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Web Letter

I tend to agree with Mr. Casey [letter, below]. There's no will for a political settlement now, at least among those with the ability to sabotage it on either side. They both cling to the irrational, and what their rational interests are don't count for much. Both want victory over the other.

I don't think there's much for Obama to do in any affirmative sense, since no solution can be imposed from outside either.

We have potential influence in the negative sense--i.e., by cutting off subsidies to all in the region, especially Israel. But there's nowhere near a majority for that yet, in Congress or among the voters. So it's not in the cards.

What to do then?

The only thing left is to demand the impossible: that each side act rationally, pragmatically, stop the violence and make a deal. Even if it seems folly, it's better than keeping our mouths shut.

Carl Davidson

Aliquippa, PA

Jan 6 2009 - 5:53pm

Web Letter

"Why did the leaders of Hamas and Israel not wait for the incoming US president's inauguration...?" Where to begin? The leaders of Hamas have relatively little to do with the outcome: Israel's attack on Gaza.

First, Israel, according to the Israeli press, has been planning this attack on Gaza since June. Second, Israel broke the previous cease-fire six weeks ago with missile attacks. Third, although everyone likes to write about "the two sides," Hamas has few weapons and no army. This is an attack on a densely packed civilian population, made possible by the US's military aid to Israel. (By the way, Israel's use of those weapons--F16s, Apache helicopters, etc.--is a clear violation of the US Arms Export Control Act which forbids their use on civilian populations).

I do agree that it will be Obama's challenge to create a practical approach to Mideast peace, but, unless the shibboleths fostered by US media propaganda (like the idea that Hamas somehow possesses sovereign powers and military force) are confronted, progress will be impossible. Financial crisis allowed us to sweep away eight years of Bush administration de-regulation. Can this geopolitical crisis help us sweep away years of pandering to extremist Israeli governments? Hopefully The Nation will lead the way with some decent reporting.

Felice Gelman

Tarrytown, NY

Jan 1 2009 - 6:45pm

Web Letter

Everyone thinks that Obama is the Messiah--the man who will solve all problems and bring paradise to earth. In reality, Obama is a Chicago politician, nothing more, nothing less. (see Jesse Jackson, Mayor Daley, Sr. and Jr., and Rod Blagojevich)

We have a disaster in Gaza. Obama is, has been and will be, pro-Israeli. His chief of staff is an Israeli dual citizen, his foreign policy team in pro-AIPAC. So is he. Waiting for Obama to resolve the crisis in the Middle East is like waiting for Godot. It ain't gonna happen.

What is to be done? Well, Israel feels insecure, as well they should be, and Palestinians feel on the brink of disaster. We need UN/NATO/Someone intervention. We need to "pull a Kosovo."

Every day Israel grows larger and Palestine grows smaller. They were supposed to share the land of the "Palestinian Mandate"--it's now Israeli 80 percent, Palestinian 20 percent.

Israel and US preach a two-state solution, but they practice the creeping erasure of the Palestinian people.

People rebel under such desperate circumstances. Let's hope there is some power to get Israel to stop, just like NATO stopped the Serbs from attacking Kosovo.

Howard Kaplan

Belmont, MA

Jan 1 2009 - 6:35pm

Web Letter

Mr. Scheer, just like many of us, you have tried hard to make a difference. But the game is really over, and you must know it.

Zionist Israel has bought the country and its government. The evidence warrants no other conclusion.

The mainstream news about the Gaza massacre is so farcical that any objective observer couldn't miss it. "It's the rockets, the tunnels, and Iran ..."

City blocks in Gaza are obliterated, people maimed and blown apart everywhere ...

But on the TV news we see;

a hole in an Israeli building somewhere in x or y ...

Israeli women are shown wailing that their children are terrified of "the rockets... The rockets..."

And some "terrified " Israelis scurry for cover...

Obama, the first Jewish president, lofts to the green in Hawaii. Our president informs the world that the bleeding Palestinians "had better stop stop 'the rockets.' "

Even NPR has the Israeli ambassador wailing about "the rockets & Iran."

