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Friday, July 26, 2013
Foreign Policy Farce: U.S. Conduct of Israel-Palestinian Peace Process
By Barry Rubin
Let's consider what has just happened. A farce.
What is shocking is the lack of outrage by mainstream journalists and foreign policy opinion-makers. This has required the slanderous consignment of normal and proper and competent foreign policy practices--as would have been demanded and done at any time in U.S. history--to silly partisanship that isn't even worth discussing.
The United States of America officially announced the resumption of negotiations when they are nowhere near arranged. The mass media breathlessly followed each claim and got it WRONG.
No one seems to have noticed. No one pointed out why there will NOT be serious talks. No one pointed out that the Palestinians have refused to negotiate for 13 years.
No one pointed out the PA cannot negotiate peace because it cannot commit the Gaza Strip to anything.
Nobody pointed out in the establishment that the United States is supposed to be on Israel's side or why the settlements are NOT the problem for peace.
Has this happened before? Yes, in late 2010 when President Obama announced at the UN that the talks would soon restart at Camp David. Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed; the Palestinians refused. Is there a pattern here?
Does anyone notice that the Palestinians keep demanding more preconditions, Israeli concessions but never come to the table?
Why, if Palestinians are so eager and desperate to get a state do they not try to get one? Has anyone considered the non-logic of that claim?
Why should Israel have to again make a concession of freeing Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians to get peace talks? Especially when the Palestinian Authority--and even those previously released--have returned to murder!
Why dd the U.S. promise to Israel that it would support the 1949 ceasefire lines PLUS settlement blocks as its new borders, not even get mentioned in the coverage? The U.S. made a conflicting promise of the precise 1949 ceasefire lines to the Palestinians. This was a huge breaking of a promise to Israel--by unilaterally not supporting boundary changes in Israel's favoron settlement blocks (large settlements near the ceasefire lines) on which Israeli concessions that were made at the risk of lives had been based!
Why dd the U.S. promise to Israel that it would support the 1949 ceasefire lines PLUS settlement blocks as its new borders, not even get mentioned in the coverage? The U.S. made a conflicting promise of the precise 1949 ceasefire lines to the Palestinians. This was a huge breaking of a promise--not mentioning settlement blocks--to Israel on which Israeli concessions that were made at the risk of lives had been based!
Why, then, should any future U.S guarantee to Israel be believed? What if the U.S. decides that it doesn't want to respond decisively when the state of Palestine lets cross-border terror raids since, for example, it has not done very much about backing up Israel from attacks by Hamas or assaults from the intifadahs? If America is so neutral between the two sides will that always be true even if Palestine would commit aggression against Israel?
These are only some of the questions that should be raised. This public debate is being conducted on a false, sloppy, inaccurate basis in which the main news media and the U.S. government can't even get their faces straight and remember what happened a few years ago.
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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.