Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Might Have Palestine Figured Out

Hamas won't like it. Israel won't like it. That sure sounds like a way forward to me.

A rough idea of President Obama's initiative for peace in Palestine is emerging. The thrust of it seems to be to isolate Hamas in Gaza for now, clear the West Bank as a Palestinian homeland, create a vibrant economy and society in the West Bank and wait for the Gazans to sign on to a winning deal.

It will probably entail concessions from Israel, in particular clearing out all illegal settlements in the West Bank. The settler population is now estimated at upwards of 430,000, 40% of which arrived during the Bush Jr. administration

That will probably give the Israelis fits but, if there's to be any hope of lasting peace, that's pretty much unavoidable. Many Israeli papers have not warmly greeted the Obama inauguration. They seem to be getting the idea that the carte blanche thing is rapidly coming to a close.

Obama will have to tread carefully to resolve the Fatah-Hamas split. While Hamas was weakened by the Gaza war, many think Fatah suffered the greatest loss of Palestinian support. That may just create an opening for a genuine, national unity government for the Palestinian people.


penlan said...

"It will probably entail concessions from Israel, in particular clearing out all illegal settlements in the West Bank."

I really doubt that Israel will agree to that. Especially if Netanyahu is voted in. He's nothing but a war hawk.

Do you really think they would give up the West Bank? I can't see it.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! I reckon the Merkans hold a lotta purse strings when it comes to Israel. Bracko can put pressure on Israel but the question is: Will he? Is there the political will in Merka to go against Israel? Maybe if the bigass MSM starts showin' Merkans the sufferin' their money is buying, the will might develop. Merkans have been steeped in the message that Palestinians are terrists an' Israelis are victims. They've been supportin' an apartheid state but they ain't quite ready to accept that fact, sez I.


The Mound of Sound said...

I think Obama will act, forcefully if necessary, if only because the Israeli/Palestinian struggle has been played out for decades like a bad version of "GroundHog Day."

Staying with the old refrain ensures that the Palestinians will embrace highly radical leadership (that's what oppressed people normally do), their circumstances will deteriorate, settlement will increase in the West Bank, and Islamist radicals throughout the Middle East and South Asia will feed on the conflict, growing steadily stronger and undermining the security of the "moderate" (laugh) Arab states.

The traditional American posture on this problem is inherently nihilistic - eventually. It has never worked except to worsen conditions for Israelis and Palestinians alike. If you want someone to stop throwing stones, a good start is to stop supplying stones.

The Mound of Sound said...

One other point, Netanyahu and Likud, even if they do win on February 10, will still have to form a coalition government.

Throughout the Gaza war the Israeli people remained strongly in support but Olmert, again, showed that Hamas cannot be destroyed except by the Gazan Palestinians themselves. Petraeus himself said as much, noting that the way to win is to "turn" the people - turn them away from the Islamists by giving them something else to turn toward instead. That should be a no brainer, eh?

Scruffy Dan said...

This actually sounds like a good idea. The settler issue will be a tricky one, but it is ultimately solvable. I think the greater challenge may be incubating effective Palestinian political leadership. Both Fatah and Hamas are not the political leaders the Palestinians deserve