I recommend this unsentimental or “no-nonsense” analysis by our friend, Dr. Thomas Mitchell, at his new “The Self-Hating Gentile” blog:
Three events have recently occurred, all of which would normally be worth commenting and editorializing about, but they have tended to drown each other out.
First, the IDF’s internal enquiry into the Mavi Marmara boarding incident cleared the IDF. This was to be expected. The terms for the enquiry were whether or not Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal under international law and whether Israel used excessive force. Blockade is a well established belligerent practice in both international and internal conflicts. …
The second point is excessive force. … The IDF was justified in using force to protect the life of its soldiers the same as if Iranians had attacked a U.S. Navy ship carrying out search duties during the UN trade embargo on Iraq and American sailors had fired back. What is inexcusable is that the IDF, an army descended from the pre-state Hagana/Palmakh militia that carried out blockade running against the British during the 1940s, was unprepared for this resistance.
The second major event is the introduction in the Security Council of a draft resolution by the Palestinians condemning Israeli settlements as illegal. Numerous former diplomat have weighed in urging the Obama administration not to veto the resolution. Nearly everyone except Israel and American administrations–but not the State Dept.–consider the settlements to be illegal under international law, which prohibits an occupying power from deporting or voluntarily settling its population in occupied territory. Israel’s claim is that the West Bank and Gaza are not occupied but rather disputed territory, because Jordan had illegally occupied the West Bank and Egypt Gaza, previous to Israel seizing them in 1967.
The near universal belief is that until clear legal title to the territories is established, no foreign power may settle them. That makes sense to me. I disagree with Michael Lame (at rethinktheme.org) that this would jeopardize the peace process. Something that is already dead cannot be killed again before being revived.
In a Wikileaks-like development, the Al Jazeera news agency published documents that are purported to be the minutes of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations of 2008 under the Annapolis peace initiative. The leaks seem to indicate that the Palestinian side was much more flexible than the Israeli side. At the time there was a coalition government consisting of Kadima and Labor as the main parties. The prime minister was Ehud Olmert, who was effectively a lame duck due to both his performance during the Second Lebanon War of July 2006 and corruption allegations.
It was nearly a mirror image of Oslo. At Oslo Arafat considered himself to be under political threat from the Islamists led by Hamas, and thus not in a position to make any concessions. Ehud Barak’s Labor coalition did make substantial concessions but important gaps remained on Jerusalem and refugees. Barak was denounced by the Israeli Right for the concessions that he made. Today it is the Palestinian Right of Hamas and parts of Fatah that are denouncing the purported Palestinian concessions of 2008. … Read this entire (not overly long) post online at “The Self-Hating Gentile.”