Monday, July 27, 2009

A Diplomatic Odyssey

From GLORIA, July 20, 2009, by Barry Rubin*:

...And what do [the Sirens: US and Europe] sing to Israel?

More! More! More concessions; take a risk; take a chance; prove you want peace.
  • If you make a deal with Arafat;
  • if you give control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip;
  • if you offer to come down from all the Golan Heights;
  • if you withdraw from south Lebanon, if you withdraw from the Gaza Strip,
  • if you offer a state,

...then we will love you and help you and you will live in peace! We know the future and it will be a future of peace if you only heed us, you silly, stubborn people!

... Blessed are those Israelis who make unilateral concessions for they are called “moderates.” And cursed be those Israelis who don’t make unilateral concessions, for they will be called “hawks” and “hardliners.” sooner is a concession given, a risk taken, that it is forgotten ... And so is the promise of support.

Remember the 1990s’ version of the Sirens’ song? Here’s the plan: Create a Palestinian Authority, give them lots of money and guns. Let them bring in tens of thousands of Palestinians. Turn over more and more of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. And by governing they will learn responsibility. And Yasir Arafat will become moderate, and a statesman. And there will be no more terrorism or incitement to terrorism. And there will be a two-state solution.

And what about the 2006 song: Stop the war with Hizballah and the UN will establish a strong force to patrol south Lebanon. Hizballah will not be able to return or to build military installations. Arms smuggling will be halted. For we are the entire international community, almost 200 nations strong.

And each time, the chorus goes: if this doesn’t work out, we will support you. We will recognize the risks you have taken, and the concessions you have given, and the losses you have suffered. And the name of Israel will be exalted as a great peacemaker. And the media will say nice things about you.

...If Israel’s leaders and people believed that a freeze in settlement construction would actually bring benefits--either for real peace or for at least real and full Western support based on an understanding that the Palestinian leadership didn’t want peace and that Arab states would do almost nothing to bring it about—it would happen despite all the political obstacles.

But the Israeli public is, for good reasons, doubtful.
...the Israeli public is, for good reasons, doubtful.
...the Israeli public is, for good reasons, doubtful.

If only, we were told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he would accept a two-state solution, how we will appreciate you! And he did. And they didn’t.

How many weeks after the freeze, for example, would the Europeans find some new reason to stop advancing toward Israeli integration with the European Union?

...Repeatedly ...I have raised this issue in private conversations—What about your unfulfilled promises in the past? What about the risks we’ve taken unrewarded? What about all the other concessions that have backfired?--to Western political figures and diplomats. Not a single one responds.

Let me emphasize that: they don’t deny, they don’t apologize, they don’t even make a counter-argument. They simply go on without any reference to what I’ve just said. Not once have I ever heard an effort to address this issue from anyone in an official position. That’s no exaggeration.

... if they refuse even to acknowledge the consequences of their past demands and advice, why should we listen to their latest versions of the same tune?
*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.
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