@ The Spine: Concessions, gestures and diplomacy in the latest US/Israel kerfuffle
The Times points out near the editorial’s end that “if Israel is to make real concessions, it will need more than gestures from the Arab states.” More importantly, I would say, it will need much more than gestures from the Palestinians."
The dictionary tells us that 'gesture" means "An act or a remark made as a formality or as a sign of intention or attitude: sent flowers as a gesture of sympathy."
However, I'm not sure that 'gesture' in the political sense quite adheres to the same meaning. I always get the feeling that there is some sort of separation between the appearance of a movement (which they call "gesture") and its substance (which is what they call "significance" or meaning).
When Obama asked for a good will gesture towards Israel from Saudi Arabia before his Cairo speech he was rebuffed. I don't believe anyone made much of this rebuff, except maybe Marty here and a few other dedicated pro-Israeli Americans. No one called it an insult, or a slap in the face to America. Even though what he asked for was only a 'gesture' in the sense of the APPEARANCE to be well-inclined towards Israel. Even without any request that the gesture be backed up with anything more substantive than words, there was not the slightest will to meet his plea. And this was deemed to be of such insignificance that no one dared criticize out loud Arab rejectionism.
Consider this muted acceptance of Arab intransigence in comparison with this latest kerfuffle, in which Israel is being condemned without reserve for refusing to make a gesture of compliance with American demands.
Israel takes gestures to be more than lip service. She takes them seriously. Israel's past gestures involved destroying prosperous settlements in Gaza, moving large groups of people from one place to another, taking risks for peace in the Oslo and Wye accords, following UN resolution as in the withdrawal from South Lebanon, removing hundreds of checkpoints from the WB, re-routing the security barrier in order to meet Palestinian grievances, allowing hundreds if not thousands of truckloads of humanitarian relief into Gaza, treating sick Palestinian kids and adults in its hospitals, etc etc. The list goes on, which no one, least of all President Obama, is ever bothered to recall when he decides on another round of bullying Israel into "compliance". Compliance with what, exactly? What can Israel do, or not do, that will make the slightest dent on Arab insatiable greed for dominance and exclusivity?
In order to be able to accommodate American wishes, Israel needs, as Marty wisely point out, "more than gestures from the Arab states” and from Palestinians.
So far it's been Israel taking steps towards the Arabs while the latter remain standing there, overflowing with contempt, rage and pathological denial, arms crossed, daring anyone to suggest that they need to move a finger towards getting what they pretend that they want (statehood).
"..warning to right wing nut jobs in Israel that they don't have Carte Blanche"
So you consider that building 1600 units in East Jerusalem is the work of "right wing nut jobs"?? So now East Jerusalem is a "settlement"?
I have given my position on settlements more than once. I am all for mutual cancellation of "rights" if the result is genuine peace. But I refuse to reiterate a stand that de-facto strengthens Palestinian claims over Israel while weakening Jewish historical claims. If Israeli Jews are expected to wrench their attachment from their historical heartland, so should Palestinians.
President Obama with his insistence on including Jerusalem within his definition of "settlements" has not advanced peace one tiny step. He has only served to breathe new life into Palestinian hopes of destroying Israel, one step at a time. It's not the Israelis that need to be bullied into concessions they ALREADY MADE MORE THAN ONCE!
In my travels across cyberspace I always stop at certain locations. The following is borrowed without permission from some message board:
Why has President Obama decided not to prosecute anyone for torture?
He's afraid of the raging likes of Liz Cheney and her wicked ilk.
And from the same source (happens to be a Canadian, btw):
".. we will come together sometime soon to fight the forces that are hurting our countries. We are lucky to have President Obama even though we become impatient with him at times because he is up against powerful forces that are beyond even the Republican Party."
One wonders what the author of these words has in mind when s/he speaks of "powerful forces that are beyond even the Republican Party."