A (rather) wretched state of affairs and Obama's chance to change it

Feb 18, 2011
*Special to asia!

The Palestinian Authority maneuvers an obstacle course on the path to statehood, and today it goes to the United Nations with a vote against Israel. Question: Will the Americans help or hinder it?

As Professor John J. Mearsheimer, co-author of  “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” put it in a recent interview, Obama on this issue is not more powerful than the Israel lobby.

The Israel lobby is the collective of groups which staunchly and powerfully work to influence US government decisions in a direction in line with the policies of the Jewish state. (The threat of them retaliating against a move seen as anti-Israeli at the next election may be too much for Obama to bear, especially with his Democratic Party already losing favour with mainstream American voters at the last midterm elections.)

Washington's view - as articulated by U.S. Deputy Ambassador to the UN Rosemary DiCarlo - is that the settlement issue should be resolved in direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

This is at the very least a bizarre opinion, considering it has been revealed by an Israeli daily that Netanyahu will not negotiate directly with the Palestinian Authority.

As translated by Didi Remez in Coheret,

“In the past weeks, Israeli representatives, including Netanyahu, have repeatedly rejected official documents that their Palestinian counterparts have tried to submit to them, with details of the Palestinian positions on all the core issues.  The Israeli representatives are completely unwilling to discuss, read or touch these documents, not to speak of submitting an equivalent Israeli document with the Israeli positions…This completely contradicts the Israeli position, according to which everything is open for negotiation, and Netanyahu is willing to talk about all the core issues and go into a room with Abu Mazen in order to come out of it with an arrangement.  If this is the case, there is no reason for the Israelis not to willingly accept a review of the Palestinian positions in order to present counter-papers that will make it possible to start bridging the gaps.”

For all its grandiose talk about promoting democracy and freedom in the world, when push comes to shove, the United States – even under Obama - seems yet again woefully unable to live up to its words.

Faced with the opportunity to make an audacious move against its ally Israel for the sakes of the Palestinian people, and back a United Nations resolution - which Israel has traditionally and will most certainly continue to ignore anyway – what did the US do?

It blinked.

And that holy city, Jerusalem, returns to its state of wretched hopelessness.

dan-chyi chua

Dan-Chyi Chua was a broadcast journalist, before forsaking Goggle Box Glitz for the Open Road. A three-year foray led her through the Middle East, China, SE Asia, Latin America and Cuba, and she's now grounded herself as a writer for theasiamag.com, content with spending her days in Jerusalem.

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