By Ted Belman
I agree with every word in Theatre of the Absurd by Martin Sherman.
On the other hand, I find Alan Dershowitz to be in dream land in his article What the White House Has to Do to Keep the Peace Talks Going
[..] unless the Israelis can be persuaded that a peace deal is really in the offing, the Knesset will not vote to continue a full fledged housing freeze and the Palestinians will refuse to engage in peace talks.
He says that the White House can change this dynamic by pressuring the Palestinians to make concessions. (That will be the day)
These concessions could include ending the incitement against Israelis and Jews that appear daily on official Palestinian television (the Palestinian Authority promised this in earlier peace negotiations, but has failed to live up to this promise.) It could also include ending Palestinian efforts to delegitimize Israel in international forums such as the United Nation and the International Criminal Court. Finally it could include a willingness to recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people.
Get real Alan. Palestinian incitement is part of resistance and nation building. They are not about to end it.
The delegitimization campaign is about destroying Israel, not acheiving a two state solution. This campaign has a life of its own. Even if the Palestinians stopped pushing it, it would continue. Why not get all Obama’s friends at the UN to discontinue it or the EU, or his union buddies, or his NGO’s? The simple answer is Obama has no clout.
Finally recognizing Israel as the Jewish state is diametrically opposed to the goals of the Muslim world. Abbas would be a dead man.
- The White House could also try to persuade the Saudis to invite Prime Minister Netanyahu to Saudi Arabia, as The New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has suggested. In order to get the Saudis to do this, the White House would have to offer something to the Saudis as well. There is only one thing that the White House can offer both the Saudis and the Israelis: that is an iron-clad commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Such a commitment would do more to assure peace in the Mideast than any other single action by any party.
Such a commitment would involve a preemptive strike as there is no telling when Iran will have the bomb. Attacking Iran doesn’t solve Arab Israeli conflict. Saudi Arabia must drop the Saudi Plan and accept Res 242 for starters. Get Saudi Arabia to back defensible borders for Israel. And so on. Inviting Netanyahu to Saudi Arabia would not be a game changer.
As for the extension of the settlement freeze he is more realisic.
Freezing all building in arguably disputed areas will not be easy for Israel. Many of these areas are not really in dispute: the Palestinians have already conceded that under any peace agreement Israel will maintain control over built up areas in and around Jerusalem. Stopping all building in these areas is seen by many Israelis as entirely symbolic and somewhat punitive to families that are growing. If the Palestinians are really interested in peace, rather than in finding an excuse to walk away from the peace talks, they will accept some sort of compromise that Netanyahu is willing to offer and that the Knesset might be willing to support. Building up rather than out, and limiting building to those areas that are not really in dispute, should constitute a compromise acceptable to all sides.
But I disagree with him. Israel shouldn’t compensate the Palestinians for staying in talks. Either they want peace or they don’t. Building has no relevance to that question. If they want to stop the building going on, they can compromise on borders
Continuing an absolute freeze should not become a litmus test for continuing peace talks. The real litmus test is a willingness to continue to talk despite temporary disagreements that could be resolved by negotiation.
Nor should continuing a partial freeze.