Thursday, June 11, 2009

Why Strive for Two States when there are Already Three?

From Middle East and Terrorism Blog, Tuesday, June 9, 2009, by Raphael Israeli, professor of Islamic history at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem:

President Obama’s adamant insistence to establish two states as the panacea for the Middle Eastern mess, is becoming less and less comprehensible, let alone feasible ...How does he, how can he, reduce the reality of Israel, Jordan and the practically independent Gaza Strip , who encompass the majority of the Palestinians, into two countries: Israel and Palestine?... [add the West bank, and you have three and a half entities - SL]

In his admirable and courageous effort to strike the balance between Israeli and Arab claims, by making demands on both of them, in spite of the historical inaccuracies and non-sequiturs involved, he has himself negated many of the assumptions he was trying to make....

...Obama repeated his commitment to the “unbreakable link” between the US and Israel, something which descended like a hammer on the Arabs’ heads. But he rationalized that link by the happenings of the Shoa’h, which though constituting another shock to the Arabs, do not tell the story of the ancient biblical link of Israel and the Jews to their homeland, nor the commonality of values, freedom and democracy between the two countries.

In his effort to build up Islam as a faith of peace, he could not, at the same time, remind his audiences of the sorry history of expansion, conquest and elimination of other cultures and native populations, nor could he dwell on the almost total absence of freedom and democracy in their midst.

...Obama’s quest to waive democracy for the sake of “stability”, will not work, because it cannot work. Many American presidents before him have allied with dictators for the sake of defence partnerships in the era of the Cold War. Came Ronald Reagan, followed by George W. Bush, who perceived that freedom and democracy stood above fake “peace” and fleeting “stability”. They recognized that dictatorships and evil regimes were the engines of terror and oppression in the world, no matter how stable and persistent they were (the Soviets and other Communists, Saddam Hussein, the Islamic revolutions in Iran and other parts of the Islamic world). They fought for breaking that evil stability, with a measure of success, though at the price of temporary instability. Is Obama endeavouring to reverse that situation, by kowtowing to the monarchs and dictators of the Middle East, and exercising pressure on the sole country which still stands for freedom and democracy in the midst of adversity?

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