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Missed the Boat

Reader comment on item: One Cheer for Obama's Arab-Israeli Policy

Submitted by Edward Halper (United States), Sep 16, 2009 at 10:33

While a comprehensive regional settlement would be good in principle, I question the motives of those calling for regional negotiations.

In a recent NYTimes editorial, Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal demanded that Israel make the first moves by returning to pre-1967 borders (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/opinion/13turki.html). The editorial was nearly the same stuff they've be saying for the last 40 years, even before there were Israeli housing developments in the West Bank.

What's new and possibly significant is al-Faisal's return to speaking of "Arab land." For some years the operative terms have been "Palestinian land" and the "rights of Palestinians." So why the change? Some Palestinians are interested in real peace. The purpose of this article is, apparently, to warni to them that Saudi Arabia will not accept a separate Palestinian peace with Israel. I'm referring To Salam Fayyad, current Prime Minister of Palestine. He is western educated and, from what I can tell, is actually doing a decent job. Economic growth on the West Bank is something like 7%--pretty amazing for a recession.

This is clearly causing some pain in Saudia Arabia. The last thing the kingdom wants to see is a functioning and properous democracy in Palestine. Hence, the reminder that these are "Arab lands" and the Palestinians have no rights to cut a separate deal with Israel. There was something similar in the recent Fatah congress that reaffirmed violence against Israel as a Palestinian right. They're worried about a deal, too--and, of course, losing their cut from corruption. As usual, the real story is Arab oppression of Arabs that is aided by western "liberal" media. Fayyad made some interesting offers at the end of August about working towards a Palestinian state, but these were totally ignored by English language media.

So, no cheers from me for Obama. He is echoing the Saudi and aiding the continued oppression of Palestinians by other Arabs.


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