Monday, November 21, 2011

The End of the Peace Process

The "peace process" which created two terrorist states inside Israel may have begun in Oslo, but it ended in Cairo. Normalizing relations with the rest of the Middle East was one of the carrots that got the Jewish state hopping down the appeasement trial-- and that carrot is now officially off the table.

The days when Thomas Friedman and his Saudi buddies could talk about normalization have passed. The Arab Spring saw to that and with Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and an unknown number of others sliding into the Islamist camp, and out of reach of negotiations, there's a New Middle East that has even less in common with the old gentlemanly diplomacy model than the old one did. Some of the dimmer Israeli leaders may still believe that peace is possible with the Islamists of Turkey's AKP, but not even they think that peace is possible with the Brotherhood.

If Western diplomats could offer regional acceptance twenty years ago, today that has all the credibility of a Rolex sold out of a briefcase just off Central Park. The end of the Camp David Accords has killed the grandaddy of the appeasement through territorial surrender template and with Assad looking shaky, the refusal to give up the Golan Heights to Syria seems downright prescient even to peaceniks.

The Brotherhood's attitude toward Israel is indistinguishable from that of Iran, and with the Islamist way in ascendance, that attitude will be the dominant one throughout the region, turning back the clock on decades of diplomatic efforts. The Islamists will negotiate temporary truces and ceasefires, but not the peace and brotherhood accords so beloved by the US and the EU.

And even the remaining regimes that haven't fallen look like poor prospects for paying out peace dividends after even the most stable country in the region, Egypt, melted down into mob violence and religious fanaticism. If Egypt can turn into battling mobs who don't agree on anything except their hatred for religious and ethnic minorities, including a country full of them living next door, then no Muslim nation in the region is safe.

Without normalization on the table, all that's left is outside pressure. But for the first time in a long time the Arab Spring has given Western diplomats something to do in the region besides denounce Jews living in Jerusalem. And the usual Arab League chorus that the region's problems would be solved if only there were a Palestinian state sounds silly even to veteran diplomats who usually funnel this sort of nonsense right back to the White House.

Obama's hostility toward Israel has paradoxically lessened the pressure by removing the leverage. Condoleezza Rice could get on the phone and warn that another house in XYZ would wreck the positive relationship with the White House. But there is as much of a prospect of a positive relationship with the White House, as there is with Iran, Hamas and the Brotherhood.

Israel still has a strategic relationship with the United States, but relations with the administration are cold, which also means there is less to be afraid of. Netanyahu's exchange with Obama was startling for a careful diplomat from a country that usually avoids offending its big brother. The only way it could have happened is if Netanyahu had felt that there was nothing to lose. And he was right.

For the first time since Begin, an Israeli leader pushed back against White House pressure and it led to a slight improvement, not because Obama listened, but because the relationship was so toxic that using the confrontational tactics practiced by the Palestinian Authority actually worked. Only when the relationship hit rock bottom, was any attempt made by the White House to salvage it.

The situation is even uglier on the European side, which has not been friendly in a long time, but hasn't been this hateful either. But all that ugliness also translates into a loss of influence over Israel. You can only slap your allies so many times, denounce them and threaten them before they begin paying a lot less attention to you.

Irrational demands that can't be fulfilled have brought the situation to that point. It was one thing when the Clinton or Bush administrations were demanding that Israel go to the negotiating table and offer concessions. It was ugly and unfair, but at least it was specific. These days Abbas doesn't want to go to the negotiating table, and the same demands keep coming out of Washington D.C. and Brussels. Israel is being ordered to make peace when the other side won't even bother showing up to negotiate.

How can Israel make peace when the Palestinian Authority has been split into Hamas and Fatah run fiefdoms and neither side is even bothering to pretend to negotiate? It can't and even diplomats know that, which makes every volley of demands look like messages for the Muslim world.

When Helen Clark wanted to sell more New Zealand sheep to the Saudis, her marketing gimmick was a hate campaign against Israel. Clark has gone off to a sinecure at the UN, but most of the West is acting the same way now. Europe isn't trying to sell sheep, its leaders are acting like sheep in the face of the Islamic demographic destiny spilling across their lands. The Obama Administration lit the fuse of the Arab Spring and is getting nervous as the flames keep rising higher.

