Mahmoud Abbas announced today that he would not run for president in upcoming PA elections scheduled for January. This throws U.S. policy into some disarray as it was predicated on a go-along-to-get-along Palestinian leader like Abbas who would be malleable to U.S. interests. If there was a clear successor groomed, it might make this announcement less distressing. But there isn’t. The only clear names are problematic for different reasons.
The most obvious is Marwan Barghouti, the most universally acclaimed Fatah leader not only in the West Bank, but in Gaza as well. The only problem is that he sits in an Israeli prison. There has been some talk that a negotiated deal to release Gilad Shalit might include Barghouti. But unless he is released, running for office would mean Palestinians would be electing someone who couldn’t serve. This too would embarrass Israel, which might be reason enough for the Palestinians to do precisely that.
The other option is a member of the Fatah’s powerful, but discredited Old Guard like Mohammed Dahlan. This choice would be universally condemned everywhere but in Fatah circles. Dahlan is widely hated by Hamas for engaging in torture, corruption and other serious abuses.
There is always the possibility that Abbas is posturing or maneuvering for a more favorable stance on the part of the Obama administration regarding the settlement freeze and final status talks. Abbas resigned when he was prime minister under Arafat (and then returned after Arafat’s death). I don’t know which way this one’s going to go. But it seems to me that the drubbing the U.S. indirectly engineered for him when it persuaded him to scuttle the Goldstone Report, plus the intransigence of the Netanyahu government would be more than sufficient to persuade any politician that he’d gone about as far as he could given the circumstances.
The Times article outlines the sense of despondency among Fatah leadership and their sense of betrayal by the U.S.:
It was…clear that Israeli-Palestinian talks would not resume any time soon despite intensive American diplomacy. A top aide to Mr. Abbas said a large part of the “despondency and frustration” felt by Mr. Abbas and the entire Palestinian leadership was due to President Obama’s unrealized promises to the region. He said he feared that without a stop to settlements, Islamist rivals in Hamas could triumph and violence could break out.
“There was high expectation when he arrived on the scene,” the aide, Nabil Shaath, who heads the Fatah party’s foreign affairs department, said of Mr. Obama at a briefing. “He said he would work to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that it would play a major role in improving the American and Western relationship with the Muslim world. Now there is a total retreat, which has destroyed trust instead of building trust.”
…“I think he’s reached the conclusion that he’s reached a dead-end,” said Qaddoura Fares, another Fatah leader, on Israel Radio, speaking of Mr. Abbas.
There is also the added factor of Hamas. Fatah has failed to negotiate a reconciliation with the Islamic movement, and without this there can be no elections in Gaza. PA voting in the West Bank alone would be quite embarrassing to Fatah I would think, and would cause them to delay the elections.
I worry that Abbas’ resignation and the flux of Palestinian leadership that results will provide a major setback for the Obama administration. I can see no way it can seriously attempt to advance the peace process given how little Israel is giving him to work with.
Let’s be clear about where fault lies should these things come to pass. Look no farther than the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem. And this impasse suits Israel just fine. Stasis and stalemate are Israel’s preferred modes when it comes to the conflict. The only thing that seems to move Israel off the dime is a massive terror attack. It’s hard to tell which of Israel’s will oblige this scenario: Hezbollah or Hamas, who knows? And if Israel truly wants to divert the world’s attention from its obstinacy there’s always a new military adventure in Iran that is possible. That nation is the smoke that conceals Israel’s real interest, which is continuing the Occupation and stiffing the Palestinians.
Israel and its supporters seem to believe they can maintain the status quo ad infinitum. But things change. Instead of the consensus being a two state solution, that could change. People who previously never spoke favorably of a one-state solution are despairingly turning to it:
Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, said Wednesday at a news conference that perhaps Palestinians should abandon the two-state approach and work toward one shared state with the Jews, something a vast majority of Israelis oppose.
He said Mr. Abbas should maybe “tell his people the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities the two-state solution is no longer an option.”
