Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Did Bibi Blink?

The impression -- fully intended, of course -- given by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the other day, in a "groundbreaking statement", was that he would accept a Palestinian state, i.e. some form of the heretofore-derided "two state solution" that has received lip service, of late, from Obama and some of his subordinates. But as I've pointed out before, Netanyahu is, as the good ol' boys from Missouri would say, "slipperier'n greased bear shit on glass". He never makes, or appears to make, a concession without attaching a qualifier onto it that makes it, in truth, no concession at all, but only a re-statement of already-rejected (by the Arabs) demands. This time it's that the Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, with no rights to air space, and no hope for a "right of return" to Israeli territory (you know -- the "right of return" that Jews born and brought up anywhere in the world enjoy vis-a-vis Israel). And also, "no new settlements", but apparently the existing ones have to stay and, I'm sure, be entitled to expand. So... they're going to have expanding Jewish settlements within a Palestinian state? This gives the whole thing away as basically a scam. And of course there is the additional matter of a "united", i.e. Jewish and non-Arab, Jerusalem. So by the time you're finished with all of these conditions, there's not a whole lot left, which is, of course, the whole idea. And yet by making this bogus offer, Netanyahu manages to defuse the militants in his own country and also -- good of him, what? -- allow Obama to save face. In other words, Obama's recommendations, and Netanyahu's proposals, would have succeeded if it hadn't been for those militant, dogmatic Arab radicals. A brilliant piece of political gamesmanship, really.

So -- bottom line -- we can all relax now and forget about that momentary glimmering of hope that things might be about to change in the Near East. And Obama can relax and give up all hope that anything he says or does is going to cause, or aid and abet, any sort of change over there. The fix is in, as I've said... and all the rhetoric in the world coming out of Washington isn't going to change it. But "face" has been saved, and that, of course, is always the main thing... and usually the only thing.

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