Population growth was especially high in areas where Jews lived. Where did all these Arabs come from?...


"...the Jews were the very reason the Arabs chose to settle in the Land of Israel. Jobs provided by newly established Zionist industry and agriculture lured them there, just as Israeli construction and industry provides most Arabs in the Land of Israel with their main source of income today. Malcolm MacDonald, one of the principal authors of the British White Paper of 1939, which restricted Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel, admitted (conservatively) that were it not for a Jewish presence the Arab population would have been little more than half of what it actually was...


"To maintain the charade of being an indigenous population, Arab propagandists have had to do more than a little rewriting of history. A major part of this rewriting involves the renaming of geography. For two thousand years the central mountainous region of Israel was known as Judea and Samaria, as any medieval map of the area testifies. However, the state of Jordan occupied the area in 1948 and renamed it the West Bank...


"The term “Palestinian" is itself a masterful twisting of history. To portray themselves as indigenous, Arab settlers adopted the name of an ancient Canaanite tribe, the Phillistines, that died out almost 3000 years ago. The connection between this tribe and modern day Arabs is nil...If the Palestinians are indeed a myth, then the real question becomes “Why?” Why invent a fictitious people? The answer is that the myth of the Palestinian People serves as the justification for Arab occupation of the Land of Israel. While the Arabs already possess 21 sovereign countries of their own (more than any other single people on earth) and control a land mass 800 times the size of the Land of Israel, this is apparently not enough for them. They therefore feel the need to rob the Jews of their one and only country, one of the smallest on the planet."

MarkVV
MarkVV

@TGT88 

This is another example of a drivel, which is not helpful at all. If we start arguing with history and “indigenous population,” shall we expand it to the Native Americans and the US, ancient people in other countries of the Americas, or elsewhere in the world?

TGT88
TGT88

@MarkVV @TGT88 The Jews are not any old "indigenous" people. Their claim to Israel is divine--a holy calling. 

MHSmith
MHSmith

@TGT88 

Israel will never leave the land God gave to them in his covenant.

Plumb Krazy
Plumb Krazy

@TGT88 According to the Bible, they, the Israelis, stole the land themselves.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@Kyle_Wingfield 

Just because some of you have bought the line.. um "THE LIE" doesn't mean it's true.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@JFMcNamara I don't really think it's debatable. The conditions that supposedly represent apartheid in Israel exist chiefly in areas Israel doesn't control: the West Bank and Gaza. Arabs in Israel, to my knowledge, have no fewer or less-protected rights than Jews.

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

@Kyle_Wingfield @JFMcNamara ,  aside from the fact we are debating it now, it's not debatable?


Secondly, you roll out a technicality.  "They may test them like apartheid, but technically it's not apartheid.


Finally, you aren't looking very hard.  Israeli Palestinians have many restrictions Israelis do not.  Here is  a Wikipedia page to get you started so that you have the knowledge.  It's not had to find if you actually care to look.


http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

Jump to legal and political status.

MHSmith
MHSmith

@Kyle_Wingfield @JFMcNamara 

Personally Kyle I give your points of view the upper hand on the matter of validity and truthfulness, over your detractors very obvious petty angst against you and your opinions they don't like, which is the most telling of all. 

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield Tell that to the people behind a wall in Gaza whose movement is restricted.


I'm sure they will love to hear it when they pass through another Israeli checkpoint

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@HeadleyLamar When did these restrictions begin, and why?

Recognize the answers to those questions, and you'll understand why you're pushing a false equivalence.

Plumb Krazy
Plumb Krazy

@Kyle_Wingfield You mean public opinion should not be against a country that fires on US ships, killing us servicemen?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The only reason there aren't already two states is because the Palestinians don't want two states.  They want one state, with no Jews in it or anywhere around it.

Israel is not the problem.

Palestinians and cowards like Carter and Obama are the problem.

TicTacs
TicTacs

@LilBarryBailout  not true,  180 out  again you are completely wrong, as always. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@LilBarryBailout As Limbaugh pointed out yesterday, there has never been a two state solution that the Islamist agree with.  The Arabs have the one state solution, which is the final solution for Israel, oblivion.

notagain
notagain

@LilBarryBailout The only reason they fear Iran is because of Carter and Obama and a man called Saddam Hussein.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

The leftists are surrendering to Iran--Barry's deal means they get the bomb in a few years.  The choice isn't between negotiation and war.  It's between an Islamofascist regime with the bomb, and war.

