Saturday, October 2, 2010

Henry Siegman on Netanyahu's Freeze Scam

Brave, incisive, and on the money, as is usual for Mr. Siegman.  Once again, Obama's weakness and/or lack of leverage are apparent.  Great take-away quote:

President Abbas should challenge Netanyahu to continue negotiations to reach agreement on a border in the next three months and declare his willingness to do so even if settlement construction continues. However, Netanyahu would have to promise that if no border agreement is reached within three months, there would be a total freeze of all settlement construction until a border agreement is achieved. At that point, Israel can build without restraint on its side of the border, and Palestinians will be able to do so on theirs.

The likelihood of Netanyahu agreeing to this is remote, but his rejection of such an offer by Abbas would expose Netanyahu's intention to use the peace process as a cover for his government's effort to achieve the irreversibility of Israel's settlement enterprise. It would also confirm Netanyahu's commitment to viable Palestinian statehood as the sham that it is.

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet -- not even American-sponsored parameters -- that can guarantee the goal of "two states living side by side in peace and security." But President Obama's present course absolutely precludes it. Instead, he must lead an international initiative to define the parameters of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement based firmly in international law and previous UN resolutions and actively promote political reconciliation among Hamas, Fatah and the other Palestinian parties. If he cannot provide that leadership, others in the international community must do so, and see to it that America will at least not stand in their way.

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