Caving To White House Pressure…
Beirut — It was reportedly a hectic and intense past weekend in Washington and London according to an emailed report from a Capitol Hill source, as the Obama and Cameron administrations tracked down and button-holed the leaders of the 28 European Union delegations gathering in Brussels to finally vote on whether Hezbollah’s ‘military wing’ should be sanctioned, by labeling it a “terrorist” organization. Several conversations took peace between Israel’s Tzipi Livni and the US State Department.
As of last Thursday (7/18/13) the project was by no means a done deal and only 17 EU members could be counted on “to do the right thing “as this observers contact explained. So 11 votes had to me nailed down fast and less than an hour before the EU vote, the last two EU hold-outs reluctantly went along.
When asked why, given all that was happening these days this region, the oft-delayed EU vote on Hezbollah could simply not just be put off again, this observer was advised it had to do with another European Union action and the tremors that it caused for the Zionist lobby, and their demands to the US State Department and the White House that something be done. Furthermore that the timing of the EU decision was a combination of pressure by the U.S. and Israel to compensate for recent decision by the EU to boycott products made in West Bank settlements. It was apparently influenced by Hezbollah’s involvement n Syria.
Ms. Livni called John Kerry ever since the first EU votes and advised in no uncertain terms that Israeli leaders were enraged when the European Union issued its official guidelines on the funding of Israeli projects beyond the Green Line which will substantial block ability of Israeli settlements and other entities operating in the West Bank to receive grants and from EU member states. Israel, claimed Justice Minister Tzipi Livni wanted adequate compensation from the EU and she reportedly warned Secretary of State John Kerry that talks with the Palestinians might otherwise be affected. The bus bombing in Bulgaria had little to do with the timing. The timing of the EU vote was fixed by White House pressure.
Ms. Livni demanded three things from Kerry as the ‘price tag’ of the Israeli government going thru the motions of appearing to be willing to resume negotiations and to state publicly that Israel will consider some sort of slow-down or temporary ‘time-out’ for the frenzied construction project on the West Bank.
She got two of the three.
One of Livni’s demands was the EU doing what it did and targeting with the ‘terrorist’ label Hezbollah’s military wing.
The second non-negotiable demand was that the White House appoint as Kerry’s Chief Negotiator at any Israel-Palestinian peace negotiation the Israeli born arch- Zionist Martin Indyk. Kerrey, not happy and under Israeli lobby pressure, agreed and will name Indyk shortly Congressional sources reveal.
Mr. Indyk began his Washington career as an AIPAC staffer, served as executive director of an AIPAC think tank offshoot, the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and then served two terms as the first foreign-born U.S. Ambassador to Israel where, according to Jeffrey Feltman, his longtime aid, “Martin taught me all I need to know about the Middle East, and that is about preserving Israel.”
Indyk immigrated to the United States from Australia and later gained American citizenship in 1993. He wrote in the book Innocent Abroad, that: “I was first drawn to the Middle East through my Jewish identity and connection to Israel.” Indyk now works at Brookings for a man he calls his “godfather,” Haim Saban. Saban has said that his “greatest concern… is to protect Israel.”
According to Phillip Weiss writing in Mondoweiss.net: “Indyk was described in 1992 by a former AIPAC president as AIPAC’s political asset in the Clinton campaign. After the spectacular failure of Camp David negotiations that he helped conduct in 2000, Indyk was characterized by former Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Dahlan as having a pro-Israel bias and “advanced negative attitudes toward Palestinians.”
Professor James Wall, reports that former Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that Indyk was “partial, biased, pro-Israel” and defended Israeli settlements more than Israelis do.
Ms. Livni’s third demand from the Obama administration was a reiteration of her earlier demand shared by some EU countries, including the United Kingdom and The Netherlands. It was a project for a more firm approach that includes blacklisting the entire Lebanese political organization. This way, all the accounts and assets of Hezbollah-affiliated organizations, businesses, and charities could have been frozen all over Europe. As some analysts have pointed out, Mosques in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and other EU countries that raise funds for the Hezbollah-operated charities, hospitals, and schools in Lebanon would have also been closed. She failed in this goal with the White House after a reportedly heated argument.
Kerry told Ms. Livni that there was no way the EU would agree so she should be content with what the EU had voted. He pleased for calm because he had worked hard to line up all 28 votes.
