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Are Peace Negotiations in the Cards?
September 22, 2009 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Are Peace Negotiations hosted by Russia and France in the cards? Today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli PM Netanyahu and the Palestian Authority's Abbas and then hosting a three-way meeting with both leaders. Officially all parties claim they have "low expectations."

But is this really the case? On August 25, in a little-noticed article, the Guardian claimed that negotiations "have reached such an advanced stage that both France and Russia have approached the US offering to host a peace conference."

The Guardian article went on to state that the President had Obama "pencilled in the announcement of his breakthrough for either a meeting of world leaders at the UN general assembly in New York in the week beginning 23 September or the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on 24-25 September."

And other events may be a tell. Last week, Obama ordered a major change in US missile defense plans, moving a proposed deployment from Poland and the Czech Republic to ships in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. The President argued that Iranian threats required a quick response.

Russia reciprocated quickly, announcing on Saturday that it was scrapping a proposed missile deployment near Poland. Russia didn't stop there. In reaction to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements that the Holocaust was a "lie," the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the remarks were “absolutely unacceptable’’ and insulting to the memory of the World War II victims.

The question remains--was the Guardian right? Were last week's moves by the US and Russia a prelude to a peace conference which Russia will help host? Is another round of peace talks coming? We'll find out soon.
posted by Ironmouth (38 comments total)

 
To riot in understatement: I'm not getting my hopes up.

But it would be great to watch the right-wing bloviators come up with reasons why Obama's achieving peace in the Middle East undermines our national security.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:31 AM on September 22, 2009


Settlements. This is why no agreement is currently possible.
posted by Artful Codger at 10:06 AM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's nice to see results from H. Clinton, on the Russian front at least, as she has been relatively quiet lately (I assume she's behind this on the ground-level).
posted by jabberjaw at 10:08 AM on September 22, 2009


Peace. It will take much more that cooperation between Russia and the US for the Palestinians and the Israelis to get peace.
1. funding for Palestinians should be predicated upon giving up destroying Israel and accepting their right to exist. That funding comes from Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.
2. funding for Israel similarly needs to be contingent upon settlement with Palestinians.
3. Negotiations with no set pre-conditions. At issue: settlements, return, Jerusalem, two states.
All that might lead to breakdown of negotiations but will not if both sides are refused funding by outside nations till accords reached.
posted by Postroad at 10:10 AM on September 22, 2009


Please allow me a moment of childish squealing. OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE. Thank you. Now, back to your regularly scheduled MetaFilter, already in progress.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:13 AM on September 22, 2009


As a right-wing bloviator, I am of the opinion that peace will not be achieved in the Mid-East.

The reasons are manifold but can be traced to one simple fact; that those who are extremists can and never will be negotiated with. This applies to extremists of any ilk whether they are Christian or other. There is no morality in extremism. Your president may achieve a cease fire by befriending the islamic community a la Jimmah Carter, but he will most likely have the same degree of success. It is virtually impossible to broker a deal by being reasonable. Obama has thrown Israel under the bus, but it is their history with the US (and yes, with the reviled Dubya) that has made them come to the table for this conference.

Nothing is ever as it seems in politics and especially in Mid East politics, and we could argue the night away over beers. History will prove one way or another. But let's not demonize the "right-wing" and the "left-wing". We have to not be extremists.
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Postroad: "All that might lead to breakdown of negotiations but will not if both sides are refused funding by outside nations till accords reached."

Indeed, it always comes down to money.

To quote myself: What it will take for peace in the Middle East is for America to stop funding its terrorist client state in the region, which will require America to renounce its imperial ambitions, which will require a fucking miracle.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:26 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


fox_terrier_guy: Please explain how you believe the Obama administration has throw Bibi Netanyahu's government under the bus.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:38 AM on September 22, 2009


Obama has thrown Israel under the bus

Can we banish this fucking phrase, please? It makes you sound like a complete wingnut when you use it.
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on September 22, 2009 [7 favorites]


for bonus points: please clarify what action, if any, should be taken regarding both present and potential future Israeli settlements in disputed territories.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2009


Correct me if I’m too cynical, but how do these foreign policy gestures on behalf of the US and Russia truly affect the I/P situation? Does the mere action of hosting a peace conference by these countries automatically constitute an Israel/Palestine solution?
posted by Think_Long at 10:42 AM on September 22, 2009


empath: "Can we banish this fucking phrase, please? It makes you sound like a complete wingnut when you use it."

The "Jimmah" didn't tip you off? That's straight from the Dittohead lexicon.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:56 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


those who are extremists can and never will be negotiated with.

Isn't that what they said about the IRA?
posted by JeffK at 10:57 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


In this metaphor, who or what is the bus?

