Another postponement to peace in Palestine

Israel and the United States are becoming more like two peas in a pod, perhaps not so much in the realm of economics but certainly in politics… and the adhesion to unilateral policies that allow little room for debate and compromise. US Congress with two parties and The Knesset with a dozen, or more, seem to have turned into legislative bodies that operate in a very narrow range… between the Right and the Far Right.

I don’t recall any true political centrism having existed in the US during the past forty-plus years; and apparently that model seems appealing to a politically diverse Israel since Sharon went into a coma three years ago – Kadima being portrayed as a “centrist” party in much the same fashion as was the Democratic Leadership Council that helped propel Bill Clinton to the White House under the guise of a self-proclaimed standing as champions of moderation… which, as we all now know, turned out to be only a slightly more diluted version of a Right engaged in global rapacious capitalism.

The true winner in this just completed Israeli election, where Livni’s and Netanyahu’s parties, together barely garnered 46 percent of the seats, was Avigdor Lieberman – a relative in hawkishness, if not in blood, of that Zionist senator from Connecticut that ran as VP with Al Gore back in 2000 – and his ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu Party. He is likely to become the kingmaker, taking Tzipi Livni’s Kadima farther to the right, if that becomes his choice; or lifting Bebe Netanyahu to the apex of Zionist fascism, if he opted to support the hard-liner’s Likud Party.

A sad reality awaits Barack Obama – it always did… irrelevant of the signs of goodwill that may have bestowed some hope in the Moslem world – if his administration wishes to engage the real issues that took root in 1967… just past that 6-day war that the US is unwilling to revisit so as not to provoke the ire of a powerful Jewish-American population that for all practical purposes hold the one and only key to peace in the Holy Land. And that sad reality comes with either choice that Avigdor Lieberman might make. At its very best, with Livni as Prime Minister, peace talks would never include representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah at the table; and that being the case… you might as well not bother dashing for renewed hope, knowing full well that to be a waste of time and effort.

It’s really all about that 6-day war of four decades ago, and the territories forcefully acquired by a victorious Israel. It’s not about terrorism, or the recognition of Israel by factions of the Arab-Muslim worlds, or even the much touted survival of the State of Israel. No, it’s about devolution of territories to the right owners, territories which after 42 years have become in the eyes of most Israelis as their legitimate God-given land.

It was in late May of 1967, just shortly before final exams at the university, that two of my student-peers and project-collaborators (in two different courses) were trying to exert an unusual amount of influence on my thinking with reference to the cauldron coming to boil in the Holy Land: Farid, a Coptic Christian from Cairo, who had ran a business in the Los Angeles area for a decade, and who had decided to pursue doctoral studies in order to teach in the California State College System; and Ari, an Israeli high school teacher and reservist fighter-pilot in the IAF, who was working towards an MBA as passport to some hopeful riches in the world of business. Two friends exhibiting two different postures, and ways of viewing – prejudicially I suppose – the reality of what was transpiring in their exiled homelands. They both reasoned their positions well, far from the cheap rationalizations one might suspect; yet, both versions requiring third party mediation to get resolved. And just as I was unable to arbitrate, moderating the passion in my two friends… the then ongoing cold war defined the stance of the US.

It took an ending to the cold war and four years of preparatory work for Israel to make peace with Egypt and Jordan… over a quarter of a century in all. Unfortunately, during that period it was the Palestinians who were handed a raw deal as Israel enforced its own eminent domain in ways it probably wishes it hadn’t, creating for itself a problem that it would find improbable to resolve even with a left-leaning government, and most certainly impossible to resolve with a right to far-right government.

And we, here in America, still don’t get… hanging our hope on a mythical change that might come about when Tweedledum takes over the chair vacated by Tweedledee in our political game of musical chairs as the political needle travels from Right to Far Right, and back to Right again.

Obama’s refusal to answer veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas’ question during last week’s press conference – as to naming the countries in the Middle East that possess nuclear weapons – spoke much louder to me than the symbolic gesture he made with the al-Arabiya interview, or with the soft-diplomacy in dispatching George Mitchell to the Middle East. It should’ve been obvious in December that the selection of combative Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s Chief of Staff, a true “Praetorian Guard” for Israel, was a way of telling Israel, as well as American Jewry, that their cause would be well served during the Obama administration… as it has been in the past with each and every previous administration. In America, Zionists-R-Us! Yes, even if our nation is led by someone with Hussein as his middle name.