Western condemnations of Israel are increasingly no longer directed to Israel, but to the Muslim world, which makes it easier for Israel to ignore them. While the White House claimed that the Biden incident was about the timing of a construction approval announcement in Jerusalem, it was really about showing the Muslim world that this administration really had the knives out for Israel. If it hadn't been a house in Jerusalem, it would have been a border shooting, a strike in Gaza or a clash at a checkpoint. Something would have been found.

But the more America and Europe have pandered to the Muslim world, the more obvious it has become to Israel that it has no role to play in this exchange, except its time honored position as the scapegoat.

The new normalization is no longer the offer to normalize ties with the Muslim world, but warnings that Israel's ties to Europe will require the same kind of normalization if Israel's Prime Minister doesn't snap his fingers and make peace happen. It would be a more effective threat if the current crop of European leaders didn't' make de Gaulle seem pro-Israel.

Cameron, Sarkozy and Obama, three of the slimiest first world leaders, haven't made their dislike of Israel such a secret that it took a microphone error for it to be discovered. Merkel has dispensed with the usual show of Gemutlichkeit toward the Jewish state and the situation in Brussels is as ugly as it could be. It all blends into one long angry tantrum about peace dispensed by insecure politicians with a wholly different agenda.

All that leaves Israel with fewer reasons to participate. The strategic and economic ties still matter, but they're more mutual than anyone cares to admit. American and European leaders may kick Israel, but it's also the only reliable ally in the region. And the Arab Springer is a reminder that there is one country that won't implode and can be counted on as a point of stability.

Obama is capable of cutting off his nose to spite his face, but the Clinton era foreign policy hands still have enough control that it isn't likely to happen before the next election-- though all bets are off if he gets a second term. European leaders dislike Israel, but they also know that there are times when they need it. It's a high tech incubator that's a lot closer than Asia, it's an arm of the West in the East and if the relationship is sliding under the table, that's the kind of relationship Israel has with much of the world, from China to Saudi Arabia.

The isolation is a problem, but it's also liberating. The weight of expectations has nearly broken Israel and the Obama Administration may be one of the best things that happened to it by forcing it to recognize that it was alone. Israeli dependence on the United States is not financial as most people think, it is mainly psychological. Alone in a region full of Muslim tyrannies, the need to believe in a close relationship with an admirable global power was powerful.

Friendship with America wasn't like friendship with Russia or China. The United States is admired by people around the world for its accomplishments and its standing. For all the anti-war rallies, it is a nation that aspires to a higher standard. A virtuous Rome, an Athens without slaves, a standard bearer for the new age of mankind.

Only the United States could make a call for concessions to terrorists sound noble, when it would have sounded hopelessly venal from any European power. But in the age of Obama the nobility has run out and so has the peace. The illusions are dead and Israel is in survival mode, struggling to avoid any attention from Washington D.C. while keeping the country on track.

The Peace Process, that horrible masochistic program of terrorist empowerment, is a fading mirage that no one believes in anymore. The pretense that the handshake in the Rose Garden overseen by a beaming Clinton was something other than cynicism and bad policymaking mythologized into a transcendent expression of a new age of peace is over and done with. The cost has been high and all of it has been in vain.

As the West follows the Islam appeasement track domestically and internationally, its relationship with Israel will continue to degrade. The Peace Process was an expression of a dying belief in the orderly world of negotiated international peace envisioned by European policymakers for over a hundred years. Now that same world has brought Europe and Israel to the brink of ruin. It's no wonder that Israel has left the peace process by the side door.


Master of Obvious said...

True. True. Now if Israel can move past the Israeli left...

Lemon said...

It ended before it began

mindRider said...

An absolute necessity is a change in the education of American students vis a vis Israel. A manner must be found to educate these future leaders of society into understanding the real historic truth rather than the palestinian Arab re-written version which is so often force-fed to the young and gullible by their über-left professors. If Israel is not successful at turning this continuous stream of poison around and show the plain simple moral truth of it's history and society it might not find any friends in office anymore in the next decades.

sarah said...

