Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Hillary Defines “Unhelpful”

Today in Ramallah, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Israel’s demolition of Arab homes in Jerusalem was “unhelpful.” It was to be expected that she would toss the Palestinians a few bones during her visit and, one supposes, she could have said a lot worse.

Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that homes demolished in Jerusalem were built without permits, a practice that is illegal in most countries. Moreover, as anyone who has visited Jerusalem in recent years can testify, building in Arab neighborhoods of the city has grown exponentially. So the implied charge that no Arab homes are being allowed to be built is utterly false.

Of course, at the same time, the United States continues to carp about the building of Jewish homes in Jewish communities in the territories, especially those in Greater Jerusalem, which no Israeli government would ever surrender. So it’s more than a bit hypocritical for the U.S. to call on Israel to freeze the building of Jewish homes while opposing any effort to curb the growth of Arab housing.

A couple of other points about Clinton’s photo-op in Ramallah:

Earlier, Clinton stated that Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority constitute the only “legitimate” government of the Palestinians. As to that, the P.A. is certainly preferable to Hamas. But Abbas’s term in office has already expired and there’s no talk about holding another election. Of course not, since the weak Abbas might well lose to Hamas. As previously promised through leaks from the State Department, Clinton also has tried to pressure Israel to open the border crossings to Hamas-run Gaza without any concrete measures to enforce a cease-fire (rockets from Gaza continue to fall on southern Israel) or to release kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The border crossings issue is directly related to the nearly $900 million stimulus plan that Obama is offering to the Palestinians. The question of where that money will go and who will administer it is vital. The U.S. wants to give the money to the P.A. but that body has no power in Gaza. Moreover, if it goes to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, the UN body dedicated to perpetuating the Palestinian refugee question, we know very well that Hamas will influence its distribution (since UNRWA is riddled with Hamas supporters) or will steal it. For all of our sympathy for ordinary Palestinians, you have to have an awful lot of faith to believe that some of the same people who have wasted billions in foreign aid in the territories over the last two decades,  will get this sum to those who truly need it.

Moreover, if Clinton’s rhetoric seems familiar, it should. There’s very little difference between her statement and actions and those of Condoleezza Rice during the last two years of the Bush administration. Rice, too, attempted to forge an impossible peace deal with a Palestinian partner that was less interested in a Palestinian state than the Israelis. So much for change. 


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.