Four years ago, I put forward a comprehensive plan for US policy on the Middle East (reproduced in full over the fold). Looking back from 2015, I think it’s clear that it would have yielded better outcomes all round than the actual policy of the Obama Administration, or any alternative put forward in the US policy debate. Not only that, but it needs no updating in the light of events, and will (almost certainly) be just as appropriate in ten years’ time as it is now.
Feel free to agree or disagree.The rest of the post is blank.
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Comprehensive plan for US policy on the Middle East
Scialabba: Ah the inscrutably complex, tragic, intractable Middle East …
But is it really as complicated as all that?
Quiggin: @geo Probably not, to the people who live there. To spell it out, my suggestion is that the US government should leave them to sort it out – I’m sure the great majority would be happy to return the favor.Quiggin doesn't name Israel specifically either because he defends it himself or he knows too many people who do. And this gives him an excuse to throw up his hands. Duncan Black does the same thing. It's the engineers' model of response to ambiguity, shared by geeks and technocrats: denying it when possible and running away from it when it's unavoidable. If he wanted to pay attention he'd know it's not a question of "them" but "us".
To spell it out, my suggestion is that the US government should leave them to sort it out – I’m sure the great majority would be happy to return the favor.
The New York Times September 4th 2015
Israeli Terrorists, Born in the U.S.A.
The shocking 1994 massacre was, at the time, the bloodiest outbreak of settler terrorism Israelis and Palestinians had ever seen. Less than two years later, Mr. Rabin himself would be dead, felled by an ultranationalist assassin’s bullet.
Suddenly, a group of American Jewish immigrants that had existed on the fringes of society became a national pariah. A former president of Israel, Chaim Herzog, labeled the United States “a breeding ground” for Jewish terror; the daily newspaper Maariv castigated American Jews who “send their lunatic children to Israel.” One Israeli journalist even demanded “operative steps against the Goldsteins of tomorrow” by banning the immigration of militant American Jews.
But tomorrow has arrived.I'll post this again because it's necessary.
After years of impunity for settlers who commit violent crimes, Israel’s internal security agency, the Shin Bet, has now supposedly cracked down by rounding up a grand total of four youths believed to be connected to recent acts of settler terrorism — three of whom trace their origins to the United States.
The agency’s “most wanted” Jewish extremist is 24-year-old Meir Ettinger, who has an august pedigree in racist and violent circles. He is a grandson of Meir Kahane, a radical American rabbi who in 1971 immigrated to Israel, established the Kach party and served as its lone Knesset member until it was banned in 1988. (Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990, but his career laid the groundwork for ultranationalist and antidemocratic parties in Israel.)
Another is Mordechai Meyer, 18, from the settlement of Maale Adumim outside Jerusalem. ...
Peter Beinart is American
I'm not asking Israel to be Utopian. I'm not asking it to allow Palestinians who were forced out (or fled) in 1948 to return to their homes. I'm not even asking it to allow full, equal citizenship to Arab Israelis, since that would require Israel no longer being a Jewish state. I'm actually pretty willing to compromise my liberalism for Israel's security and for its status as a Jewish state. What I am asking is that Israel not do things that foreclose the possibility of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, because if it is does that it will become--and I'm quoting Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak here--an "apartheid state."Haaretz "Let the people of Israel enter the gates and kill Arabs"
It started as a kind of protest of rage, with the familiar calls of "death to terrorists," "revenge" and "the people demand security." However, it quickly switched to the no-less familiar calls of "death to Arabs," "an Arab is a bastard, a Jew is a good soul" and other songs from the fairly limited racist repertoire of the far right in Jerusalem. Some of the organizers sought to lead the mob through Damascus Gate and the Muslim Quarter in the Old City to the site of the terror attack. The police was not about to let that happen and blocked their way between Zion Square and Jaffa Road.The popular rise of Zionist extremism began decades ago, in the hypocrisy of "liberal Zionists" and their friends who stayed silent. None of them were as honest as Beinart is now.
From there, gangs of youths ran amok looking for Arab victims. But Arab workers in central Jerusalem are used to such events, and the vast majority of them fled home before the rioting. Even on the light rail cars, that often serve the Arab population, there were no Arabs. The Jewish youths blocked the rail in the square and "interviewed" passengers to determine their identity.
"Are you an Arab? Are you an Arab?" they called out to a passenger who was probably wise enough to smile without answering.
"Leave him alone. He's a Jew," said one of the attackers, and they moved on to look for the next victim. The rest of the passengers responded apathetically and tried to look the other way. There were many drivers who honked in solidarity and vocally supported them. The cafes and restaurants along Jaffa Road were full of people watching the march of hatred passing back and forth.
PCHR. People on their own land, under attack by immigrants and the children of immigrants
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (17 - 30 Sep. 2015)
3 Palestinian civilians, including a girl and a deaf young man, were killed in the West Bank
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protests in the West Bank.
24 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children, were wounded.
4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, were wounded in various shooting incidents.
Israeli warplanes carried out 5 airstrikes against the north of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces conducted 67 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 limited ones in the Gaza Strip.
135 Palestinians, including 46 children and women, were arrested.
109 of these Palestinians, including 44 children and 4 women, were arrested in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli forces arrested 9 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, who attempted to cross into Israel via the border fence.
Israel continued to impose a total closure on the oPt and has isolated the Gaza Strip from the outside world.
Many checkpoints were established in the West Bank.
7 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were arrested at checkpoints in the West Bank.
Israeli navy forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea.
Israeli navy forces drowned a fishing boat off Khan Yunis shore, south of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli forces continued efforts to create a Jewish demographic majority in occupied East Jerusalem.
An under-construction house was demolished in Silwan and a farmland was levelled in al-Eisawiya village.
Israeli forces and settlers continued to storm al-Aqsa mosque and impose restrictions on the entry of Palestinians into it.
Israeli forces continued to support settlement activities in the West Bank and Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and property.
Israeli settlers established a checkpoint, east of Nablus, and opened fire at a Palestinian civilian car, but no casualties were reported.
Her name was Hadeel-al-Hashlamoun. She was shot at point blank range, first in the legs
October 4 2015, yesterday