Palestinians Should ‘Fear’ Romney July 6, 2012

Palestinians Should ‘Fear’ Romney

The election in November between President Obama and Mitt Romney could have important consequences for the peace process. I believe that the uncertainty over who will win the election could and perhaps should convince the Palestinians that it would be in their own best interest to restart the peace process as soon as possible.

Those are the words of World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder. This thinly veiled threat comes ahead of Mitt Romney‘s planned visit to Israel to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as opposition leaders and other political figures.

There have not been any negotiations between Israel and Palestine since the Palestinians walked away from an offer, made by then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in August of 2008.

Mitt Romney will be keen to play up his foreign policy credentials during this trip and, if elected, would inherit a problem not solved by 12 previous American presidents.

What Ronald Lauder is essentially suggesting is that Romney is likely to be far more pro-Israel than Barack Obama, putting the Palestinians at an immediate disadvantage at the negotiating table. So heis suggesting that now may be the last chance they have for a good deal for quite some time.

Ronald Lauder (via Forbes)

Romney’s comments will likely be watched closely by Jewish voters back in the U.S. who traditionally vote Democrat. If Romney can convince them he will push the Israel-Palestine question back towards the top of the international agenda, he may succeed in winning over some of those voters.

In the last 18 months, that conflict has fallen off the radar, being completely overshadowed by Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in Egypt a few weeks ago, and the ongoing atrocities in Syria. Lauder certainly thinks a deal is possible with the Palestinians.

There has never been a better time to make a peace treaty between the two peoples. If both sides can sit down, I think a deal could be made quickly. I fear that unless something happens to restart negotiations in the next several months, it could lead to another Palestinian intifada.

Having been there myself — seen Jerusalem and been into Palestine — one thing is abundantly clear: The presence of the three great monotheisms is making the problem infinitely worse. If it were just a dispute over land, it would have been solved by now. Yet again, the prospect of real and lasting peace is being derailed by people’s imaginary friends.

It will be very interesting to see how Romney handles himself during the visit, and just how much reference, if any, he makes to the role religion plays in the dispute. My guess is he will do what countless others before him have done — pretend it isn’t even an issue.

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  • ortcutt

    We know that Romney is a fan of self-deportation.  That seems to be Israel’s policy when it comes to the Palestinians.  The economic paralysis caused by Israeli border control, the settlements and the geographical fragmentation of Palestinian territory make people’s lives so miserable that many are choosing to leave for somewhere else where they can live a life.  It’s ethnic cleansing with a pretty face. 

  • Simon

    *Every* US presidential candidate competes in the dangerous pissing contest of being the most “Pro-Israel”. This is hardly news. Furthermore the blog post is poorly written and even more poorly argued.

    Thanks for trying.

  • TheNaturalist

    The Palestinian’s cannot get a fair deal. Whenever Israel is calm (as it is now) they declare “there is no need to compromise, we have what we want anyway.” Whenever Israel is troubled by violence they declare “we cannot make concessions now, it will show weakness.” So the status quo continues. 
    Eventually, the Palestinians will wise up, realize the PA is just a tool of the occupation and demand equal rights in the country that controls their every move. Then maybe Israel will wish they had not been so greedy.

  • jqb

    Simon, you didn’t even bother to make an argument, you didn’t understand the blog post, you made ridiculous false claims about it, and you managed to display immense unwarranted arrogance in the process. No thanks for that.

  • jqb

    “demand equal rights”

    Unfortunately, such demands have no force behind them. It’s a bit like demanding that corporations dissolve.

  • Didn’t Republicans flip a shit back in ’08 over Obama speaking to foreign officials while he was still campaigning?  Good to see double standards are still in force!

  • Tinker

    The more I hear about this the more I think my wife is correct; drop a nuke on the place and make it uninhabitable for 100 years.

  • Gee thanks.

    That would also nuke me. So, to you and your wife: kindly fuck off before I start asking for you both to be nuked as well.

  • Ignoramus. You don’t deserve an argument.

  •  Please, clue me in. What position was “poorly argued”?

  •  Having worked in the region as a private military contractor, I felt the same way at times. However, I also have family in southern Lebanon, (right next to the Israeli border) and I’d certainly hate to see them get vaporized. 🙂
    Yes, there’s a lot of religion based stupidity going on over there, but as it’s the area where all of these religions originated, it’s not to be unexpected, right?

  • Simon

    OK, well for starters, let’s assume that one tries to buy into Mark Turner’s factual claim that ”
    There have not been any negotiations between Israel and Palestine since the Palestinians walked away from an offer, made by then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in August of 2008.”

    The article being linked has a statement by Saeb Erekat that directly contradicts this and this is not even acknowledged:

    Answering Olmert’s accusation, Erekat said that it was the Gaza War in December 2008 and not a Palestinian walkout that collapsed negotiations:On December 18th [2008], we went to Washington, we met with President Bush ad Secretary [of State] Rice. And we told them that these are the two maps we have exchanged…. President Bush asked President Abbas to send someone to Washington on January 2, 2009. And President Abbas old him, “I will send Saeb Erekat.” And he called Prime Minister Olmert and said him, “I need you to send someone from Israel.” Prime Minister agreed and said, “I will send Shalom Turgeman”, my counterpart. Unfortunately on December 27th, instead of preparing to go to Washington, the Israelis went to Gaza, in a war. That is the truth.

    There is also this gem: “What Ronald Lauder is essentially suggesting is that Romney is likely to be far more pro-Israel than Barack Obama, putting the Palestinians at an immediate disadvantage at the negotiating table. ”

    Newsflash: The Palestinians are already at a “huge disadvantage” in every way possible. Israel has the overwhelming military advantage and the more or less unconditional backing of the US. Israel has peace treaties with neighboring Egypt and Jordan which nobody wants to jeopardize. Another large military power in the area is Saudi Arabia and their alliance with the US is also extremely strong. Let’s also not ignore the horrific punitive blockade on Gaza: or the completely illegal occupation of the West Bank and the annexation of East Jerusalem that have been repeatedly declared illegal by the UN:

    I could go on but one would have thought that Hemant has *some* standards for articles he allows to be posted here.

  • The Captain

    Your a deep thinker who has the ability to understand and reason through complex social problems with the upmost bit of humanity.

  • Does anybody understand that the reason our Conservative/Bible-Thumping Pols are so friendly with Israel is because they’re hoping the more military aid we give them, the bigger the possibility somebody will lob a nuke at Tel-Aviv, thus triggering “Armageddon” and the Return of Jeebus?

    Without the bibble, Congress would treat Israel just like any other Middle-East country without Oil.

  • Simon

    Just who would be lobbing said nuke? You do realize Israel is the only country in the region that has nuclear weapons…

  • Simon

    Or as Ehud Barak stated a couple years ago (emphasis mine):

    “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan river there is only one political entity called Israel it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.


  • Simon

    See my response above.

  • Simon

    Attention mod: Advocating violence alert.

  • How about we remove all the people first, and then nuke the place? Seriously, while it would be sad to lose the history associated with the region, permanent evacuation and/or dismantling of religious structures would be worth it to prevent more people from being killed over utter nonsense.

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