Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zogby on Obama, Israel, Netanyahu, and Middle East Peace

A nice piece on Truthout here by James Zogby on, well, on Obama, Israel, Netanyahu, Middle East Peace, and the US Congress.

I'm out of the loop on recent events on this front, but Zogby writes:
At their White House press briefing last week, Netanyahu may have been stubborn, but Obama, too, held his ground. Addressing his remarks directly to the cameras, the US president lectured Netanyahu about the steps that must be taken: "all the parties involved have to take seriously obligations they previously agreed to"; "settlements have to be stopped"; "if the people of Gaza have no hope, if they can't even get clean water É if the border closures are so tight it is impossible for reconstruction or humanitarian efforts to take place, then that is not going to be a recipe for [the] peace track to move forward," and much more.

A recent poll of American Jews commissioned by J Street, the Jewish pro-peace lobby, found that substantial majorities of American Jews (in the 70 percent range) support President Obama and support a two-state solution that includes a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and some limited "right to return." In addition, a strong majority opposes settlement construction and opinion is split down the middle on whether or not to cut aid to Israel if it becomes an obstacle to achieving peace!

Progress in the Palestine-Israel conflict always seems far away. But, as I feel silly saying but many people seem to forget, no conflict lasts forever. History shows us that sooner or later, this conflict will end -- though history also shows that it may end peacefully, but also may end by the dissolution of the present-day states in the area or brokering as the result of another World War (heaven forbid). But it will end, and this rhetoric and polling at least seems to point to the continued possibility of it being the first scenario (well, relatively close, it's already too late for it to be "peaceful" in the full sense of the word, but you know what I mean, a resolution without significant further violence or another change in the scale of violence).

Of course, my very informal recent research made it appear that our aid to Israel has already significantly decreased in real terms (~90%!) as well, of course, as a proportion of total aid, though my conjecture remains, as it was before, that perhaps our aid to Israel has shifted to less direct forms because it seems like a 90% scale-back of all aid to Israel would have elicited some kind of notice in the MSM. Of course, you never know just exactly what new low in competence the MSM will reach for, so... ??

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