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Everybody's happy

 

It looks like everyone is angry, but that is only the top layer. Only a bit deeper down, the status quo--including everybody else's anger--looks pretty good from all the competing perspectives.

 
Israelis are angry with Palestinians for creating an alliance with Hamas, and angry with Americans and Europeans for recognizing a government of terrorists. Just about everybody is angry with the decision of the Israeli government to build more housing in "settlements," which are said to be a barrier to peace.
 
The announcement of more housing will be applauded by the Israeli right and its overseas friends, but they should be clapping with one hand. Reports are that most "housing starts" announced never really get underway.
 
The right of center Prime Minister has spoken of stopping the transfer to Palestine of money collected at the ports on Palestinian imports, but the more centrist Finance Minister says it will keep flowing.
 
 Everyone is playing by established routines, and that makes things predictable.
 
All are happy with the opportunities to firm up their desired courses of action, helped by the criticism of those seen as fixed in positions of hostility.
 
The US maintains its purity of being politically correct. It's helping the Palestinians, for some years now the darlings of those who consider themselves right, just, and humanitarian. Obama is asserting control, and promising to continue the fight against "terror," while he supports the convoluted Fatah-Hamas agreement of the Palestine National Authority.
 
Palestinians are delighted with continued Israeli construction. It provides work for the men, and opportunities for the politicians to firm up their status locally and internationally by condemning Israel.
 
Central to the Palestinian narrative is that Israel has occupied their land illegally, since Israel's unprovoked attack in 1967.
 
With a sense of history like that, anything is possible.
 
We should not forget that--with or without settlements existing or expanding--there has never been a convincing demonstration of Palestinian willingness to formalize a peace treaty with Israel and give up the claims of land or refugee rights, despite they and their friends initiating and losing several rounds of violence.
 
Virtually the whole international chorus is repeating the mantra that settlements are illegal under international law. A few wee voices are exempting the neighborhoods of Jerusalem from that damnation. Lost in the din has been Israel's claim that the illegality of Jordanian control 1948-67 and the lack of a historic Palestine renders the West Bank legally vacant and not subject to constraints about taking over the territory of another country occupied in war. Chances of finding an unbiased court to rule on the various claims are on the wrong side of probable.
 
All may be clucking their tongues at the latest signs of Islamic terror, whether it happened in Brussels, or one of the recent efforts by Palestinians to kill Jews in the West Bank or send rockets from Gaza toward Israeli cities.
 
The Israeli right is happy to be building more housing in the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and other settlements. It claims the latest actions to be revenge on the Palestinians for allying with Hamas, and on the US Secretary of State for saying his government would wait before recognizing the Palestinian arrangement and then announcing that the US would continue dealing with the Palestinians.
 
"Liar" and "traitor" are among the words (in their Hebrew equivalents) being used about John Kerry by unidentified sources in the Israeli government. They join "obsessive" and "messianic" already used about him by an identified source in the same government.
 
Israel's government is happy to be considering further sanctions on the Palestinians, and talking about urging Congress to stand against the White House. 
 
That may get support from some right wing Republicans hoping for cash from Sheldon Adelson, but lead others to repeat the traditional line that a foreign government should not meddle in American politics.
 
One or another House of Congress is not likely to do more than pass a resolution, if it does that much, so the Palestinians will get their money.
 
The Israeli left is happy to have renewed reasons to criticize Bibi's government for expanding settlements, spoiling the chances for peace, and getting into another squabble with the Obama Administration.
 
Further to the left are activists who are ashamed about all the constraints and other ugly things that security forces do to the Palestinians, and want the rest of us to share in the shame and to make peace. They're delighted whenever a soldier loses his cool and smacks a Palestinian. Often there is a friend nearby with a smartphone, and the video says it all.
 
So far they are gaining little traction. We've been in one or another kind of warfare since the nation's birth. Most seem tired with Palestinian claims of rights without responses to Israeli offers of accommodation. The current government offered the Palestinians less than its predecessors, which shows the drift of things.
 
No doubt innocent Palestinians suffer from the check points and other kinds of harassment. Not all our soldiers or security personnel are as sensitive  as we might prefer. However, there are Palestinians intent on doing us harm. We're sorry for the inconvenience. War is hell, and shit happens. We applaud efforts to limit insults and inconvenience, but most of us are more concerned for our own safety.
 
Both the Israeli right and left are happy with the continued flow of money to the Palestinians, insofar as that is likely to keep the patronage soaked Palestinian bureaucracy working, politically-connected families in food, and keep restiveness below the level of having no other recourse than killing Jews.
 
Nobody is touching Syria, or doing anything about the failure of the chemical weapons deal while Assad's people are dropping chlorine gas on civilians. By a narrow interpretation, it may not be in the category of poison gas. It doesn't kill as efficiently, but it is a useful weapon against civilians.
 
Russia is applauding the re-election of the Assad government. The western chorus in crying shame.
 
The enlightened world has a new purpose in Ukraine.
 
Obama says US aid will bring progress to that place.
 
As always, the President is speaking the language of the politically correct, but he ought to take a closer look at his latest darling. Neither side in the civil war is anywhere close to enlightened. 
 
Israelis breathe easier, hoping the spotlight will move away from us. Those convinced of the sanctity of Jews migrating to Israel, and not bothered by traffic jams already of world stature, are hoping for more Ukrainians. Others are betting on the French. Some think that America might turn sour and spur the migration of millions.
 
A sense of humor remains essential for survival in this context, along with a sizable army and other security units who do the nasty stuff we don't need to see.
 
Appropriate as a replacement for the UN's flag, or those of countries claiming world leadership, is this
 
 
 

 
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