December 2, 2012
5 quick notes on retribution
Israel decided to punish the Palestinians for the UN vote by building in E1, or at least declaring to be preparing to be building in E1, or to be doing "preliminary zoning and planning preparations" for building in E1 at an undeclared future date. I'd urge all observers not to lose sleep over the "zoning" and the "planning". E1 is a paper tiger.
The New York Times, reporting about the UN vote, declared it to be a "blow to US" and "a sharp rebuke to the United States". But you don't see the Obama administration rushing to punish either the Palestinian Authority for its lack of subordination or the UN for its lack of, well, sense. From which one can draw two possible conclusions:
A. The U.S. understands that not every misdeed justifies retribution – sometimes it is better to just get over it.
Proof that A is the correct conclusion: Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told NPR that the resolution is "powerful symbolism" – namely, even he realizes that it changes little.
Proof that B is the correct conclusion: "the Obama administration rushed to condemn the action" – that is, Israel's decision to build in E1. Its response to the Israeli action seems somewhat blunter than its response to the UN vote.
That AIPAC calls for "a 'full review' of the U.S. relationship with the Palestine Liberation Organization, including shutting its Washington office, in the wake of its obtaining non-member state status at the United Nations" is nice. But truth is, the problem isn't the Palestinian Authority – it is the UN. And the U.S. will not be (nor should it be) reviewing its relationship with the UN. As for the PA: Like Israel, the U.S. has very few options for retribution. That is, unless one wants to see the dismantling of the PA. This day might yet come, but not because of "symbolism", as powerful as it might be.