Posted by Joshua on Sunday, July 11th, 2010
Swoop claims that one senior US official described the outcome of the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu as a “ritualized reversal” of his Middle East policy. The article adds: “US officials tell us privately that they are deeply pessimistic about any immediate advances in the peace process.”
Gideon Levy agrees with this assessment of the Obama-Netanyahu meeting. He writes:
If there remained any vestiges of hope in the Middle East from Barack Obama, they have dissipated; if some people still expected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lead a courageous move, they now know they made a mistake (and misled others ).
Gideon Levy has also written a wonderful article entitled, “A Peace Crime.” In which he explains that Assad has stated very clearly that Syria wants peace, but Israel will not say yes and test him. Why? Levy argues it is because Israel would prefer to keep the Golan. I copy the article below. The comment section is interesting because so many Israelis argue against him, calling Assad a bad person, calling Syria a bad country, claiming Israel deserves the land, arguing that it was Syria’s fault for losing it, that Israel won it fairly, that it needs it for defense, etc.
Turkey is scheduled to get a new US ambassador. This is an occasion for a good fight in the halls of the Obama administration. Ambassador Ricciardone’s name has been put forward. The neocons want to sink his nomination because they want Obama to take a hard line on Turkey and punish it for breaking with Israel. Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy explains that Obama’s people will probable waffle, as it is doing with Syria, and allow Ricciardone to languish. He writes,
the main question will be whether the Obama administration is willing to make that case and use some of its political capital to push the nomination through. They haven’t always been eager to do so, as with the nomination of Robert Ford to be ambassador to Syria. Ford is well-liked by everybody, but the administration hasn’t been active in pressing for his confirmation, potentially because it isn’t eager to have a public debate about its policy of engaging Syria — which has yet to show results.
A peace crime
What more can Assad say that he hasn’t already? How long must he knock in vain on Israel’s locked door?
By Gideon Levy
It couldn’t have been spelled out more explicitly, clearly and emphatically. Read and judge for yourselves: “Our position is clear: When Israel returns the entire Golan Heights, of course we will sign a peace agreement with it …. What’s the point of peace if the embassy is surrounded by security, if there is no trade and tourism between the two countries? That’s not peace. That’s a permanent cease-fire agreement. This is what I say to whoever comes to us to talk about the Syrian track: We are interested in a comprehensive peace, i.e., normal relations.”
Who said this to whom? Syrian President Bashar Assad to the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir last week. These astounding things were said to Arab, not Western ears, and they went virtually unnoticed here. Can you believe it?
What more can Assad say that he hasn’t already? How many more times does he have to declare his peaceful intentions before someone wakes up here? How long must he knock in vain on Israel’s locked door? And if that were not enough, he also called on Turkey to work to calm the crisis with Israel so it can mediate between Israel and Syria.
Assad’s words should have been headline news last week and in the coming weeks. Anwar Sadat said less before he came to Israel. In those days we were excited by his words, today we brazenly disregard such statements. This leads to only one conclusion: Israel does not want peace with Syria. Period. It prefers the Golan over peace with one of its biggest and most dangerous enemies. It prefers real estate, bed and breakfasts, mineral water, trendy wine and a few thousand settlers over a strategic change in its status.
Just imagine what would happen if we emerged from the ruins of our international status to sign a peace agreement with Syria – how the international climate regarding us would suddenly change, how the “axis of evil” would crack and Iran’s strongholds weaken, how Hezbollah would get a black eye, more than in all the Lebanon wars….
True, they say the Mossad chief thinks that Assad will never make peace because the whole justification for his regime is based on hostility toward Israel. Our experts are never wrong, but similar things were said about Sadat. True, Assad also said other things. Other? Not really. He said that if he does not succeed through peace, he will try to liberate the Golan through resistance. Illogical? Illegitimate? …
A responsible neighbor
First of all, by easing the blockade of Gaza after the flotilla incident, Israel admitted in retrospect that its previous policy was wrong. No international commission will justify the blockade after Netanyahu has renounced it.
By Aluf Benn, 07.07.10, Haaretz
My man of the week is Syrian President Bashar Assad. His call to calm the crisis in Israeli-Turkish relations seems like a serious attempt to cool the mutual invective between Ankara and Jerusalem. “If the relationship between Turkey and Israel is not renewed, it will be very difficult for Turkey to play a role in negotiations to revive the Middle East peace process,” Assad said on Monday in Spain. And he added that failure to mend these ties would “without doubt affect the stability in the region.”
Assad’s balanced position was a surprise. Instead of getting up and cursing Israel for its “aggression” against a Gaza-bound flotilla in May, he acted like a responsible neighbor by trying to calm the dispute. His remarks are being interpreted as a diplomatic warning to Turkey’s leaders: If you continue quarreling with Israel, you will lose your influence and encourage the extremists who undermine stability. Cool it.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, have turned out to be talented diplomats. The flotilla that set out for the Gaza Strip under their aegis resulted in the easing of Israel’s blockade on Gaza. And Davutoglu’s recent meeting with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer did more to undermine the unity of Israel’s governing coalition than any other incident to date. Even U.S. President Barack Obama, for all his efforts, was unable to so threaten the stability of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule….