Category Archives: Palestine 2010

Jawaher Abu Rahmeh dies from tear-gas inhalation

I am sorry to report that 36-year-old Bil’in resident Jawaher Abu Rahmeh died last night from the after-effects of the poison gas the IOF uses against the nonviolent demonstrations that the village’s residents have been organizing against the Apartheid Wall every Friday for more than five years.
More details here.

Bil’in woman badly injured by tear-gas

This, from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee:

    Jawaher Abu Rahmah, 36, was evacuated to the Ramallah hospital after inhaling massive amounts of tear-gas towards protesters in Bil’in earlier today. She is currently in critical condition and is not responding to treatment. Another protester required hospitalization after being hit in the face with a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him.

I can personally attest, from my experience in Bil’in in March 2006 and February 2009, that the tear-gas that the IOF uses there is considerably stronger and more noxious than the tear-gas some of us used to encounter in Europe back in the 1970s. It doesn’t just make you want to tear up, it makes you want to gag and at the same time feels as though it’s burning out the back of your throat and right down into your lungs… and that’s when the canister is still 20 feet away from you… G-d only knows what the effects are if it lands very close to you…
The PSCC report continues:

    Jawaher Abu Rahmah is the sister of Bassem Abu Rahmah, who was shot dead with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in Bil’in on April 17th, 2009.
    Over a thousand people heeded to the call issued by the Bil’in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements today, and joined the weekly demonstration. Despite the siege laid on the village by the Israeli army, activists – Palestinians, Israelis and internationals – swarmed the hills and valleys surrounding Bil’in by the hundreds and managed to join those already in the village.
    Among those giving speeches before the demonstration were local leaders, as well as Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, who voiced his support for Bil’in and the popular struggle. The march then proceeded towards the Wall, where it was barraged with tear-gas on sight.
    Small organized groups of protesters then spread across the Wall to try and implement the popular committee’s announcement that he last day of the decade will indeed also be the last day of the Wall on Bil’in’s land. An overwhelming number of Israeli soldiers and Border Police officers spread along the path of the Wall, but were not able to stop demonstrators equipped with bolt-cutters from breaching through the Wall in three places.

I strongly suspect that today, as when I saw him at the steadfast Bil’in protests 22 months ago, Fayyad may have left the protest before the tear gas was used. But good for him taking part in even a portion of the action, anyway.
All U.S. government representatives in Washington and elsewhere should be asked direct questions about Pres. Obama’s position on Israel’s use of very dangerous tactics against unarmed, nonviolent Palestinians who are seeking access to their own lands by breaching Israel’s completely illegally Apartheid Wall.

