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Monday, June 15, 2009

Regarding Bibi's Speech...

I don't have much to say about the nuts and bolts of the speech.  There are plenty of people who can do a far better job of Fisking the speech... so I'll leave them to it.

But two not-inconsequential points are worth mentioning:

To begin with, there is no such thing as a 'de-militarized' state'.  Any independent state must have a security force to enforce order.  That force can also be used to secure the borders.  But in reality, any security force is a de facto army if the government wants to use it as such.  And once that happens there is nothing anyone can do about it short of declaring war and attacking.

Next, there is no way a Palestinian state ( 'de-militarized' or otherwise) can be prevented from entering into agreements and alliances with other countries.  That's what states do.  So even if the U.S. and E.U. do manage to limit the Palestinian arsenal to mostly defensive weapons (good luck with that!), an agreement with any other middle-eastern country for military cooperation would nullify the idea of being demilitarized.  

If the Palestinians feel threatened, any parties to military cooperation agreements they make would be obligated to bring their military assets to bear in order to 'defend' this fledgling state.  In such a scenario, it wouldn't be much comfort to Israel that the markings on the planes and missiles attacking Tel Aviv would be Syrian, Iranian or Lebanese instead of those of the Sovereign State of Palestine.

So that's all I have to say about that.

However, I can't help but offer the following general observation:

In diplomacy, as in business, you can usually tell if a proposed agreement is a good one by the simple fact that neither side is happy about it. Quite simply, for a deal to be good, nobody should feel they are getting too good a deal.  

So what worries me is that the U.S. and EU seem far more satisfied with the contents of the speech than the Israeli right.  And so far, the Israeli left and the Palestinians aren't making much noise at all... an indication that they weren't outraged by the speech's content.

Yes, worrisome indeed.

Posted by David Bogner on June 15, 2009 | Permalink


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In 1919 the European powers signed the Treaty of Versailles which was to prevent the re-arming of Germany, so that it would not start another world war.

We know how well that worked...

The problem was to really stop a sovereign state from arming, you have to be willing to break the peace and use military action before the arming is done. Like France and Germany didn't with Germany.

Posted by: Fred2 | Jun 15, 2009 1:44:08 PM

i too found the contents of the speech unremarkable on the whole. while i agree with your analysis, i disagree with you about the interpretation. bibi basically pulled off a diplomatic victory: he agreed to talks, to a palestinian state, etc. this makes him look like a good guy, especially coming from a right-winger. but he makes the terms of palestinian statehood so impossible, yet seemingly fair, that there is no palestinian state in the offing.

Posted by: fred | Jun 15, 2009 1:45:58 PM

If Obama is an enemy of Israel because of his political doctrine, nothing Netanyahu says will matter to him.

Posted by: Bob Miller | Jun 15, 2009 6:55:34 PM

Amazing, how sitting in the Prime Minister's office emasculates the most aggresive posturer. How has Livni reacted?

Posted by: Barzilai | Jun 15, 2009 8:34:31 PM

I'll be honest (just this once) I thought Bibi did a good job of offering something that the other side can never agree to, yet at the same time look like he was reaching farther than any other right wing candidate ever has. Plus, he did give Obama a good slap in the face by stating that Israel's existance has nothing to do with the Holocust. At the end of the day all he offered was the status quo.

Posted by: Max Power | Jun 15, 2009 11:00:04 PM

Just FYI, Iceland has zero defence force and zero defence budget. But then, they could only be invaded by seagulls:-)

Posted by: Noa | Jun 15, 2009 11:06:19 PM

I tend to agree with Fred above, that Bibi tactfully made the offer of statehood while at the same time setting terms that they can't meet, as Hosni Mubarak pretty much summed it up per tonights JPost, "Netanyahu's demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is ruining the chance for peace," -What a joke

Posted by: Bryan | Jun 15, 2009 11:12:08 PM

see JPost editorial


for (to USA) interesting view that Netanyahu was at least partially concerned with rebuffing Pres. Obama... if that is the case, count me at least a partial supporter. Finding leaders to counter Mr. Obama's singular vision with alternative views is difficult, and I despise a world in which everyone is supposed to think the same way about everything. Yes; I would say the same thing about Mr. Bush, were he still in office, and were finding opponents of his a hard thing. ;o/

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 15, 2009 11:28:42 PM

In all honesty, I think the reason there's not much "uproar" so to speak from the left and the Palestinians is that they all see this speech as what it is "a whole lot of talk to save face" and are fairly understanding of the reality that it probably won't lead anywhere. Why bother getting all riled up?

Posted by: beershevaboheme6 | Jun 16, 2009 1:26:19 AM

How many people really believe that the conditions for peace exist. Does anyone think that Abbas has any real power or that Mashaal and company will lay down their weapons.

Posted by: Jack | Jun 16, 2009 4:14:32 AM

There are some grumblings from the "other" side, but this is still bad news for the Jews.

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Jun 16, 2009 10:48:38 AM

Don`t the Arabs first have to recognize that there is such a thing as "The Jewish People" before they can even think about "2 states for 2 peoples"?Reciprocity instead of appeasement.

Posted by: ED | Jun 16, 2009 6:36:32 PM

Good post. I agree with your points and have one question:
Why Can't Israel Be A "Normal" Country?

Posted by: Batya from Shiloh | Jun 21, 2009 6:23:00 AM

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