18 thoughts on “Israel’s Concession to Obama on Settlements: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Netanyahu can’t fool anyone; the very idea that he could possibly stifle criticism of settlement building based on “don’t ask, don’t tell” only shows how completely he has lost touch with reality. Not only are NGO’s watching the settlement situation, but so are journalists and ordinary citizens.

    But actually, I’m waiting to see if Obama will do anything about the settlements other than to utter “tut tut,” but I know I’m wasting my time.

    1. You ARE wasting your time. It was obvious how Obama was going to deal with Israel when he made that headlong dash to grovel in front of AIPAC the minute he had the nomination.

      1. Shirin, he groveled, along with McCain and Clinton, at the 2008 AIPAC convention BEFORE he even had the nomination. In fact, they all tried to out-grovel each other in a pathetic show of pandering that was beyond nauseating. He never had any intentions of standing up to the lobby or making any “change we can believe in,” and all this horse hockey about settlements is precisely that. Jonathan Cook wrote something this week that said it all, pretty much – that Obama’s displeasure at Netanyahu is strictly for show, so that he can convince the gullible masses that the US is an “honest broker.” Thus, if the Palestinians balk at these silly “proximity talks,” of course it will only be because they are “recalcitrant,” since by agreeing to these talks, both the US and Israel are supposedly showing “good faith.” Baloney.

        1. Yes, and it will be quite interesting to hear what Hillary has to say at the upcoming AIPAC grovel-fest.

          Speaking of Hillary, she lost me completely during her senatorial campaign when, in response to pressure from various Jewish groups, she made a PR event out of returning campaign contributions from Muslim supporters, thus delivering a very public slap in the face to Muslims in general, and her supporters in particular. I have had exactly zero use for her ever since then.

          1. Her campaign contained so many howlers I don’t know where to begin. She also told the Iranians she’d blow them to Kingdom Come if they harmed Israel or words to that effect.

          2. Yes, that “obliterate Iran” remark was a good one, too. I’m surprised she didn’t pick up a few Republican votes with that one. It’s so much stronger than “bombombbomb bombomb Eye Ran”.

          3. Bear in mind also that NO major presidential candidate ever reached out to any Islamic organization, group or mosque during the campaign. In fact, I recall the embarrassing episode in Michigan during an Obama appearance where one of Obama’s aides moved some hijab-wearing ladies so that they were off camera.

            The very fact that Netanyahu and Clinton will both be paying homage to AIPAC this week thoroughly nauseates me. I’m a masochist, though; I want to see the video.

  2. This whole flap has for me the flavor of the “OK” Bush’s ambassador gave to Saddam Hussein (his CIA “asset”, recall) to invade Kuwait. Once the “OK” was acted upon, the US had its excuse to invade Iraq, an excuse it now appears they deeply wanted. (Oil supplies are so precious, after all, let global warming be d-mned). The US knew, generally and perhaps in specifics, that Israel planed to issue new permits for settlement building and waits until an announcement is made in the way it was made and then springs its trap.

    So sad, here, that the anathema on the Rule of Law in the USA prevents the president from much more straightforwardly saying, “Bibi, it has come belatedly to my attention that all your settlements and your wall are present illegally wherever they are within occupied territory. Remove the settlers and the wall forthwith as a matter of law. I need this by Jan 1, 2011. Get back to me on this.”

    1. Yes, but Obama, as every other U.S. president, is not concerned with the illegality of the colonies and other facts on the ground that Israel has relentlessly been establishing starting in Summer of 1967, so they’ll be selling snow cones in hell before he ever brings that to anyone’s attention.

  3. The logical problem with netanyahu forwarding “don’t ask don’t tell” is not that the US will find out through NGOs, rather that the Palestinians will live through the “unspoken” acts and know them intimately, as they concern their daily existence; the effects of the acts will be burned into real people’s memory as the acts happen whether publicized or their news suppressed.

    In this light, “don’t ask don’t tell” is worse for justice than isreal’s publicly announced colonialism, which is already abhorrent to human justice, because in suppressing publicity of israel’s “unspoken” acts while committing them will mean no one knows why the Palestinians “suddenly” rise in intifada “every once in a while”…

    1. That is pretty much the case already. The US seems to think the Palestinians are an evil horde who attack the poor, innocent Israelis for no reason. The persecution, oppression, racism, brutality, apartheid practices, poverty and harassment that is everyday life for Palestinians goes largely unreported.

      Take, for example, the capture of Gilad Shalit. Does anyone know why he was captured by Hamas? Or is it simply that Hamas is demonically terroristic for no reason?

  4. Hi Shirin.

    Mary, regarding your question: <>

    In its charter *, Hamas clearly lays out the reason for its terrorist policies: “… even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); … ”

    [URL deleted per comment rules]

    1. This is utter, stupid garbage. You’re about the 100th person here who’s tried to claim something (not sure precisely what) based on a meaningless document no one in Hamas currently knows or cares about. But nice try. We’re about as interested in what some nobody wrote in a document over 20 yrs ago as we are in what I had for breakfast in the day in 1988 when it was written. It has abotu that much impact on current events in the region as well. That is, none.

          1. Interestingly, a Hamas official has been quoted as saying that the rockets help Israel’s interests at the expense of the interest of the Palestinians. Hamas is working to prevent other groups from firing into southern Israel, in fact. And the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, of the Fatah, have claimed responsibility for the rocket last weekend which killed a Thai farm worker.

          2. By the Israeli government’s own account, during the (very successful, until Israel broke it) ceasefire that preceded Israel’s Gaza massacre Hamas did not fire a single rocket, and did a creditable job of restraining other groups that were not party to and did not agree with the ceasefire. Hamas, in fact, has proven very reliable in keeping ceasefires, including a number of them that Hamas itself has unilaterally declared. Observation suggests, and at least one study has shown that in the overwhelming majority of cases it is Israel that breaks an informal lull or formal ceasefire.

    2. Hi Ira. Long time no see. I hope you and your family are well.

      By the way, are you still outraged that some of us were falling out of our seats laughing at Colin Powell’s ludicrous Iraq dog and pony show in front of the UN, or do you still find the (dis)information he presented too terrifying not to take seriously?

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