Posted: 01 May 2011 12:34 PM PDT
This article is published in PajamasMedia. The full text is presented here for your convenience.
By Barry Rubin
One of my readers points out that last February I mockingly quoted the New York Times’ assurances that everything would be all right with Egypt’s revolution:
“The New York Times piece…answers Israeli concerns with a `reassuring’ response:
“`Arab analysts counter that new Arab realities and democracies should be welcomed by Israel, because the new Arab generation shares many of the same values as Israel and the West. [That remains to be seen, doesn’t it? BR] They argue that there is no support among Egypt’s leaders for the abrogation of the 1979 peace treaty, though it is unpopular with the public, and that the Egyptian Army will not disrupt foreign policy.’”
Note that while in this paragraph the newspaper was quoting “Arab analysts,” this was precisely the line the newspaper was taking. Before Mubarak fell, none of the concerns about the revolution were even reported seriously. After it took place, they still sneered at these warnings.
Now, without a single mass media outlet admitting that they were wrong, the Times runs pieces like this:
“Egypt is charting a new course in its foreign policy that has already begun shaking up the established order in the Middle East, planning to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalizing relations with two of Israel’s and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran.”
And one has to add to that the attacks on the natural gas pipeline that supplies 40 percent of Israel’s needs and the Pew poll showing hostility to the United States and majority support for throwing away the peace treaty with Israel. Indeed, there was even a protest by social network types urging the peace treaty be ended.
Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post gets it but his comprehension is so rare it is almost jarring to read him while holding a newspaper in one’s hands:
“If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas moves forward with the reconciliation with the Islamic Hamas movement, it will mean he has written off the Obama administration and the peace process it has tried to broker, once and for all.”
One cannot sue the media for malpractice. But most of these same newspapers daily urge Israel to make more unilateral concessions and take risks. They have no awareness of how this situation fits perfectly with the question of Israel-Palestinian negotiations.
Here’s what the Times and other media might say as a Palestinian state was being created:
“`Arab analysts counter Israeli concerns that a new Palestinian state should be welcomed by Israel, because now the Palestinians will settle down to developing democracy and their economy.They argue that there is no support among Palestine’s leaders for discontinuing the peace treaty with Israel, though it is unpopular with the public, and that the Palestinian security forces will not disrupt foreign policy.’”
And then two months later:
“Palestine is charting a new course in its foreign policy that has already begun shaking up the established order in the Middle East, planning to let Palestinian groups cross the border with Israel to launch attacks, stepping up anti-Israel propaganda, and normalizing relations with two of Israel and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran.”
What then would President Barack Obama and the European Union, and the academics, and experts, and media say then, when Israel faced cross-border terrorist raids from the state of Palestine along with no dimunition in Arab and Muslim hatred?:
Sorry about that? Who knew they’d break their word? Why did you listen to us?
No, they wouldn’t even say that.
Don’t worry. Israel has already understood that game very well and won’t listen to them, which won’t stop them from criticizing it for following its interests rather than their advice.
Posted: 28 Apr 2011 10:54 AM PDT
This article is published in PajamasMedia. The full text is provided here for your convenience.
By Barry Rubin
To try to turn American liberals and Democrats–and especially Jews–against Israel on the pretext that they are only opposing Israel’s current government, there’s an attempt to portray Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to make a major speech before Congress as a partisan appeal for Republican support against a Democratic president.
It isn’t. It’s an institutional appeal for congressional support against a partly unfriendly, partly uncomprehending, and partly ideologically stupified president.
While U.S.-Israel relations in terms of military aid and cooperation have remained good, there have been lots of political problems. The truth is that these problems have come amost totally from Washington not Jerusalem. I’ve been documenting this for more than two years.
The truth is also that Israelis across most of the political spectrum know that they cannot trust the Obama administration for help, support, and protection. On many occasions, it has helped Israel’s enemy or to create dangerous situations. Do you really think that Israelis trust Obama to decide the terms of peace with the Palestinians when he and his White House colleagues simply don’t understand the issues involved?
Incidentally, the same applies for most countries in Latin America, Central Europe, the southern Caucasus, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states, India, and several Asian countries. And its becoming increasingly true in much of Western Europe, too.
In Congress, there are not only Republicans but a majority of Democrats whose instincts and knowledge of international affairs exceed those of the president. Among those people is the likely source of a Democratic revolt against the administration’s mistaken policies. We’ve already seen that begin, especially on Israel-related issues. Now that’s the bipartisan spirit in action!
So can Israel be blamed for not wanting to put its fate in Obama’s hands? Come to think of it, given so many mistaken foreign policy positions, should the Democratic Party want to leave its fate and the country’s fortunes in Obama’s hands?
Posted: 27 Apr 2011 10:22 AM PDT
This article is published on PajamasMedia. The full text is presented here for your convenience.
By Barry Rubin
Suddenly, after years of persistent failure, Fatah and Hamas–which means the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas–have signed a detailed reconciliation agreement.
Why now? It’s preparation for the UN and the claim that the PA is sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinians. In exchange for being able to claim it now rules both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fatah (PA) made huge concessions that it has always refused to give before.
Naturally, the accord will break down. Presumably after the PA gets a lot of support for being an independent country later this year and before projected Palestinian elections in 2012.
Why is Hamas going along with this? Because the deal gives it a lot, including a promise of elections in a year. Hamas won the last elections and presumably is confident–especially as it looks at electoral successes for Hizballah in Lebanon and probably soon for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt–that it will win again.
But there’s also another reason. Hamas is probably quite happy with the idea that many countries–and perhaps the UN–will recognize an independent Palestinian state unconditionally. In other words, there will be a widely, or internationally, accepted Palestine without the need to make peace with Israel. No concessions need be made. The Palestinians will get everything and give up nothing. They will not be bound in any way by border changes or security guarantees. The struggle to wipe Israel off the map can continue.
It’s Hamas’s dream come true.
Anyone who thinks this helps the peace process is deluded. Hamas will never accept any peace agreement with Israel and will radicalize Fatah’s negotiating position out of competition between the two rivals to prove their militancy. The race to commit the most bloody terrorist acts would also intensify.
Make no mistake. Whether or not this development has any direct effect on the ground, it’s another step toward the death of any real Israel-Palestinian peace process.
For a detailed account of the deal: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=218098
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist for PajamasMedia at http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is http://www.gloria-center.org. His PajamaMedia columns are mirrored and other articles available at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com/.