Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Common Sense: High in demand and short in supply

Let’s start with Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who sponsored a bill threatening to cut off funding to the UN if that body votes to grant statehood to the Palestinian Authority.  Now, I am the first person to line up and defend Israel and I do not believe that a Palestinian state with Hamas in a position of power or influence is acceptable.  However, threatening to withhold funding is like the 8 year old who doesn’t like the game anymore and threatens to take his ball and go home.  Does she think her threat will sway Estonia, Venezuela, Benin, or Algeria?  Does she think that all the UN thinks about is the Israel/Palestinian situation?  She is willing to cut off funds to help starving children in African or fight tuberculosis in South America?  This “you’re either with us or against us” empty threat rhetoric may make you feel tough, but it is far from effective.
The above notwithstanding, here are the indisputable facts concerning Palestinian statehood: (1) The 1948 UN partition plan for Palestine still holds today, (2) Hamas doesn’t want a peace treaty because they immediately lose influence, (3) the right wing power base of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu wants a perpetual state of tension, and (4) the majority of Israelis and Palestinians accept a two state solution based on 1967 borders.
The growing tension between the Turkish and Israeli governments is bad for both sides.  In the wake of the 108 page UN report on the May 31, 2010 incident involving the Turkish flotilla, a report that was supposed to bring the nations together, both sides are playing a dangerous game of chicken.  The controversial report alleges Israel’s blockade was legal but its actions were “excessive and unreasonable”.  As for the flotilla, the report stated "acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade." While the majority of flotilla participants had no violent intentions, it said, "there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers."  The report closed with a recommendation that Israel issue an apology and provide compensation for the loss of life.  The latest severing of military and diplomatic ties between the nations is a further step in the wrong direction and adds another migraine to Secretary of State Clinton. 
Looks like President Obama will unveil a $300Billion Jobs Plan this Thursday before kick-off.  Details could include:
-          Tax credit to firms for hiring
-          Public works projects
-          Capital depreciation
-          Retraining
-          Extension of payroll tax cut for employees
-          Payroll tax cuts for employers
All to be paid for by future spending cuts and tax increases.  I am not hopeful that this will dent the unemployment in this country or suddenly get the consumer spending again.  Hope I am wrong.

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