Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Weekend Open Thread: Is it time the US recognised Palestine?

Yes, an uncontroversial topic to stimulate your resting neurons this winter weekend. Let me be first to say I have no idea about the politics of this in the US, and actually no firm opinion either way (yet – go on persuade me!). But I have noticed, as Roger Cohen points out, that since the midterms, the Obama Peace Process has stalled. I also notice one of the largest and fastest growing countries, Brazil, has recently unilaterally recognised Palestine as a sovereign state within its 1967 borders.

Have at it Meese. And prove what ruminative, though not rebarbative, animals you are.  

Here’s a money quote from Cohen

President Barack Obama had virtually no domestic constituency for his attempt to denounce the continued growth of settlements as unacceptable and as undermining a two-state peace at its core: land.

Obama was left dangling, more so after the midterms, and had to retreat. This is not merely a failure of the parties. It is a failure of U.S. politics and the way those politics are straitjacketed by an Israel-right-or-wrong mantra that leads inexorably, over time, to one state with more Arabs in it than Jews. What then will remain of the Zionist dream?

But please avoid this subject if you want to. Recipes, sexual antics, theological debates, also welcomed


  1. Rashaverak

    Brazil has recognized Palestine as a separate nation within the 1967 borders… this appears to include the West Bank, formerly held by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip, formerly held by Egypt.

    In my mind, this raises more questions than it answers.

    Hamas is in charge of the Gaza Strip, and Fatah the West Bank.  Have the two of them agreed to a modus vivendi?

    If they have not agreed to some sort of operational agreement over the entire territory, and representation of the two components in a national legislature, recognition of a national entity would be problematic.

    Have they agreed to accept the 1967 borders vis-a-vis Israel? (And is Israel willing to accept the 1967 borders vis-a-vis Palestine?  I do not think that Israel has committed to that concept)

    Are Hamas and Fatah willing to sign a Peace Treaty with Israel, recognizing Israel’s right to exist?

    Mutual recognition, defined borders, and sufficient land area and resources for a Palestinian entity are all key to long-term peace in the Middle East.

    Exclaves can be problematic. There will also have to be some right and means of passage between the West Bank and Gaza (i.e., across Israeli territory) if the two areas are to be parts of a functional state.

  2. creamer

    Rashaverak list many of the problems with statehood. If we recognized, what borders would we recognize? The current situation would seem to make it irrelavent. In my opinion, until we are willing to use economics to leverage Israel into pulling out of the West Bank, releasing its hold on the Palestinians economy and water, nothing will change.

    Hamas becoming a responsible player and recognizing Israel is part of it, but until Israel provides the Palestinians with an option besides resistance, Hamas has no reason to change.

  3. DTOzone

    The left can’t tell the difference between holding someone’s feet to the fire and burning someone at the stake

  4. tons of time to post the answer i want to write. but i felt compelled to respond to the question posed.

    should they? seems like a no-brainer… that they should.  however while seemingly a simple yes or no answer – it most certainly isn’t. as others have noted, this is a tinder box issue for obama and US domestic politics not to mention to geopolitical ramifications – good and bad – in the middle east of any such action.

    as the wikileaks revelations show – things in the that part of the world (not to mention everywhere else) are usually not what they seem to be.

  5. sricki

    That aside, MSNBC has an amusing list of Steele’s Top 10 Gaffes.

    Probably my favorite:

    6. Comparing himself to Obama

    STEELE (on CNN): “What would I be jealous of?”

    CNN’s Don Lemon: “He’s the president of the United States.”

    STEELE: “I’m chairman of the RNC, so what’s your point?”

    Yeah because that’s what every kid dreams of — one day becoming chairmen of the RNC.

  6. Strummerson

    Late to the party, I know.  But here’s why I think it’s not just an academic question but a bad idea.

    I support just about every country in the world recognizing a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders.  They must also reiterate their commitment to Israel’s existence and security.  I also think that backing this with some diplomatic and economic teeth would help.  

    But not the US.

    Insofar as this conflict is movable, and it would be loony to take an optimistic position at this point — I feel bad for Mitchell wasting his retirement years on it at this point when he could be writing, enjoying family, and attending many many Red Sox games — it needs a powerful US government that can position itself as an honest broker.  The US can use both the cumulative recognitions of Palestine and re-affirmations of Israel in its endeavors.  But I also oppose the US doing so because of what it would do to us in terms of internal politics.  It feeds the GOPs cynical support of “our most important ally in the middle east, in the world, in the galaxy, and maybe even all 24.7 dimensions of our multiverse.”  It will give them one more thing on which to grandstand.  And it won’t help Israelis and Palestinians one iota.  

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