Israel should understand that this is not a trick, not a maneuver. Most of all, at some point in the future there will be no return to the two state solution. The international consensus will move from two to one-state. At that time, telling the world you’ve had a change of heart and a two state solution would be just fine thank you–that’s not going to work.
I’ll believe it when I see it. I don’t recall any case of the top leader of an Arab country giving up power voluntarily (please let me know if you can think of any examples). They either die in office or our ousted by force. Don’t forget that as head of the Palestinian Authority, he has a major say in where all the foreign money the US and EU hands over to him goes. If he leaves, he could be leaving many friends and relatives on the take high and dry as the new leader puts his own people on the gravy train. Also, when a new leader takes over, they frequently purge the cronies that were hanging around the leader claiming they were “corrupt” in order to give themselves the image of being reformers. Even in the hereditary monarchies like Jordan and Morocco (and then there is Syria and it looks like we will by adding Egypt and Libya to the list) have this happen. So we’ll see if Abbas really steps down.
I recall when, before Oslo, Arafat was at a meeting of FATAH or the PLO or whatever, and then he dramatically announced he was stepping down. He demonstratively went and then sat down in the back of the hall. On cue, a group of delegates ran over to him, got down on their knees and “begged him to return” for the sake of the Palestinian revolution. Bowing to the “will of the masses”, he did so. Also, there is the more famous example of Nasser’s “resignation” after the disaster of the Six-Day War which the “masses” also persuaded him to rescind.
So, we’ll see.
Richard Silverstein says
Turkey is a Muslim country and a democracy. Power has changed hands numerous times. In Iran, Khatami gave up power voluntarily. Lebanon also has a democractic system in which leaders do give up power w/o major bloodshed.
So your generalizations as usual are crude and just plain wrong. I’m not claiming any of these countries are model democracies. But I am claiming that you are absolutely ignorant about anything to do with Arab or Muslim states.
This is yet another reason why you positively repel me. You have absolutely no proof of anything you say. Even if Fatah and Abbas are corrupt (btw, I’ve never heard anyone claim that Abbas himself is corrupt) you’ve provided absolutely no proof of it.
Your brand of anti-Arab racism is repellant. You don’t know anything about Arab countries except what you read in the Israeli right-wing cesspool media on the subject maybe w. a smattering of Daniel Pipes thrown in for good measure.
BTW, so many Israeli politicians, minister & prime ministers have threatened to resign and not done so that I stopped counting long ago. Israeli politics is just as histrionic as Palestinian I assure you.
I don’t recall Arafat ever threatening to resign or doing anything like what you claim. Abbas on the other hand DID resign as Arafat’s PM & his resignation stuck. I fear that you’re hallucinating or just plain making it up.
He was talking about the Arab states. Turkey isn’t an Arab state.
Same as above. Plus, it’s easy to give up power when it’s never really in your hands in the first place, and when the mullahs who dominate your government disqualify most of the Reformist candidates.
Lebanon’s the exception, but the “without bloodshed” part is fairly recent – and Lebanon’s sectarian crazy quilt is not exactly what people would consider a model democratic republic.
At the very least, there are some serious allegations that the Abbas-led government (and people close to him) have been involved in corruption (which was bar’s point – Abbas would be leaving a lot of people with vested interest in his position at the top swinging in the wind). Or is Electronic Infitada too much part of the “Israeli right-wing cesspool media”?
It’s not racism against Arabs to point out that democratic changes of power among the Arab states are rather rare (with the exception of Lebanon), anymore than it wasn’t racism against Slavs to point out that they were rare in the Warsaw Pact countries during the Cold War.
Thanks for pointing out the Lebanese exception….however, it is an anomaly in the Arab world in that the President and Prime Minister are not the typical “strongmen” that we see in the other Arab countries. The country is an amalgem of feudal oligarchs who run the country in power-sharing arrangement. Actually, the country hasn’t had a formally operating government for a long time because of the stand-off between the anti-Syrian coalition (IIRC it is called the “March 14 Alliance”) and the group of HIZBULLAH and their allies which includes Maronite Christians like Michel Aoun, which just goes to prove the “official”, constitutional government isn’t really that important there.
