Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yet More Incompetence and/or Deceit from Ethan Bronner and the New York Times

In  typical incompetent or disingenuous fashion, Ethan Bronner's front page story in this morning's New York Times, on the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation, flatly states, no
qualifications, that Hamas "rejects Israel's existence." 

One paragraph later, however, the story quotes Khaled Meshal, not only Hamas's main leader but also considered one of its most militant: "We
need to achieve the common goal: a Palestinian state with full sovereignty ON THE 1967 BORDERS with Jerusalem as the capital." (emphasis added)  That is, since Meshal did not say the goal
was a Palestinian state on the 1948 borders, it means that Hamas is de facto accepting Israel's existence. And while Meshal does go on to insist on the right of return for Palestinian refugees, in principle he clearly is talking about a two-state settlement.


CK MacLeod said...

If you're going to claim a position from which to attack reporters for leaving stuff out, you will also have to acknowledge the whole story. You left out his next sentence, re-asserting full RoR, which is, more old news, taken by relevant audiences on both sides of the divide as a re-statement of the illegitimacy of the Jewish state. Furthermore, even setting aside the distance between Meshal's outline and anything Israel has been close to accepting, or its "peace partners" realistically demanding, there's nothing in the statement that prevents Meshal or anyone else in Hamas - or for that matter Fatah or Iran - from maintaining their ultimate goal unchanged, and defending the statement as advancing rather than compromising it.

pabelmont said...

There is nothing which stops Iran, or Guatemala, or Lichtenstein, from deciding that the USA is illegitimate and attacking it and destroying it (if they can!).

This is the old law of nations and, as Israel practices the LoN, it is the current LoN as well. Israel has wiped Palestine off the map (1948). Some people seem curiously not to notice this small but salient fact.

But all the kings horses etc. that Hamas and Iran and others can put together cannot blow down Israel. Heck, they can hardly even seriously inconvenience Israel.

Israel is so strong (with USA's help) that the nations of the UN cannot even enforce the Fourth Geneva Convention and UNSC-465 (1980) which calls for the removal of ALL settlers and the demolishing of ALL settlements (of the time, but also asking for a stopping of further settlement).

If ALL THE NATIONS CANNOT BLOW ISRAEL DOWN, why worry about Hamas? whatever its hopes, its plans, its desires, expressed and unexpressed?


Jerome Slater said...

One more time. You just can't seem to acknowledge the important point: if someone has in the past made impossible and nonnegotiable demands--like the end of Israel--suddenly (not so suddenly, actually) says something that might mean something very different, if YOU are serious about negotiating, you say Wow, this might be interesting. Let's sit down with these people and see what they are really willing to accept.

Of course, Israel does nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it warns in increasingly hysterical terms against the very thought not only of negotiating with Hamas, but now even of negotiating with a coalition government which includes both Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas.

What are we to conclude from this? It isn't rocket science: Israel today has no interest in ending its occupation and accepting a two-state settlement, Abbas and the Fatah are enthusiastic about a two-state settlement, and Hamas might or might not be willing to accept one----meaning that the only way to find out is to include them in the negotiations.

You have been fleeing from the obvious conclusion: the real obstacle to a serious negotiating process is not either of the Palestinian groups but Israel, Israel, Israel.

Juan said...

Well said, Jerry!

CK MacLeod said...

"Enthusiastic" strikes me as a highly dubious adjective to apply to Abbas/Fatah's positioning.

If there is any truth to the above analysis, Abbas-Bush-Olmert followed the approximate pattern of Barak-Clinton-Arafat, on the same set of issues, with a similar aftermath and competing narratives. But even if you choose to accept the Al Jazeera/Palileaks 1 narrative rather than the Christians/Palileaks 2 narrative, it still turns out that the "enthusiastic" counter-party is some combination of incapable and disinclined when it comes down to making an actual deal - perhaps because they know they wouldn't be able to implement it, and that, if they tried, the main most likely end result would be their own political and quite possibly physical destruction.

In the meantime, "a two-state settlement" is an abstraction. If someone offers something resembling a two-state settlement, but according to some expressly non-negotiable definition that, it it wasn't utterly fantastical given the actual correlation of forces, would equate with "the end of Israel," then they've merely engaged in some cost-free posturing.

Jim Donnellan said...

Jerry nails it. The historical record leaves no room for idle speculation, from Jabotinsky on: Israel, at each step along the way, has not wanted peace; it has wanted land. Denial of this fundamental reality aligns one with the doublespeak of the Israeli government, the staggering moral blindness of AIPAC, and the naive true believers in the historical mythology surrounding Israel's origins and every major event since then. Not even Ben-Gurion ("We stole their country") indulged in such foolishness. When Prof. Slater labeled the Gaza invasion as the "perfect moral catastrophe" some might suggest he was masterfully understating the reality.

fuster said...

someone who has long demanded death and destruction for Israel suddenly( or not ) says something different and Israel doesn't just straight away jump for joy and believe that the it's come-to-Jesus moment because Hamas is making ambiguous sounds ....

and that makes Israel "the obstacle".

kinda loose thinking there.

real loose.

