Friday, May 6, 2011

Mofaz's Permission

Should Mahmud Abbas tell Bibi Netanyahu that he would not engage with the Israeli government unless every minister was, individually, prepared to endorse a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, renounce the use of force in the occupied territory, renounce settlement, oh, and represent a faction with no civilian blood on its hands?  It would be a small coalition, without Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, National Union, and half of the Likud. Secretary Clinton, so far, is striking the right note.

Yesterday, on Israeli radio, there was report that Shaul Mofaz, the former Chief of Staff and Kadima's Number Two--the Chairman, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and former Defense Minister to boot--told Yediot's Nahum Barnea in a soon to be published interview that Palestine's unity government is an opportunity that cannot be missed. Watch this story. Mofaz may well give the Israeli center, and the whole of the Western diplomatic community, permission to support Abbas's efforts to make unity work--perhaps even give Palestinian democracy the respect it deserves.

Note: I'm going to be traveling for a couple of weeks and will be blogging haphazardly. This is probably a good time to sign up for email delivery of the blog. New Yorkers: I'll be appearing at YIVO on the evening of May 18 on a panel honoring Philip Roth. 


Y. Ben-David said...

Ah yes, Shaul Mofaz, man of integrity...the Chief of Staff who let his soldier Madhat Yusuf bleed to death in Joseph's Tomb in Shechem while he and Prime Minister Barak were negotiating business deals with Jibril Rajoub in order to get Rajoub to agree to evacuating Yusuf.
Mofaz is also the man, 24 hours before he jumped from the Likud to KADIMA announced "I will never, ever leave the Likud, it is my home".
No wonder Bernie likes him....he is a good example of the "every man has his price" philosophy we see here (you know...the one that says "the Palestinian entrepeneurial elites will 'push aside' the armed militias of FATAH and HAMAS...")

Anonymous said...

Hamas is more similar to a Kach than a shas or Yisrael Beiteinu. Just saying.

john james said...

Y. Ben-David is here making the argument of a flea: namely that because Shaul Mofaz may have been imperfect in the past, any present argument he makes is somehow invalidated. This is parasitical thinking, designed to suck the life out of an argument by pushing too close to it. As such it is fundamentally dishonest, because it does nothing to address the argument itself (and thus remains a popular form with conservatives, who rarely make good arguments (instead responding mostly to fears and lusts) and therefore have every interest in a technique that manages to avoid them).

The real argument is this: is a Palestinian unity government a good idea? - the answer to which has nothing to do with whether or not Mofaz was ordered back from Corporal Yusuf, or whether he is honor-bound to remain in a party once he states that this is his intention.

Also, Y. Ben-David's occasional antagonism towards Prof. Avishai is bullying and juvenile - ie, all too common conservative traits. He should keep in mind that the only difference between debatably responsible conservatives and outright fascists is the hard work of liberals like Prof. Avishai. Otherwise there would be nothing to hinder conservatives from pursuing their natural state.

Y. Ben-David said...

I see, you are NOT "juvenile and bullying" when you make gross generalizations like saying those characteristics "are all too common conservative traits".
Let me understand this....according to you, Leftist/Liberals/Progressives, because of their political views are automatically nice people who would never bully anyone and always behave in a mature way, whereas people with conservative political views are inherently people with bad traits.
In other words, you are acting in a way you accused conservatives of acting....including stereotyping people and making overgeneralizations. Got it.

Shoded Yam said...

Stop whining Ben David, or I'll come back here and smack you myself.

Acuumyst Report said...

During the Gaza war, I had been advocating to finish the Hamas, once and for all. It did not happened. I strongly believe that neocons and religious "freaks" in Israel governmenment and political spectrum need Hamas for their political ends. If there was not Hamas, Israel would have to invent it. Average Israelis and Jews outside are scared, same like Palestininians, they are turning to simple for them black & white "solutions" offered to them by people who do not have a end to the conflict because they would loose power.

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

The problem with Mofaz is that he is a crass opportunist. He wants to be PM and this is what drives his every political act and word.
But maybe there's an opportunity in his opportunism too ;----)

Potter said...

Good for Clinton! She must have ears tuned to more than the Netanyahu world view which is one that, stupidly, simply cannot see the validity of the point of view from the other side. The dog "terror" still hunts. That word "terror" is used to describe the boogie men after Israel's "security". Terror is not associated with actions that Israel uses against Palestinians. Hamas is "terrorist" even when it is observing a ceasefire and making moderate noises and moves which are then down-played or ignored or mischaracterized.

How about the idea that the occupation itself is harming Israel's security? And indeed Israeli "terror" is a fact too (as we can see so well in the late Juliano Meir-Khamis' film)?

The Netanyahu language, so indulged, ( also used by our GW Bush so well to justify our wars) indicates that at this late date in Israel it is still not well enough understood or accepted that the other side also requires legitimacy to end this morass.

How many times and by how many of Israel's leaders has the goal been Hamas annihilation? Why should Hamas not fight for it's own survival and also not give in until it is no longer threatened? Hamas has, despite it's extreme and abhorrent tactics, proven itself to be an able and legitimate expression of a political mood heavily stimulated by Israel- ongoing. Extremist moods can change (or be subdued) on both sides. Netanyahu keeps showing he needs Hamas as a terrorist organization. What a shame for Israel to have this leader.

Maybe there are some grown-up viewpoints gaining ground elsewhere. I hope.

Recruiting Animal said...

Your comparison between the Israeli and Palestinian positions seems to contain an error

The peace plan means protection for the Palestinian land from the expansionist Greater Israel types.

So why would the Palestinians refuse to negotiate even if these radicals are in the government when the goal of the peace plan is to stop the expansionists.

On the other hand, the Israelis are afraid that giving the Palestinians full control of the West Bank will empower the Palestinian radicals.

The Palestinians have everything to gain by coming to a deal no matter who is in power in Israel.

Israel has something to gain but also a clear risk.

The negotiating positions do not seem to be the same but you are equating them.

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