Following the EU vote, at a news conference, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni appeared to claim the full credit as she praised the EU decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s armed wing, which she said made clear that the party is a “terrorist organization”. “Finally, after years of deliberations, it is clear to the entire world that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization”, she said in a statement.
Not quite the case, but she did call to thank John Kerry.
According to Eli Bardenstein, writing in the 7/23/13 edition of the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, Livni’s role only added to a diplomatic blitz over the past year headed by Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General for Strategic Affairs, Jeremy Issacharoll and the Counterterrorism Department headed by Shai Cohen. They organized a team that had been intensely lobbying European countries to promote branding all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
When asked for the main reasons the EU caved to White House pressure, a congressional contact who works with the Office of White House liaison succinctly replied: “Getting Israel of their backs for the EU boycott of the West Bank settlements, Assads apparent victory in Syria aided big-time by Hezbollah, and Obama wanting some progress with Kerry’s ‘peace talks’ project. He added, “Plus it was a politically inexpensive feel good affair that won’t have any real impact except for a PR gain for Livni who will use it in her campaign to replace Netanyahu.”
Dr. Ibrahim Mousawi, who directs Hezbollah’s Media Office, got it right when he explained that Hezbollah firmly rejected the decision and accused the EU of bowing to pressure from the United States and Israel.
In Lebanon and Syria, the EU’s move to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist group appears to have been shrugged off and viewed as part of the ongoing US-Israeli-backed conspiracy that it sees behind much of what is happening in the region. In this observers Hezbollah neighborhood last night there were some spontaneous celebrations of Ramadan seeming mixed with support for Resistance to the EU decision which is viewed here with disdain.
In practical terms, the EU decision constitutes a mere political slap on the wrist. Hezbollah is not known to have substantial identifiable assets in EU countries, and it does not rely on donations from supporters there. Also, according to the source, Washington does not believe that Hezbollah’s military wing has many assets in Europe and nor does it reply on funding from these countries. The EU was briefed by the State Department on this analysis and went along. For these and other reasons, the EU will maintain its contacts with Hezbollah on a variety of issues, including the activities of UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force on the border with Israel, and on joint projects between the EU and Lebanon.
But it may turn out to be a bit expensive after all for those voting to target Syria’s friends this week, according to one Damascus pro-government source who insists Syria will have a photographic memory when perhaps as early as next year, the half a trillion dollar reconstruction of war-devastated Syria begins.
She asked rhetorically, “Guess which 28 countries will be among those jostling for big contracts worth billions? Can you imagine we will be in much of a mood to forgive and forget their roles in this crisis? Call it pay-back or a price-tag, the EU may want to prepare their explanations for this vote.”
Lo and behold, a few short hours later, as if the NSA had given the Head of the EU delegation, Angelina Eichhorst, a quick transcript of our perhaps bugged conversation, the lady wasted no time coming to Beirut to assure Hezbollah and other political groups and personalities, that everything was fine as she played down the EU decision to blacklist Hezbollah’s military wing. She promised that it would not affect the cooperation with the new Lebanese government even if the Shiite party dominated it. “The EU backs the efforts exerted by Premier-designate Tammam Salam to form a new cabinet and cooperates with the caretaker government which is dominated by Hezbollah”, she said. “The EU will happily work with any cabinet that Hezbollah is a part of!” She stressed and stressed again– perhaps a dozen times during her brief visit.
As this is a sort of a family publication, this observer could not possibly even conceive of offering the dear reader the verbatim two-word response to Ms. Angelina and the EU from one my neighbors.
Andre Pshenichnikov (24) is a most unusual kid. So unusual that he is languishing in Egyptian jail for crossing the border without proper papers. But his story begins earlier. I first heard of him when this young programmer from a Tel Aviv suburb stayed in Deheishe refugee camp near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. He did not go there to explore Palestinian way of life, or to write for a newspaper; he was not looking for publicity, he did not hide nor emphasize his Israeli identity. He did not act as an activist, marching at demos and enjoying popularity. He just rented a room, worked at a building site or waited tables in a tourist restaurant just like any Palestinian youth of his age in Deheishe, lived with ordinary people on his salary.
Andre did the impossible. He crossed the biggest chasm there is. Imagine a white boy from Philly, picking cotton and living with blacks in a cabin on a Mississippi plantation in the days of Jim Crow. No Freedom Rider went that far. He broke an important taboo: so many Israelis are convinced that the Palestinians would kill them on sight, at first occasion. By his example he refuted this fantasy. He renounced apartheid personally by living with Palestinians.