It's everywhere...

Give it up, Scheer. Israel first. We are all the raw material . Murdering Palestinians is part of the Zionist game plan.

Zionist money, power, and agit prop has won hands downAll the rest is just more farce.

gerald spezio

Santa Margarita, CA

Jan 1 2009 - 7:43am

Web Letter

This article suggests that USA has been an honest broker and that all US presidents have supported the idea of a two-state solution.

Robert Scheer should not be allowed to rewrite history in this sad manner. The USA held to the international consensus as per UN resolution 242 until 1971 when Sadat made an offer of peace to Israel. Since then it has consistently followed and refined the brutal Israeli line. The details and failures of the peace processes since then have been aimed at consolidating the Israeli position, its illegal gains and the facts on the ground whilst supporting Israel militarily, economically and politically. Since 1971 it has sheltered Israel from censure by the UN security Council. Israel has been in violation of more UN resolutions (Security Council and General Assembly) than the rest of the world combined.

The USA has continued to see Israel as a major pillar of its strategic architecture in the Middle East to defend its interest in oil from the Gulf. Israel serves no other purpose. That has been sufficient for every US president to support every effort to crush the Palestinians and to derail every Israeli effort at a peace settlement. Even when Arafat made his peace offer in 1976, he was not a partner for peace.

The failures of the peace process has been due to a refusal of Israel to recognize the right of return of Palestinian refugees as per the 1948 partition agreement and an end to the 1967 occupation and its consequences. Everything else is irrelevant. The USA has denied the relevance of every UN resolution and the applicability of internal law and conventions. No American president, even Jimmy Carter, has deviated from the Israeli stance. In fact, they take their cues on the matter from Israel. Disagreements between Israel and US administrations have not been about substance. It is and has been about perception management, i.e., the PR of occupation and the right of return. Any Palestinian who has held to these as constants for negotiation was considered by Israel and the USA as unfit for dialogue, i.e., not a partner for peace.

The Nation is a progressive paper. How does Robert Scheer feel comfortable to distort the history of US presidential leadership in the peace processes since 1948? I am of the view that the actual history of the USA on this matter is very different from what Robert Scheer believes it to have been.

Joel Arendt

London, UK

Jan 1 2009 - 5:17am

Web Letter

What Scheer nonsense! Did Israel want the second intifada? Did the Israeli right-wing want its citizens maimed and killed in order to conquer Gaza and the West Bank? Was it Israel who refused, out of hand, the Barak plan offered at the end of Clinton's terms?

How long was Israel to sit on its hands while Hamas imported more long-range rockets?

Did Israel want terrorist Hamas in Gaza as opposed to the corrupt PLO? I think Israel would have preferred the corrupt PLO.

I am so tired of the one-sidedness of voices like Amy Goodman's and other propagandists for the Arab terrorists. The Nation is as wrong on this issue as it was in supporting Obama.

Alvin D. Hofer

Saint Petersburg, FL

Dec 31 2008 - 6:56pm

Web Letter

You have answered your own question. They do not want peace now. Israel is still using settlements as a creeping form of imperialism in the West Bank. Until Israel extends from the river to the sea, Israeli governments will not seek peace. Hamas has the same goals. I don't think a general peace agreement is possible, but a long-term truce similar to the one that brought the Korean war to a halt might work. Otherwise, it is a fight to the death.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Dec 31 2008 - 3:16pm

Web Letter

A symmetrical solution:

1. By force, and with compensation, move the entire non-Israeli population out of the West Bank and Gaza.

2. Relocate them in a new Palestinian state in North America; slice away a small piece of southern Texas on the Gulf Coast on the border of Mexico; declare this the new-world Palestinian state.

4. Fund the new Palestinian state.

5. Support complete Israeli control over all territory within its boundaries, including the West Bank and Gaza.

This would give both "sides" something to lose and something to protect, motivating both for peace.

Rob Snyder

Lexington, KY

Dec 31 2008 - 11:05am

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