Afghanistan’s election: Some reflections

Back in 2004-05, Pres. Bush and his people were trying to ‘re-brand’ America’s overseas military adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq as being part of a campaign to bring the wonderful fruits of democracy to various peoples around the world. At the tip of a cruise missile, no less… Oh my goodness how tragic and wrongheaded every single step along this way has been…
Thus we had the sudden emergence of the phenomenon of the ‘purple finger’. Images of those people emerging from voting booths with their purple-stained digits were flashed around the world. (And one purple digiteer even got to attend Bush’s State of the Union Address in January 2006, I seem to recall. ‘Our’ achievement there…)
Today, the people of Afghanistan went to the polls for their second nationwide election since the U.S.-led invasion of their country in 2001. I’ve been following the reporting from there via Twitter’s #Afghan10 hashtag. Canadian journo Naheed Mustafa tweeted “I’m not convinced it’s all worth it for 40% turnout and little legitimacy.” She linked to this piece of serious-looking reporting from the ever-professional folks at McClatchy.
Mustafa is quite right to take seriously the legitimacy angle, since that above all is what the U.S. government seeks to gain from a ‘successful’ holding of the election. Of course, Afghanistan’s 30 million people probably have different meta-goals… which quite likely would include there– as in other war-torn countries– the goal that election result in the formation of a stable and accountable national government that can lead a successful process of internal reconciliation while rapidly building up its ability to deliver basic services to the Afghan people.
Right. I imagine many Afghan citizens have had the opportunity to see what has happened in Iraq since the (technically more or less ‘successful’) holding of the nationwide election there back in early March.
In Iraq, the four large political blocs have still not been able to come to agreement on forming their new government, more than six months later. And in the absence of any new governing authority having emerged, the caretaker government of PM Nouri al-Maliki is still limping along. The security situation continues to be terrible, with large-scale suicide bombings still happening every couple of weeks. And the delivery of other basic services like clean water, electricity, banking services, etc etc, continues to be performed at levels considerably worse than what Iraq’s people enjoyed back in the 1970s.
A technically ‘successful’ election guarantees nothing in terms of quality of governance; and therefore nothing in terms of people actually being able to enjoy the basic rights of citizenship.
… Ah, but here in the U.S., Pres. Obama has been continuing to trumpet the arguments that what has been happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan somehow represent the “progress” that he promised and that he still hopes to embody. regarding Iraq, he has been careful not to engage in the kind of jejune “Mission Accomplished” triumphalism that Pres. Bush used to revel in. But still, as the August 31 deadline for the “end of U.S. combat operations” in Iraq went by, Obama did his best to describe that milestone– which was not actually such a real milestone at all– as marking something that the U.S. had indeed ‘accomplished.’ Um, well, the timetable leading toward a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq is one that was agreed between the Bush administration and PM Maliki’s government in Iraq back in November 2008. So if Obama is saying that he has been trying to stick to the U.S.’s promises in that regard (well, more or less), than is that really anything to trumpet as an “accomplishment”? Shouldn’t nations and governments be expected as a matter of course to live up their international commitments?
I believe Obama could and should have done a lot more to remind people in the U.S. and overseas that it was a national (and Republican-initiated) commitment he was living up to in Iraq. And he still could and should be doing a lot more to engage all the international community– including, of course, all six of Iraq’s neighbors– in a joint effort to underline the value of Iraq’s territorial unity and independence, and to offer all support for the speedy formation of a stable and empowered national government there.
And then there is Afghanistan, which is currently much more “Obama’s war” than Iraq is or ever has been. After all, Obama supported the original U.S. invasion of Afghanistan (as he did not, of Iraq); and he was also, last winter, the president who made the solemn decision to undertake a new surge of American forces there.
Today, the WaPo had a very significant piece of reporting by Karen DeYoung, in which she just about confirmed what I have been arguing for 10 months now, namely that the whole “strategy” according to which Obama had decided to undertake the Afghan surge was one directed much more at U.S. domestic audiences than at making any actual, definable strategic gains on the ground in Afghanistan.
DeYoung wrote:

    Despite discouraging news from Afghanistan and growing doubts in Congress and among the American public, the Obama administration has concluded that its war strategy is sound and that a December review, once seen as a pivotal moment, is unlikely to yield any major changes.
    This resolve arises amid a flurry of reports from outside experts and former officials who are convinced that the administration’s path in Afghanistan is unsustainable and its objectives are unclear. Lawmakers from both parties are insisting that they be given a bigger say in assessing the war’s trajectory.
    The White House calculus is that the strategy retains enough public and political support to weather any near-term objections. Officials do not expect real pressure for progress and a more precise definition of goals to build until next year, with the approach of a July deadline President Obama has set for decisions on troop withdrawals and the beginning of the 2012 electoral season…

Well, the way I read that, the only “strategy” the people in the White House are really concerned about is the one that has to do with domestic considerations… They just want things in Afghanistan to not look too bad until they are able– as per the announced timetable next year– to start pulling the American forces home… with that part of the timetable tied tightly to the beginning of the U.S. electoral season…
How solipsistic can a country and a (democratically elected) government become? There seems to be literally no limit.
Finally, of course, I cannot leave this short reflection on U.S. policies and the push toward purple fingerism in distant countries under the sway of the U.S. without some quick reference to what happened in Egypt and Palestine after the U.S. had successfully lobbied– back in 2005 and early 2006– for the holding of ‘democratic’ elections in both countries. In Egypt, the opposition Muslim Brotherhood did considerably better than the U.S. had expected, and Pres. Mubarak thereafter moved back into his traditionally repressive mode with no further U.S. intervention in the matter… And after Hamas won the free and fair elections in Palestine in January 2006… Well, I guess I don’t have to remind many JWN readers about what happened there.