It did not work out very well: “I was always under suspicion”, – he says. People were hostile to him, excepting a few brave ones. Palestinians did not understand what he was doing there and subtly hinted at it by seizing him and passing him to Israeli security like a hot potato. Israelis charged him with entering the Palestinian Territories – it is forbidden by Israeli law.
He was not cooled off by this setback. He decided to continue his personal crusade – declared that he gives up his Israeli citizenship and asked for a Palestinian one. He’s got no reply from the PNA. Though there are many Israelis who would like to, the PNA does not position itself as an alternative government for the land.
Andre Pshenichnikov (his long last name can be translated as Wheaten) was born in the USSR just before its collapse; his parents took him to Israel. He graduated from Israeli school and served in the Israeli army, but he remained a good, idealistic Russian boy. He failed as a Jew, but passed with honours as a human. It is amazing that such Turgenev-style kids still exist in our pragmatic age, and they still go out to “join the working people”. And the working people still surrender these good-wishers to the security forces, for they could not understand them.
Some young kids are positively influenced by what they witness in their military service. The occupation is so brutal, that it comes as a shock – and this shock causes them to reject the Israeli official thinking. After army service they emigrate or withdraw from public life; some go further. Andre Pshenichnikov, a Soviet-born son of a Russian Christian mother, was unable to understand his Zionist-brainwashed comrades who humiliate Palestinians at checkpoints, arrest the men and insult the women, or shoot Palestinian children for sport. That’s why he went to Deheishe.
His left-wing pro-Palestinian friends invited him to a conference in Cairo. The police took away his passport – the reckless kid hastily stepped over the Egyptian border without documents, with just a few newspaper clippings about himself. If he thought he’d get a hero welcome, he was wrong. The Egyptians arrested him and sentenced him to two years of prison, though such a crime usually is published by a fine, or a week of detention. To them he was just another dubious Israeli. Perhaps the Israeli secret services have requested of their Egyptian colleagues to keep Andre under wraps as long as possible. His sincere idealistic desire to support Palestinians to such a degree was understood neither in Deheishe nor in Sinai. It is tragic that people who cross lines make others extremely suspicious. This was the case with German anti-Nazis in the WWII: people often weren’t sure what to make of them, but they were the bedrock of post-war change.
Such kids are necessary if we want to undo the apartheid in Palestine/Israel. They should be promoted by Arab governments, not locked up. There are too few Israelis and/or Jews who live amongst native Palestinians. A few Israelis, men (Uri Davis) and women (Neta Golan), got married over the Green line. Amira Haas lived in Gaza and Ramallah, but she wrote for the Haaretz. Bigger part of my life passed in Palestinian seaside town of Jaffa, but it is a traditionally cosmopolitan city under Israeli rule, and many Israelis, artists and writers, live there. Andre did an important step.
Now Andre’s mother country, Russia, has learned of his fate and decided to help her hitherto lost son. The PNA should do more to help him out, and so can our friends and friends of Palestine in Egypt and elsewhere. Let him be free! Though his actions were reckless, his intentions were noble, and we need such people.
“My Name is Rachel Corrie” is based on the writings and journals of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old Evergreen State College student, who traveled to the Gaza Strip in 2003 and was run over and killed by a USA MADE Caterpillar D9R armored bulldozer which was operated by Israeli Forces, on March 16th, which was just a few days before President Bush began the bombing of Baghdad.
Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister at the time of Corrie’s death, promised a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation” would be conducted. An internal military inquiry cleared the two soldiers operating the bulldozer was even criticized by US officials.
Human Rights Watch noted it “fell far short of the transparency, impartiality and thoroughness required by international law”.
The army report said Rachel Corrie “was struck as she stood behind a mound of earth that was created by an engineering vehicle operating in the area and she was hidden from the view of the vehicle’s operator who continued with his work. Corrie was struck by dirt and a slab of concrete resulting in her death.”
Tom Dale, a British activist who was 10m away when Corrie was killed, wrote an account of the incident two days later. He described how she first knelt in the path of an approaching bulldozer and then stood as it reached her. She climbed on a mound of earth and the crowd nearby shouted at the bulldozer to stop. He said the bulldozer pushed her down and drove over her.