GMFA
GMFA

Using Charles as a reference point is a great way to lose credibility. Bibi said no Palestinian State before the election and used racists language to get out the extreme right wing vote. Now he is trying to take it back, but the damage is done. He left no path but war, so hopefully Boehner and his like will move to Israel and let their children help fight that war.

MarkVV
MarkVV

If there’s war in the Middle East, it may very well be Bibi’s fault. Or the fault of him and the US congressional Republicans, with their preposterous meddling into the Iran negotiations.


Krauthammer’s one-sided “explanation” is all about the Palestinians, as if the danger of Iran’s nuclear capacity were only about Israel. Netanyahu has shown very clearly that he will try to scuttle anything that would allow Iran to have a nuclear energy program (which Iran has a right to have), and that he has allies in the US Congress, who prefer a military solution.


The apologies for Netanyahu’s renouncement of previous support for the “two-state solution”  are just that, apologies for inexcusable. And it is an odd argument that “Palestinian leaders have no intention of agreeing to terms that Israel could accept,” when the same argument can be made the other way round.

Caius
Caius

As I noted on the Bookman blog, same issue discussed, the US does not need Israel.  Israel does need the US. Israel has not existed a single day without US support.


And as noted by others below, Netanyahu has backed off of his no 2 state comments made prior to the election. So which Netanyahu do you believe?  Maybe the third one who has not spoken yet?


The history of the Israel/Palestinian issue is that the Palestinians always say "NO" and the Israeli's always say

"Thank you!".

JFMcNamara
JFMcNamara

Bibi ministers over an apartheid state that subjugates 20% of their population.  He ministers over a country that militarily seizes land from Palestinians for settlements in the west bank in violation of international law.    Yeah, he definitely deserves a Nobel prize...


It could still be his fault.  Her could strike Iran.  He could treat the Palestinians worse prompting Muslims to jump in.  It's not really germane what the rest of the region is like.  That's a red herring.  He's still not a great human being.

GB101
GB101

@JFMcNamara Characterizing the Arab population of Israel as subjugated is preposterous.  Israeli Arabs are freer than Arabs in any Arab-run country.  

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Sure, the issue is rather complex in the world with political powers meddling in all aspects of the middle east. 


But a step to at least be open to a two-state solution is a step toward working for peace.  It's a step toward making Israel look right in the eyes of observers. 

The current situation where there is a Palestinian underclass is not workable in the long term.  A solution to that must be found. 


If the Palestinians keep refusing a two-state solution, then it is on them.   But there are at least moderate voices on the Palestinian side that want to work to improve the situation.  Don't let past hard-liners rule the future.  


If Israel really is one-state, really has a population that is unable to participate in government, then Israel has to solve that problem if it wants to be called a Democracy.   It has to allow everyone to be on equal footing. 

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude Israel, as spelled out in the post, has spent decades negotiating with itself. That hasn't produced results, even a rising of importance for these moderate Palestinian voices, now has it?

ALibNotToBeMessedW/
ALibNotToBeMessedW/

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude

Yes, why don't we be honest.  Both sides have taken certain positions which they refuse to negotiate.  Both sides do things to piss the other side off.  It takes two to tango.  

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kyle_Wingfield @LogicalDude But let's be honest about the reasons that isn't happening anytime soon.


Is Israel in anyway responsible for the situation in the ME ? Im curious if they share ANY blame in your mind.


Im pretty sure some see them as totally innocent and I think that is a BIG part of the problem.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@LogicalDude  "But there are at least moderate voices on the Palestinian side that want to work to improve the situation.  Don't let past hard-liners rule the future. "


Unfortunate reality is the hard-liners rule the present. You can wail at the wall for peace all you want but there are powerful forces and masses of people in the Middle East who would rather kill you than listen or settle for peace not on their terms.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@LogicalDude I would love to see a workable, durable two-state solution. But let's be honest about the reasons that isn't happening anytime soon.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@HeadleyLamar @DawgDadII @LogicalDude I don't buy that for a minute. A lot of leftists postings on here screaming about lies by Krauthammer and others on the right defy all sense of credibility. Which Israeli's are screaming publicly for "Death to America", cheering terrorism against the West? Which Israeli national policy calls for Jihad and Death to America and the West? How much concern do we have over Jewish terrorism in America and the West? Or, more directly to your point, which Israeli leaders are calling for death to the Palestinians? Pure, utter nonsense you post.