Sooner or later I was going to have to address this issue here. Some of what our Homegirl has been dealing with this past week is the angry backlash from the Palestinians and the Arab states, even those closest to us, due to her remarks in Jerusalem and in Morocco last week. She has been right in front of the onslaught all week, and since she’s our Homegirl, this has been disturbing to us. There have been many, many articles flying around the internet attacking her and her remarks. Some of these have emanated from Israeli sources. But the reaction is by and large, international and erupted, of course, here in the U.S. on blogs and in the press.
So, in defense of my Homegirl, I would like to argue that while her words were indeed her words, the policy is the policy, and our policy of demanding a freeze on settlements was one that she stated firmly over and over again last Spring. If she has conceded anything here, I believe the concession is not of her making alone. President Obama met with Mahmoud Abbas and Binyamin Netanyahu in September at UNGA. At that time, our firm anti-settlement growth policy began to dissolve. A month later, in her report commissioned by the President during UNGA, our Homegirl passed on the reports by her special envoy, George Mitchell, that the negotiations were at an impasse and would not be getting off the ground soon.
Then came her trip to Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem, Morocco, and the adjuncted extension to Egypt. In Abu Dhabi, she did not throw any praise or support toward Abbas. In Jerusalem she praised Netayahu’s “unprecedented” agreement to stop building settlements after these last 3,000, and in Morocco, she faced anger necessitating the ad hoc stop in Egypt.
Well, I cannot deny that she said those things any more than anyone can deny how firmly against settlement growth she was back in the Spring, so there has to be more to this than Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, single-handedly and in isolation, shifting U.S. Policy re: settlements. I will not pretend to know what goes on in the Situation Room during high-level NSC meetings, but IF our policy has changed (I am not certain that it has), I am not sure the Secretary of State alone has the power to make such a revision independently.
She depends heavily on her staff for briefings and updates, and wisely has chosen to employ special envoys to regions at risk. Certainly their input, from the ground, has a certain impact. I just cannot believe that her brush is the only one painting this canvas.
As I said above, I will not link here to all of the articles critical of Hillary this week. I will link only to this one.
November 6, 2009: An Ode to Light a Fire: In The House and Secretary of State
Two paragraphs there caught my attention, especially given who her special envoy to the Middle East is. First this:
All the settlements are illegal under international law and the precedent of US failure to act was well established by 1973, when Ariel Sharon bragged to Winston Churchill III, “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”
This creates a Northern Ireland situation in one generation. Sharon was savvy enough to know that once the populations were mixed in the occupied territories a two state solution was about as likely as the Six Counties ever becoming part of the Irish Free State. If anybody in the Obama Administration and the Clinton State Department recognizes this, it has to be George Mitchell. The question of freezing settlements might not only be moot, but it may well have been moot for many years.
The paragraph that immediately follows that one rang a bell with this Irish-Catholic-American Homegirl:
Back in 2005, top U.S. law enforcement officials attended a briefing organized by the Council for the National Interest regarding how charities “such as B’nai B’rith and Hadassah were in direct control of the World Zionist Organization and directly linked to a massive money-laundering operation…and the settlements are an indirect generator of terrorism against the United States.”
Speaking of Northern Ireland, remember NORAID? They were collecting money right in Catholic churches here in the U.S., and it ended up buying guns and ammo for the IRA. Many knew this, and gave willingly anyway! I would not be surprised if they bought some arms and ammunition from Israel.
So! I cannot, and will not try to spin what our Homegirl said. The Palestinian people deserve a united state of their own. Not a land divided. Not a land criss-crossed with 30-foot walls and checkpoints (if you have ever been anywhere with checkpoints, you know just how intimidating that is). Not a second-class nation with all of its necessities controlled by another. I believe our Homegirl is dedicated to that.
But I wonder if she, or anybody can undo what began when Sharon made that statement 36 years ago. Israel has successfully created a two-county replica of the Six Counties of Northern Ireland with the same kind of religious division. Two generations have grown up in this political structure. As George Mitchell, and our Homegirl, so involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, must know, Ireland will never be, as the song so hopefully rings, A Nation Once Again. And it is looking bleaker and bleaker that Palestine will ever be a nation. We should have been much more careful in 1947. We should have predicted what was sure to happen. We should have listened to our then Secretary of State George C. Marshall who counseled circumspection. But we did not, and here we stand, with his successor, our Homegirl, in a tight spot – not entirely of her making.
Stacyx of Secretary Clinton blog had a great idea today. I do not want to share it without her permission. If she decides to post it here, I would be happy to see it.
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