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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Barack Obama's Middle East Peace Plan (?)

When I saw the Guardian’s headline on my ipod, ‘Barack Obama’s middle east peace plan,’ I thought, cool. I wonder what their take is. Maybe they can tell me what on earth he’s doing. I think I keep relatively up to date on foreign affairs and I can’t seem to figure it out. He talks tough on settlements, yet Israel is still building. We continue to fund them while sometimes talking indirectly about them being the cause of Palestinian suffering. Obama promises change, but this is more of the same. Well, ok. Obama does allow a few lines of criticism of Israel now and again. Republicans don’t allow that. It’s un-American or something. I guess you could call that change. Sort of. Not really.

Now, what is this plan?

We are going to take a tougher stance on Iran for Israel to be able to stomach following the law* with a partial settlement freeze???

* they are actually almost fulfilling our kind request, but this is a small step toward following the law

As a part of this plan, I wonder if Palestinians will be allowed to confiscate Israeli land for natural growth or normal life? Hmmm...

I can see this going horribly wrong. If Iran doesn't do what Israel wants or if we don't respond to Iran the way Israel wants, they suddenly have yet another excuse (or several) to scrap the whole thing and keep defying the law and doing what they want. If we were going to make a concession to Israel it probably shouldn't have been anything contingent upon another country's doings, let alone Ahmedinejad's- if we wanted it to be successful, that is. So much for tough talk. Israel got what they wanted---again.

Another part of this deal is normalization with Arab states. I can't believe this is even being considered. Israel should get normalization after it begins to act civilly with the Palestinian state and follow the law, not when it promises to sort of freeze settlements but only if the US gets tougher with Iran. Settlements are illegal. Israel should be punished for breaking the law and treating people like animals- and worse! Sanctions, boycott, divestment. But, hey. Maybe I've got it wrong; we've got it wrong. Perhaps we in the US should be paying our hardened criminals not to commit any more murders, thefts, etc instead of putting them in prison? Any takers?

If one were looking really hard to find the bright side, one could say, gee, it looks like we’re working hard to get that settlement "freeze". If you were more realistic, you’d say we need a policy freeze for a minute to figure this out. We’re going to risk unnecessarily getting ourselves into another ‘war of choice’ in order to get Israel to not comply with a particular part of a law they should be following anyway as a supposedly democratic government with which we have not just a working, but very warm relationship?? If we’re going to risk that, we’d be better off going for the big picture- end the occupation! I wonder what we will have to concede to get Israel to finally allow right of return or compensation to Palestinians for all the confiscated land- from 1948 on? Attack Syria and a few other local states? Or worse? We Americans are paying for Israel's mistakes constantly. Why are we having to make concessions in order to make Israel "right it's wrongs" to the Palestinians? Palestinians have been made to pay for Germany's sins. When is Israel going to take responsibility and pay up?

One Israeli has the right idea:

Boycott Israel by Neve Gordon,0,1126906.story

And the Israeli response:
Two quotes from the article:
“academics who feel this way about their country are welcome to search for a personal and professional home elsewhere” (Gordon's employer)

"...hundreds of angry readers have called Gordon a traitor, a virus and cancerous, and have threatened to expel him from Israel. Some have even called for his execution."

I don't agree with this article completely, but the title I especially do agree with and ask whenever I think about this stuff-- 'Why not sanctions for Israel?'

I read an article recently about someone under South African apartheid who said that the sports and academic boycotts really hit home for the average person. The sports boycott hit the government economically like other economic boycotts, but it was the ones that affected average people that inspired them to pressure their government to end apartheid. I can’t find the link now.

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