Chas Freeman calls for European, Arab activism on Israeli-Palestinian peace

The experienced American diplomatist Chas W. Freeman, Jr, has issued a strong call for European and Arab states to work together to ensure speedy attainment of Israeli-Palestinian peace, arguing that “Only a peace process that is protected from Israel’s ability to manipulate American politics can succeed.”
Speaking Wednesday morning (September 1) to the staff of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Oslo, Freeman argued that, in their pursuit of a sustainable and final peace settlement, European and Arab states should be prepared to convene their own values-driven peace process outside the currently shackled UN system, if necessary.
At the core of this process should, he said, be an ultimatum that if the two parties can’t reach a peace settlement within a year, the world’s states would impose one: This would be either a call for recognition of a Palestinian state within all the Palestinian areas that lie beyond Israel’s 1967 borders– or, recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over all of Mandate Palestine and a requirement that it grant equal rights to all who are governed by Israel.
On October 1, my company Just World Books will be publishing Freeman’s first collection of writings on the Middle East, titled America’s Misadventures in the Middle East. The book contains much new material, including a detailed account of how he saw the strategy and diplomacy unfolding during the US-Saudi-led campaign to liberate Kuwait from its Iraqi occupiers back in 1991, when he was the U.S. ambassador in Saudi Arabia. It also contains several chapters that analyze the mis-steps Pres. G.W. Bush made– both when he ignored the challenge of pushing for a fair and sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and when he pushed the U.S. into the unjustified invasion and occupation of Iraq.
In his speech in Oslo, Freeman notes that many previous rounds of the US-led “peace process” between Israelis and Palestinians have proved to be only,

    diplomatic distractions [that] have served to obscure Israeli actions and evasions that were more often prejudicial to peace than helpful in achieving it. Behind all the blather, the rumble of bulldozers has never stopped… When the curtain goes up on the diplomatic show in Washington tomorrow, will the players put on a different skit? There are many reasons to doubt that they will.
    One is that the Obama administration has engaged the same aging impresarios who staged all the previously failed “peace processes” to produce and direct this one with no agreed script.

During his long career in the US State Department Freeman led the negotiation that resulted in South Africa’s withdrawal of its troops from Namibia, and the holding of a democratic election in Namibia (South West Africa) that resulted in the Namibians finally attaining their long-held dream of national independence. (That complex peace diplomacy also resulted in Cuba’s withdrawal of its troops from Angola.)
In his address in Oslo Freeman called forthrightly for Hamas’s inclusion in some manner in the peace diplomacy, describing it (correctly) as “the party that won the democratically expressed mandate of the Palestinian people to represent them,” and noting that “there can be no peace without its buy-in.”
He concluded by asking Norway and its fellow Europeans to do four things to maximize the chances that this latest peace “process” might become an actual peace:

    1. Get behind the Arab peace initiative
    2. Help create a Palestinian partner for peace. “Saudi Arabia has several times sought to create a Palestinian peace partner for Israel by bringing Fatah, Hamas, and other factions together. On each occasion, Israel, with U.S. support, has acted to preclude this. Active organization of non-American Western support for diplomacy aimed at restoring a unity government to the Palestinian Authority could make a big difference.”
    3. Reaffirm and reinforce international law. “If ethnic cleansing, settlement activity, and the like are not just ‘unhelpful’ but illegal, the international community should find a way to say so, even if the UN Security Council cannot. Otherwise, the most valuable legacy of Atlantic civilization – its vision of the rule of law – will be lost. When one side to a dispute is routinely exempted from principles, all exempt themselves, and the law of the jungle prevails. The international community needs collectively to affirm that Israel, both as occupier and as regional military hegemon, is legally accountable internationally for its actions. If the UN General Assembly cannot ‘unite for peace’ to do what an incapacitated Security Council cannot, member states should not shrink from working in conference outside the UN framework.”
    4. Set a deadline linked to an ultimatum. “Accept that the United States will frustrate any attempt by the UN Security Council to address the continuing impasse between Israel and the Palestinians. Organize a global conference outside the UN system to coordinate a decision to inform the parties to the dispute that if they cannot reach agreement in a year, one of two solutions will be imposed. Schedule a follow-up conference for a year later. The second conference would consider whether to recommend universal recognition of a Palestinian state in the area beyond Israel’s 1967 borders or recognition of Israel’s achievement of de jure as well as de facto sovereignty throughout Palestine (requiring Israel to grant all governed by it citizenship and equal rights at pain of international sanctions, boycott, and disinvestment). Either formula would force the parties to make a serious effort to strike a deal or to face the consequences of their recalcitrance. Either formula could be implemented directly by the states members of the international community.”

