Monday, September 27, 2010

Training Our Expectations

Beinart details the intransigence of the 'yahoo in charge, and the U.S. community's indifference to it:
So let’s get this straight. When Netanyahu agrees to a settlement moratorium, it’s a sign of his commitment to peace. And now that he has let the moratorium end? It’s still a sign of his commitment to peace because, as AIPAC now insists, negotiations must proceed without preconditions. It’s back to “the problem isn’t settlements.”
But the problem—or at least a crucial problem—is settlements. Creating a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank could easily require moving 100,000 settlers—ten times as many as Israel removed in Gaza, on far more theologically charged land. All those settlers will have to be financially compensated (at least partially, judging from the Oslo discussions, with U.S. taxpayer dollars). Many will have to be violently confronted, a terrifying prospect given that militant settlers comprise a larger and larger share of the Israeli officer corps. (Yitzhak Rabin, remember, was assassinated for merely contemplating the removal of West Bank settlements). And even if all this can be done without civil war, any land Israel keeps in the West Bank will likely have to be traded for land within pre-1967 Israel, and there’s not much land to trade...
Netanyahu’s decision has empowered the settlers, strengthened Hamas and made it more likely that sometime in the next year or two, the occupied territories will again explode into violence. But there is one silver lining. By his actions, Netanyahu has laid bare the criteria that American Jewish organizations actually use for evaluating the behavior of an Israeli leader. To be labeled a champion of peace by the American Jewish establishment, it turns out, a prime minister of Israel only really has to do one thing: be prime minister of Israel.

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