Of course, if Iraq should turn into some sort of democracy, that would be a precedent for the Arab world, but the jury is still out on that one.
Well bar_kochba132 you “analysis” is wrong. Palestine is presently no country and Abbas term as a “legal” president ended already 10 months ago. It will be the Israelis and Americans who will beg on their knees Abbas to continue.
Palestinians do not loose anything if Abbas sits down. USA and especially Israelis do. If Palestinians would turn their policy from demanding their own state to a simple civil rights movement demanding citizenship and equal rights including ending the Palestinian Authority, what could Israel do? The two state possibility and thais negotiating circus have given the change for Israel to pretend that the Palestinians have a “state” and demand them to have the responsibilities of a state entity without a state. The Palestinians independence movement and two state idea have given Israel the political “space” to do what it has done and is doing.
If there is no two state solution Israel has three possibilities. A) Perform a wast ethnic cleansing with mass killings B) to become to a totally disgusted apartheid state with millions of stateless people C) adopt Palestinians as citizens. Only the option C is in the end possible, the cost of options A and B would be to high for Israel.
Without a two state solution option USA and EU are forced to demand an Israel with equal rights or they loose completely the “democracy weapon”. It is more than likely that Israel will be “Palestine” after 20 years with a Palestinian majority.
you forgot D)leave the west bank.
Israel will annex the 8% of the west bank between the green line and the seperation fence, and remove the settlements and soldiers from the rest of the west bank.
this is the disengangment 2 plan that Haim Ramon talked about at the J Street event – that Richard rejected -. many supporters of this move claim that it will make Tel Aviv come under rockets attacks so we should keep the soldiers beyond the fence but i think between rockets on TA and a one state Israel will opt for the former.
before the next election the left (Kadima, Labour) will offer this plan, the right (Likud) will claim this is surrender to terror, the right will win and quickly implement it, like what happened in 2003 and disengagment 1 from Gaza.
Rafi – You are kidding yourself that Israel will limit it’s appetite to 8% of the West Bank by removing the settlers beyond that point. First of all, Israel will NEVER willingly give up control of the Jordan border. In my last visit to Maskiot, the settlers there are building permanent homes because Bibi personally has promised those people that he will annex the Jordan Valley before he leaves office.
Israeli control of the Jordan Valley will solidify the five “reservation” plan, Likud politicians have talked about for years. The world will not allow Israel to get away with these kind of bantustans for the Palestinians. Kadima isn’t much better. In february when I was in Israel for the elections, I heard Livni give a talk about how Olmert’s offer looked so generous because the Jordan Valley was included in the Palestinian percentage but was to be administered and controlled by Israel under a renewable 99 year lease.
However, most importantly there is NO WAY Israel is going to move the people out of Kiryat Arba or similar ideological/religious settlements. I’ve seen the arsenal some of these settlements have stored away -heavy machine guns, RPG’s, small bore mortars etc. – it would be an unacceptable bloodbath. I know these people – many of them are my nieces, nephews and cousins.
Simon is correct, Israel is heading for a dumb dead-end and if Israeli politicians lose Israel as a Jewish homeland, I hope G-D never forgives them.
elections promises? really? like the one Begin gave in 77 that he will retire in Sinay and Rabin in 92 that he will not negotiate with the PLO? come on.
there were permanent homes is gush katif.
the valley is like the Philadephy line, important but expandable.
i don’t think it will be a cake walk or anything, theres a real chance of a civil war. maybe the premier will pull a De Gaul and tell the settlers “the government is leaving, the soldiers are leaving, youre on your own”.
maybe Israel retains control in Hebron and Kirat arbat (you know, the second holiest city in Judaism, imagine Muslims give up Medina) or it will happen in a final status agreement with the west bankers, with the settlers remaining. maybe Israel takes the British route and “returns” the west bank to the UN.
The Jewish homeland isn’t going anywhere.