JWN readers can get more information about Freeman’s upcoming book, and about Just World Books’s other October 2010 title, “Gaza Mom” (the book), from Laila El-Haddad, when JWB’s website gets launched next week.
Watch this space for news on that! Meantime, you can follow Just World Books’s news on Twitter, here.

Watch Emily Henochowizc’s transformational song

Here.
Hat-tip, Phil Weiss.
Henochowicz is the young Jewish-American artist who lost an eye to an IDF tear-gas canister while protesting the continued building of the Apartheid Wall.
She is amazing. Especially when she sings that people need “open their eyes.” And then she turns and looks at the camera with one of the lenses in her glasses deliberately clouded over so we don’t see her own tragically emptied eye-socket. Actually, with or without those socket-obscuring glasses, Emily Henochowicz both looks and acts like one of the most beautiful young women in the world.

Israel’s flotilla violence changing everything, Part 2

A.
The fact that PM Netanyahu has decided that fallout from the IDF’s gratuitously violent flotilla assault requires him to cancel his planned meeting in Washington Wednesday and return to Israel is extremely important. The Wednesday meeting was supposed to be a rapacious (date-raping) consummation of his new “love affair” with Obama. So it was important.
But clearly, trying to get a handle on what’s been happening back home regarding the flotilla assault is more important. Ynet is already reporting that because the IDF general staff and the political leadership both recognize that the assault was a massive net negative for Israel, they are already blaming each other.
Good. Let them try to start to sort it out. Preferably by recognizing that the entire policy of imposing a lengthy tight siege is just plain wrong— under international law, under Jewish ethics, under any notion of respect of human rights!
Let them lift the siege of Gaza. Period.
B.
By underlining the continuing tragedy (and crime) of Israel’s siege of Gaza, the IDF completely bulldozed any pretense that Israel’s sputtering “proximity talks” with the PLO had any hope, relevance, or meaning at all. Over there in Ramallah the PA/PLO leadership reportedly agreed to a six-point plan as follows:

    1) Send a delegation of PA and PLO officials to Gaza to discuss situation
    2) Demand the UN Security Council order an end to the siege on Gaza and initiate an investigation into the attack
    3) Coordinate with states whose nationals were killed in the attack to seek justice
    4) Meet with the Arab League’s secretary-general, Amr Mousa, in an urgent session called for by Abbas
    5) Ask the EU to freeze relations with Israel
    6) Call on officials in the West Bank including ambassadors, to organize events to mourn the loss of so many supporters of Palestine, and listen to calls from the public to press forward with an inquiry.

Of course, at one level this is still merely political theater, as with everything “Fateh” does. But significantly, Fateh/PLO pol Mohamed Dahlan was the one who reported these results out of an meeting held by the Central Committee of Fateh, the movement that dominates both the PLO and the Ramallah-based PA.
Dahlan, of course, is the guy who was the lynchpin of Condi Rice’s plan to dislodge Hamas’s democratically leadership of the PA legislature by force, back in 2006-07.
How credible should we take his new appearance as one seeking to lead the effort to coordinate or perhaps even reconcile with Hamas? Perhaps not terribly credibly. But if he is the one individual whom the rest of the Fateh CC sends out to make the announcement about the six points, then it strikes me they think that Fateh is in big, big trouble.
C.
Further afield, all of NATO except for the U.S. has now come out with some acknowledgment that Turkey, a vital fellow NATO member has had its civilian ship wantonly attacked by Israel on the high seas.
What is NATO good for?
Why would any other NATO member ignore this grievous attack against Turkish shipping– especially given that (a) Turkey is a substantial country, well respected in the world and currently a member of the U.N. Security Council; (b) Turkey is NATO’s only majority-Muslim member nation; and (c) NATO is currently waging a difficult war in a distant Muslim country, Afghanistan?
D.
Issandr el- Amrani has had good reporting about the popular outrage expressed against th Israeli assault in Egypt. Egypt, which is a key U.S. military ally in the Arab and Muslim worlds, is currently entering a very sensitive succession crisis. Watch Issandr’s blog for updates.

Palestinian refugees beating the odds!

