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Israel Disses Biden, Clinton Fires Back, Diplomatic Chaos Ensues

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 01:29 pm
I'm surprised no thread on this already, but for those not following the war of words:

V.P. Biden went to Israel to fire up peace talks. When he arrived, Israel announced it would build 1,600 new homes for ultra-orthodox Jews in East Jerusalem, over the "green line" where the US opposes settlements. Biden issued a very direct comment on the announcement.
Vice President Biden wrote:
"The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I've had here in Israel," Biden said in a statement released by the White House. "We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them."

Netanyahu apologized for the slam, Biden seemed to get over it, then Secretary of State Clinton weighed in with a widely reported 45 minute slam of Netanyahu plus some press interviews. Now the Israeli ambassador is saying relations are at the lowest point in 30 years.

Thoughts? I'm with those who say that the settlements are hurting Israel far more than any possible benefit they could be receiving. They are widely considered against international law, they make achieving peace virtually impossible, they drain Israeli army resources protecting them and they place Israeli extremists in a position where they can continuously damage Israel's international reputation. It is in Israel's and certainly the US's best interests to maintain a settlement freeze.
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 01:36 pm
@engineer,
I think that we have all decided to ignore the Israeli problem until and unless there is reason to think that something might change.

Do you think that Israel might lose the unconditional support of the American Government? That would be a huge change. Hell, even the posibility that Israel COULD lose the support of the Americans would be a huge change.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 01:50 pm
@hawkeye10,
That's what's causing all the angst in Israel (example). Their press is pretty non-stop about how just the appearance of a loss of US support could embolden the international community to hammer them at a time when Israel is looking for US help in containing Iran.
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 02:08 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
Thoughts? I'm with those who say that the settlements are hurting Israel far more than any possible benefit they could be receiving.


I guess it depends on what of the competing Israeli objectives you hold.

If you are the expansionist "Greater Israel" type the settlements are more than worth it. They only get bad PR (Obama's administration still lacks the balls to actually do anything about it) and get to annex more land. It kills their chances of peace but remember that the people doing the settling don't want peace. The expansionist fringe (a powerful one, but fringe nevertheless) in Israel has rejected every single peace settlement that has ever been proposed. They see the conflict as being worth enduring to build "facts on the ground" towards their goal of greater Israel. They have rejected any Palestinian state "west of the Jordan river" so for this insane group of zealots there really is no downside to the illegal annexation of land, as that is not the means to their end, that is the end itself.

Of course for the rest of the world who thinks a two-state solution is fair, and who want peace of course the settling is not worth it, as the settling is the expression of diametric opposition to peace and the two-state solution.

Quote:
They are widely considered against international law, they make achieving peace virtually impossible, they drain Israeli army resources protecting them and they place Israeli extremists in a position where they can continuously damage Israel's international reputation. It is in Israel's and certainly the US's best interests to maintain a settlement freeze.


Well that's stating the obvious, the hard part is getting Israel to control its extremists. The Palestinians have the same problem with theirs but have surprisingly been able to reign a lot of them in for a couple years now. It's time for Israel to get control over its own expansionists who don't want peace but I don't see any US politicians being willing to spend their domestic political capital on providing a stick to the carrot the US gives Israel.
0 Replies
 
rabel22
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 02:13 pm
Israel dosent want peace and never has.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 02:17 pm
@rabel22,
The majority in Israel do want peace (most of the time). Each side has a strong fringe of extremists who don't.
Merry Andrew
 
  4  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 03:04 pm
@engineer,
I'm no expert but everything I hear and read on this subject indicates that most people -- and that includes most Israelis -- feel that the Israeli government really shot itself in the foot this time. The move was seen as a direct insult to Biden and hence, by extension, to the USA. It isn't only Washington that's upset.
MontereyJack
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 03:31 pm
Now here's kind of a quixotic suggestion. The Palestinians should suggest to Israel, "fine, take us over, take the West Bank, and Gaza, and us, you'll get the borders your fanatics want, and they'll be happy."