“They pushed Rachel, first beneath the scoop, then beneath the blade, then continued till her body was beneath the cockpit. They waited over her for a few seconds, before reversing. They reversed with the blade pressed down, so it scraped over her body a second time. Every second I believed they would stop but they never did.”
Rachel has been eulogized and demonized, celebrated and castigated. Her words and witness speak for themselves and what follows are but a few excerpts from her emails written while in the homes of strangers who became friends and family in Rafah.
In January 2003, upon leaving Olympia, Washington, Rachel wrote:
We are all born and someday we’ll all die…to some degree alone. What if our aloneness isn’t a tragedy? What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure – to experience the world as a dynamic presence – as a changeable, interactive thing?
On February 7, 2003, Rachel wrote:
No amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality…Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown…When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting…at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m done…I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees – many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, ‘Go! Go!’ because a tank was coming. And then waving and [asking] ‘What’s your name?’
Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity.
It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously – occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving – many forced to be here, many just aggressive – shooting into the houses as we wander away…There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza”. Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start….
Currently, the Israeli army is building a fourteen-meter-high wall between Rafah in Palestine and the border, carving a no-mans land from the houses along the border. Six hundred and two homes have been completely bulldozed according to the Rafah Popular Refugee Committee. The number of homes that have been partially destroyed is greater. Rafah existed prior to 1948, but most of the people here are themselves or are descendants of people who were relocated here from their homes in historic Palestine—now Israel. Rafah was split in half when the Sinai returned to Egypt.
In addition to the constant presence of tanks along the border and in the western region between Rafah and settlements along the coast, there are more IDF towers here than I can count—along the horizon, at the end of streets. Some just army green metal. Others these strange spiral staircases draped in some kind of netting to make the activity within anonymous. Some hidden, just beneath the horizon of buildings. A new one went up the other day in the time it took us to do laundry and to cross town twice to hang banners.
Despite the fact that some of the areas nearest the border are the original Rafah with families who have lived on this land for at least a century, only the 1948 camps in the center of the city are Palestinian controlled areas under Oslo.
But as far as I can tell, there are few if any places that are not within the sights of some tower or another. Certainly there is no place invulnerable to Apache helicopters or to the cameras of invisible drones we hear buzzing over the city for hours at a time.
…According to the municipal water office the wells destroyed last week provided half of Rafah’s water supply. Many of the communities have requested internationals to be present at night to attempt to shield houses from further demolition. After about ten p.m. it is very difficult to move at night because the Israeli army treats anyone in the streets as resistance and shoots at them. So clearly we are too few.
Many people want their voices to be heard, and I think we need to use some of our privilege as internationals to get those voices heard directly in the US, rather than through the filter of well-meaning internationals such as myself. I am just beginning to learn, from what I expect to be a very intense tutelage, about the ability of people to organize against all odds, and to resist against all odds.
People here watch the media, and they told me again today that there have been large protests in the United States and “problems for the government” in the UK. So thanks for allowing me to not feel like a complete Polyanna when I tentatively tell people here that many people in the United States do not support the policies of our government, and that we are learning from global examples how to resist.
February 20, 2003:
Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means that Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can’t. People can’t get to their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can’t get home; and internationals, who have a meeting tomorrow in the West Bank, won’t make it. We could probably make it through if we made serious use of our international white person privilege, but that would also mean some risk of arrest and deportation, even though none of us has done anything illegal.
The Gaza Strip is divided in thirds now. There is some talk about the “reoccupation of Gaza”, but I seriously doubt this will happen, because I think it would be a geopolitically stupid move for Israel right now. I think the more likely thing is an increase in smaller below-the-international-outcry-radar incursions and possibly the oft-hinted “population transfer”.
…A move to reoccupy Gaza would generate a much larger outcry than Sharon’s assassination-during-peace-negotiations/land grab strategy, which is working very well now to create settlements all over, slowly but surely eliminating any meaningful possibility for Palestinian self-determination. Know that I have a lot of very nice Palestinians looking after me…
February 27, 2003:
…I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house…Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and two small babies. It was our mistake in translation that caused him to think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the process of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby – one that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.
This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses – the livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses – right in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking out with his two little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more at this particular moment, probably because I felt it was our translation problems that made him leave.
I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are all completely destroyed – the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally closed); the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean (completely cut off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but who happen to live along the border……about non-violent resistance.
When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family’s house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I’m having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the willful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can’t believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it.
