The Israeli Peace Initiative

For those who haven’t seen it, I paste below the text of the “Israeli Peace Initiative.” It may not satisfy everyone, but it’s an eminently practical document. It’s well worth consideration as a pragmatic way to move forward. If something like this were put forth years ago, it would have been a monumental breakthrough. Today, it may well be too little too late. Still, if there is to be a negotiated resolution to this conflict, the IPI and API are the path toward it. It seems beyond belief that the Netanyahu government will support it, and much more likely that it will ignore it, just as the Sharon, Olmert and Bibi governments have done with the Arab Peace Initiative (API). It may be, however, the prime tool to push with Obama, and is certainly the kind of thing the status quo devotees, led by AIPAC will attack in any way they can.
The drafters of the plan include includes ex-army chief Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, former Mossad head Danny Yatom and Shin Bet directors Yaakov Perry and Ami Ayalon, as well as ex-general and Labor Party chief Amram Mitzna. That should lend it some credibility, though arch enemies of peace have already dismissed these names.
In any case, it is worth pursuing.  Continue reading

Radical Extremists Jump On the Goldstone Op-ed

Not surprisingly, the radical extremists at NGO Monitor and many others are jumping on the op-ed by Richard Goldstone to “prove” that human rights groups, and others, who have been calling for investigations into Israel’s conduct in Operation Cast Lead should retract their claims.

Goldstone essentially said two things of substance in his op-ed: that Israel has done a lot more than Hamas, which has done nothing, to investigate Cast Lead, and this is certainly true, though it might be damning with faint praise; and that Israel did not target civilians as a matter of policy.

Goldstone gets in more trouble the more he talks

To be sure, there are those who did take the Goldstone Report as conclusive proof that Israel targeted civilians intentionally. But here is what I wrote on November 16, 2009:

More overreaching can be seen in Goldstone’s flat statement that Israel, as a matter of policy, targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. Indeed, it is true that the pattern of destruction he cites in his report raises this very disturbing question. But that’s all it does—raise it. Goldstone makes a flat judgment without proving his case, or even substantially supporting it. He’s a prosecutor by trade; he has to know better than that.

B’Tselem, referring to that same accusation, said, on October 19, 2009:

…the mission’s conclusions regarding Israel’s overall objectives in carrying out the operation were not sufficiently supported by facts arising from the mission’s research.

Human Rights Watch also reiterated that the original Report did not support a conclusion of Israel intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Not surprisingly, the fanatics at NGO Monitor chose not to name a single instance of an NGO leveling the accusation of intentionality that was alluded to in the Goldstone Report. Continue reading