Deep State Avenges Bibi’s Rejection of U.S.-Arab Peace Deal
‘The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.’
–Abba Eban, 1973
Obama administration Middle East hands, rankled, disrespected and generally pissed off, are extracting their pound of political flesh by exposing yet another historic Bibi Netanyahu missed opportunity (to evoke Abba Eban’s old bon mots). Haaretz reveals that Secretary of State John Kerry organized a secret peace conference last February, including Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s dictator, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi at which he presented a peace plan modeled on the Arab initiative which would’ve guaranteed recognition by all Arab states of Israel as a Jewish state. It also would’ve designated Jerusalem as a joint capital in which international commitments would ensure holy places would be accessible to all parties, the security of any settlement blocs would be guaranteed, all future claims against Israel would be abrogated, and the Palestinian Right of Return would be realized only within the new Palestinian state.
If you’re a staunch Likudist, it’s a dream deal right? Nope. Bibi welched. He told them every reason why it wouldn’t work: mainly, he couldn’t get his rightist coalition to agree to any territorial concessions, even ones which permitted Israel to build freely in its current main settlement bloc.
At that point, Kerry met with Labor’s Party leader Isaac Herzog and asked him if he’d bring his Party into the coalition to replace the rightists who would abandon it in the face of such peace talks. Herzog sensed he was being set up by Bibi and doubted his credibility. Though both Netanyahu and Herzog conducted serious talks on the matter, Bibi never persuaded the Opposition leader that he would follow through on his commitments. The possibility of a unity coalition agreeing to a peace deal was officially dead. Then, instead of bringing Labor into the ruling coalition, he brought Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. And so ended another Israeli opportunity to miss an opportunity.
It’s important to note that the Likudist demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, a demand never made by any previous Israeli governments, would’ve been met by this plan. Yet Bibi still rejected it. Which indicates as clear as day that this demand is an artificial construct. Something created to obstruct, rather than enable a final agreement.
What’s interesting here as much as the substance of the peace deals revealed, is the reason this story has been leaked. Analysts have been bruiting about the notion that–in the absence of a functioning U.S. government and in fear of the chaos a future Trump regime will bring–the Deep State is kicking in: that is, that current and former government officials who reject the values of the incoming administration will seek to sabotage it at every turn with leaks and various stratagems. While I dislike the term Deep State used in this context because it refers generally to reactionary elements of totalitarian regimes seeking to impede reformist impulses, there may be some truth to the overall claim.
Former U.S. officials who served under Obama and current officials who’ve remained are petrified about what a Trump government will mean. They don’t have the power to mount an open revolt or topple Trump (yet). But they’re desperately attempting to wage a scorched earth campaign that will frustrate him at every step. It’s a form of Chinese water torture: death by a thousand leaks.
My money on the source of the current leak is Dan Shapiro. He’s been tweeting with barely disguised hatred about Bibi’s latest escapades in DC with Pres. Trump. Shapiro, as then U.S. ambassador, would’ve been privy to all of these discussions. His boss, in fact, would’ve been Kerry, who was deeply invested in the failed peace initiative.
Finally, the latest developments in U.S.-Israel relations threaten to not just undo, but to defame the Obama legacy in the Middle East. The point of the leak is to expose the fact that peace was on the table. As during the earlier Olmert and Barak regimes, when each tiptoed right up to a Syrian peace deal before refusing to seal it, it was there for the taking. There was no one to blame for its failure but one party. And that party, contrary to the Israel Lobby’s protestations, wasn’t Palestine. In fact, the Palestinians weren’t even present at these negotiations. They were, as usual, invisible thanks to Mahmoud Abbas’s willingness to farm out his country’s interests to the highest bidder. Now who never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity??
We know, despite a few murmurings to the contrary, that Bibi never supported a two-state solution. This provides incontrovertible proof. There is no partner, as the Israeli leadership likes to say. But the party that is ‘no partner’ is not Palestine, but Israel.
Returning for a moment to King Abdullah, fearing that Trump was about to give away the store upon meeting Netanyahu, he made a hastily arranged trip to precede Bibi to DC. There he did his best to put the brakes on Trump’s embrace with Israel’s extreme right settler movement. He met with whomever he could and apparently threw a tiny spanner in the works. This is why, when Trump spoke, on the subject, he didn’t completely renounce the two state solution. But my point in raising this matter is a fawning comment by GOP Sen. Bob Corker:
“He’s sort of the Henry Kissinger of that part of the world, right, which he enjoys hearing,” Corker said. “And it is true, and we do always love listening to his view of the region. And I think he does a great job with that.”
This encapsulates everything that is wrong with U.S. Mideast policy. Not just wrong–but stupid, ill-informed and downright condescending.
Finally, lest any reader think I’ve endorsed this U.S.-Arab plan, I have not. The portion which rejects return to Palestinian ancestral homes within the Green Line is a non-starter. The plan also does not specify withdrawal to 1967 borders nor does it specify from which occupied land/settlements Israel would withdraw (if any).
