March 21, 2013

"If we’re going to be successful, part of what we’re going to have to do is get out of the formulas and habits that have blocked progress."

"Both sides are going to have to think anew."

Obama, at a news conference with Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority.
What was surprising, given how much Mr. Obama appeared to give up on the peace process at the end of his first term, was how ready he seemed to take up the challenge once again of trying to broker a deal that creates a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.

“I absolutely believe it is still possible, but it is very difficult,” Mr. Obama said. “If we can get direct negotiations started again, I believe the shape of a potential deal is there.”
I don't see why it's "surprising" that he'd say something bland and minimal like "still possible" when he's actually taken the trouble to go over there. It's not like before he'd said "I absolutely give up." He merely "appeared to give up." Has this appearance changed? He'd never gone to Israel before, not in his entire first term. Now, at the beginning of his second term, he's getting the visit in, so you won't be able to say he never went. What is "surprising"? There's nothing new. But, he says, "Both sides are going to have to think anew." Is that new or is the same old hopelessness?

ADDED: It just crossed my mind for the first time in a long time: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. That took a lot of pressure off him to make the usual gestures at solving the Palestinian problem. Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?

54 comments:

n.n said...

Empty rhetoric. He does not understand the situation. He does not know history. He is indeed a good politician for these interesting times.

bagoh20 said...

Having a go at solving this problem seems to be irresistible to every American President, but Obama seems to be the least driven about it in some time. Maybe that's the secret - not really trying to fix it. If so, he's the guy for the job.

William said...

When you consider the strife between Sunnis and Shiites, Muslims and Coptics, Alawites and Sunnis, etc., then the relations between Jews and Palestinians is a model of peace and harmony that others in the Middle East should strive for.

Jay said...

Headline:

Obama’s Middle East policy in tatters: U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration


No matter, voting for him makes people feel good!

Marshal said...

Palestinians try to kill civilians while Obama's in the country and all he does is repeat platitudes.

The Godfather said...

Of course "the shape of a potential deal is there.” In fact, the "shape" of several "deals" is there. The problem is getting the parties to agree to the same deal.

I can see the "shape" of my getting a "potential date" with Michelle Williams, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Marshal said...

It just crossed my mind for the first time in a long time: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. That took a lot of pressure off him to make the usual gestures at solving the Palestinian problem.

Presidents meddle in that mess to influence the history books. America's first black president isn't too worried about being overlooked.

edutcher said...

Waiting for Choom to tell us Netanyahu missed the bus and that we have Peace for our time.

Writ Small said...

Listened live. There was little in his delivery to suggest he believed what he was saying.

10% of Israelis have a favorable view of the man. I don't see this trip affecting that.

Mitchell the Bat said...

He missed the opportunity to use pad and paper to show everyone how to think outside the box.

Pogo said...

Schoolchildren should memorize this Obama speech. Then recite it backwards.

It's a cognitive palindrome, meaningless forward and back.

YoungHegelian said...

The Palestinians torpedoed any chance for peace when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip.

Hamas hates Fatah. Fatah hates Hamas. Both hate the Israelis, Fatah just a little less so for public consumption.

Whatever deal one cuts with one group won't work with the other. It really isn't worth anyone's (American, EU, Arab) time to try and kick out the jams with this group of squabbling clowns.

chrisnavin.com said...

Obama might feel a renewed sense of importance traveling abroad, where he can keep campaigning and agitating for the ideas in his head, using the work of many others to appear more experienced, pragmatic, and able than he is.

They'll figure it out soon enough, if they haven't already.

Baron Zemo said...

Maybe he can address the fact that Iran just threatened to level Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel attacks Iran.

What is he doing to stop that from happening?

What are his plans if it does happen?

What kind of fuel will they be putting in Air Force One?

Baron Zemo said...

Of course he really has only one answer.

He will be happy to discuss his "Final Four."

CWJ said...

The peace process died, to the extent that there was one, when Arafat walked away from the Clinton-brokered deal of the century without even a counteroffer. Everything since has been cynical theatre.

The only peace the Pali leadership will accept is the peace of the grave - for Israel.

Tank said...

It's a photo op for the idiot Jews who support him.

On the other hand, the situation is unsolvable and, if it were me, I'd say why bother.

On the day I was born (60 years ago) the headline was "Trouble in the Mid-East."

Same today.

Same on the day I die.

The words "peace process" are themselves a joke.

Tridad said...

So he voted "present. What else is new?

traditionalguy said...

Both sides still have high hopes.

The Muslims hope to rape, loot and murder the Jews and occupy Jerusalem, all to please alah; and the Jews hope that God will grant them victory over those who planning to rape, loot and murder them for the crime of exiting on the small part of the earth that belongs to them.

But Obama knows that. His job is to pretend it is not happening

elkh1 said...

"Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?"

Unfortunately he cannot drone-attack the Israelis to submission.

