Times Watch, World Watch, Mideast Watch

by Martin Peretz | May 17, 2009

Well, we'll know soon enough what the chemistry is between Barack Obama and Bibi Netanyahu, like sometime on Monday.  But in the New York Times of Sunday Helene Cooper gives you her expectations in an article titled "World Watches to See if New Perspective in Washington Brings Shift on Mideast."

Of course, it's not exactly what everybody thinks. But Ms. Cooper has loaded the dice, which is exactly which is exactly with what we are playing. The better part of her article is devoted to the views of a shamefully discredited bigot, Charles Freeman, someone of whom you'd never heard three months ago. And,  by the way, never had reason to hear of until then.

He was summarily dispatched back to his post-foreign service career activities (detailed in my many spines on him) which was shilling for the at once rapaciously capitalist and stubbornly communist regime in Beijing and, of course, the Saudis. A man needs to make a living. On the other hand, Freeman is probably on the lush international oil speaking circuit. So no need to worry.

Then there is Aaron David Miller who has been opining on Israel/Palestine ever since he worked for James Baker with whom he still seems to agree. Apparently Miller is the only one of Bill Clinton's peace processors not to have realized the enormous errors made by pushing Ehud Barak to concede more and more to Yassir Arafat who rejected everything. Miller then worked for Seeds of Peace, a children's camp for Palestinian and Israeli children. I don't know whether "Kumbaya" or "We Shall Live in Peace" was the camp song. In any case, no harm done. Today he is back in the prognostication and advice business. The same shibboleths about Israeli compromises.

But what after the compromises? Who will guarantee that the West Bank will not turn into Gaza from which rockets and missiles will rain on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Yes, I am for a two-state solution. When I was a little boy I also was for a two-state solution. It was called the Partition Plan for Palestine, one "Jewish" state, one "Arab" (not, by the way, "Palestinian") state.

In any event, we will see how Obama turns and whether he, in fact, does turn.

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