The modus vivendi of this blog is plainly self explanatory. Pathetically,'progressives' regularly promote implausable, impractical or plainly asinine ideas. Who but socialists could for decades abuse the term 'economic rationalism' - without humiliation? THIS GOES TO THE VERY HEART OF ECONOMIC POLICY AND RATIONAL GOVERNMENT: TO WIT TO NOT CRITICIZE THE CONSERVATIVES AS BEING 'RATIONAL'!
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Monday, 29 October 2012
Send this to BECKER so he can sue me!
TAL BECKER IS AN OUTRAGE He has ostensively changed affiliations / employers at least twice over the past few years. That alone takes some beating.
Plainly he will work for anyone - having changed sides to work as ;advisor' for his earlier political enemy Tzipi Livni. Now he has returned to SOMEHOW inveil himself with the Israeli government as ''legal adviser at the UN'': see article below. A double - act of with 'pike! Never mind the astonishing gall, hypocrisy of being all things to all entities, his BELOW ARTICLE IS PATHETIC IN SOOOOO MANY WAYS! I merely note that he claims equivalence between the Palestinians and Israel re 'peace' efforts:
''There is a common myth, he says, that Israel and Palestine have been negotiating for 20 years, meaning the options have been exhausted.
"But for most of that time we have been arguing about why we are not negotiating."
I have no wish to debunk his pathetic article comprehensively. It is meaningless tripe and at best best shallow examplar of a floozy mind. Can someone send this blog link to him so he can sue me? Geoff Seidner East St Kilda Geoff S ########################################################################################################################################
An Israeli soldier chases a Palestinian demonstrator during a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum. Picture: AFP Source: AFP
TAL Becker, a 40-year-old who has rapidly built a reputation as one of Israel's top diplomatic negotiators, and an associate with the Washington Institute for Near East policy, grew up in Melbourne and graduated from Monash University.
He lives near a shopping mall in Jerusalem. Mostly, people there pop into stores, window shop, or chat over coffee. But these days, outside a shopfront in one corner, he says, everything's more tense, "everyone's shoving to get in".
It's one of those places where the government issues gas masks, to help ensure the home front is prepared in case of confrontation with Iran.
The usual fascination of most Israelis with the US election is less evident this year, Becker says during a visit to Australia. Besides Iran, most people are preoccupied with the domestic economy.
Even though Israel has come through the global financial crisis in much better shape than most other countries, budget cuts are still needed - which the Knesset has been denying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though he commands coalition that holds 66 of the 120 parliamentary seats.
Partly to push through his economic measures, and also to beef up Israel's response to Iran, Netanyahu on Wednesday brought forward the election, which will now be held by mid-February. The government also has to contend with a spike in social protests, which persist although they have toned down somewhat from a peak last year.
Becker, who played a key in the negotiations launched at Annapolis in 2007, and who has been legal adviser to the Israeli delegation to the UN, says: "Israelis feel more impatient about their capacity to shape events in the region, so their energies are more focused inwards.
"There's a feeling of despair about moving forward with the Palestinians, and perhaps of inevitability about the drift in the region towards extremism."
During the so-called Arab Spring, Israelis felt awe, as did much of the rest of the world, at the sight of masses protesting, he says. "But we are like the guy you don't want to invite to the party - we knew it would not be the smoothest transition towards democracy."
The best organised groups are usually the best positioned to take advantage of the new openings, at least in the beginning, he says - which means particularly the Islamist parties.
Democracies don't happen overnight anywhere, Becker says. "But we are disappointed to be increasingly correct in that analysis.
"We've moved from populations afraid of regimes to regimes afraid of their populations," he says, with the Muslim Brotherhood surging towards leadership roles, and Israelis are concerned that in the foreseeable future the region may become less hospitable to the idea of co-existence with Israel.
But the prevailing view in Israel about Syria, Becker says, is "better the devil you don't know than the devil you do", especially given leader Bashar al-Assad's "key role as an ally of Iran and a key supporter of Hezbollah and other terrorist groups".
