Saturday, January 4, 2014

McCain and Graham Pave Path to New Intifada

Disturbing report from WashPo about how Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have lined up with Mr. Netanyahu in expressing grave reservations about proposals emerging from the recent John Kerry-led "peace process."  Per usual for the vast majority of US congressmen, their concerns hinge almost entirely on Israel's security needs - which, in their minds (and, of course, Bibi's), can only be served by an agreement that permits the IDF almost unhindered access to the West Bank.

Graham's comments are especially worrying:

Graham said that despite detailed security proposals for the West Bank developed by a special U.S. envoy, retired Marine Gen. John R. Allen, senior Israelis remain unconvinced. “Here’s the one thing that I think dominates the thinking in Israel: that once you withdraw, then the ability to go back is almost impossible,” Graham said. “Look at Gaza. What’s the chance of going back into Gaza militarily?”


Israel can defend itself against rocket attacks from that formerly Israeli-occupied territory, but withdrawal meant giving up the “ability to chart your own destiny,” Graham said.



“I really do believe that the idea of withdrawing has to be considered in light of Gaza,” Graham said.


None of the above indicates that Graham and his ilk are going to accept any kind of Palestinian state that would also be acceptable to Mr. Abbas or any other of the more moderate Palestinian political leaders, not to mention those of a more militant stripe - i.e., a return to pre-1967 borders (with suitable land swaps) and a Palestinian government with responsibility for maintaining security with its own security forces.  That others in Netanyahu's govermnent are also insisting on Israeli control of the Jordan Valley - something that, I'd bet, McCain and Graham are prefectly okay with - further dims the prospects for Kerry's success.

I'm also struck by Graham's focus on Gaza as the template for what Israel ought not to do in the West Bank.  Implicit in his comments is the assumption that Israel had been justified in occupying and colonizing Gaza in the first place, and that Israel ought never to have left Gaza, but instead ought to have ramped up the number of settlements there as well as the degree of military occupation.

All of this, of course, plays into the established and well-justified perception that the US political leadership as a whole will accept a Palestinian state only if such a state remains completely under the security domination of Israel.  Equally justifiably, most Palestinians will view Kerry's efforts as little better than a smokescreen while Netanyahu and his right-wing government cement the creation of "Greater Israel."

And that, of course, feeds a growing probability of another intifada - something that the WashPo report likewise points out. 

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