Richard Silverstein says
From what I could follow, I don’t have too much problem with much of what you say in the above comment. But this one is a whopper. Hebron the 2nd holiest city in Judaism? What are you smoking? Perhaps to small segment of Orthodox Jews, but what is remarkable about Judaism is that it holds ideas and rituals & people as far more critical to the religion than land. We don’t have a Holy Temple like the Vatican to which we all flock. Even the Western Wall, while important to many Jews, is only important because it reminds us there was once a Holy Temple there. But most Jews feel under no obligation to rebuild a Third Temple.
So calling Hebron a Jewish holy city is sacrilege in my opinion. I know of very few Orthodox Jews even who would describe Hebron thus.
Your statements here are incorrect. Hevron is the second holiest city in Judaism. Tens of thousands of Jews visit Hevron EVERY Hol HaMoed holiday, both religious and non-religious. Ben-Gurion, a stone athiest, called after the Six-Day war for the resettlement of Jews in Hevron which expelled after the massacre carried out by the Arabs of the town in 1929. Hevron’s importance was first established in the time of the Biblical Patriarchs, and you can read about it next week’s Torah Portion, Hayy Sara, which explains how Avraham Avinu purchased the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron in elaborate detail.
Judaism views land as VERY important. The mitzvah of living there is described in great detail in many places in the Talmud, the one that comes to mind in in Tractace Ketubot, page 111. The Talmud devoted any entire “seder” to the laws of Eretz Israel (Zeraim) and another to the Temple and its sacrificial system (Kodashim) and another to the laws of ritual purity involved in the Temple service (Tohorot). The medieval legal deciders devoted considerable effort to laying out the laws of the obligation to live in Eretz Israel and the Temple laws which are viewed as being temporarily suspended, not “obsolete”.
True Reform and later Conservative Judaism downplayed these things but traditional Judaism which at least a couple millions Jews around the world still strongly are attached to, emphasizes to this day the imporantce of Eretz Israel, Hevron and the fervent wish for the reestablishment of the Temple and its sacrificial service.
Richard Silverstein says
It’s simply ridiculous to say that Hebron is considered a holy city by anyone other than settlers and perhaps other Orthodox Jews. The issue of the 1929 massacre has nothing to do w. Hebron’s status as a holy city. This was a massacre which Ben Gurion felt it was important to avenge through making a political statement after 1967. He did not say this for any religious reason.
I know about Hebron’s role in the Bible. But most Jews today do not live their lives around the events that happened in Hebron several thousand yrs ago. No doubt these are important historical events. But as for this meaning that Hebron has any special significance that comes anywhere near rivaling the significance of Jerusalem–that is a laughable proposition; and one propounded by those sympathetic to the settler enterprise.
The mitzvah of living in Israel is not the same as the physical land itself. The only place where Jews in the tefilot actually talk about aspiring to rebuild is Jerusalem. The concrete land of Jerusalem is important. But the Bible does not tell us that we must physically live in Kiryat Arba or Shvut Rachel or any other settlement (or even Tel Aviv for that matter). So as far as fulfilling mitzvot, living anywhere in the land fulfills this one.
Yes, I know about Talmudic tractates and the like. I have a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature fr. the Jewish Theological Seminary w. a major in Talmud. Talmudic tradition is historically important once again. But it is not what the vast majority of Jews live their lives around today. Only the most radical right wing Jews want to actually rebuild the Third Temple. This is an empty slogan as far as the vast majority of the rest of us.
Orthodox Jews around the world PERHAPS constitute 2-3 million of the 14 or so million Jews in the world. And even many of those do not see the need to engage in activity that would cause a religious holy war in the Holy Land.
They’re (the Obama Administration) not blameless, of course. Incoherent messages on the settlements (message consistency seems to be a general problem with the Obama Administration, if you look at how they’ve waffled all over the place on the Public Option in health care reform), plus that debacle over the Goldstone Report (which I blame on a combination of misperception on the meaningfulness of the report by Obama’s people and pressure from the pro-Israel crowd at home).
Is it possible that Abbas is stepping down as a means of rallying support? Is he thinking, will they let me go, and the two-state solution along with me? However, I can’t blame him if he is genuinely throwing in the towel. He’s been thrown under the bus by Obama, and Netanyahu engineered his demise brilliantly. Israel used to concentrate merely on quashing Hamas; now they’re back to quashing the PLO.