Due to all the international money that's flowed in over the past sixty years, Israel has a far better infrastructure. Spread it around.
There are around 5.2 or so million Palestinians living in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. There are about 5.45 million non-Palestinian Israelis. The Palestinians are a much younger population with a higher birth rate. Inside a generation they'll be the majority and they'll determine the course of the country. Problem solved.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  -2  
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 04:45 pm
Getting rid of Bibi was a major policy objective of the KKKlintons and is the first, hopefully of many, such policy to be overturned and reversed by real-world events.
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rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 12:28 am
@Robert Gentel,
Your talking about individuals, im talking about the government.
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msolga
 
  3  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 01:42 am
@hawkeye10,
Quote:

Do you think that Israel might lose the unconditional support of the American Government?


Hardly likely, after the statements I heard on the news today. Criticisms of Israeli actions, but ongoing US support anyway.

But, perhaps it might not be at all a bad thing if the US made it's support conditional. On Israel proceeding in good faith towards a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians. (And perhaps I'm dreaming that such a thing is possible.)

The timing of the announcement of Israel's East Jerusalem building expansion, during Biden's visit, was extremely provocative & insulting to the US.


0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  4  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 04:26 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
Thoughts? I'm with those who say that the settlements are hurting Israel far more than any possible benefit they could be receiving. They are widely considered against international law, they make achieving peace virtually impossible, they drain Israeli army resources protecting them and they place Israeli extremists in a position where they can continuously damage Israel's international reputation. It is in Israel's and certainly the US's best interests to maintain a settlement freeze.

I think that's basically right, but you're holding back too much in at least two ways: First, the settlements are not just "widely considered to be" against international law. They actually are a violation of international law, and a blatant and in-your-face one at that. The UN has asserted this in numerous resolutions. Second, Israel's illegal conduct is a grave injustice to the Palestinian people. Somehow you managed not to acknowledge the Palestinians' stake in this conflict at all. But with these qualifications, I agree with you.

Will Israel lose some support from the US over this? I certainly hope so, but I'm not holding my breath. At most, the US will downgrade Israel from its current BFF status to something closer to the status of Pinochet's Chile. "Yes, they're bastards, but they're our bastards." I think that wouldn't accomplish much. Pinochet's-Chile status would still be comfortable enough for Israel governments not to change their policies. Let the US hate them, as long as they fear Arabic Islamism.

And on this sunny note, good morning!
rabel22
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Mar, 2010 02:01 pm
The chance that the U.S. government will kick the nation of Israel in the rear end is nonexistant. If you doubt this remember the USS liberty which the isralies attacked on June 8, 1967. With planes and torpedo boats they attacked the liberty in international waters. A mistake the government of israel said. The mistake killed 34 americans and wounded 171. Congress dident even bother to investigate wether they were telling the truth. The two governments military investigated and agreed that it was a mistake. Can you spell whitewash? If you want more documented information just type in The USS Liberty.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 01:45 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
Thoughts? I'm with those who say that the settlements are hurting Israel far more than any possible benefit they could be receiving. They are widely considered against international law, they make achieving peace virtually impossible, they drain Israeli army resources protecting them and they place Israeli extremists in a position where they can continuously damage Israel's international reputation. It is in Israel's and certainly the US's best interests to maintain a settlement freeze.


My main thought is that Obama is an anti-Semite who is giving in to Palestinian demands to impose an unfair deal on Israel.

This pretty much means that the peace negotiations will go nowhere. Israel isn't about to let Obama screw them over.

What makes achieving peace impossible is that the Palestinians never stop trying to murder people. Settlements have nothing to do with Palestinian aggression.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 01:46 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
That's what's causing all the angst in Israel (example). Their press is pretty non-stop about how just the appearance of a loss of US support could embolden the international community to hammer them at a time when Israel is looking for US help in containing Iran.


Israel's nuclear arsenal can protect them from the international community if necessary.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 01:48 am
@rabel22,
rabel22 wrote:
Israel dosent want peace and never has.


