Friday, January 18, 2008
we don't have any real friends:
Gershom Gorenberg has an important piece up at TAP reminding everyone that the only true friends of Israel are on the left.

Israel's most basic strategic interest is a peace agreement and a withdrawal. Avoiding a situation in which the only way out is a one-state solution is also a U.S. interest. Right now, Israel is the one country in the Mideast that can be depended on to stay pro-American. This would not be true of a single state with an inevitable Palestinian majority and a built-in communal conflict. Acting much more energetically to reach a two-state agreement is therefore both pro-Israel and an expression of U.S. self-interest.

Further, a pro-Israel policy requires using both incentives and pressures to get to an agreement. As one Israeli ex-general pointed out to me recently, sometimes U.S. pressure serves an Israeli government that needs to make a change in course. Right now, he pointed out, Israel needs economic growth in the West Bank, which would help the pro-agreement Fatah government there. Growth requires removing roadblocks, a move that involves a certain security risk and makes the army brass unhappy. The counterweight of U.S. pressure would make it easier for the government to move. The government needs to take down illegal settlement outposts, but fears paying the domestic price of confrontation with thousands of rightist youth. U.S. pressure would actually help the government, showing the public that inaction has its own price. Right now the Israeli public has no idea what the settlement budget is. American insistence on financial transparency as a condition for current aid levels would serve Israeli democracy and boost domestic support for a pullback. On the incentive side, an offer of U.S. funding for relocating settlers inside Israel could also increase political support. (Irritating as it may be to pay Israel to correct its mistakes, the policy goal of a peace agreement is more important.)

Imagine it: a world in which Israeli interests, American interests, Arab interests, and the glorious prerogatives of human rights are mutually supportive. As a wise man once said, if you will it, it is no dream. First, though, Israel's frenemies must be exposed and refuted.

--Spencer Ackerman
I don't know why we don't hear more of this. Israel needs real friends in America - real friends watch out for you and keep you safe. As things stand now, the U.S. is skewing Israel's internal politics while enabling self destructive behavior.
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