It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be…you actually do go and do your own research. But it makes me worry about the job I’m doing. All of the situation that I tried to enumerate above – and a lot of other things – constitutes a somewhat gradual – often hidden, but nevertheless massive – removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to survive. This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities – but in focusing on them I’m terrified of missing their context.
The vast majority of people here – even if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon’s possible goals), can’t leave…they can’t even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won’t let them in (both our country and Arab countries).
…when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can’t get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the definition of genocide according to international law…
When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.
February 28, 2003:
…I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances – which I also haven’t seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will…
I think I could see a Palestinian state or a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state within my lifetime. I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.
I look forward to increasing numbers of middle-class privileged people like you and me becoming aware of the structures that support our privilege and beginning to support the work of those who aren’t privileged to dismantle those structures.
I look forward to more moments like February 15 when civil society wakes up en masse and issues massive and resonant evidence of it’s conscience, it’s unwillingness to be repressed, and it’s compassion for the suffering of others.
I look forward to more teachers emerging like Matt Grant and Barbara Weaver and Dale Knuth who teach critical thinking to kids in the United States.
I look forward to the international resistance that’s occurring now fertilizing analysis on all kinds of issues, with dialogue between diverse groups of people.
I look forward to all of us who are new at this developing better skills for working in democratic structures and healing our own racism and classism and sexism and heterosexism and ageism and ableism and becoming more effective.
In fifth grade, at the age of ten, Rachel Corrie wrote her heart out and stated it at a Press Conference on World Hunger in 1990:
I’m here for other children.
I’m here because I care.
I’m here because children everywhere are suffering and because forty thousand people die each day from hunger.
I’m here because those people are mostly children.
We have got to understand that the poor are all around us and we are ignoring them.
We have got to understand that these deaths are preventable.
We have got to understand that people in third world countries think and care and smile and cry just like us.
We have got to understand that they dream our dreams and we dream theirs.
We have got to understand that they are us. We are them.
My dream is to stop hunger by the year 2000.
My dream is to give the poor a chance.
My dream is to save the 40,000 people who die each day.
My dream can and will come true if we all look into the future and see the light that shines there.
If we ignore hunger, that light will go out.
If we all help and work together, it will grow and burn free with the potential of tomorrow.
President Barack Obama’s Middle Eastern tour, scheduled for the end of March, has triggered a wave of intense speculation about its objectives in recent days. It centers on reports from Israeli sources that Obama will tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a “window of opportunity” for a military strike on Iran will open in June.
The President will allegedly bring the message that Israel should “sit tight” and let the U.S. take the stage—even if that means remaining on the sidelines during an American military operation. It seems improbable, however, that an American president needs to make a 12,000-mile round-trip to provide such reassurance to a difficult partner whom he dislikes, and whose sentiments are fully reciprocated. Last year Obama had no qualms about turning down Netanyahu’s request for a meeting following the latter’s public criticism of the Administration for its reluctance to act against Iran. It is also unlikely that Obama would let Netanyahu know of his strategy so far in advance, even if the ‘window of opportunity’ claim was true.
As for the perennial issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is an even bet that Mr. Obama will not be able to kick-start the stalled ‘peace process.’ At most, notes The Economist, Israel may accept a partial freeze on settlement construction in exchange for a Palestinian pledge not to take Israel’s settlement activity to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Both sides are primarily interested in making the opponent take the blame for the continuing deadlock. Amos Yadlin—former military intelligence chief who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Jerusalem—aptly summarized the Israeli position when he said, “We have to submit a proposal to the Palestinians, a decent proposal, a fair proposal. If the Palestinians will accept it, it’s a win of peace. If they refuse—as we think they will—then at least we win the blame game and we can continue to shape our borders by ourselves without the need to wait for the Palestinians to agree.”
It is obvious that the new Israeli government does not envisage a two-state solution as the foundation of a “decent and fair” proposal. Netanyahu’s plans for settlement construction in annexed east Jerusalem would effectively cut the West Bank in two and force a fait accompli on the status of the Holy City that no Palestinian leader would ever accept. Further settlement construction is “the biggest single threat to the two-state solution,” and Netanyahu knows it. His move reflects his strategic vision: a lasting peace with the Arabs is not obtainable; the conflict is structurally irresoluble; and Israel’s security therefore demands open-ended maintenance of military superiority and physical control over as much territory as possible. Meaningless concessions may be made for PR purposes—a few Palestinian prisoners can be released here, further expansion of a few settlements may be suspended there—but Israel needs to manage the conflict by maintain the status quo for many years to come.