Telling it like it is--what a breath of fresh air! Thanks!

David Xavier said...

Israel is doomed... unfortunately. World opinion (and who are these opinion makers?) is bleeding it slowly to death. It is only a matter of time, and another couple dead Turkish Jihadist blockade ruuners, before the Gaza blockade will be lifted,then a Palestinian State will be next,then hell will follow.

TBS said...

Solitude from a 'freidnship" can be incredibly liberating.

You're right about the psychological relationship. Once the psychological hold is broken, the relationship can continue between two equals.

The trouble has always been that other countries have not treated Israel as an equal but as the too-accommodating schmendrick they can twist and bully anytime and Israel will take it.

Well, If Israel can show it won't take it - a la Netanyahu's speech to the Bambam - then that relationship if it's still necessary can be renegotiated, or just fizzle as necessary.

My personal opinion is that everyone should mobilise to get Obama out, regardless.

Rita said...

WOW ! (I'm running out of more eloquent compliments). I'm waiting for your articles to come out in bookform!

This is the last year in which Israel has still "some" leverage - because Obama, Sarkozy and even our Australian Prime Minister will go to the elections next year and they "need" the Jewish vote to survive. Israel and the Jewish people should use this, ruthlessly!!

Israel should also use the fact that - perhaps for an equally short time - they are the only nuclear power in that region.

Dont give Iran the chance to change that!

Israel, you owe nothing to no-one except to yourself:

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

mindRider, it's important but campuses have been colonized by Islamists and the left. Students also tend to be further to the left of society at least at that point in their lives.

Sarah, Thank you

David, a Palestinian "state" is already here, it would be even more actualized if their leaders actually wanted it.

TBS, absolutely. There's a point where you realize that a friendship has shifted into a destructive pattern and needs to change.

Rita, I strongly agree.

T.L. Winslow (TLW), the Historyscoper (tm) said...

As the Middle East churns into an Israeli kill machine, more people need to take time to master the history of Israel and see why Jews not Arabs have the historical right to it and will ultimately prevail. There's no place like the Historyscoper, where you learn it all in your browser at your own pace for free:

Why not also master the modern Muslim World, including its history, orgs. and leaders, free from the Historyscoper:

DP111 said...

One thing that Israel has never understood, is that America's influence with the Islamic world rests on the assumption that it is the only country that has influence to extract concessions from Israel.

Two things follow from this

1. The more Israel gives away, the less it will have, and thus less influence it has with America. Therefore concessions by Israel are neither in Israel's or America's interest.

2. The more America forces Israel to give, the less influence it has with the Arabs as well as Israel.

If Israel shows its displeasure at the one sided concessions that America is demanding from Israel, and walks away, then America has no hand to play, and the Arabs know it as well. That has been my view for ages, and thanks to Obama, it is happening at last.

Another thing. The more Clinton, Biden, the EU and Obama loudly protest that they are true friends of Israel, the more reason there is to be suspicious of them.

cornholio said...

It was never a peace process, it was nothing more than hudna wrapped up in Al Taqiyya lies:

cornholio said...

Perry's connections to islamofascism are just as bad as the 0's. If Perry is elected it'll just be the SOS w/a different face.

dee said...

Islam's fifth column extends throughout the West, in government, media and social, welfare and civil services alike. It has done well for a dysfunctional ideology, and we have only ourselves to thank for that.

Ours is just one more in the line of successful civilisations before us that have fallen, each believing it was too great to fail.

dee said...

Islam's fifth column extends throughout the West, in government, media and social, welfare and civil services alike. It has done well for a dysfunctional ideology, and we have only ourselves to thank for that.

We are just one more in the line of successful civilisations before us that have fallen, each believing it was too great to fail.

Marcel said...

'Israeli dependence on the United States is not financial as most people think, it is mainly psychological'

The peace process was Israel's attempt at a shortcut to peace by ignoring God and hitching a ride with their more preferred idol.

You can't ignore God and get peace is the lesson Israel hopefully learns ?

This shortcut Israel has chosen to religiously follow for 18 insane, crooked years has always led to Sheol.

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