Good news indeed.
Jews have four holy cities, you don’t need to be an Orthodox to describe it as such. same with Islam.
Richard Silverstein says
Mitchell Bard’s Jewish Virtual Library, is by no means an arbiter of accuracy when it comes to matters related to Israel or Judaism. Bard is bought & paid for hasbaranik who used to be on Aipac’s payroll & is now funded by various wealthy right wing American Jewish foundations. JVL is pure hasbara when it comes to Israel.
Yaacov Lozowick says
Actually, I think there are sources that express the postion thst Hebron is the second most sacred place in Judaism, and it’s not only some settlers. However, I tend to agree with you that there’s Jerusalem, there’s the rest of Erez Yisrael, and there’s the rest of the world, and no further distinctions are important. The ‘number two’ thing isn’t very important, even tho it shouldn’t be denied.
I’m glad you agree (how could you not?) about the unique significance of Jerusaelm. I expect this wil come up again from time to time, won’t it, given that the Palestinian consensus is that Israel has absolutely no claim whatsoever to Jerusalem, their ‘history’ is bogus, and the whole subject is a Zionist invention to rob them of their birthright.
And yes, the significance of Jerusalem throughout Jewish literature, halachic and other, does sort of resemble the concept of holiness in Christianity. It’s the physical place, not a symbol, or a memory, or anything of the sort.
My question to you this morning, Richard, is about this sentence from your post:
“That nation is the smoke that conceals Israel’s real interest, which is continuing the Occupation and stiffing the Palestinians.”
This is an oft repeated statement in your corner of the political world. So I’d like to know the following:
1. Can you prove Israel’s interest is continuing the opposition and stiffing the Palestinians?
2. Can the facts you’ve brought for (1) be interpreted in any other way, or is your understanding the only possible one?
3. What facts could possibly cast a doubt on your convinction? What facts might even cause you to accept that there are other possible explanations?
Richard Silverstein says
I think you mean this is Dore Gold’s bogus version of what Palestinians think of the Israeli claim to Jerusalem. But you have a wee problem don’t you–polls of Palestinian opinion indicate support for a two state solution. Perhaps not wildly enthusiastic support. But support nonetheless. That means that while Palestinians may be angry about Israeli attempts to deny THEIR OWN claim to East Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state, they do either tacitly or overtly accept the claim that Israel’s capital will be Jerusalem at whatsoever time Palestine’s capital becomes E. Jerusalem.
Everything else is hasbara & window dressing. I’m simply not interested in yr bogus hasabara-like claims to advance stupid distortions of Palestinian opinion. YOu don’t know anything about Palestinian opinion anyway except what you read fr. hasbara sites like MEMRI or Dore Gold.
I’m sorry but I don’t find yr questions in the least interesting or provocative. All I can say in response is that Israel’s interest in continuing the Occupation is historically-proved & beyond doubt. Hasbaraniks can advance 1,000 reasons why Israel is the victim, Israel wants peace, Israel is reasonable, there’s nothing we’d like more than to give the Palestinians their little bantustan, etc., etc. But most reasonable people will see through this smokescreen. Not you of course.
Yes certainly these facts can be interpreted by hasbaraniks in other ways. The can’t credibly be interpreted in other ways. But they can be distorted and manipulated into many shapes & sizes.
Yaacov Lozowick says
Go the NYT archives, (they’re online) and read what Thomas Friedman had to say about the Palestinian position from Arafat down, about Israel’s claims to Jerusalem, even as the negotiations at Camp David were in full swing. (Summer 2000). I’m talking about the Old City, not Rehavia; indeed, the PA part of the Palestinian firmament accepts Israel’s claim to West Jerusalem, but this thread is talking about historical Jerusalem, the one you yourself noted is holy in Judaism. That part, the Palestinians reject. Flatly, totally, and not only as a matter of politics. Their position is that the Jews never had a history in the city at all, except as a minority living under Muslims.
As for my three questions, I don’t think you’ve responded to any of them. All this talk about Hasbaraniks is a red herring. I’m asking for facts, not for propaganda.