An important element of this strategy is the assumption that the United States will continue to support it politically, militarily, and financially. Quite apart from various moral and legal issues involved, the U.S. Government appears increasingly reluctant to condone Netanyahu’s vision—which is just as well, primarily because doing so would not be in the American interest, but also because the strategy of permanent conflict management is not in the interest of Israel’s long-term survival. Israel may seem strong and secure at the moment, but its position vis-à-vis its hostile Arab neighbors is steadily deteriorating.
The wave of political changes in the Arab world over the past two years has changed the security architecture of the Middle East to Israel’s detriment. One of its consequences is that in relation to Israel the new leaders are more representative of the wishes of their people. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood’s manipulation of the political process has enabled it to concentrate all power in its hands. President Mohamed Morsi’s skill and cunning ensured the Brotherhood’s victory at the forthcoming sham parliamentary election. For the time being, Morsi is paying lip service to the maintenance of the peace treaty with Israel. He knows that this is the precondition for continuing American aid to his country’s depleted coffers, but his long-term intentions are better reflected in his speech made nearly three years ago, in which he urged Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. In a television interview months later, he blasted “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” Denying Israel’s right to exist is a key pillar of the Brotherhood’s ideology and its activists murdered President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981 for signing that same peace treaty two years earlier. Nothing has changed in its position. Israel’s southwestern frontier is no longer secure; and if Bashar al-Assad falls in Syria, the same will apply to the northeastern frontier in the Golan.
With the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the geographic, demographic and cultural center of the Arab world well-nigh irreversible, the entire Middle East is in turmoil. Libya is a failed state in which rival tribal militias and terrorist groups run the show outside central Tripoli and use its territory to launch attacks in Algeria. In Syria, the rebel movement is dominated by the Islamic People’s Brigade, the Islamic Dawn Movement, the Battalions of Islam, and many similar groups which share an ideology that includes a relentless hatred of Israel. If victorious, these seasoned foreign and home-grown jihadists will cause Israel to nostalgically remember three decades of peace in the Golan Heights under Bashar al-Assad and his father before him.
If the momentum of the past two years provides pointers for the future, by the end of this decade the Greater Middle East will be more firmly Islamic than at any time since the heyday of the Ottoman Empire under Suleyman, and thus more implacably anti-Israeli than ever. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan heralded the shift four years ago, and Turkey has rapidly morphed from Israel’s key strategic partner in the region into a hostile Islamic power. To take but one example, speaking the the United Nations on February 27 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the international community to “put an end to the Palestinians’ suffering in the occupied territories” and urged the world “to put pressure on Israel to respect human dignity.”
Closer to Israel’s borders, it is only a matter of time before Morsi’s protégé, Hamas, prevails over the more moderate Fatah in the Palestinian power struggle. The precarious stability of Jordan—which has long acted as if it had not merely a nonbelligerency agreement, but a fully-fledged peace treaty with Israel —will be tested by sectarian tensions between East Bank Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin. King Abdullah’s reluctant reforms may create a revolution of rising expectations, and lead to yet another regime change detrimental to Israel’s interests. There will be no “peace process,” of course. With the storm clouds gathering around them, many Israelis will have reason to regret the support that Netanyahu’s friends in Washington had given to the Arab Islamic Winter.
Diplomatically, Israel is more isolated than ever since 1967. The settlement enterprise is not only a security liability, rather than an asset, but also a diplomatic millstone which materially contributed to the overwhelming UN vote in favor of Palestinian de facto statehood last fall. Since then, settlement policies have elicited a chorus of condemnation, including a call for sanctions against Israel by the European union. The unelected elite running the EU is inherently hostile to a state based on the principle of blood and religion, but its antagonism to Israel is further exacerbated by rising influence of the Muslim diaspora in several key EU countries, notably France, Germany and Britain. More significantly still, Chuck Hagel’s swift confirmation has exposed the growing weakness of pro-Israeli lobbying groups in Washington. Two years ago, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden.” Following the botched anti-Hagel campaign, increasing numbers of Washingtonian insiders are prone to agree with his assessment.
