Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Cairo Speech

[Avigdor Leiberman, head of Yisrael Beteinu]
I had some deep apprehensions about the President's speech until I heard it.

There are only four words in the speech that count. Two are "settlements freeze" and the other two are "Road Map". I am content with that. He also gave US troop withdrawal dates for Iraqi cities and for Iraq generally. I did not see anything substantive beyond that.

Quoting "the Holy Quran", saying "Salaam aleikum", inventing some fake history, pitying the Palestinians, and praising Islam are good PR but don't change anything. Even sternly demanding that Israelis show more sympathy and generosity of spirit toward the Palestinians is a demand that can be met by the Israelis saying, "Okay, we promise."

The Road Map is Bush's policy. Most Zionists are comfortable with it. Among many others, Avigdor Leiberman, leader of Yisrael Beteinu and generally considered to the right of Likud, supports it. The freeze on construction in the settlements does no harm and can be reversed on any day of Israel's choosing except Shabat.

It looks to me that the policy change is the same as the change on negotiating with Iran. Before the policy was that we were going to hang tough and get some mollifying gesture from the other side before serious negotiation. The policy in both cases was "peace, but you make the first move." That having led to little diplomatic success, he has said, "Okay, we will go first."

The format for negotiations has changed. I don't see that there is any substantive change from the Bush policy.

On one hand it is a good speech. On the other it is 54 minutes long. But until you listen to it yourself, you will literally not know what you're talking about.

Here is a link to it -

1 comment:

  1. Damien3:15 PM

    Here is a very interesting counter-argument to that Sotomayor article you posted Jack, I think it raises interesting points, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.