Peter said...

"In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders."

-- Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order"

Perhaps more progress could be made if we recognized Islam for what it is, and stopped pretending that it is what we want it to be.

In the present context, it's unlikely that any Palestinian organization can offer Israel anything more than a hudna. It may be in Isreal's and/or our interest to accept it. But there's no profit in pretending that it's anything other than what it is.

prairie wind said...

Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?

Whoa! Obama justify anything? It is already clear that he deserves whatever he wants.

Sam L. said...

Benghazi Barry justifies nothing.

Brew Master said...

Obama doesn't have to do anything to justify his Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the prize for not being GWB. That is all that was necessary.

His words, as always, are mere empty platitudes that he does not actually believe. This is as true domestically as it is internationally.

His actions do not match his words, and by actions are we all judged (unless we are Obama, then it's Hear/See/Speak no evil.

James Pawlak said...

I suggest that we return to the ideas basic to the Constitution and the Crusades.

Pogo said...

Platitudes are mammals that lay eggs.

exhelodrvr1 said...

He is such an eloquent speaker, though. And black!!

Larry J said...

You know how they say that your body burns more calories eating celery than is contained in the celery? Well, Obama is like that. If you listen to him speak (and why would you want to waste time like that?), you end up knowing less than before he spoke. His whole administration is like that. In the end, America will be less well off after his reign as president than before.

Andrew said...

Obviously Palestinians should just role over, play dead and let Israel demolish all of their homes while swallowing up the rest of the West Bank with heavily subsidized colonies. For them to do otherwise would be anti-Semitic.

Andrew said...

Islam has bloody borders.

Uh huh. And the United States of America's borders are built on peace and brotherhood among men I suppose? I suppose that's true if you ignore the mass killings and forced expulsions of Native Americans. There's also that whole deal with the entire southwestern US being--you know--taken from Mexico through brute force.

But yeah, damn Muzzies. So unique in their use of violence for political ends.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

You seem to be such a stickler for the proper word in the proper place, Ann, do you really think "won" belongs in that sentence?

My own choice would be "was surprisingly given".

Mark said...

Did the Nobel Prize come with a side order of waffles? (Now there's a moment that in retrospect was portentous.)

Gahrie said...

Obviously Palestinians should just role over, play dead and let Israel demolish all of their homes while swallowing up the rest of the West Bank with heavily subsidized colonies. For them to do otherwise would be anti-Semitic.

I used to be very pro Palestinian. (I still think they deserve their own State) I have visited the Palestinian consulate in London as a kid, belonged to the Palestine Cultural Club in college, and even written political arguments for their magazine.

The Palestinians were screwed in 1947. But they were screwed by everyone including their own leadership, and their leadership has continued to screw them ever since. The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They have never done anything constructive, merely engaged in death and destruction.

The one nation in the Middle East in which the Palestinian underclass has the best standard of living is in Israel.

edutcher said...

Andrew said...

Islam has bloody borders.

Uh huh. And the United States of America's borders are built on peace and brotherhood among men I suppose? I suppose that's true if you ignore the mass killings and forced expulsions of Native Americans.


The Indians (they may, in fact, have killed off the real Native Americans) did most of the mass killings. And practically none of the tribes originated where the Americans found them.

That's how Coronado first met the Apaches in Kansas.

There's also that whole deal with the entire southwestern US being--you know--taken from Mexico through brute force.

We offered a deal for Texas. Santa Anna's political opponents used it as a pretext to overthrow the government and start a war.

(yes, they started it)

We occupied Northern Mexico and the Gulf coast down to Veracruz and inland to Mexico City.

If we'd wanted to keep it, the border would be down around Acapulco.

And we still paid the 75% of the original offer.

But yeah, damn Muzzies. So unique in their use of violence for political ends.

Not too many people go around blowing up pizza parlors and bar mitzvahs and calling themselves heroes for doing it.

Unless you count the Commies.

CWJ said...

Funny thing about BOTH the Israelis and the Mexican war. At the time, the "smart money" was on the Arabs and the Mexicans. It was thought in the 1940"s that the professional Arab armies would have no trouble pushing an Israeli militia into the sea. Likewise, in the 1840's, Europe thought Mexico would have no trouble dealing with America's illdisciplined volunteer army.

Yeah, funny how the underdog's can be transformed into bullies because they kicked the snot out of the one's who threw the first punch. Sour grapes will do that to you.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Here's another thing.

Can we stop already with phrases (Obama used one today) like ". . . we look forward to day when Jews, Christians, and Muslims can live peacefully side by side together."?

This is NEVER going to happen. Never.

Blacks will support Republicans before THAT happens.

Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc ALREADY live side by side, have for decades, with no issues.

It's the Muslims that are the problem. To them, we are not neighbors, but infidels. This is a tenant of their religion, and will NEVER not be so.

