Monday, November 15, 2010


By Schmoel Yitzhak

The latest attempt by the Barack Administration to con Israel into yet another freeze on "settlement" construction is a bribe; no more, no less.

One of the most significant aspects of this latest American attempt at "mediation" is that it is patently one-sided.

To begin with, the American State Department is creating an illusion that the breakdown in the latest round of negotiations is Israel's fault.

The ill-logic goes like this: if only Israel will halt construction, the Arabs then will return to the discussion table.

But Israel DID halt the building -- FOR NINE MONTHS -- and got nothing but Palestinian intransigence.

It was then that Mahmoud Abbas came up with his latest gimmick; if Israel resumes building after the agreed-upon moratorium, he would refuse to talk further.

Most important at this juncture is understanding that Israel fulfilled its end of the bargain and had a nine-month freeze which was its part of the bargain.

So, why should there be another? Why not start making demands of the Arabs. Why not?

Because Obama has been patently one-sided since the beginning of his presidency and has displayed no inclination -- Democratic election defeat or not -- to change his Middle East policy.

Why should America bribe Israel with needed, state of the art armament if Benjamin Netanyahu's government supposedly is Uncle Sam's primary ally in the Middle East?

There should not be any hesitation about dispatching the arms and other carrots being "offered" in this latest round of non-negotiations. Send them without a bribe.

Yet all signs suggest that Bibi already has made a firm commitment -- via the other Arabist, Hilary Rodham Clinton -- to the White House and only a major Likud uprising will prevent Israel's leader from capitulating to this latest round of American arm-twisting.

By caving, Bibi once again will be setting a dangerous precedent, especially after previously promising that the moratorium was over and done with and construction could -- and should -- continue.

Once the Arabs realize that their pressure forces the Obama bribers into pushing Israel into yet another corner, they will continue to rev up yet more pressure until Bibi's bargaining position will be irredeemable.

When it comes to America's role as a peacemaker it's patently obvious that deals involving Israel are not deals at all if the Palestinians object.

And a deal had been crafted, then accepted by Israel. Nine months of a moratorium and that was to be that.

It all reminds me of a Dorothy Parker comment about Los Angeles. The American humorist-author once said of Tinseltown, USA, that "There's no there there!"

Placed in a contemporary Middle East context, one could say that when Obama makes a deal with Israel and Bibi fulfills his end of the pact there's still no deal there!

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