Obama, “Join The World”
If you’re interested in an objective observation on Israel and the United States’ true objectives for the Middle East, read NOAM CHOMSKY’s latest on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and what he sees coming up.
Well, Benjamin Netanyahu is on the—you can’t say on the far right anymore, because the country has moved so far to the right that he’s almost centrist. To the far right is his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who has made his first pronouncement yesterday. He said that Israel has no responsibilities for any previous commitments, not the Annapolis commitment to eventually form some sort of Palestinian state, unclear what, only to the road map. Now, that’s what was reported yesterday in the press.
Now, what’s Israel’s commitment to the road map? He knows very well. The road map is the famous decision of the Quartet—US, Europe, Russia and the United Nations. A couple years ago, it sort of laid out vague plans for what ought to be done. It’s worth looking at them. But put that aside, because really it doesn’t matter, because as soon as the road map came out, Israel formally accepted it and instantly added fourteen reservations, which completely eviscerated it. One of the contributions of Jimmy Carter’s book on Israel-Palestine was that he was the first, I think, to give public attention to the Israeli reservations. They’re in an appendix to his book, bitterly condemned book, but nobody ever mentioned the one major contribution.
In effect, Israel said, “We’ll sign the road map, but we’re not going to observe it, because here’s the conditions.” So, for example, the condition—one condition is that nothing can happen until the Palestinians end, of course, all violence, but also all incitement, so anything critical of Israel. On the other hand, it added, nothing can stop Israel from carrying out violence and incitement. It was explicit, approximately those words. And so it continues. There can be no discussion of the existence of settlements, in fact, no discussion of anything that matters. That’s the road map. Now, the US supported that. That means both the US and Israel reject the road map. And Lieberman’s statement yesterday is, well, that’s our only commitment. You know, if we had a functioning media, those would be the headlines.
And there’s much more to this. You know, President Obama appointed a Middle East emissary, George Mitchell, who’s a reasonable choice if he’s allowed to do anything. So far, he’s only allowed to listen to almost everyone, not everyone. For example, he’s not allowed to listen to the elected government in Palestine, the Hamas-led government. Well, it would be hard to listen to them, because half of them are in Israeli prisons, but nevertheless, you know, they have voices. For example, they’ve supported the call for a two-state settlement that the United States and Israel have rejected. So they’ve joined the world on that.
But why are we not allowed to listen to Hamas? Well, because they don’t meet three conditions that were established. One is, they have to accept the road map, which we and Israel reject, but they have to accept it, otherwise we can’t allow them into the civilized world. The other is, they have to renounce violence. Well, we don’t have to discuss the question whether the United States and Israel renounce violence, so we can put that aside. Third, they have to recognize Israel, but, of course, we don’t have to recognize Palestine, nor does Israel. So they have to meet three conditions that we don’t meet and that Israel doesn’t meet. But again, that passes without comment.
Regarding President Obama role right now:
He should join the world. There has been an overwhelming international consensus for over thirty years. It was made explicit in January 1976, when the Arab states brought a resolution to the Security Council calling for the establishment of two states on the international border, which indeed the international border, up until then, was recognized by the United States. It means the pre-June ’67 border. And official US terminology, when it was still part of the world in the late ’60s, was “with minor and mutual modifications,” so maybe straighten out some curves. Almost the entire world agrees with this. It has been blocked by the United States. The United States vetoed that resolution. It vetoed a similar one in 1980. I won’t run through the record, but it’s essentially the same up ’til now.
So what President Obama should do is, in fact, what President Clinton did in the last few weeks of his administration. It’s important to recognize what happened then. There were negotiations in Camp David in the summer of 2000, which collapsed. Clinton blamed Arafat, the head of the Palestinian delegation, for the breakdown, but he backed off of that pretty quickly. By December, he formerly recognized that the US-Israeli proposals at Camp David could not be accepted by any Palestinian, and he presented what he called his parameters, somewhat vague but more forthcoming. He then made a speech, an important speech, in which he said both sides have accepted the parameters, both sides have expressed reservations. Well, they met in Taba, Egypt, in January 2001, both sides, to iron out the reservations, and they came very close to an agreement, which was very close to the international consensus.
What he thinks about the “two-state” solution:
Nobody supports—I mean, you can talk about a one-state solution, if you want. I think a better solution is a no-state solution. But this is pie in the sky. If you’re really in favor of a one-state solution, which in fact I’ve been all my life—accept a bi-national state, not one state—you have to give a path to get from here to there. Otherwise, it’s just talk. Now, the only path anyone has ever proposed —— is through two states as the first stage.
So, there you have it. There’s no peace in the Middle East because Israel and the United States refuse to recognize the Palestinian people’s legitimate right to exist.