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Walt on Miller and "shared values"

April 30th, 2010

I can’t resist but post this great answer by Stephen Walt to Aaron David Miller’s recent Foreign Policy piece on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, on the specific point of “shared values” between Israel and the US:

Third, Miller invokes the familiar mantra of “shared values,” but without asking whether the values we share are now diminishing. American values don’t include confiscating land from Palestinians, throwing thousands of Palestinians in jail without trial, and carving up the occupied territories with separate roads, a wall, and hundreds of check-points.  America’s values are “one person, one vote,” but that’s not the reality in Greater Israel today and that is certainly not what Bibi Netanyahu has in mind for the future. Miller doesn’t think the peace process has any future — and he may be right — but he still believes the United States should give Israel several billion dollars each year in economic and military aid and provide it with consistent diplomatic protection, even in the face of events like the Gaza War or the pummeling of Lebanon in 2006. 
As always Max Blumenthal let us know about these values — just listen to these loonies:
On Tuesday, Israel’s defense minister, Ehud Barak, made the rounds at the State Department and the Pentagon, warmly welcomed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. At a White House meeting with the national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones Jr., President Obama dropped by, lingering for 40 minutes.
The message was clear: “The special relationship between Israel and the United States is unbreakable,” Mr. Barak declared.
Across town, on Capitol Hill, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was making his own rounds, unfurling maps that showed development in his city’s Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. His message was also clear: Jerusalem will not stop construction in East Jerusalem, either formally or informally, regardless of whether it hurts American efforts to restart peace negotiations.
“There is no freeze,” Mr. Barkat said. “We’re minding our own business, building the city for the residents.”
I don’t buy the idea, pushed around by the Israelis and others, that Netanyahu has agreed to a settlement freeze in East Jerusalem but won’t announce it. That may be true in the short-term that construction has ceased, but how long before the local government officials there decide, for electoral or other reasons, to go ahead with a new project and then we’ll hear Bibi say he can’t intervene in local government affairs or some-such nonsense. He cannot be trusted, and really neither can any other Israel official after 20 years of settlement expansion while agreeing to notional settlement freezes. This is why the public commitment to complete settlement freeze is essential: to immediately stop the creation of facts on the ground.


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