A wonderful story from CNN about three Palestinian refugee girls, their science teacher, and their head-teacher who have all contributed to the girls’ success in being selected to participate in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, California, this week.
(HT: American Friends of UNRWA.)
The 14-year-old girls are all students at the UNRWA Girls School in Askar refugee Camp, near the West bank city of Nablus. Their project involved designed and making a walking-cane for blind people that beeps when it comes near either an obstacle or an un-even-ness in the road ahead of it.
It sounds like a great invention– especially given the extent to which all Palestinians in the West Bank, whether sighted or blind, have to navigate rutted roads riven with deep IOF-dug trenches or blocked by IOF-built earth mounds, as they try to move around.
(Hey, imagine how much more these girls and all their classmates might have achieved if their families didn’t have to live in refugee camp hovels but were still living on their ancestral lands, and if they had been able to win the benefits of normal economic development over the past 62 years… )
Still, what they have achieved is fabulous; and it looks really useful. Congratulations to these smart young females!
It might be worth noting– for those people who still think that Islamic-style hair-veiling is a sign of backwardness or the oppression of females– that all three of these dedicated girls, and their science teacher, and the head-teacher who enabled the whole project, wear such veils. It is quite likely that the science teacher and the head-teacher (who, CNN tells us, is about to retire) are both refugees, as well.
Kudos, finally, to UNRWA, for sustaining this whole, really important school-system throughout all these decades.

Building the Paltustan road system

The 2.8 million Palestinians of the occupied West Bank are now gaining their very own segregated (and visibly inferior) road system– in a way that is completely reliant, for any inter-city connectivity it provides, on a chain of tunnels and under-passes that the IOF can easily choke off at will.
Welcome to Paltustan!
Nadia Hijab and Jesse Rosenfeld have an excellent article on this new portion of the Israeli-engineered apartheid system in the OPTs, in the current issue of The Nation.
They write,

    armed with information from United Nations sources and their own research, Palestinian nongovernmental organizations are raising the alarm. Their evidence spotlights the extent to which PA road-building is facilitating the Israeli goal of annexing vast areas of the West Bank–making a viable Palestinian state impossible.
    Roads currently under construction in the Bethlehem governorate are a prime example, as they will complete the separation of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, which includes some of the earliest Israeli settlements, from the Palestinian West Bank, swallowing up more pieces of Bethlehem on the way. The PA is building these roads with funding from the US Agency for International Development and thus ultimately the US taxpayer.
    Bethlehem Palestinians had not grasped the implications of the PA-USAID road construction until a meeting organized last month by Badil, the refugee rights group. Representatives of local councils, refugee camps, governorate offices and NGOs were shocked by the information presented, and are calling for a halt to road construction until risks are assessed.

Anyway, go read the whole of this superb, informative article. It has a link to this helpful short slideshow from Badil. You can gain further information on how this issue is working out in the bethlehem governorate issue through these English-language presentations from the UN’s Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)– PDF and PPT. Arabic and Hebrew-language versions are also available through the OCHA website.

