Oct 22, 2023Liked by Tom Watson

Great point of view. Maybe there is hope for a long lasting peaceful settlement in the middle east. Since the time of the Romans, and even before that war has been the norm in that section of the world. The intersection of 3 world wide religons doe not help cool the situation. I hope for a equitible and forever peace in that section of the world.

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Oct 22, 2023·edited Oct 22, 2023

I appreciate you venturing your views on this forum with all the attendant risks of being attacked for them and, even, for who you are. I respect that. Today you are pointing out how other nationalist conflicts differ from the Israeli-Palestinian one while they share some aspects in common. I think the one thing they all share is that the US committed itself, in varying degrees, to brokering a peace. The Irish/British divide lent itself most easily to our providing a bridge because of our ethnic and national ties to both Ireland and the UK. It was much simpler in that context to play the role of the superpower with exceptionally strong ties to -- and respect for -- both sides of the conflict. We should recognize that the US since Jimmy Carter has willingly, though hardly wholeheartedly, signed up to be guarantors of any and all "peace" agreements by the two parties of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think that you will agree that the US has not followed through by doing what it could have done to persuade Israel to remain true to the accords. If the UK moved troops and settlers into more Irish counties than the six in Northern Ireland, the US would no doubt be outraged on behalf of Ireland (and our own tens of millions of Irish Americans) and insist that the UK back off. Israel has never stopped settling the West Bank, and in recent years its Prime Minister publicly announced its intention to annex -- annex! -- it once and for all. The US reaction: "Uh, we don't think that's a good idea. We remain *committed* to a two-state solution." That commitment has been embarrassingly meager, taking the form of lip service and only lip service, while the funding and hardware necessary to maintain and advance the settlement activity continue to flow uninterrupted from Washington to Tel Aviv/Jerusalem. The atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 were wholly criminal and unjustified. But they should not become a blanket historical excuse for denying Palestinians what they legitimately deserve: dignity, self-determination, food, water, medicine, fuel, and their own state. One-sided focus on the crimes of the oppressed -- the IRA and Hamas -- do not do the conflict and the struggle for two-state (the US's avowed goal) any good. There is much we in the US must undo to be able to even think about ever playing the role of a broker for peace trusted by both sides. The Palestinians have become so radicalized by their mounting frustration over the last 75 years that they now have the horrific administrative and public relations albatross of having an avowedly genocidal, eliminationist political leadership untenable to anybody, least of all Israel and the US. (The Palestinian Authority has been deliberately humiliated and embarrassed into irrelevance, leaving only Hamas to stand up to Israeli expansionism and degradation). It will take considerable time and effort to neutralize Hamas, but that would be up to Israel, who holds the reins. At the bare minimum, Israel must freeze the settlements in the West Bank and offer an olive branch to the Palestinian people in the form of a promise to roll back all of the settlements created since the June 1967 war, and to permit the creation of a viable Palestinian state as soon as the Palestinians produce responsible, democratic, non-genocidal leadership -- a tall order, sure. But since it was Israel who both created and radicalized Hamas in the first place, it is within its power to make all such constructive fantasies come true. Will it do so? Almost certainly not. Not with the US continuing to play the role of dishonest broker.

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