Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Predictably, Roger Cohen in the New York Times praises the Iran nuclear deal in  glowing terms:
Let us be clear. This is the best deal that could be had. Nothing, not even sustained Israeli bombardment, can reverse the nuclear know-how Iran possesses. The objective must be to ring-fence the acquired capability so its use can only be peaceful.
Given that the UN and the US had previously insisted that Iran doesn't have the right to enrich uranium, caving on that technical capability is far from "the best deal that could be had." Essentially, Cohen is saying that since Iran would never agree to anything beyond its red line, that must be accepted as gospel. Meanwhile, US and Israeli red lines are flexible.

But beyond that, Cohen tries to conflate Israel's position on Iran with its position on allowing a terror state sworn to its destruction to be set up next door:

Israel is the status-quo Middle Eastern power par excellence because the status quo cements its nuclear-armed domination. Any change is suspect, including popular Arab uprisings against despotism. As changes go, this U.S.-Iranian breakthrough is big, almost as big as an Israeli-Palestinian peace would be.

Just as the United States has had to adapt to a world where its power is unmatched but no longer determinant, Israel will have to do the same. With enlightened leadership this adaptation could strengthen the Jewish state, securing the nation through integration in its region rather than domination of it. For now Israel is some way from this mind-set. Its overriding prism is military.
Cohen obviously does not inhabit the same planet as the rest of us.

In the real world, Israel has sought for 65 years to be integrated into the Middle East. It sought peace with its neighbors; and its main goal after peace plans are signed is full normalization with its neighbors, with free travel and economic cooperation on both sides. Hell,  Israel even values and integrates Arab cuisine and culture in its own state, which Arabs consider "theft." Nothing would please Israel more than to be able to cooperate with Arab states on issues like water conservation and desalination, deforestation of deserts, medicine and a host of other common issues.

Who is against such integration? One guess.

Security is uppermost in Israeli minds, not its military. Cohen is obviously too obtuse to understand the difference.
Diplomacy involves compromise; risk is inherent to it. Iran is to be tested. Nobody can know the outcome. Things may unravel but at least there is hope. Perhaps this is what is most threatening to Netanyahu. He has never been willing to test the Palestinians in a serious way — test their good faith, test ending the humiliations of the occupation, test from strength the power of justice and peace. He has preferred domination, preferred the Palestinians down and under pressure.
During Netanyahu's first term, he signed the Wye River agreement with Arafat, that transferred land from Israeli control to PA rule. Imagine that.

However, it is true that Bibi wasn't in office when Israel offered a Palestinian Arab state in 2001, and the Palestinian Arabs responded with a wave of suicide bombings. He wasn't in office when Sharon withdrew from Gaza which led the way to unprecedented rocket attacks on Israeli communities. He wasn't in office when another state was offered in 2007 only to be rejected again.

One would have to be either blind or maliciously biased against Israel to think that the Palestinian Arab good faith wasn't tested these multiple times - and they failed every single time.

Cohen isn't blind.

(h/t PC)



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