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Time, for a change...

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Balladeer
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since 06-05-99
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Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA


0 posted 01-05-2010 07:17 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


It has taken President Obama just 10 months to achieve something each of his immediate predecessors delivered in their final year in office: failure in the Middle East peace process. Riding a wave of optimism in January, the President on his second day in office named retired Senator George Mitchell as his Middle East special envoy, tasked with kick-starting the dormant negotiations over a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Despite his best intentions, Mitchell's — and Obama's — efforts have managed only to undermine peace advocates on all sides and have pushed hopes for a final agreement into the distant future. The President now faces tough choices over how to proceed.

Obama quickly exacerbated these problems with a series of tactical mistakes. He drew a line in the sand over Israeli settlements, insisting that all construction outside Israel's 1967 borders stop in order to revive negotiations. Not only did this set a politically unachievable goal for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it meant that anything short of a full freeze would look like a loss for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas was already politically damaged by the Gaza war; anything less than full Israeli compliance — particularly in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians see as the capital of their future state — became politically intolerable for him, and he refused to negotiate until Israel complied with Obama's demand.

Washington then made matters worse by pressuring a reluctant Abbas to visit the U.N. General Assembly in New York for a handshake photo opportunity with Obama and Netanyahu, then sending him home with no tangible wins. By the fall, Abbas was talking of resigning. "Through either clumsiness or misunderstanding or outright error, they hurt him to the extent that he felt he had to step down," says Robert Malley, a former U.S. Middle East peace negotiator now with the International Crisis Group.

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1948818,00.html?xid=rss-world-yahoo


Thoughts?
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


1 posted 01-05-2010 08:22 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

A recent Rasmussen presidential approval poll
has found after less than one year 46% strongly disapprove of Obama's handling of
things, which compared to the 43% who felt the same way about Bush after eight years
doesn't auger well for the current administration.

.

Bob K
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since 11-03-2007
Posts 3860


2 posted 01-07-2010 02:00 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I'm not sure about the Arab Israeli conflict at this point.  My attention has been elsewhere.  The best coverage, the most evenhanded to my mind, has always been that of the Christian Science Monitor.  They don't demonize either side or go out of their way to make either side heroic, which is amazing in this era.  In Europe, I believe, the coverage tends to be mostly pro-Palestinian, and here to tends toward mostly pro-Israeli.  It's really hard to find an unbiased set of facts to read from.

     The far right in Israel is a minority with disproportionate power both in terms of the religion and in terms of the politics.  The current Prime Minister, back again, is holding together a coalition of far right, right and center right parties.  The very far right parties have been willing to vote with those who've been willing to give them the best deal in the past, and they've gotten very good deals indeed over the issues of settlements and expansion of boundaries, even though most of the population is very much either neutral or against these issues.  Nettanyahu is more sympathetic to the nard right than most, but he is still much more reasonable at heart, I think, than some of the ultra right wing folks who want to rebuild the Temple.

     Rebuilding the Temple, which might seem like a small and bizarre issue of interest only to those who have the entire bible memorized in the original, has at least the potential for provoking a global nuclear war.  The details of this can be gone into by somebody else who doesn't get migraines at the very thought.  At the very least, that issue and issues like that one are the reason why the middle east has been giving people the heebie jeebies for a very long time.

     Time Magazine has never been particularly neutral on the matter, and the section you've quoted sounds like any number of Time Magazine articles you may have read over the years.  This doesn't mean that they're wrong.  I simply am not current enough on matters to offer a good opinion on that.

     My thinking on stuff like this is to guess that everybody is probably right about a lot of what they're saying, and that they're probably upset for good reason about the things that upset them.  I mean Arabs and Israelis both.  I also tend to assume that everybody is busy trying to figure out who to blame instead of trying to figure out what each of them individually needs to do to make things work out right.

     I figure pulling back to the '67 boundaries is a basic no-brainer.  I figure stopping terror bombing of civilians in Israel is a no brainer.  I figure finding some way of making good use of water resources is a no-brainer.  I figure getting some sort of farming and industrial base going is a no brainer and drawing on the ethnic support of friends and relatives world-wide is a no-brainer.

     If folks want to fight, they should be issued clubs and sent to antarctica with a supply of winter clothing and food.  Every couple of years, somebody should go and check to see if they want medical care or if they want to rejoin humanity.

     Everyone else in the area should try to work out something that helps them get along together.

     I know it's too simplistic and too nasty, but even Liberals get upset every now and then.  Besides, it wouldn't work.  But the thought of it makes me cheerful sometimes when I listen to the news.

BK
 
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