Friday, June 12, 2009

Can Obama save Israel from itself?

Excellent piece from Neve Gordon in the Jerusalem Post about the Obama-Netanyahu tussle over the settlements in the West Bank. Gordon makes among others several excellent points:

Obama may be intimating that US policy is that all the West Bank settlements (and by implication, those in the Golan, which Syria must have back if there is to be any peace deal with Israel) are illegal, not just the outposts.

Netanyahu's removal of a couple of tiny outposts recently (which were rebuilt almost immediately) was a dog-and-pony show for popular consumption - not a serious move on his part.

Netanyahu may indeed try to raise fears in both Israel and the US that any serious attempt to dismantle settlements will lead to civil war in Israel.

A recent post on the Mondoweiss site is a propos. It recalled a definition of chutzpah as killing your parents, and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the court with the wail that now you're an orphan. Israel knew from the day the first settlement went up in the West Bank that it was going to judged illegal in the eyes of international law; and it has continued to expand those settlements down to this very day. To ask for a pass because to remove them might cause problems is cynical in the extreme - chutzpah indeed - and Obama knows it; as is the idea that removing settlements, or even freezing them, is somehow a "concession" to the Palestinians. It's not a concession; it's justice, and it's the right thing to do.

One more thing to note in Gordon's piece is the quote from the defiant settler who referred to the "nigger" in the White House. I would imagine that if that quote gets some play in the US media and/or the halls of Congress, it's going to cost the settlers some support in the US - as well it should.

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