Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama Gets It.

"Let me have men about me that are fat, sleek-headed men and, such as sleep o’nights. Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look ... such men are dangerous."
- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act I, scene ii

Obama gets it.

Over an above whatever historical, religious or ideological reasons that cause Palestinians to hate Israelis, they hate them because they are miserable and suffering daily. Palestinians are willing to risk all, including their lives, because they feel they have so little. "When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose" On the other hand, rich and satisfied people, or the most part, do not easily go marching off to war - at least if they understand the horrors of war; and the Palestinians do understand that. People who have something, have something to protect. They are more willing to entertain compromise.

According to the JTA (emphasis mine):
President Barack Obama told Ehud Olmert and three other Middle East leaders he is determined to stop Hamas from smuggling arms.

According to a statement from White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, the new president placed phone calls Wednesday morning to Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and King Adullah of Jordan.

The statement said that Obama "emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the cease-fire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza."

Obama in the statement pledged that the United States, working with the international community, "would do its part to make these efforts successful."

He also communicated to the four leaders "his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term" and "his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership."
It is also encouraging that he made these phone calls on the morning of his first full day in office. It would seem to show that he is serious about re-engaging the U.S. in a mid east peace process.

If Israel had any brains, it would help in efforts to make the Palestinians prosperous. It would find a face saving excuse to open the borders of Gaza to full commercial traffic. It would build "tax free zones" at the border, and encourage companies to open plants there and give Palestinians jobs. It would keep its long standing promise to provide a travel corridor from Gaza to the West Bank. It would invest in infrastructure on the West Bank that helped not just Jewish settlers but the Palestinians to live a better life. It would stop the myriad administrative and security barriers that damp down economic life. It would understand that, in the long run, the only thing that can bring peace to Israel is satisfied Palestinians.


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