11 thoughts on “After Obama Victory, What to Expect in Middle East – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard,

    A very nice, hopeful piece. But I doubt if your wishes will come to pass so long as Obama has Dennis Ross (the ultimate neocon) as one of his top advisers.

    (See article in separate post)

  2. I disagree with Richard, and agree with this Al-Jazeera point of view:
    “Scant hope in Gaza for US election”
    A Palestinians professor says, “Several years ago, we stopped depending on the American elections as there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

    There is an American strategy in the Middle East and the Palestinian conflict – it supports Israeli policy.

    However, we hope that the new US president will deal with the Middle East conflict and the Palestinian cause according to international agreements.”

    And Richard it makes me nervous to hear anyone say “when” Obama wins…
    The Repubthugs are pulling every dirty election/invalid voting machine/inconvenience the voters/keep voters away from the polls/ trick in the book and that’s a lot.
    I don’t think the election result is a done deal, altho I am cautiously optimistic.

  3. Ellen-what makes you think the Democrats wouldn’t stuff the ballot box if they have the chance? Only Republicans are dishonest?

    Richard-I can assure you that at the end of Obama’s Presidency in 4 or 8 years, there still won’t be a Palestinian state. You assertion that Israel “will likely keep some of the settlement blocks” is totally unwarranted. I told you recently that Yossi Alpher wrote in the Jerusalem Post that there is NO agreement on ANYTHING. He specifically rejected the claim you and all the other “progressives” make that “everyone knows the outline of the agreement”.
    The Palestinians keep telling everyone who is listening that that their demands for a withdrawal to the pre-67 lines (this includes the Kotel and Jewish Quarter, BTW) are non-negotiable. They also demand recognition of the so-called “Palestinian Right of Return” UP FRONT, and then will agree to negotiate its implementation. I know you and other “progressives” have convinced yourselves that the Palestinians will accept a “symbolic” return of a “reasonable number” (what is “reasonable” and to whom?) of refugees. Now, you realize that Israel accepting the “Right of Return” is an admission that the creation of Israel was a crime (Abbas called it “The greatest crime in the history of mankind” on a recent Naqba Day) so we will be opening ourselves up to demands for massive indemnities, not only on the part of the refugees but on the part of the host countries.
    Regarding Netanyahu, I can assure you that he is no different than the others. I pointed out to you that his term as Prime Minister was not so bad from your point of view. You simply dismissed that. You worry about what he says. POLITICIANS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SAY, BUT WHAT THEY DO. All the candidates for Prime Minister since Oslo have made major promises that they have broken (Barak promised not to divide Jerusalem, to draft Haredim to the army and to adopt a “social” program for the poor, Sharon promised not to destroy Gush Katif, Olmert promised to destroy half the settlements in Judea/Samaria, Amir Peretz swore he would insist on the Finance Ministry and would implement major increases in handouts for the “poor”.). Netanyahu promised not to withdraw IDF forces from Hevron and to insist on reciprocity in relations with the Palestinian Authority. He broke both promises. True, Netanyahu has brought Benny Begin back (a hard-line “right-winger”) but he also is bringing back Dan Meridor, and adding Yossi Peled, Uzi Dayan and Assaf Hefetz, all of whom supported Olmert’s plan for a large-scale unilateral withdrawal from Judea/Samaria. So you see, he has planted the seeds for the disintegration of his party, just as he did in 1996.
    Tzippi Livni is viewed with contempt by most Israelis (Yes, the Left likes her, but they are a minority, even though you and they believe that they are the only people whose opinion counts, since they always point out that the Right are a bunch of rabble and riff-raff). She has never done anything of importance, she got ahead on the coat-tails of other people. What is funny is that people say she has “integrity”. What kind of “integrity” is it to be elected as a “right-winger” in the Likud, opposing the destruction of Gush Katif, and today she wants to divide Jerusalem? Of course, you and other “progressives” might view lying to Right-wingers and betraying the people who trusted your word and voted for you as “integrity” simply because she betrayed your political opponents, which is a mitzvah. However, she lied once, she can do it again. She is viewed as another opportunist who has no values. She can’t do the things that Sharon did. Sharon was viewed as a war hero and many right-wingers said “he must know what he is doing”. She doesn’t have the gravitas and people are not going to rely on her claims that “she knows what she is doing” when the Lebanon II war shows she doesn’t.

  4. The best hope for breaking the choke hold on U.S. policies in the Middle East is for Likud/Netanyahu to be associated with the GOP (RepubLikud Party) and Kadima/Labor/Livni to be associated with the Democratic Party. In that event, there will finally be a meaningful discussion of at least some the issues here in the U.S.

  5. Despite the rhetoric Ellen referred to above, I think Obama’s victory opens up a new opportunity to engage moderate and adaptable sections of Arab opinion whom opinion polls show want democratic accountability in their own governments.
    Here’s to Livni getting a shot at this. A siege mentality has not served Israel well and the alternative doesn’t have to mean a supine posture. Most people on all sides will respond to fairness and good faith once they feel there is hope. Madge

  6. Wow this post shows a complete misunderstanding of Israel. Why is it that every progressive American Jew really thinks that the Majority in Israel is willing to settle the conflict with the Arabs in Yehuda and Shomron. Most Israelis are tired of the West telling us what to do and to compromise on our security. Livni will not win her star is fading. Shas showed her for she is, an Ashkenazi elitist. Shas came out big amongst their electorate for refusing to enter the coalition. Sorry American liberal Jews are just wrong and totally do not understand a thing about Israel and Israelis.

  7. “I believe that if the Bush administration can broker a deal with North Korea as appears likely from latest developments, then there is no reason Obama couldn’t do the same with Iran.”


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