9 thoughts on “Deep State Avenges Bibi’s Rejection of U.S.-Arab Peace Deal – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“…..While I dislike the term Deep State used in this context because it refers generally to reactionary elements of totalitarian regimes seeking to impede reformist impulses…..”
There is also the Peter Dale Scott definition of the “deep politics” that a deep state carries out:
1. a system or practice of politics in which accountability is consciously diminished.
2. generally, covert politics, the conduct of public affairs not by rational debate and responsible decision-making but by indirection, collusion, and deceit…
3. the political exploitation of irresponsible agencies or parastructures, such as intelligence agencies… Ex.
‘The Nixon doctrine, viewed in retrospect, represented the application of parapolitics on a hitherto unprecedented scale.’
‘Democracy and parapolitics, even in foreign affairs, are ultimately incompatible.’
He called it “parapolitics” in his 1972 book “The War Conspiracy”; then later broadened it in 1996 to “….all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”
Agree or disagree with everything written above, it seems very likely that Trump will either quit out of frustration because the intelligence agencies, the judiciary, and the military won’t carry out his crazy commands; or he will be forced to resign under the 25th Amendment or under a plea by the GOP to resign “for the good of the country”, and he gets to spend the rest of the decade dealing with all of his lawsuits.
Of couse there are other ways things could move along – Corey Robin has three possibilities: Trump keeps this crazy system of “hyperactive belligerence while accomplishing nothing” (my phrase, not Robin’s) going for four years, or they find a fixer in the James Baker mold to make the presidency look like it’s working and hide the stupidity, or they start a war.
@ Strelnikov: Not sure I’d call these “ways forward.” But they’re certainly the way things could work out. Masha Gessen says they start a war. All fascists need to start wars, she claims.
Masha Gessen IMHO would be incorrect in that claim. At least three cases come to mind, off the too of my head.
Pinochet in Chile, Franco in Spain, Salazar in Portugal. All three were very careful to stay out of any war once they consolidated power.
I meant “moving along” in a neutral sense, and you are right that most of them are negative outcomes. Trump’s presidency is a rudderless ship in a stormy sea; I don’t think he has the long-range strategic planning ability to concoct a war against Iran out of the whole cloth. He lacks the ideological fervor of Bush’s neocons to invade Iraq to make a pro-US zone in an oil-rich country. All of his past businesses have been simple; the pointless border wall is another simple (yet habitat-damaging) idea. He never expected to win the office, and now there, he is overwhelmed by it. I expect nothing but half-baked ideas and choices taken out of expediency.
“Haaretz reveals that Secretary of State John Kerry organized a secret peace conference last February, including Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s dictator, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi at which he presented a peace plan modeled on the Arab initiative which would’ve guaranteed recognition by all Arab states of Israel as a Jewish state. It also would’ve designated Jerusalem as a joint capital in which international commitments would ensure holy places would be accessible to all parties, the security of any settlement blocs would be guaranteed, all future claims against Israel would be abrogated, and the Palestinian Right of Return would be realized only within the new Palestinian state.”
This is a very promising plan but the ones making all the concessions in the name of the Palestinians are not the Palestinians themselves. What good is such a plan than? yet another game that was suppose to show how the USA and its alias are committed to peace.
and speaking of games, If Bibi agreed and the Palestinians didn’t (and why should they? they did not make those concessions) than what you have is Bibi changing his starting point for future negotiations without getting anything in return. Not a very wise political move.
Any “deal” which is not the fruit of direct negotiation between the main players is doomed to fail. You can of course force one party to accept a certain solution but that is a different story and is also not likely to work.
As a practicing litigator, I can tell you that most cases are settled between the parties themselves.
Intractable cases go before a trial judge, who usually negotiates an amicable settlement. After both sides give up something, lawyers and clients shake each others’ hands and go home.
A small minority of case go to a trial and verdict, and one side goes home very mad, but not before filing an appeal,
The reason why this has been leaked is pretty obvious.
Netanyahu is currently trying to convince Trump that an “outside in” strategy is worthwhile pursuing, if only because it hasn’t been tried before.
Kerry’s Gang ™ has leaked this information to show everyone – including Trump, if he cares to listen – that Netanyahu is blowing smoke in Trump’s eyes. Kerry Has Already Tried The Outside In Approach, and all that happened is that Netanyahu turned the plan down.
As he was always going to do, and as he always will do.
Trump should draw the obvious conclusion – Netanyahu is running a scam and he is the next patsy.
The “outside in” strategy is a waste of time because all that will happen is exactly the same thing that happened when Kerry tried it i.e. a lot of time will be spent and then Netanyahu will throw the result in the bin.
And all the while the bulldozers will keep doin’ their thing….
@ Yeah, Right: You’re right. I never thought of the fact that Kerry was trying the same strategy that Bibi is now claiming will work. Brilliant and thanks!