Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ami Kaufman Comes Out Against Negotiations

Ami Kaufman has recently written an article for the Huffington Post in which he hopes for a speedy beginning and end to the peace talks between Netanyahu and Abbas. One would think that speaking out against peace would be considered antithetical to the Huffington Posts' values but apparently not. Before we go any further, though, I should probably just explain what Mr. Kaufman said.

At first he complains that the Arab League is "literally forcing" Abbas into peace talks (oh how terrible!) and grumbles that it makes Netanyahu look good. But according to Mr. Kaufman this is really just a political trick to gain political points because Netanyahu really has no intention of making peace with the PA. Why?
"He told Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos in Jerusalem last Wednesday that continuing the construction freeze in the West Bank after it expires on September 26 would be impossible politically and would bring down his coalition. That pretty much said how far the Israeli prime minister is willing to go for peace."
It goes without saying that continuing to build settlements is a provocation on the part of Israel, but it also goes without saying that settlements are only as much of a barrier to peace as the Palestinians let them. I feel I should remind Mr. Kaufman that in the past the Israelis and the Palestinians freely negotiated while settlements continued to be built and it was never considered to be a problem.

Consider the alternative: Abbas comes to the table, they start negotiating, Israel's government collapses and the whole thing starts all over again. Is that really so much better?
"If this is indeed the case, Netanyahu can't continue the settlement freeze without toppling the government, then how can he even think of attempting to dismantle an illegal outpost deep in the heart of Samaria?"
Hasty generalization. The illegal outposts are not more popular than the settlements in general. Not to mention the fact that Netanyahu's government has been dismantling the illegal settlements throughout the ceasefire and still manages to stay in power.

All right, so Kaufman continues by reminding us about current events such as Israel's withdraw from Gaza. He also characterizes Netanyahu's government as "extreme," but I guess that goes without saying. And then we get to the good stuff:
"And if indeed they are destined to fail, I only have one thing to say: Let them fail.

"And let them fail fast. The sooner the better.

"Let's allow Netanyahu to have his fun stalling for a bit, and then -- unfortunately -- let the violence begin. But let's just get it over and done with."
 Remember, Mr. Kaufman does in fact live in Israel. So it would be him and his family are at risk from this "unfortunate" violence that he seems to want.

Mr. Kaufman's reasoning for this is because Netanyahu really doesn't ever want peace so the only way to get him to be pressured into the concessions that both sides need is for the negotiations to fall apart.
"Unfortunately, this is the only way to go. The only way for U.S. President Barack Obama to get to the next stage of true pressure, with worldwide support, is after he can show that all else has failed. That the path of negotiations has reached a dead end...

"So yes, let the negotiations begin immediately, and let us hope for their quick demise. Let's get to that point where Obama has to play hardball. Let's get to that crossroads where Obama will have to finally prove whether he has what it takes to make Israel deliver, or if he's merely another Clinton."
 Very interesting. Mr. Kaufman seems to be yet another HP blogger with the worldview that "this conflict exists because Israel won't give the Palestinians everything they want, although they very easily could."The entire conflict exists because Israel is just so darn mean and won't be nice to the poor, innocent Palestinians.

Kaufman is endorsing a course of action which will force Obama to pull up all the stops in order to force Israel to deliver...something. He doesn't appear to know exactly what. Maybe a settlement freeze? Oh wait we already have one. Maybe a permanent settlement freeze? What would Israel have to gain from that? And what happens if Obama can't make Israel give the Palestinians everything they want? Does Mr. Kaufman want more war rather than (gasp) the two sides compromise? I should certainly hope not!

Whichever way you want to swing it, it's certainly an interesting view for Mr. Kaufman to take.

1 comment:

  1. An imposed peace would never last.

    But that doesn't stop who hate Israel from pressing for one. Never mind the status quo is very sustainable and hasn't harmed any one.

    There has never been a case in history where rash change has resulted in a real improvement to an existing situation. I think Edmund Burke's observations on the French Revolution apply as much to the Middle East.

    But don't look for reality to make an impression upon the Kaufmans of the world.