I'm sure that you do know that Israel is currently pursuing the endless third-party negotiations with Hamas about getting Shalit released.
so you're probably talking though your hat and if there's any real willingness on the part of Hamas to negotiate stuff, Israel will know it and will be able to make a deal.

Jerome Slater said...

We've been around this block about fifteen times, and the point stands: Hamas has said a variety of things, some of them promising, others unpromising: so if you are serious about wanting a political settlement, you agree to sit down with its representatives to see if a reasonable deal is possible. Not a deal over the release of a pow, but a political settlement.

Your last strawman--Israel would be willing to make a deal with Hamas, if only Hamas was--is simply absurd, and you can continue to hold on to it only by ignoring the historical facts. Israel has no such willingness, not in the past, not now, and apparently not in the foreseeable future--which is why it is Israel and not Hamas that is the main obstacle to a settlement. Even with Abbas & Fayyad, let alone with Hamas.

fuster said...

jerome, yes we have been around this,

you actually point to where and when Hamas has agreed to sit down with israelis or ever offered to sit down with israelis, and you won't sound so unrealistic.

Hamas doesn't sit with Israeli gov't reps and Hamas talks truce and quiet, not peace.

What i said, which obviously wasn't expressed with sufficient clarity, was that Israel DOES negotiate with Hamas and right now IS negotiating with Hamas, working on a prisoner swap.

If you insist that Israel doesn't wish to negotiate anything like a peace deal with Hamas, and that the Israeli are blocking it, it's up to you to point to something that amounts to an offer from Hamas.

There is not such an offer and the Israelis certainly don't believe that one is forthcoming, don't trust (and have no reason to trust) in Hamas' good faith and intentions.

They have every reason NOT to trust and to wait for a clear offer rather than respond to ambiguity. They have responsibilities to Israel's citizens, not an obligation to make things easy on Hamas.
Israeli obligations certainly include finding a way to a peace deal, but not to jump and chase shadows. Serious offers start with small shows of good faith and a Shalit swap would be a good one. I'm hoping that Hamas makes such a deal, on easier terms than they listed, as such a step and that you're right about all this.

But, far as I can see, peace negotiations are blocked not (only) by Israelis,but by terms of the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the PA.

once or twice more around the blockage for a year or more.

Richard Witty said...

Hamas has clarified a number of times recently, since the unification letters were signed, that they would NEVER accept Israel's existence, that they would regard that as a betrayal of Palestinians' individual and national rights.

The most that they have floated is a temporary hudna, 10 years.

If their logic prevails, then there might be a successful 10-year quiet, and maybe another 10-year extension, etc. But, that will not reach the level of confident peace that results in the ability to actually relax defense investment and defensive policy.

That radically differs from the Fatah perspective, which is willing to make peace with Israel as Israel.

And, that radically differs from the likud perspective, which is that it states that it requires acceptance of Israel as the permanently Jewish state.

The Abbas/Fayyad approach to issues of both political reconciliation and to Palestinian focus on community institution building, rather than on resistance, is the right one.

That Abbas has shifted his tone in recent weeks to a more militant perspective is either his end-game posturing, a result of frustration at dealing with recalcitrant Israel, electoral posturing, and/or his views all along.

Peace is the only relevant goal, peace being an intersection that results in both communities healthy and not dedicating a significant minority of their GDP to defense.

I am very disappointed with the approach of militancy that urges confrontation with Israel, seeking that it be shamed, RATHER than urging maturation of Palestine, thereby urging that Israel similarly mature and reform (an action, rather than just a condemnation - words only).

Jerome Slater said...

Abbas has not changed his position. It is indeed unfortunate that some recent Hamas statements have been unpromising. However, to repeat a point I've made over and over again, Hamas's position has always been ambiguous, and apparently inconsistent: there are also plenty of statements, and authoritative Israeli comments, that Hamas in the final analysis will accept any two-state settlement that is acceptable to the PA and leading Arab states.

Therefore--one more time--you stop guessing what Hamas will accept or not accept, enter into negotiations with it, or now with the PA/Hamas coalition, and SEE what it will do.

This should not be a hard point to grasp. Yet it apparently is. No matter, there's no point in my repeatedly making the argument, only to see it ignored by these kinds of responses. Therefore, enough is enough: I will no longer publish comments that fail to engage the argument.