The Zeitgeist Politics

Global Politics with a focus on The Middle East

Hillary backpedals over settlement praise, Goldstone Report is buried in Congress

with 2 comments

Hillary Clinton. Photo: AP.

In Israel-related news, the media today had to make a decision over what was more relevant. Do we report on Hillary Clinton’s furious back-pedalling over her statements regarding the fairly irrelevant, and existent in name only, peace process? Or do we instead report on US Congress predictably landslide-voting to bury the Goldstone Report, the irrelevance of which seems to be growing by the day? Predictably, the media felt that a foreign policy gaffe by the Secretary of State was an opportunity too good to pass up, and happily plumped for the former. And why not? Didn’t anyone else think that Clinton falling all over herself to appease AIPAC was amusing? As in, depressingly amusing, but hey this is Israel-Palestine we’re talking about, it’s always going to be somewhat morbid amusement.

So Clinton says to Al-Jazeera in Morocco:

“I think, as you know, President [Barack] Obama clearly said he wanted to see an end to settlement activity,”

“That had never been requested prior to any negotiation entered into by any representative of either the Palestinians or the Israelis.”

After her trip to Morocco, Clinton flew to Cairo to deal with the aftermath of her gaffe committed in previous days, to talk to “Egyptian leaders” as the Star Tribune reports. VOA reports that she’s meeting Uncle Hosni.

The NZ Herald has the following to say:

Clinton’s comments in Jerusalem appeared to reflect a realisation within the Obama Administration that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Government will not accept a full-scale settlement freeze and that a partial halt may be the best lesser option. Her appeal seemed designed to make the Israeli position more palatable to the Palestinians and Arab states.

But the ever-present question begs. If the settlements are illegal, and if the Obama administration ‘unequivocally’ opposes them, then why can’t the Obama Administration put more pressure on the Netanyahu Government to halt them entirely. There has been precious little evidence of any real pressure on Netanyahu, in fact Bibi, and other pro-settlement folk, have been glowing with pride over his constant ‘victories’ over Obama. So why bother saying that you’re against something ‘unequivocally’ but do nothing tangible to actually stop it? Ah yes, well, that’s called empty rhetoric, ladies and gentlemen, and Obama’s Administration seems to be very good at it… until now when the rhetoric spills over into weird fawning, as Clinton’s statements the other day indicate. What Clinton terms ‘positive reinforcement’ to the rest of us looks like diplomatic genuflection.

As per the words of the Hillary, “We need to work together in a constructive spirit toward this shared goal of a comprehensive peace.” Indeed, the Netanyahu Government’s spirit has been very constructive – constructive of settlements in the Occupied West Bank, not sure how ‘comprehensive’ the peace is going to be though, unless the Palestinian residents of the West Bank are simply built over with cement.

Oh and about that Goldstone report? Yeah Congress voted 344-36 to bury that baby, something that Mondoweiss called “Pyongyang-style”. That linked post also contains a list of the “Nays” in case you’re American and want to write a letter to your local congressman congratulating him or her for possessing some modicum of cojones. I believe Gregg from The Majlis, who live-blogged the debate from Congress, pretty much sums up how the rest of us feel about this vote.

But it’s not all bad news, folks. Mondoweiss:

My sources tell me that the total of 36 No’s and 22 voting Present is actually a giant improvement over, say, the Lebanon votes that typically were in the 400 range, Yes-wise.

Progress!

Written by alexlobov

November 4, 2009 at 3:12 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I thought that the PA should resign after all this, as the negotiations seem to be between Israel and its arms dealer rather than between Israel and the PA. What’s the point of pretending there is a peace process when Israel’s sponsor cannot rein in the settlement process? What chance does the PA have? But then I read today that chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said it may be time for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to “tell his people the truth, that with the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option” and they should instead perhaps focus on getting equal rights within a larger Israel. It’s the elephant many people have been been stepping around. Now a senior Palestinian negotiator has come out and said the words.

    Michael II

    November 5, 2009 at 12:39 am

  2. Yeah the one-state solution has been bandied around a fair bit amongst the pundits and bloggers but never got serious diplomatic airplay. While I do see it as a solution, I wonder how feasible it is realistically. It obviously comes with its own host of problems. I can’t say I favour one over the other strongly, but I feel a two-state solution is probably more realistic given the strong nationalistic streak of the two movements and the strong desire for national self-determination. Getting Israel to drop its Jewish identity or getting Palestinians to live under a Jewish state is probably going to be harder than stopping settlements.

    In any case, I feel both are impossible at this stage with the current Government. The current Israeli Government is clearly not interested in any kind of ‘peace process’ save the crush, kill, control kind. Until international pressure rises significantly or a more willing Government is in the Knesset, the Palestinians will remain state-less and oppressed either way.

    alexlobov

    November 5, 2009 at 12:55 am


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