Israel Palestine Infos
A Matter of Timing
SOME WEEKS the news is dominated by a single word. This week’s word was “timing”.
It’s all a matter of
timing. The Government of
If the government had
announced the building of 1600 new housing units in
The matter itself is not
important. Another thousand housing units in
As the Frenchman said: It’s worse than criminal, it’s stupid.
THE WORD “stupid” also figured prominently this week, second only to “timing”.
Stupidity is an accepted phenomenon in politics. I would almost say: to succeed in politics, one needs a measure of stupidity. Voters don’t like politicians who are too intelligent. They make them feel inferior. A foolish politician, on the other hand, appears to be “one of the folks”.
History is full of acts of folly by politicians. Many books have been written about this. To my mind, the epitome of foolishness was achieved by the events that led to World War I, with its millions of victims, which broke out because of the accumulated stupidity of (in ascending order) Austrian, Russian, German, French and British politicians.
But even stupidity in politics has its limits. I have pondered this question for decades, and who knows, one day, when I grow up, I might write a doctoral thesis about it.
My thesis goes like this: In politics (as in other fields) foolish things happen regularly. But some of them are stopped in time, before they can lead to disaster, while others are not. It this accidental, or is there a rule?
My answer is: there certainly is a rule. It works like this: when somebody sets in motion an act of folly that runs counter to the spirit of the regime, it is stopped in its tracks. While it moves from one bureaucrat to another, somebody starts to wonder. Just a moment, this cannot be right! It is referred to higher authority, and soon enough somebody decides that it is a mistake.
On the other hand, when the act of folly is in line with the spirit of the regime, there are no brakes. When it moves from one bureaucrat to the next, it looks quite natural to both. No red light. No alarm bell. And so the folly rolls on to the bitter end.
I remember how this rule
came to my mind the first time. In 1965, Habib Bourguiba, the president of
Some time later, the
correspondent of an Israeli paper reported that in a press conference at the UN
headquarters, Bourguiba had called for the destruction of
How did this happen? If
the journalist had erred in the opposite direction and reported, for example,
that Gamal Abd-el-Nasser had called for the acceptance of
That’s what happened this
Therefore, the timing is not important. It’s the matter itself that’s important.
DURING HIS last days in office, President Bill Clinton published a peace plan, in which he tried to make up for eight years of failure in this region and kowtowing to successive Israeli governments. The plan was comparatively reasonable, but included a ticking bomb.
About East Jerusalem,
In practice, it was an
open invitation to the Israeli government to speed up the establishment of new
settlements in East Jerusalem, expecting them to become part of
Now the pace is speeded up even more. Because there is no more effective means of obstructing peace than building new settlements in East Jerusalem.
THAT IS clear to anyone
who has dealings with this region. No peace without an independent Palestinian
state, no Palestinian state without
There will be no peace
without the Palestinian flag waving above the Haram al-Sharif, the holy shrines
of Islam which we call the
Anyone who wants to wreck any chance for peace – it is here that he has to act. The settlers and their supporters, who know that any peace agreement would include the elimination of (at least) most settlements, have planned in the past (and probably are planning now) to blow up the mosques on the Temple Mount, hoping that this would cause a worldwide conflagration which would reduce to ashes the chances of peace once and for all.
Less extreme people dream
about the creeping ethnic cleansing of
THIS REALITY is, of course, well known to Obama and his advisors. In the beginning they believed, in their innocence, that they could sweet talk Netanyahu and Co. into stopping the building activity to facilitate the start of negotiations for the two-state solution. Very soon they learned that this was impossible without exerting massive pressure – and they were not prepared to do that.
After putting up a short
and pitiful struggle, Obama gave in. He agreed to the deception of a “settlement
freeze” in the
In Jerusalem there was not even a farcical attempt – Netanyahu just told Obama that he would go on building there (“as in Tel Aviv”), and Obama bowed his head. When Israeli officials announced a grandiose plan for building in “Ramat Shlomo” this week, they did not violate any undertaking. Only the matter of “timing” remained.
FOR JOE BIDEN, it was a matter of honor. For Mahmoud Abbas, it is a matter of survival.
Under intense pressure from the Americans and their agents, the rulers of the Arab countries, Abbas was obliged to agree to negotiations with the Netanyahu government – though only “proximity talks”, a euphemism for “distance talks”.
Clearly, nothing will come out of these talks except more humiliation for the Palestinians. Quite simply: anyone building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is announcing in advance that there is no chance for an agreement. After all, no sane Israeli would invest billions in a territory he intends to turn over to the Palestinian state. A person who is eating a pizza is not negotiating about it in good faith.
Even at this late stage, Abbas and his people still hope that something good will come out of all this: the US will acknowledge that they are right and exert, at long last, real pressure on Israel to implement the two-state solution.
But Biden and Obama did not give much cause for hope. They wiped the spit off their faces and smiled politely.
As the saying goes: when you spit in the face of a weakling, he pretends that it is raining. Does this apply to the president of the most powerful country in the world?
Nobody would think about
Destroying dozens of
Because King David
Had a garden there
3000 years ago.
In Israel 2010,
Such an evil plan
Was seriously considered
And came close
To being carried out.
Only at the last moment
It was postponed
By Binyamin Netanyahu
In a rare act of sanity.
Ad published in Haaretz
March 5, 2010