The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Obama's offer to Israel is a national humiliation

Hitchens on Obama's offer to Israel:

This is a national humiliation. Regardless of whether that bunch of clowns and thugs and racists "approve" of the Obama/Clinton grovel offer, there should be a unanimous demand that it be withdrawn.

The mathematics of the situation must be evident even to the meanest intelligence. In order for any talk of a two-state outcome to be even slightly realistic, there needs to be territory on which the second state can be built, or on which the other nation living in Palestine can govern itself. The aim of the extreme Israeli theocratic and chauvinist parties is plain and undisguised: Annex enough land to make this solution impossible, and either expel or repress the unwanted people. The policy of Netanyahu is likewise easy to read: Run out the clock by demanding concessions for something he has already agreed to in principle, appease the ultras he has appointed to his own government, and wait for a chance to blame Palestinian reaction for the inevitable failure.

The only mystery is this: Why does the United States acquiesce so wretchedly in its own disgrace at the hands of a virtual client state? A soft version of Rabbi Yosef's contemptuous view of the gentiles is the old concept of the shabbos goy: the non-Jew who is paid a trifling fee to turn out the lights or turn on the stove, or whatever else is needful to get around the more annoying regulations of the Sabbath. How the old buzzard must cackle when he sees the gentiles actually volunteering a bribe to do the lowly work! And lowly it is, involving the tearing-up of international law and U.N. resolutions and election promises, and the further dispossession and eviction of a people to whom we gave our word. This craven impotence will be noticed elsewhere, and by some very undesirable persons, and we will most certainly be made to regret it. For now, though, the shame.

And in this impassioned piece he describes Raabo Ovadia Youssef, the spiritual head of Shas, as a "Sephardic ayatollah" and Avigdor Lieberman as a foreign minister who doesn't live in his own country (since he lives in a West Bank settlement. Powerful stuff when you have Eric Cantor, the new majority leader in the House, pay allegiance to Israel over the country where he was elected. 

Meanwhile, the NYT's Ethan Bronner — you know, the one who son is in the IDF — provides lachrymose excuses:

The West Bank, although inhabited by millions of Palestinians, is the heartland of much ancient Jewish history, so for many Israelis, giving it up is a painful prospect and should come only as part of a comprehensive deal including Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Mr. Netanyahu is still hoping to obtain that statement from the Palestinians as part of these talks. The Israeli argument all along has been that making peace talks contingent on a settlement freeze is a mistake, but once the Obama administration did so, it was impossible for the Palestinians to ask for less.