Monday 9 July 2007

Tony Blair's mission to nowhere

Hi High Toniness, fresh from completing what will turn out to be a seedy list of peerages to end his scarred reign as PM, is off to the Middle East.

I commented at Istanbultory and Ellee's place, that I thought this was a charade and he was meant to fail; hence his appointment. Some people disagreed with me and I wanted to make a further couple of points on the matter.

Firstly, I am racially Jewish and feel a great sense of warmth to Israel, a place I have visited several times, along with Egypt and Jordan. I am no Middle East expert, but did study for a masters degree in international relations.

My heart is torn by the current Isreali position, backed by George Bush, of unilateralism. This policy resulted in the failure of the war in Lebanon and the more successful resistance to the second intifada.

However, the policy is undoubtedly expansionist. Today, Peace Now, an Israeli anti-war group, released their study of the latest Israeli plans for the West Bank. To me these seem nothing short of outrageous. The plan is for hundreds of thousands of settlers in the West Bank. Not only that but they assume control of the key water resources and centres of economic activity.

I can't see how these gains will be acceptable to a Palestinian Government. However, Israel must be gleeful at the break with Hamas and Fatah that has divided their enemy. Hamas is a vicious terrorist organisation and Fatah a despotic and unpopular party. Neither would agree with Israel or has the power to do so.

Into this situation flies Mr Blair, with little chance of success. His record in fighting a war against Iraq also ruins his credibility with key external Arabic influencers such as Saudi, Syria and also Iran (which after all is the state sponsor to the Hezbollah terrorists).

From all this a pattern is clear. Not one that I think will lead to a peace deal in Northern Ireland style terms. Instead the Israeli hawks survey the political divides and wreckage around them and are contemplating the permanent expansion of their highly armed state. This leaves no viable state for the Palestinians without which I can see no long-term Middle East peace settlement. The US effectively is backing this policy in lieu of a credible alternative.


Jeremy Jacobs said...

I've always maintained that the problem is Jordan and not Israel. What do you think, CU?

CityUnslicker said...

I used to think that, but the more I have read the more I think Israel is making things worse.

Clearly the Arabs are happy to let the Palestianians fester in order to use it as a stick to beat the west. Jordan is keen on this as is Saudi.

However, recent Israeli policy seems to be one of conquest. A real negotiation, as was the case in 2000 at Oslo, is much further away than it used to be.

Israeli policy is more extreme; which matche sUS foreign policy in the area rather a lot.

one thing that can be gleaned from the NI peace deal is that the extremists on both sides need to agree their is a need fo ran end to conflict. Neither side in this region agrees on that. The war will continue.

Old BE said...

I don't know enough about it to have an opinion based on the facts, like most of the country (and BBC!) but I can't help thinking that constant international interference is not the way forward. Should the West really be lavishing such huge amounts on Israel if they are going to be expansionist with their resources?

If Blair is going to be successful he needs to have the balls to tell Israel to get back in its box if necessary.

Electro-Kevin said...

I really worry that something trivial might happen to his Tonyness in the Middle East.

Newmania said...

I tend to side with Israel on the basis of not liking the people who are against her. Israel acts in the interest of her own security and I can understand that a posture of defensive readiness cannot be indefinitely played without developing an expansionist momentum. From my redaing of it , it seems to me that the Jewish view of Israel as their ancestral home does have more to it than you might expect and the timing of the rise of Palestinian nationalism in fact the concept of a Palestine is about contemporary with the Zionist movement. I thijk alot of people think that the West out the Jews there en masse after the 2nd world war and "Forgot" about the Arabs. Its a fiedishly compliacted story but at least it is not anyhting like that. I have a sympathy in that Isarael is a democracy and its enemies are not. Sometimes it appears that Israel is accused by Lieral Democracies that , in fact,are protected by NATO and the US mainly , who , like Israel , has to make difficult choices in the real world rather than easy moralising in at the trendy Dinner table
I didn`t know you were Jewish CU did you see the Richard LittleJohn prog about the rise of anti semitism ? Shocking stuff .

Still now I know why you wouldn`t touch the Porky scratchings and never went ot the bar :)

James Higham said...

Whoa - I'm not getting into this one. By the way, Jeremy visits you but not me.

Anonymous said...

I reckon its doomed to fail too.

Here's my two penn'orth:

Anonymous said...

I always had the greatest respect for you CU, now I have even more.

I am a realist and have been amazed over the past year or two at the mindless hysteria in being pro-Israeli, and also the mindless hysteria in being pro-Pal, within the blogging community, and from many seemingly intelligent and rational people.

You've put into perspective the whole issue as I look at it; there is much to condemn both sides for and mindless, irrational support is only making the situation worse. The problem, for many here in the blogosphere is that they have no direct experience of real violence or war; many being uni-graduates who like to spout and end up spouting shite.

I don't NI is a good example BTW because Bliar handled it terribly, and the current status quo is not the true status.

Keep up the good work.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"I think Israel is making things worse".


CityUnslicker said...

bit late with the comments...

Ed - no chance, he has no real authority to do anything.

N - I certainly want Israel to survive as is its right. However, i do no think that backing it to behave in any way will work. It made peace with Egypt and that could be a model.

CityUnslicker said...

Shot - i quite agree. The thing with NI, is despite holding my nose, when I went there the people are all happier, the country is safer; the peace has been won. At a price worth paying? Probably. A high price but there is great hope where there was none.

CityUnslicker said...

Steven-L - But where are the Palestinians to go then? Israel want sthem out and no one else wants them either.

They have to have a state or else the war will be perpetual.

CityUnslicker said...

JJ - Worse by refusing the Palestinians a viable state, as in my article.

At the moment they think they can achieve a military victory; I think this is fantasy.

negotiating a peace is the only option and that is off the table at the moment.

Steven_L said...

Has anyone seriously considered Gadaffi jnr's idea for an one state 'Israelistine' solution?

Any views?

CityUnslicker said...

Steve-L - nice idea on paper, mad in reality. The Jews would never agree as whoever outbred the other would bei n power....

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