1. What are your facts to claim Israel only wants to continue the occupations AND stiff the Palestinians?
2. Once you’ve offered some facts, might it be possible to explain them differently than you claim?
3. Are there any facts that might sway your opinion, or are you fact-resistant and your mind is made up.
I think these are reasonable questions that any History 101 teacher might be expected to ask her students, even if only as an intellectual exercise.
Yaacov, I would say the continuation of the construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is evidence of Israel’s intention to stiff the Palestinians.
And continuing to take the lion’s share of potable water for filling its swimming pools and watering its gardens while the Palestinians struggle to irrigate their crops and have enough drinking water.
And then there’s the separation wall and road siystem, both of which cut Palestinians off from their land.
If you would like more examples, let me know.
Netanyahu has refused to stop building settlements. It’s been described in some places as two people negotiating over a pizza. He wants to talk about who will get the pizza, but as the other person talks, Netanyahu eats, and eats.
We could also talk about war crimes and how they get in the way of peace negotiations.
Yaacov Lozowick says
Thank you for your response Mary. Alas, they relate to the first of my three questions only, but they’re a start. So let’s look at them closely:
The continued construction in the settlements is almost completely (with the exception of about 20 buildings in Maskiot, in the Jorday valley) in a small number of large settlements very close to the Green Line. Something like 90% of them are in two settlements, Modi’in Illit, and Beitar Illit. Even the Palestinians have basically accepted that these can stay in Israeli territory, so long as Israel compensates for their territroy with land swaps from elsewhere. Even the Geneva Accord said this explicitly, and even drew a map with the alternative plots, mostly along the Gaza border and west of Hebron. So when Israel insists on continueing to build, it’s building on land which everyone involved has already agreed will remain in Israel.
(Also, you might be interested to hear that the two Ilit towns, which are Haredi settlements, serve as the demgraphic valves for the enormous birth rate of the Jerusalem Haredim. If it weren’t for them, there would be an additional 100,000 Jews in Jerusalem… perhaps not the outcome wished for by the Palestinians.)
The constuction in Jerusalem is also almost all in areas the Palestinians have already agreed will remain Israeli. And see Bill Clinton’s line of dec. 24th 2000.
The water story is simply not true. The fact are otherwise. For example, did you know that about 100,000 Arabs in East Jerusalem simply steal their water? This is a case currently in the courts, so it’s not as if you can tell me I”m wrong. It’s a matter I’ve been discussing with our top water management officials.
The separation wall cuts into 4.5% of the West Bank, most of them around those two Illit towns, and Jerusalem. That leaves the other 95.5% outside them. If the Palestinians ever respond positively to any proposal put before them, we’ll be out of there, and ENORMOUSLY relieved. By the way, just last week Abbas said he now regrets he didn’t take what Olmert offered him last September. But it’s always that way, isn’t it.
As for the war crimes – or better, crimes against humaity – I agree with you. Having spent a quarter century of my life being a fervent member of Israel’s peace camp, the campaign of mass murder run by the Palestinians earlier this decade did sort of put a damper on things; I now would never support some of the sort of things I hoped and prayed for ten years ago. Most Israelis would agree with me, if you go according to the result of elections.
Richard Silverstein says
This is either a product of yr own ignorance or lying or both. You are talking about “settlements,” when the vast majority of expansion is occuring in outposts which are certainly not very close to the Green Line. But again nice try.
This is simply not true. If I recall, Modiin Illit is built on the land of the villages of Nilin (or possibly Bilin, can’t remember). No Palestinians & certainly not the ones who actually own the land stolen fr. them accept the premise you claim they accept. And certainly no Palestinian has accepted the notion that the settlers may expand upon settlement activity in this contested terrain.
The only settlements which some Palestinians accept as possibly reverting to Israeli control after a settlement are the oldest ones in Kiryat Arba and the immediate vicinity.
