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Feinstein Leads Senate Sanity on Middle East

Senator Dianne Feinstein has demonstrated leadership in promoting a praiseworthy new sense of the Senate Resolution regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  The Resolution has not yet been introduced, but you can see an advance copy of the text here, and Senators Dodd, Hagel, and Lugar are all on board already.  Other Senators should be encouraged to sign on to the Resolution while Senator Feinstein should be praised, and here's why.

A non-binding Senate Resolution is not going to dramatically effect the situation in the Middle East but it could demonstrate that senior US politicians are capable of advancing meaningful and constructive positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that has been in desperately short supply.  The text of the Resolution occupies a territory (so to speak) that is unequivocal in its commitment to Israel and Israeli security while at the same time guided (as it should be) by US interests, and mindful of Palestinian needs.

Understandably, if regretfully, it dodges the need to deal with the Hamas-Fatah PA Government (Tom Friedman gives the Dr. Seuss guide to talking with Hamas in his New York Times op-ed today), but there is plenty of useful stuff.

The Resolution describes ending the Israeli-Palestinian violence as a "vital interest of the US," notes that the conflict "strengthens extremists" and that "peace could have significant positive impacts on security and stability in the region."

The robust diplomatic effort Feinstein and friends call for, prioritizing the attainment of a two-state solution, and appointing a Special Envoy if necessary, represent precisely the direction US policy should be guided towards - and a key missing link in re-stabilizing the region and creating more propitious conditions for a troop draw-down in Iraq.

This is how the 40th Anniversary of the Six-Day War should be marked, by, in the words of the draft Resolution, using "the occasion of this anniversary to redouble their efforts to achieve peace."  Now let's see whether the other Presidential candidates sign up (Dodd has, so far, apparently).  Oh, and another thing - this could not stand in more stark contrast to the silliness displayed by the House last week in adopting HCR 152.  That Resolution praises Israeli "unification of Jerusalem," calls again for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and commends Israel for its administration of the city.  OK, so maybe its just meaningless grandstanding, and even the House version calls for a two-state solution - but to achieve that you must re-divide Jerusalem... and with everyhing going in the Middle East right now you really think this is the time to relocate the Embassy?!?  As John McEnroe was prone to scream, "You cannot be serious!"

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Comments (8)

RB Renfro:

Sorry to say I don't think much of the resolution, mainly for two reasons.

1) I think it just reflects that a "few" in congress are realizing a growing awareness among the public on Isr/Pal and how fed up the majority of the American public is becoming with this never ending and expensive nightmare. And they are tossing a hollow bone to the critics of the Isr/USA fetish. The majority of congress is way behind the curve of public opinion on this.

2).."calls on Palestine to abide by all previous obligations and agreements with Israel.."
Listen, everyone who knows anything at all about this conflict knows what this means. That little afterthought isn't included in every statement the US/Isr makes for no reason. If the Palestines by now haven't agreed to concede all the goodies Israel is demanding in any settlement it isn't likely they are going to do so.

Nothing new here folks, move on. The US will never be able to be an evenhanded broker of this conflict and bring about a "just' resolution.

There is no incentive on the Israeli side for Israel to make peace. They can continue their land grab settlements and occupation as long as congress uses our taxpayer's money to finance them.

yasmin:

You MUST see through the reason why Israel is now all friendly for a two-state solution. Its version is a prison-state in the West Bank, with Israeli businesses running 'industrial estates' along the Wall and thereby profiting from cheap Palestinian labor trapped behind the Wall.

This resolution simply furthers that end.

FurGaia:

It's never been easy in the Middle East, but saying that there's no possibility for a two-state solution is unacceptable. There's no other choice, and that remains the most likely outcome. Don't be annoying.

I'm afraid you have annoyed yourself, Dennis, by jumping to conclusion. I did not say that a two-state solution IS unacceptable. I was ASKING a question in light of what I have read on that issue. Although it is not up to me to decide for the people of Palestine under what regime they feel they would be best served, as an unwilling participant in their tragedy, I need to understand its ramifications. That was the only purpose of my comment.

David Beckford:

Although I appreciate Mr. Levy's comments on this matter, he would have been well served to first summarize the resolution rather than critique it without explaining the subject of his critique. He does offer some glimpses into the resolution - even a link - but his arguments would be more coherent if his readers were on the same page from the outset.

Dennis:

I like Feinstein's resolution because it's simple and everyone can agree on it. the problem is that it's so agreeable to everyone that it barely gets anything done. It can't hurt to pass this- it's a tiny step in the right direction, but it's barely a fraction of what needs to be done. Saying that we need peace is important, as it always has been. But the mess there is getting worse every day, and while saying "let's make peace" might have been a big deal 50 years ago, today it's the equivalent of saying "1+1=2."

Let's actually do something.

Oh, and sidenote to FurGaia:
It's never been easy in the Middle East, but saying that there's no possibility for a two-state solution is unacceptable. There's no other choice, and that remains the most likely outcome. Don't be annoying.

Please see here, Aaron.

aaron:

what observers are you thinking of, FurGaia?

What good would such a resolution be if, according to many observers, we have passed the 'point of no return' whereby a two-state solution is no longer viable?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 6, 2007 5:35 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Barak Obama on the Middle East.

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