Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Deliberate, not opportunistic

A few days ago I argued that Israel, while ostensibly opposing the Jewish settlers' expansionist activities in the West Bank, actually encourages them. The mechanism is more or less as follows: Israel gives the settlers carte blanche to build 104 outposts. Then one day the army comes and dismantles 4 outposts in a spectacular move that captures the world's attention. This results in their a) getting a lot of good publicity after their painful concession; and b) retaining 100 of the 104 outposts they had erected on another people's land in the first place.

It is a fact that this happens; that outposts are built at a far higher rate than they're removed by the IDF, the net balance always being overwhelmingly favorable to the Israeli thievery of Arab land. And it is a fact that the occasional removal of scattered outposts is used to make it appear that Israel is returning land, when it actually is giving back only a fraction of a very-recently-stolen land that adds on to all the previously grabbed territories. But is it a deliberate policy, rather than the State cynically taking advantage of the settlers' bad behavior? Where's the smoking gun?

Well, here's the smoking gun:

Ehud Barak understood that he would have a very tough negotiation on the territorial question. When I asked his chief of staff Gilead Sher why the prime minister was building even more settlements than Netanyahu, his answer was "the story of the goat" - meaning it would appear that Israel was making larger concessions than it really was.

Gershon Baskin, It's the occupation, stupid!, The Jerusalem Post, 7 Jul 2009

I think it would be easy to find other similar implicating evidence to confront the Netanyahu administration with, and I sometimes wonder why Barack Obama's advisers don't look for it. I think it's a matter not of laziness, but of unwillingness. With Democratic Congresspeople increasingly nervous about the future of their seats, Obama's ability to confront the Lobby may have found its ceiling.

1 comment:

About Medicine Blog said...

Ehud Barak understood that he would have a very
tough negotiation on the territorial question.