Palestinians don’t give a fig what Jews do to West Jerusalem. If Israel wants to settle another 100,000 Jews in W. Jerusalem more power to them. Similarly, Israel shouldn’t care what Palestinians do in E. Jerusalem. Now, if those 100,000 Jews want to settle in E. Jerusalem, then certainly the Arabs will have a problem w. this just as they have a problem w. settling them on stolen Palestinian land fr. Modiin Ilit.
Saying the same thing 2x doesn’t make it any truer. It was a lie the first time you said it & a lie the 2nd. BTW, Maaleh Adumim, is another area for which Palestinians have never agreed that it would remain within Israel. It is perhaps the largest land bloc where Israel is building or intending to build new settlements.
Statistics are funny in the hands of hasbaraniks. Notice they never provide any source for theirs.
This is another lie. It not only cuts off at least 15% of Palestinian land which is on the other side of the Wall, it also physically prevents Palestinians fr. accessing other land as well. So the total land rendered unusable to Palestinians exceeds 15%. My sources are Peace Now & others I’d be happy to link to if another reader can’t come up w. the proper links.
I can’t tell you how many times right-wing Israel supporters tell me they have liberal politics, have been life long supporters of the peace movement, etc. Do you guys learn these moves in hasbara school or what? Before we accept yr claim at face value provide yr bona fides. Since you’re a writer would you mind providing us a link to your so called writing evincing burning passion for the Israeli peace camp? You’d like us to believe you were a liberal mugged by reality a la Irving Kristol. When the truth is likely you were if anything a center-rightist who merely turned farther right.
Yaacov, I should be there in about three weeks, and I will see for myself. But from what I am already being told, and from what I have read, you are quite incorrect. Construction is going on full tilt, the water problem is ongoing, the separation wall still separates Palestinians from their land, and you have to admit that Israel has not lived up to anything it agreed to at Oslo, including the dismantling of specifically designated illegal settlements and outposts.
Richard Silverstein says
No, I don’t accept an exclusive Jewish physical claim to Arab Jerusalem including those sites considered holy by Orthodox Jews. I simply do not accept this position & do not make the mistake of ascribing it to me. I believe the holy sites must preserve access to all religions that wish to visit them. Each respective religion may have the right within limits to monitor & maintain its holy sites. But it should not have the right to restrict access to such sites.
I flatly & totally reject yr claim that Palestinians as an entity reject Israel’s historical presence in Jerusalem. There are some Palestinians who feel this way just as there are many radical Jews who reject the notion of the existence of a Palestinian people or an Arab claim to the Dome of the Rock or whatever. There are lunatics on both sides of the divide. But yr error is claiming that all Palestinians believe any particular idea which it is convenient for you to pin on them.
I frankly have no interest in what Tom Friedman says about anything except as a pt of departure for developing my own critical perspective. He is not an expert on what Palestinians believe.
I have a rule here which you seem to have missed. Ask me any question you want, ONCE (not twice, not three times). I make no promise to answer all or them or even any of them. If the question is interesting to me; if you ask it in a format that indicates you genuinely want to know what I think (as opposed to beginning an argument or trying to point out the inadequacies of my views) I will answer based on the criteria below.
I don’t view this blog as a college seminar or debating society in which you get to ask questions and then we begin a debate in which you point out the superiority of yr views or inferiority of mine. I simply don’t have the time to do things this way.
Yaacov Lozowick says
Don’t worry Richard. It’s very clear that your blog is a place where you tell things as you see them, and bad-mouth people who disagree. Which is fine – after all, it’s your blog. I’m trying to figure out what makes you tick, and as you just reiterated, it’s not facts you’re seeking, it’s to propagate your explanation of them. If the facts don’t fit (and they seem mostly not to), you retreat to the bad mouthing.
Richard Silverstein says
This is a lie. DO NOT PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH. And do not lie making claims about what I believe which have no bearing on reality. It is you who never seem to muster any evidence to support your claims. You do not provide facts. You provide a tendentious interpretation of political history. This is opinion, not facts.
“read what Thomas Friedman had to say read what Thomas Friedman had to say…”
LOOOOOOOOL! Thomas Friedman is the authority on whom you hang your hat? You CAN’T be serious! No one is that pathetic.