Of all the reasons for Israel to not take peace negotiations seriously, one of the strongest reasons is the fact that all they will get for their trouble is people falsely accusing them of never having tried in the first place.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 01:51 am
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew wrote:
I'm no expert but everything I hear and read on this subject indicates that most people -- and that includes most Israelis -- feel that the Israeli government really shot itself in the foot this time. The move was seen as a direct insult to Biden and hence, by extension, to the USA. It isn't only Washington that's upset.


Maybe Washington shouldn't have given in to Palestinian demands to abandon the Roadmap For Peace and try to force Israel to accept an unfair deal.

The only people who are upset are the anti-Semites.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 02:05 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
I think that's basically right, but you're holding back too much in at least two ways: First, the settlements are not just "widely considered to be" against international law. They actually are a violation of international law, and a blatant and in-your-face one at that. The UN has asserted this in numerous resolutions.


Not as much a violation as Arab aggression against Israel.




Thomas wrote:
Second, Israel's illegal conduct is a grave injustice to the Palestinian people. Somehow you managed not to acknowledge the Palestinians' stake in this conflict at all. But with these qualifications, I agree with you.


The Palestinians are the ones who decided they'd rather murder children than make peace.

If they suffer an injustice from the lack of peace, it is an injustice that they themselves caused.




Thomas wrote:
Will Israel lose some support from the US over this? I certainly hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.


If so, then the peace talks are doomed from the start. Penalizing Israel for wanting to stick to the Roadmap For Peace is not a good way to start things off.
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 06:28 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

Thomas wrote:
I think that's basically right, but you're holding back too much in at least two ways: First, the settlements are not just "widely considered to be" against international law. They actually are a violation of international law, and a blatant and in-your-face one at that. The UN has asserted this in numerous resolutions.


Not as much a violation as Arab aggression against Israel.

Two wrongs don't make a right. Regardless of what actions some people take against Israel, that doesn't excuse Israeli actions against other people. The settlements are clearly losing propositions for Israel. Why should they pursue policies that are clearly not in their overall self interest?
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2010 07:41 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
Two wrongs don't make a right.


I disagree. But my point there was that it is wrong to act like Israel are "the bad guys" when in reality the Palestinians are even worse.



engineer wrote:
The settlements are clearly losing propositions for Israel. Why should they pursue policies that are clearly not in their overall self interest?


There are a couple reasons.

First, the Palestinians may well refuse to ever make peace. In that case, the Israelis would like to use the land.

And second, the halt to settlement construction is supposed to be one of the steps in phase one of the Roadmap For Peace. It is supposed to be negotiated in exchange for like concessions from the Palestinians.

What Obama is demanding is that even before negotiations begin, the Palestinians be given a major concession for free.

And if we ever actually get to phase one of the Roadmap, what happens when the Palestinians find that they are giving more concessions than the Israelis? Because if the Palestinians get the halt to settlement construction ahead of time for free, that step will no longer be available for Israel to give as a concession in exchange for the Palestinian steps.

Will the Palestinians demand that some other Israeli concession be added in to phase one so that it is balanced again? Will they demand that they skip some of their own steps in phase one so that they are not giving more concessions than Israel is?

And what happens the next time the Palestinians demand a departure from the Roadmap and Obama caves to them? Is Israel expected to give in to that one as well? And the time after that?

Does Israel have any rights to demand their own departures from the Roadmap? After all, Israel are the ones who tried to offer a fair deal back in 2000-2001, and the Palestinians are the ones who collapsed the negotiations by sending wave after wave of suicide bombers to murder Israeli children. It seems that if anyone has the right to demand better treatment, it is the Israelis, not the Palestinians.

If I were Netanyahu, I'd give Obama the finger and tell him not to call back until he is ready to respect the Roadmap.

(Actually, if I were Netanyahu, given the way he was treated at the White House, I'd give Obama the finger and tell him not to call back until he was ready to respect the Roadmap and agreed to lick the bottom of my shoes live on Israeli TV. But it is possible that I'm more of a hothead than Netanyahu is.)
0 Replies
 
 

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