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U.S. Briefs Media on Structure, Motivation for Israel-PA Direct Talks

Prior to the Israel-PA direct negotiations, a high-ranking administration official briefed the media on what to expect. Here, a summary of the most interesting points.

by
Barry Rubin

Bio

August 31, 2010 - 5:41 pm
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Virtually none of these eight points is ever addressed by the U.S. government or the mass media. Well, the briefing did mention one: claiming that a recent poll showed that over 80 percent of the Arabs in the six most moderate countries are “still in principle open to the two-state solution.”

This argument, by the way, is expressed with the most appalling distortions of the facts. For example: the briefer bragged that 39 percent said that a two-state solution would happen through negotiations, as if this was some amazing fact. Of course that’s what they say — it’s amazing more don’t say it! They certainly don’t think this would be the outcome of any war they won!

The briefer also said that the majority of those polled believe that if there is no two-state solution, there will be conflict in the coming years. What this leaves out: they probably believe that a two-state solution would also bring conflict, and they believe that if Israel doesn’t meet every Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim demand, there can be no two-state (temporary) solution.

Moreover, the briefer left out the fact that the poll showed an astonishingly high level of support from revolutionary Islamist leaders (including Iran’s regime), and groups in the most moderate states.

But why go on? The ultimate argument, which really underlies all the others: Would you rather have us do nothing? Shouldn’t we try?

Sure. You must, however, act with a realistic and honest assessment of the situation, and with the proper preparations:

– To stage negotiations without ever pressuring the PA to stop the very incitement and radicalism that ensures there is no popular base for peace is to guarantee failure.

– Showing you are ready to accept a Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, and to protect it from being overthrown, is to ensure there is no basis for peace.

–To fail to show strong backing for moderates — including the Lebanese independence forces — while coddling extremists is to ensure there is no strategic basis for peace.

Many more points can be added here. No, this is not the best that the United States of America could do. Yes, the talks will fail. Certainly, much of the media will pretend otherwise.

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Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition, Viking-Penguin), the paperback edition of The Truth about Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). The website of the GLORIA Center is at http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.
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