Can I be the bus?
posted by blue_beetle at 11:06 AM on September 22, 2009


fox_terrier_guy: We have to not be extremists.

The only thing that worries me is that you seem to imply that the Palestinians are extremists while the Israelis are not.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:10 AM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Which week begins on September 23? Not a week in 2009, anyway.
posted by louigi at 11:41 AM on September 22, 2009


Makes sense to get the Russians involved. The conflict is a relic of the cold war, and the Russians still have a lot of pull in the region with some of the players hostile to the US, most notably Syria and Iran. It also allows Russia to feel it's relevant on the global stage, which would probably help reign in some of their recent bad behavior towards their neighbors by addressing their insecurities with the post-cold-war era.

I'm not certain where the French fit in - they're distrusted by both sides - the Norwegians would probably fare better.

Talk of who's the extremist or who's the villain is counterproductive. Neither side is blameless, both sides have good reasons for their courses of action. The goal is to line up their mutual interests in a compelling way.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:49 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


> for bonus points: please clarify what action, if any, should be taken regarding both present and potential future Israeli settlements in disputed territories.

"disputed" - interesting word to use when referring to land taken by force, and permanent settlements built on it.

Israel pulls back to 1967 line. How can it be otherwise, if one expects Palestinians to give up right of return?

I'm not naive enough to expect this to happen, but I can't budge from the position that the settlement of occupied land was always wrong, is wrong, and always will be.
posted by Artful Codger at 11:53 AM on September 22, 2009


Your president may achieve a cease fire by befriending the islamic community a la Jimmah Carter

Who's that? Ronnie Raygun's predecessor?
posted by blucevalo at 11:56 AM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am told (aboive) that Israel is a terrorist state, ie, it shoots rockets into the arab areas daily and randomly. That we have to stop funding it: and who funds the rockets and Hamas ? We stop but it is ok for Saudis and Iran et al to continue to fund those who still maintain they want Israel eliminated?
Please note I had said all parties must stop funding their clients to put pressure upon them. All. Not just one.
posted by Postroad at 12:02 PM on September 22, 2009


The Missile Defense Debate In Maps
posted by homunculus at 12:09 PM on September 22, 2009


If there is no Palestine in the next few years, there may be no Israel in the next century.
posted by adamvasco at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2009


What it will take for peace in the Middle East is for America to stop funding its terrorist client state in the region

And the person who related that is going after someone for being a Dittohead?!

Ah, the I/P threads. Joy and happy day.
posted by ambient2 at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2009


"Both sides are right/but both sides murder/I give up/why can't they?" - X, "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts"*
* About Central America, but still.

Isn't that what they said about the IRA?

The Troubles wound down partly due to people just getting tired of all the fighting, and partly due to the generation of people that had been fighting for decades dying off. Ariel Sharon was prime minister from 2001 to 2006; he was a tank commander in the 1948 war. Yasser Arafat was chairman of the PLO for 35 years. The generation that's been fighting each other for decades is unlikely to achieve peace.

But it would be great to watch the right-wing bloviators come up with reasons why Obama's achieving peace in the Middle East undermines our national security.

Peace between Israel and Palestine would increase US national security by removing a major motivation for terrorism against the US. It could also improve those governments in the region that use the Israel-Palestine conflict as a distraction for addressing their own internal problems.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:27 PM on September 22, 2009


those who are extremists can and never will be negotiated with.

It's what George III said about those upstart terrorists seeking independence in the Colonies.

It's what those same upstart terrorists said later about Philippine independence in 1899.

Everybody else is an extremist with whom there can be no negotiations.

Um. That is until you do.
posted by tkchrist at 3:07 PM on September 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, y'know I'm just ball busting prick when wanting to avoid WWIII, and I'm not so self-centered that I think everything has to be done in my generation or it doesn't matter, so I'm hopeful.
Gotta start somewhere. Talking is good.
And why spend so much money on the missiles when we're all praying like hell we never use them?
Just craziness. Start moving to take the money out of war, out of the defense industries, and the world will start looking like a better place. Everything else is ego.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:44 PM on September 22, 2009


Israel pulls back to 1967 line.

When you say "the 1967 line", do you mean the borders as they were on the eve of the Six Day War? Because those lines were primarily where the respective armies stood at the time of ceasefire in 1948. They were in existence for less than twenty years, forty-two years ago. Children who were alive at that time are now grandparents. That border would ignore the needs of civilian geography and to the developments of the past forty years. I can't understand why you think that this could be desirable.

Incidentally, those lines are the result of ethnic cleansing. When Jordan entered Jerusalem it kicked out all the Jews who lived there. I can see some realpolitik in denying Jews and Arabs the right to return to ancestral homes that have been abandoned for over forty years: what's done is done. In this case there is no fait accomplit I can't see any reason to honor that illegal act.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:14 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


You're somewhat selective in which illegal act, which ethnic cleansing you choose to acknowledge, aren't you? I guess we all are.

I do like your terms "needs of civilian geography" and "development" to whitewash the Israeli settlement activity in occupied territory, which is still ongoing. So, might does make right.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:20 AM on September 23, 2009


You're somewhat selective in which illegal act, which ethnic cleansing you choose to acknowledge, aren't you? I guess we all are.

You can speak for yourself. I was talking about Jerusalem because that's the elephant in the room: it is integrated into Israel both de jure and de facto yet before 1967 it was not part of Israel. Your plan would make the Israelis abandon their capital, not for historical or economic or legal reasons, but because the Jordanian army (acting on behalf of Jordan, not the Palestinians) conquered it in 1948 and held it until 1967.

I do like your terms "needs of civilian geography" and "development" to whitewash the Israeli settlement activity in occupied territory ...

If your argument had any substance you would not resort so readily to slurs. I don't think anyone who has seriously considered the matter would support your panacea of the "1967 lines".
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:53 AM on September 23, 2009


I'm talking about settlements, you're talking about Jerusalem. Which I guess is because I mentioned 1967. I am a bit thick.`

So, ok forget 1967, what 's your take on settlements? Especially the Wall and the continuation of settlement activity. The actions of a willing partner in peace?

More than one elephant in that room.
posted by Artful Codger at 8:16 AM on September 23, 2009


Does Iran want to be a pariah? As Ahmadinejad heads for the U.S., he and Iran's other hard-liners seem bent on increasing their nation's isolation
posted by homunculus at 9:29 AM on September 23, 2009


So, ok forget 1967, what 's your take on settlements? Especially the Wall and the continuation of settlement activity. The actions of a willing partner in peace?

The Wall (and its Gates and Buttresses and the Accouterments Thereof) will have to be larger and longer if it is to be the border between two states, although its position will undoubtedly change. But it shows Israel's readiness to disentangle itself from a future Palestinian entity so it's a step towards a two-state solution.

As for the settlements, I don't think most of them are relevant to a negotiated solution. It's going to be so hard to create two countries out of one patch of land that any border will have to follow geographic lines, ignoring the presence or absence of all but the largest settlements. Otherwise you'll end up with a spiky, incoherent border that still doesn't satisfy either party. So if they're not determinative of the border then I can't see that they're an obstacle to peace. In fact I think they'll probably help focus the Palestinian leadership on the need to actually get something done.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:17 PM on September 23, 2009


> The Wall ... shows Israel's readiness to disentangle itself from a future Palestinian entity so it's a step towards a two-state solution.

The wall is Israel creating more "facts on the ground", fattening up the de facto part of their case that you mentioned before. It makes settlement expansion safer and easier.

> As for the settlements, I don't think most of them are relevant to a negotiated solution. ...any border will have to follow geographic lines, ignoring the presence or absence of all but the largest settlements.

Who's being naive now? Settlements are a pander to the Israeli religious right, and a big f-u to the Palestinians. They're also a convenient solution to some of Israel's demographic and growth issues. They don't intend to just walk away from them.

At my most negative, I don't think the Israeli government actually wants peace. (or at minimum they've concluded that real peace isn't possible). They want to not have rockets lobbed over the border and having shit blowed up, but other than that they have no intention of making anything other than token concessions for peace. It seems to their advantage to let things continue as they are, because they retain absolute control over the region, and they have the time and freedom to harden their positions in the occupied lands.

A real settlement is still years off and by then Israel will have built up enough, and so worn down the Palestinians that they will get to keep just about all the settled areas.

I think Israel is a vigorous, industrious, modern democracy, and it bugs me that they're cynically trading Israeli and Palestinian lives for land.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:28 AM on September 24, 2009


The wall is Israel creating more "facts on the ground", fattening up the de facto part of their case that you mentioned before. It makes settlement expansion safer and easier.

For there to be a two-state solution there has to be disentanglement and partition. Can you think of a better way to accomplish it?

Settlements are a pander to the Israeli religious right, and a big f-u to the Palestinians ...They don't intend to just walk away from them.

But that's exactly what they did in Sinai and in Gaza.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:16 PM on September 24, 2009


Obama, the UN and Future Iran Sanctions
posted by homunculus at 12:00 PM on September 25, 2009


I find it interesting that Ahmadinejad comes from a Jewish family.
posted by caddis at 8:04 AM on October 4, 2009


or perhaps not...
posted by caddis at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2009


Russia Rebuffs Clinton on Iran Sanctions;
Putin Takes Moscow Closer to Beijing

posted by homunculus at 8:56 AM on October 14, 2009


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