Israel, Palestine and Demographic Realities

by matttbastard

Gershom Gorenberg, writing in the Jan-Feb issue of Foreign Policy, outlines the cold, harsh reality with regards to the efficacy of any so-called two-state solution (where Israel and the former occupied territories revert to pre-1967 borders, Israelis and Palestinians set aside lingering grievance and resentment to the delight of the global community, and Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft subsequently distribute free ponies for everyone!):

From my home in West Jerusalem, the road that Israelis use to head south toward Hebron runs through two tunnels in the mountains. Known simply as the Tunnel Road, it was built in the mid-1990s during the Oslo peace process, when Bethlehem was turned over to Palestinian rule and Israelis wanted a way to bypass the town on their way to settlements that remained in Israeli hands.

A turn from the Tunnel Road takes you past the Palestinian village of Hussan to Beitar Illit, a settlement covering two hills. The streets are lined with apartment buildings, faced in rough-cut, yellowish-white stone, all with red-tile roofs, so alike they could have been turned out by the same factory. In 1993, when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat shook hands and peace seemed close enough to touch, about 4,000 people lived in Beitar Illit. Now, 34,000 live here, and more will soon move in.

The message written on the landscape is simple: Every day, the settlements expand. Every day, Israel grows more entangled in the West Bank. To a large degree, the Israeli and Palestinian publics have accepted the need for a two-state solution. But time, and the construction crews, are working against it. No one knows exactly where the point of no return is—when so many Israelis will have moved into so many homes beyond the pre-1967 border that there is no going back. But each passing day brings that tipping point nearer. If a solution is not achieved quickly, it might soon be out of reach.

According to Gorenberg, “[i]n 1993, when the Oslo process began, 116,000 Israelis lived in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank… . Last year, when Olmert resigned and elections were announced, the number of settlers in the West Bank had passed 290,000, living alongside 2.2 million Palestinians.”  And, following elections in February, “more than 300,000 Israelis are likely to be living in the West Bank, with the number continuing to climb [all emph. mine].”

Remember, several years back, the domestic PR headache posed by engaging in the forced removal of angry, militant Israeli settlers from their homes in Gaza?

Yeah, that–all over again, only with at least 35 times the population to send packing.

So, when people act as if a viable choice between pursuing a single or two-state solution with Israel and the former occupied territories still exists, one must first account for a very precious non-renewable resource, one that, as noted by Gorenberg, is in increasingly short supply:

Time.

Related
: John Bolton shows why he’s the AEI’s new go-to guy for solving tough diplomatic conundrums with his latest op-ed in the Washington Post, in which he proposes a three (yes, three) state zombie solution to Israel’s current post-colonial woes.  Yeah, that’s a brilliant idea — simply foist the entire Palestinian problem onto Egypt and Jordan, using all the diplomatic leverage that the US has accrued in the Middle East over the past 8 years (especially the past 6).  I’m sure that’ll fly in Cairo and Amman–especially if Brzezinski and Scowcroft throw in extra ponies to account for the extra state involved.

OMG PONIES!

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The Walrus and The Carpenter

by matttbastard

Y’know what’s really tragic?  The fact that in 2008 we are still seeing op-eds from the likes of John fucking Bolton.

Yeesh.

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Slacker Friday: NIE Miscellania

by matttbastard

It’s back and lazier than ever! Alas, this (long belated) edition will have to be the slackest motherfucker ever, since yours truly just got called into work early. Mea culpa–sometimes meatworld obligations have to trump blogging.

(h/t Dave @ The Beav, who also provides a transcript of Olbermann’s incindiary commentary)

Despite some recent assertions that military action against Iran is no longer an option, or that certain “moderate” officials are successfully pushing back against the hawks in the White House, Matthew Rothschild thinks war is still the #1 plan for the administration:

The 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy says point-blank that “we face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.”

And its discussion of this challenge is not limited to the issues of Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

“As important as are these nuclear issues, the United States has broader concerns regarding Iran,” the document states. “The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism; threatens Israel; seeks to thwart Middle East peace; disrupts democracy in Iraq; and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system, and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of U.S. policy.”

The United States won’t be able to attain that goal while Ahmedinejad is in power, and beyond that, while the mullahs are in power.

In essence, the National Security Strategy commits the United States to regime change in Iran.

And Congress, thanks to that resolution Hillary Clinton signed on to, has already designated Iran as an enemy at war with the United States, since it states that Iran is waging a “proxy war” against our forces in Iraq.

It very well may be that the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon convinced the propaganda peddlers in the White House that they can’t make the sale on Iran’s nuclear threat. Instead, they’ll hype—in fact, they’re already hyping—Iran’s role in Iraq.

Case in point: see this frame-shifting dispatch from citizen propagandist Bill Roggio, which also serves as evidence of Dan Bartlett’s recent admission re: the relationship between the Bushies and winger bloggers in action:

I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Elsewhere: John “Surrender is not an option” Bolton exposes the ‘flaws’ in the NIE (shorter: “Buy my book or teh terrorists win!”); Dan Froomkin rounds up the many, many Iran-related lies that have been peddled by the Bush administration. (h/t Godammitkitty @ Bread and Roses).

Finally, check out this must-read Tomgram from Dilip Hiro (h/t verbana-19) on how the USian empire, as Tom Engelhardt puts it in his as-per-usual link-laden introduction, “now finds itself on the losing end of an ever more humiliating zero-sum game with a relatively minor power.”

Happy Friday!

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Webs, Tangled; Pride, Fallen.

by matttbastard

“I don’t think I’d change my view of the threat that Iran poses”

– John Bolton, spinning like a centrifuge.

Related: Think Progress:

Yesterday in his press conference, President Bush asserted that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told him “we have new information” on Iran’s nuclear program, but “he did not tell me what the information was.”

This morning, the cast of Morning Joe chided Bush’s claim. Co-host Willie Geist said, “It’s just not credible answer, I’m afraid.” Host Joe Scarborough ripped into Bush, saying that president is either “lying to the American people” or is simply “stupid”:

We are left with only two options here. Either the President of the United States is lying to the American people about what happened during that meeting, or the President of the United States is stupid.

I don’t think that’s an either/or proposition, Joe.

Background: Marcy Wheeler compiles an NIE timeline (h/t skdadl @ Bread & Roses); NPR provides a handy timeline of the controversy over Iran’s enrichment of uranium (2003 to the present).

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