The global politics of an Israeli-Palestinian peace

I was just thinking a little more about the global-political context within which any soon-foreseeable Palestinian-Israeli final peace might be concluded… That was after writing this blog post yesterday in which I looked briefly at the question of the international auspices under which any peacekeeping/peace-monitoring force might be deployed to the OPTs.
I noted there that the body or bodies directing the PK force would most likely be the body or bodies directing the diplomatic effort to achieve the peace agreement. Which in the present context would be the U.S.-led Quartet.
The Quartet’s three “junior” partners are the E.U., Russia, and– quite anomalously– the U.N. (The U.N. certainly should not be the junior partner of any single member state. It’s supposed to represent the interests of the whole of humanity.) I very much doubt, however, if any of those junior partners would be prepared to supervise, underwrite, or contribute troops to the maintenance of a PK force sent to “keep” any form of peace that does not meet the full requirements of international law.
Most peacekeeping forces around the world are supervised by either the U.N. or by the relevant regional organization like, in West Africa, ECOWAS. One major exception, that is in the Middle East, is the U.S.-led Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) that supervises the U.S.-brokered peace treaty that Egypt and Israel concluded in 1979. The MFO has 12 national contingents, all of them coming from very strongly pro-U.S. nations. Those countries’ governments are happy to contribute forces because they know that this peace is a stable one that is strongly underwritten at the political level by the U.S.– and because it is fully based on the international-law principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. Egypt did not cede one inch of its national territory to Israel in the peace agreement, though it did of course agree to very extensive demilitarization measures, economic terms highly favorable to Israel, etc.
But because that peace is both stable and based on international law, participation in the MFO has never, to my knowledge, come in for any serious criticism from the publics of those nations contributing forces.
So now, let’s come to the challenge of forming and supervising a PK force to keep an Israeli-Palestinian peace…
Which nations are going to contribute troops to this force, and under whose supervision?
In the CNAS study (PDF) I was writing about yesterday, Marc Lynch even posited as one of the “scenarios” he was considering, the idea that the PK force– whose supervisory auspices he studiously avoided discussing– might have to engage in some counter-insurgency missions against Hamas’s very extensive networks in the West Bank!
(Hamas, remember, being the party that won the PA’s 2006 parliamentary elections.)
Truly, how many countries are going to be contributing troops to this PK force?
But also, how many governments or or inter-governmental bodies would be willing to participate– in either a supervisory/legitimizing capacity, or a troop-contributing capacity– in a peacekeeping operation designed to “keep” any peace that would fall far short of the requirements of international law?
I think the answer to that question is that only one seriously-sized government anywhere in the world would be willing to consider doing that, and that is the U.S. But this is really a non-starter. Can anyone imagine the reaction worldwide (and in the region) if the U.S. were to try to dominate a PK force in the OPTs, with a big part of the mandate of the force being to protect Israel’s illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank from the many Palestinians– including the actual owners of many of those lands– who still maintain their claims to them?
We are not in 1979.
Back then, the U.S. stood aside the world and was able to convince everyone else that it could (and perhaps even should) monopolize the entire diplomacy of Arab-Israeli peacemaking. Jimmy Carter and his team were also able to persuade the Israeli government of the day that, despite its earlier desire to hang onto much of the Egyptian territory of Sinai, indeed it could not; and it would have to withdraw completely to the international border. Hence that peace agreement met the requirements of international law.
Today’s U.S. president is not nearly as powerful– either within world politics, or even, it seems, in the ongoing tussle of wills with Israel.
For all these reasons, it therefore seems to me quite implausible that the U.S. could hope to replicate the MFO model of 1979 and plan to deploy a U.S.-led “coalition of the willing” type of PK force in the OPTs.
The “willing” are far less numerous, and far less willing, than they used to be. Even NATO, having gotten dragged by Washington into both the war in Afghanistan and the beefed-up UNIFIL operation in Lebanon, now has many members who reportedly pushed back hard against Jim Jones’s late-2008 suggestion that NATO run the post-peace (and perhaps also the peri-peace) PK force in the OPTs.
I think everyone is agreed that if there is to be a two-state outcome in the foreseeable future–a HUGE ‘if’ there– then the Palestinian state that thereby emerges would be substantially demilitarized. (Personally, I think that in the context of a comprehensive peace, that includes the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli tracks as well, then Israel should emerge substantially demilitarized, as well… But that’s a slightly different issue.)
But if the Palestinian state is demilitarized, then the citizens of that state of course need considerable reassurances that they won’t be subjected to resumed forms of Israeli aggression. They would thus probably need some form of international force to help provide that reassurance– as well as to help police their side of the border against any attempts by Palestinian militants to breach it.
Probably the best kind of force for that purpose would be one in which both the Palestinian citizens themselves, and the “international community”, and Israel, all have high confidence. A Turkish-led force is one model that immediately comes to mind. A U.N. force is another. (After all, UNDOF and UNTSO have very successfully kept Israel’s 1974 ceasefire line with Syria quite quiet for the past 36 years.) Actually, a Turkish-led U.N. force would seem to me to be the best of all possible options.
Bottom line here: Any PK force that goes into Palestine in the context of an Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace has to have a high degree of international legitimacy, both in its institutional structure and in the content of the peace that it’s keeping. The model of a U.S.-led force, that worked in 1979, is incapable of working today. It’s the U.N. or nothing.
Therefore, if the folks in the Obama administration truly want to see a stable, two-state peace emerge, then they will need to find a way to hand the peace-making baton over to the U.N. as rapidly as possible.
But maybe they don’t want it that strongly?

Traveling, family, refugees, etc

I am still intending to write some reflections on Sunday’s Chicago Hearing, which was an amazing experience. However, my sister and her husband arrived on our doorstep in DC on Sunday– refugees from European Air Hell, since they’d been planning to fly back to London from LA last week, and have been unable to.
Of course it’s been great to catch up with them. Haven’t seen ’em for a year.

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