On Peace, Trump, Bibi, and the Media

Regardless of whether you are pro or anti Trump, or pro or anti Netanyahu, if you have a shred of objectivity, you will acknowledge that the media coverage – or perhaps barrage would be a better description – of the build up to their meeting, the meeting, and the follow up to their meeting, was largely partisan in nature. Each media outlet hammered away at its own position, with substantial swipes at both leaders. Some of these media people clearly hate Trump or Netanyahu or both. And, almost without exception, a combination of their hate, and their obsession with their own view as the one true way, blinds them to doing what they should be doing.

First, they should be reporting on the facts. Not the facts as they see them, but what the parties actually said or did.

Second, they are entitled to offer up analysis, but it should be credible, and honest. Much of it isn’t.

Third, if they have any pretense of objectivity, they should be offering a perspective from both sides. And not just from the so called liberal or left wing camp.

With all of the above in mind, they may care to reflect that the objective is to establish peace, and not to establish peace only on their preferred lines. And when you stop to think about it, you may come to the same conclusion that the estimable Elder of Ziyon has here. As he writes:

“The status quo is not ideal, and Israel every day has to balance its security needs with ensuring that Palestinian Arabs have the best lives and most rights possible. Whether the world likes it or not, that is the best peace plan available today. As long as the Palestinians refuse to compromise, the status quo will remain the option that optimizes real peace.”

To put it another way, there had better be a bloody good reason for messing with the status quo.

Meantime, again thanks to the Elder, we know that Israelis do want peace and are working towards it in a way that is more practical, more meaningful, and more long term than any of the media commentators or their outlets. But you won’t see that covered by the Guardian, or the BBC, or CNN, or the New York Times. And for that inexcusable lack, they are to be condemned and scorned.

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What do the Palestinians want?

The answer to the question ‘What do the Palestinians want?‘ depends on who you ask. However, in general terms, you might expect the response to be something along the lines of ‘Their own Palestinian state.’ But that is not a complete answer. Does it mean a Palestinian state beside Israel, or instead of Israel?

Careful as I try to be to separate the corrupt, inept, and poisonous Palestinian leadership throughout the ages, from the people they are supposed to represent, my assessment is that if the leadership truly wanted a state beside Israel, they could have had it a long, long time ago. They may not have been able to get 100% of what they want, but if they truly valued peace, and wanted to fulfill an ambition to have their own state, they would have and could have settled for (slightly) less because that is the way of the world. So, it appears to me, that the Palestinian leadership do not want a state beside Israel; they want to replace Israel. And when Bibi says there is no partner for peace, he is right.

The announcement by the Palestinian leadership of a renewed campaign against the Balfour declaration confirms the accuracy of what is said above. As David Horovitz puts it:

“In declaring diplomatic and legal war on the Balfour Declaration, Palestinian leaders are telling the world — to their and our enduring misfortune — that nothing has changed in 100 years, that their opposition to our state in any borders remains greater than their desire for their own independent entity. A century later, they are affirming that their refusal to share any part of this land with the Jewish people remains absolute.”

In short, what do the Palestinians want? They want to destroy Israel.

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A goodly state of war?

At the Yom HaAtzmaut barbecue last week, one of the other guests – a native Israeli – introduced himself, and after a bit of chat asked Susan and me what we thought of Israel. Before we could reply, he said something like:

“You should know, as far as I am concerned, Israel is paradise.”

There then followed a light hearted conversation about Israel as paradise, and the minor blots we might protest about.

Over Shabbat, I was discussing this amusing encounter with somebody who agreed with the description of Israel as paradise. But there was a kicker: according to this person,  Israel is in such a good state, at least partly because of the wars, because of us being constantly in a state of war (or constantly in a state that is not peace), and because of the army.

Without the wars, so the reasoning goes, people wouldn’t support the need for the army to exist, and to be so well funded.

Without a well funded army, we wouldn’t have those amazing breeding grounds for cyber warriors, and security expertise.

Without the army, we wouldn’t get all that entrepreneurial spirit, and “can do” attitude.

And so on.

It’s an interesting perspective.

If it’s right, does it mean there would be no such thing as a peace dividend?

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A world of ifs

According to the State Department, Israeli TV reports of John Kerry coming to the Middle East to stick his oar in float a new peace initiative (to be followed by intense pressure on Israel so that a solution is imposed) are untrue. However, perhaps Bibi might consider what would happen if such a state of affairs actually unfolded: Israel would be caught between the proverbial hard place and a rock, and in my opinion, Bibi would be to blame.

My guess is that Bibi does not want to put together a peace initiative, because doing so would fracture the coalition. He loves being in power too much. So, he would prefer it be somebody else’s initiative. But surely by now he realizes that Obama (and probably Clinton, too) are no friends of his; nor do they care about Israeli mainstream thinking on the Palestinians, security, and peace. Verily, they – somewhat ironically – want to play the part of an old style colonial power.

Bibi is to blame because he should be the one promoting a peace plan; getting Obama and his successor and the Europeans lined up behind it, and actively trying to make it work. His failure to be proactive is bad news for Israel.

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Killing Palestine Killing Israel

The title is that of a well worth reading, blog post by Marc Goldberg at Harry’s Place

I liked this for its clarity of vision:

“At the moment in New York City members of the Israeli left have come together to answer questions about the Israeli Palestinian conflict under the joint banner of Haaretz and the New Israel Fund. The reason the HaaretzQ conference and the release of this latest poll are worth looking at together is because they show both the view from the ground and the airy fairy vision that has seen Israel’s peace camp shrivel up to the extent that it has to go overseas for a successful conference.

While HaaretzQ discuss such philosophical issues as whether Israel will be Jewish democratic or Jewish fanatic? or whether Israelis have the right to deny Palestinians their freedom Israelis are being killed by a few of those Palestinians while the majority watch on cheering.”

I don’t agree with all that he says in the post, but Marc is a good writer, and what he has to say is interesting, challenging, and very relevant.

Please do read it all, here.

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New year, old whine?

We don’t know what is really happening in the peace talks. Leaks and reports in the Palestinian or Arab press are rarely worthy of a moment’s notice. However, what of material in the Israeli media?

For example, what should we make of the Channel 2 TV report that claimed John Kerry ‘deceived’ Israel over prisoner releases? Apparently, the suggestion is that Kerry allowed Abbas to believe Netanyahu would free Israeli Arabs, knowing Netanyahu had refused to do so. Then, having got himself into a hole, Kerry tried to dig his way out by trying to persuade Netanyahu to change his mind. (See this Times of Israel report.)

If it’s true, it suggests Mr Kerry is struggling a wee bit. If it’s not true, what’s the point of the story? Is this aimed at making the Israeli public antagonistic towards Kerry – perhaps in advance of Kerry criticizing Israel publicly? Or is it smoke and mirrors – a misdirection to deflect from some other real issue?

Sometime in 2014 we are going to find out what lies behind this and future leaks and reports. I just hope it’s not a case of old whine in a new bottle.

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Doctor, doctor – give me the news

I’ve got a bad case of loving you…

Let me show you a cracking spot by Brian of London over at IsraellyCool:

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The saddest part? This:

If only he would pass on his revelation to the rest of his country.

And if only the BBC, the Guardian, and the rest of that shower, would listen, and see the world the way it really is.

Memo to the Western media: they hate us, and you’re not helping.

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