The broader strategic position being tested there, he says, is "whether it is still a good idea to oppress and murder your own civilians if you are an Arab dictator and want to stay in power".
He sees stagnation in the Palestinian areas, in part because President Mahmoud Abbas lacks support from the Arab world to provide the legitimacy required for making compromises.
Becker says: "There is one resource that is usually more abundant in the Middle East than oil: bad options."
Abbas, he says, "is not generally regarded as supporting violence. He would support an agreement, provided he could sell it to the Palestinian people - though this is debated in Israel. But he has no illusions that at present he can."
Thus each of Abbas's policy alternatives seems worse than the next. "The present volatile regional environment arguably renders the kinds of heart-wrenching decisions any peace agreement requires of any Palestinian leader exceedingly unpopular and politically out of reach, virtually regardless of Israel's position."
The option of dismantling the Palestinian Authority or repudiating the Oslo accords to force Israel to resume all responsibility for the West Bank will probably not be pursued because, he says, the PA has given legitimacy and tangibility to the idea of Palestinian statehood, and "it is difficult to imagine Palestinian leaders in the West Bank sawing off the branch on which they sit at their own initiative".
Full reconciliation with Hamas - beyond rhetoric - would mean "risking relations with Washington, and potentially weakening Fatah".
Abbas has recently floated the idea of "non-member state" status from the UN General Assembly, also opposed by the US. The assembly is likely to approve this next month, if Abbas follows through, and success may open the path to exporting the struggle with Israel to new arenas, such as membership of the International Criminal Court.
Encouraging civil disobedience is a dangerous course, since "there is no telling what the consequences may be, where the demonstrations will ultimately be directed, and which new Palestinian leaders will emerge as a result to potentially threaten the current Fatah leadership".
Israel has just given the Palestinian Authority a $250 million tax advance and is reportedly working with the International Monetary Fund towards a loan fund for the PA. Becker says Israel is keen to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, but does not want to perpetuate graft or provide funds that may leak to Hamas. Both sides, he says, appear resigned that "this is not the time to make big decisions".
He says that the rise of Islamist parties through the Arab Spring diminishes the appetite for risky gestures and raises the question of whether the people with whom the Israelis might sign will still be in place tomorrow.
Becker says the role of Iran is the key for the positioning of foreign policy for all states in the region. The US and Israel, and many other states, share a similar view of Iran's intentions and the grave threat it poses, he says.
A nuclear Iran would increase the danger of proliferation, would risk nuclear miscalculation, would intensify the instability already caused by Iran, would risk nuclear technology getting into the hands of non-state actors, and would squeeze out all the space for pragmatic elements in the region.
One problem for Abbas in the context of reconciliation with Hamas would be to allow it to emerge from its Gaza enclave, he says. "This would accelerate its opportunity to become a regional player and get inside the whole Palestinian government."
But despite this litany of non-options, Becker believes that for Abbas, "doing nothing risks moving steadily towards his own (leadership) demise".
He says the Palestinians have so far been unwilling to take sufficient risks to reach a solution: "In the negotiating room, the instinct is to hold out, which risks reinforcing negative perceptions.
"For negotiations truly to succeed, each side has to spend a lot of time working on the victory speeches of the other side, so it can be sold to each other's supporters."
There is a common myth, he says, that Israel and Palestine have been negotiating for 20 years, meaning the options have been exhausted.
"But for most of that time we have been arguing about why we are not negotiating."
And, he adds, "it's another common myth that everyone knows what a deal looks like. Everyone knows the slogans around a deal, but one that actually changes the reality on the ground in a secure and responsible way is immensely complicated.
"There's a lot more work to do. We haven't reached the end of the road, it's just that the situation now is not a breakthrough opportunity. We need to look for opportunities to move forward, even if partially. We can't afford to give up, but we can't afford to be naive or reckless either."