Thursday, April 21, 2011

Danse Macabre

The New York Times this morning breathlessly tells me that another Mideast Peace Plan is in the offing. More. Evidently President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu are racing to be the first to unveil one—evidently because he who’s first wins, the other loses. Obama (of course) will make a well-framed speech. Netanyahu will address the U.S. Congress. Horse race, conflict, Israel, Peace Plan, edge of chair, stay tuned. Danse Macabre.

Now if the madness were merely in the media, it wouldn’t matter much. If a genuine peace plan were actually in the offing and the parties were genuinely serious concerning the actual plan, and its outcome, rather than serious about other things, I’d fault the media for failure to dig deeper and failing to tell the public something of substance. But here the situation is so clear and evident, has repeated so often, is rooted so firmly in relative power relationships, yet another repetition of the Danse Macabre is not worth noting at all.

Netanyahu must do something to keep the money flowing. In 2009 Israel received $5.38 billion in economic and military aid and in grants and credits—second to no one else except Iraq and Afghanistan—countries we are actually running or trying to. In 2009 Israel’s grants and credits were $1.992 billion, down from $2.955 billion in 2008. Its economic/military grants are also down, from $2.508 billion in 2007 to $2.425 billion in 2008; no economic/military aid data were available for 2009 from my source here. This means that our 2008 largesse was worth 2.6 percent of Israel’s GDP in 2010. So much for Netanyahu’s motives. As for his intentions actually to cede land to the Palestinians, to “tear down that wall,” to echo a former President, or to stop building on Palestinian lands—those intentions are non-existent. Therefore it must be about the money—and, as we know, paper and talk are cheap. You can tear up the paper later and un-say the words in Hebrew.

Now as for our President, he appears to suffer from the delusion that speeches are action. And now that—a mere two years and four months into his first term—the news are all about an election still 19 months in the future, it is high time for Obama to do something about his legacy. Every president must decorate his legacy with a bit of glass-diamond called Mideast Peace Plan, and Obama will deludedly believe that to make a good speech is to act. So let not a Netanyahu steal a march. Out with the brilliant ideas, stunningly delivered.

Danse Macabre. I wish I could sit this one out.

1 comment:

  1. Another strange article.

    I cannot tell what the thesis or meaning of the piece is: are you supporting Palestinians?

    I only come to that conclusion because of the criticism you offer for Obama and Netanyahu... and yet there is no mention of the third party here and their part in the peace deals.

    If the thesis is "a pox on all their houses", I would tend to agree with that.

    For their part, the indiscriminate shelling with anti-personnel rockets, blowing up of civilian buses and outright murder of innocents certainly indicates the Palestinians are also not serious about peace.

    It is then, all Kabuki theater, with three acts.