They, and ONLY they, are the problem, the block in an imagined path to a future utopia.

So Obama, making statements like he did today to Jewish young folks, are completely unnecessary and worse than useless.

But it is the optics safe play, so there's that.

harrogate said...


"Maybe he can address the fact that Iran just threatened to level Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel attacks Iran."

Bad as Iran is, isn't this particular threat the same thing any nation with weapons capacity would give? For Baron, it's as if the "if Israel attacks Iran" part is irrelevant. It's interesting stuff.

n.n said...

CWJ:

Their "leaders" continued the push in Jordan and were pushed into the "sea" of West Bank and Gaza. Some people do not learn until their options are physically limited. Perhaps with American aid they will succeed in Syria, where they previously failed in Jordan and Israel.

Astro said...

It just crossed my mind for the first time in a long time: Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. That took a lot of pressure off him to make the usual gestures at solving the Palestinian problem. Or do you think he feels he ought to justify the prize retroactively?

I don't think he really, in his gut, understands the concept of earning something. I think in his mind the praise and awards he gets are given to him just because he is who he is. Mr. Awesomeness. 'Justify the prize'? That's a meaningless string of words.

edutcher said...

harrogate said...

Maybe he can address the fact that Iran just threatened to level Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel attacks Iran.

Bad as Iran is, isn't this particular threat the same thing any nation with weapons capacity would give? For Baron, it's as if the "if Israel attacks Iran" part is irrelevant. It's interesting stuff.


Last I looked, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan gave it the old college try on several occasions, so harro's "ho hum, another threat" attitude is pretty stupid given, when one of these cutthroats says, "We're coming", they usually come.

Of course, it's no skin off harro's nose. He's been rooting for the cutthroats ever since the Russkies backed Yassir Arafat back in the 60s.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

In a way, you can say that an award is only as prestigious as the actual worthiness of the least impressive person to have it.

By giving it to Obama, the committee has tarnished and cheapened it beyond redemption.

Howard said...

He knows nothing will happen, it's just his turn to kick the can down the road

JAL said...

I cannot think of one single way Barack Obama could ever earn the prize Irena Sendler shuld have receeived.

No way.

He should be ashamed.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Not too many people go around blowing up pizza parlors and bar mitzvahs and calling themselves heroes for doing it.

But they do join gangs of murderers called the "US Military" and the "IDF" and are worshiped as heroes for doing so.

harrogate said...

"when one of these cutthroats says, 'We're coming,' they usually come"

Is saying "we're coming" the same thing as saying "we're coming if you attack us"?

In your world, I mean.

CWJ said...

OK, Andrew, I get it. Just to be clear, are there any organized regulated armed forces that you would NOT describe as "gangs of murderers"?

CWJ said...

Harrogate, Seriously, you had a point in your earlier post, but now you're the one ignoring context. Iran is on record saying that Israel should be wiped off the map, period, attack or no attack. They don't need a reason. Iran is the state bankrolling the organizations givine Israel the greatest grief. This particular quote is for political opinion only. And you fell for it hook line and sinker. They really should pay you.

harrogate said...

CWJ,

Of course they've gone on record saying such things. At the same time,there's been talk for years of Israel and/or the US "preemptively" striking Iranian targets. So, what if that actually happens? Would you be surprised if Iran hit back, in that scenario? I wouldn't be.

Nor do I think one could sincerely express "outrage" at them for striking back, if hit first.

Gahrie said...

Nor do I think one could sincerely express "outrage" at them for striking back, if hit first.

So you're saying we have to wait until the Iranians nuke a couple of Israeli cities before we can do anything about their intentions?

Just out of curiousity, would you blame the Israelis for striking back?

harrogate said...

"Just out of curiousity, would you blame the Israelis for striking back?"

Absolutely not. I mean, I am not going so far as to even say I'd "blame" them if they hit FIRST, for that matter. I am saying however, if they DID hit first, then it would be disingenous to wax surprised or outraged when Iran hit second.

Gary Rosen said...

"they do join gangs of murderers called the "US Military" "

OK, let's look at who the US has fought over the past century:

German imperialists

Japanese warlords (of "Rape of Nanking" fame)

Nazis

Russian and Chinese communists

Islamic fanatics


Now which of these would you have preferred to win over the "gang of murderers"?

Gary Rosen said...

Android, Palestine was supposed to be partitioned between Jews and Arabs in 1947. Jews accepted it, Arabs started a war sworn to "drive the Jews into the sea" (later version in 1967: "finish what Hiter started"). After the war, the West Bank and Gaza were *still* in the hands of Arabs who refused to establish a Palestinian state. So the fault for the Palestinians not having their own country is 100% with the Arabs, 0% with Israel.

Paco Wové said...

Andrew: you've got straw man and tu quoque down; now you can move on to non sequitur and, for extra credit, affirming the consequent.