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a roadmap to where

Reader comment on item: Assessing Binyamin Netanyahu's Speech at Bar-Ilan University

Submitted by pete murray (Ireland), Jun 14, 2009 at 18:21

This speech and Pipes commentary are both written on the basis of wishful thinking rather than facing reality.

The reality is that being formulated by the new President of the United States. The Israel-compliant G W Bush is no longer in office.

The first reality of any process is that no one negotiates other than under pressure. Israelis should note that the IRA (A much more effective and deady force than Hamas) only came to the negotiating table after the US finally stood up to the "Irish" lobby in the US and started cutting off the US money that financed the IRA.

US public opinion follows the elected President. There is already a sea change in the opinions being voiced in the mainstream media on the Middle East. Views critical of Israeli policy that were beaten down with accusations of "anti-semitism" buring the Bush presidency are no longer being silenced.

Obama isn't demanding any immediate or instant division of territory into two-separate states. His only move to date is to demand the end of settlement-intensification. He is calling Netanyahu's bluff. He is saying that if security is truely what is motivating Israel and not a colonization-project, intensifying the settlements have no logic.

Netanyahu is on record as saying that a Palestinian state can only come after a period of stability and economic development on the part of the Palestinians. Obama has (in effect) told Netanyahu that no peoples have ever been peaceful and stable while their land and water were being stolen from underneath them. He has also pointed out that so long as Palestinian property, assets, and education and civil infrastructure remain insecure, talk of Palestinian economic development is mere cant.

Obama's vision (insofar as it can be discerned at this stage is as follows:

An end to intensification of the settlements.

Negotiations dividing the territory and the water assets of the West Bank in a just and proportionate manner.

Negotiating a resettlement and compensation package for the settlers and Palestinian refugees (The Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel proper, the settlers would leave the West bank).

Transitional and long term security issues. Obama realizes that final peace wouldn't break out upon the division of the territory and that fanatical minorities on both sides will try to destabilize the peace for many years. An international peace-keeping force will be needed for the duration to build confidence and deal with the irredentists.

Of course, this scenario is not a forgone conclusion. It's realization will take great resolve on the part of the US administration. If this two-state solution fails the alternatives are unpredictable. Israel will not allow a single state solution with equal rights to all those within the power of the state. The grim possibility is that the present small and extreme minority in Israel will prevail simply by pursuing a policy of obstruction. This faction seeks to block all progress towards peace while Jewish settlement of the West Bank continues to undermine any possibility of a viable Palestinian state. At the same the Israelis will continue the present policy of ensuring that life in Gaza remains intolerable - particularly for those with education or ambition who might provide leadership to their people (The policy of confining a dog in a small cage while abusing it in the expectation that it will bite). The plan is that some opportunity (Like a war involving Iran) will turn up which will give cover while the remnants of the Palestinian population are removed on the pretext that they constitute a "fifth-column).

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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