American “Benign Neglect” of Israel?December 11, 2012 15:30 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. While Europe expresses it anger at settlement activity, Washington’s rather quiet. According to Peter Beinart, that’s because the Obama administration’s strategy towards Israel is “benign neglect.”
So instead of confronting Netanyahu directly, Team Obama has hit upon a different strategy: stand back and let the rest of the world do the confronting. Once America stops trying to save Israel from the consequences of its actions, the logic goes, and once Israel feels the full brunt of its mounting international isolation, its leaders will be scared into changing course. “The tide of global opinion is moving [against Israel],” notes one senior administration official. And in that environment, America’s “standing back” is actually “doing something.”
2. You don’t think media coverage was a factor, do you?
3. The Independent reports that the military chiefs of several countries secretly met — at David Cameron’s request — to plan out how to train and protect Syrian rebels:
There is also a growing belief among the Western backers of the opposition that intervention in some form is necessary now to influence the future political shape of Syria. Jihadist groups among the rebels, some like Jabhat al-Nusra linked to al-Qa’ida, have steadily gained in power and influence because of their access to weapons and money coming from the Gulf states putting more secular groups at a severe disadvantage . . . .
Britain, France and the US have agreed that none of their countries would have “boots on the ground” to help the rebels. The training camps can be set up in Turkey. However, the use of air and maritime force would, in itself, be highly controversial and likely to lead to charges that, as in Libya, the West is carrying out regime change by force.
Israel and the Palestinians
• EU to Israel: Treaties with Israel only apply to pre-’67 lines.
A diplomatic source told The Jerusalem Post that he feared some of the language in the council statement was placed there to lay the groundwork for labelling and possibly banning settlement products in the future.
• Michael Tomasky’s worth reading: Meshal’s Speech and the Progressive Conundrum:
But I ask you how any progressive person can fully support a movement like Meshal’s. Granted, the world doesn’t always offer us clean choices. We must prioritize, and the clear priority here is opposing occupation and working to end it.
But secular liberal people must also have the fortitude to demand that leaders of the occupied move away from destructive positions like Meshal’s, which just make for a downward spiral to nowhere.Too often in the history of the postwar era, the left in the developed world has let its hatred of imperialism and occupation prevent it from seeing and denouncing the problems within the movements around the world it has supported.
• Contrast Tomasky with the Daily Telegraph‘s Matt Hill. With eyes wide shut, Hill concludes his apologetics thusly:
Giving Hamas a chance to exercise real power in Gaza would empower less extreme elements who advocate a rapprochement with the Palestinian Authority and closer ties with moderate regional powers like Egypt, Qatar and Turkey. In this way, Israel could begin a process of nurturing the group’s pragmatic strain, coaxing it towards compromise and legitimacy and eventually leaving its diehard militants on the margins – just as the world did with the PLO in the 1980s and 90s.
Many Israelis had similar hopes when we withdrew from Gaza.