Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mouin Rabbani & Chris Toensing on Obama's Middle East Policies

I've been without power or heat at home since early Tuesday morning, and came in to the office today to do a bit of email. No time for serious posting. In the meanwhile, read this latest Middle East Report Online, from the inestimable Mouin Rabbani and Chris Toensing.

Here's a pithy excerpt:

The real test for Washington will therefore be not how often Mitchell shuttles to and around the region, but how rapidly it acts to freeze Israeli settlement expansion in all its forms and reverse Israeli impunity in the Occupied Territories. If the issue of settlements, the elephant in the room left unmentioned by the speakers at the State Department on January 22, has still not been seriously addressed by the time Mitchell returns from his first trip (and in 2001, recall, he only said Israel should “consider” a freeze if the Palestinians effectively disarm), it will be time to write the two-state paradigm’s definitive obituary.

The problem is that the death notice will not be accompanied by a birth announcement for a binational state. With the vast majority of Israelis committed to retaining a Jewish state, and the vast majority of Palestinians in response demanding that their ethnicity be privileged in their own entity, a South African-type transformation on the Mediterranean is at best many years away. The more likely scenario, for the coming years, is a descent into increasingly existential, and regionalized, conflict.

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