Demographic trends are another alarming aspect of Israel’s long-term geopolitical position, which has always been shaped by the implacable determinants of land and population. The Palestinians are adamantly insistent on the “right of return” of the descendants of some 700,000 refugees of 1948, and estimates indicate that there are more than four million of them in the PA and elsewhere in the Arab world. Over 90% of them reject the possibility of monetary compensation in lieu of that right. This is anathema to Israelis, as it would signal the end of the Jewish state, and the elusive two-state solution seems to offer the only viable defense from the demographic bomb. Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the Jews are already in a minority. Since birth rates in the West Bank and Gaza remain much higher than in Israel, the Arab population of the Palestinian Authority will exceed the number of Israeli Jews by 2040. On current form, Arabs will account for a quarter of Israel’s population by that time, up from just over a fifth today.
Jewish immigration does not make much difference to the trend. It has oscillated between 15 and 20,000 over the past decade, the massive influx from the former USSR having dried up. It is noteworthy that considerably higher numbers of Jews are leaving—many of them highly skilled professionals. In 2011, the government estimated the number of Israeli citizens living abroad at between 800,000 and one million, representing up to 13% of the population.Consistent with the latter figure is the estimated one million Israelis in the Diaspora reported at the first global conference of Israelis living abroad, held in January 2011. According to the Foundation for the Middle East Peace, about 45 percent of the adult Israeli expatriates have completed at least a university degree, in contrast to 22 percent of the Israeli population. The Israeli emigrants are generally younger than the immigrants to Israel. Significantly, up to 60 percent of Israelis had approached or were intending to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport. Analysts warn that it will be a challenge for Jewish Israelis to maintain their current dominant majority of approximately 75 percent, primarily due to higher fertility among non-Jewish Israelis — nearly one child per woman greater — the depletion of the large pool of likely potential Jewish immigrants, and large-scale Jewish Israeli emigration: “Consequently, demographic projections expect the Jewish proportion of the country—which peaked at 89 percent in 1957—to continue declining over the coming decades, approaching a figure closer to two-thirds of the population by mid-century.” As a commentator noted in the London Independent noted two years ago (“Will Israel Still Exist in 2048?”), with the early pioneering spirit fading, and even the Holocaust—dare one hazard—less of a unifying force, Israel is not the same country it was 60, 30, even 10 years ago:
And demography means that it will continue to change, with the Arab, Orthodox Jewish and second-generation Russian populations increasing much faster than other groups. The Israel of the next 30 years is likely to be more divided, less productive, more inward-looking and more hawkish than it is today—but without the financial means and unquestioning sense of duty that inspired young people to defend their homeland by force of arms.
The Palestinians believe that time is on their side. The young—one-half of the population—are angry, disillusioned and more radical than their parents. As Professor Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University wrote last November, they see the ailing Palestinian Authority pegged down at bare subsistence levels, without state authority or geographical contiguity, an undeveloped economy totally dependent on Israel and foreign donors, and a Palestinian elite accorded VIP status in reward for its collaboration in maintaining the status quo:
Today there is no longer a sole Palestinian representative—Hamas is in the game too. Moreover, the talks singularly failed to produce a permanent settlement or end the occupation. On the contrary, the reality on the ground has changed for the worse, to the extent that among the New Palestinians belief in the in the two-state solution is rapidly dwindling. The young generation sees Abbas and his people at a loose end, with no practical program or longer term vision… The young people also hear him talking about non-violent resistance to the occupation, while doing virtually nothing to promote it. But the New Palestinians are already on a different wavelength.
These “New Palestinians,” increasingly drawn to Hamas in preference to the corrupt old Fatah elite, will present a greater threat to Israel’s future than their stone-throwing predecessors. They will never accept Israel’s West Bank barrier as a permanent fact of life. They will also be even more inclined than their elders to view the conflict in ontological terms—as a struggle not only for Palestinian rights and viable statehood, but also for the divinely ordained claims of the Ummah against the usurping unbelievers. It is only a matter of time before the “New Palestinians” start perceiving Israel’s rejection of the two-state model and the expansion of settlements as a welcome lapse of judgment, a single-state trap from which the Jewish state will find it hard to extricate itself. They hope that the expansion of the fortress state will eventually morph into one-state solution by other means.
They are no longer deterred or intimidated by Israel’s military superiority. The IDF performed poorly in southern Lebanon in 2006, showing itself poorly prepared for the “fourth generation warfare” against an elusive non-state opponent like Hezbollah. According to a Brookings Institution 2011 report, “The IDF’s poor performance on multiple levels—leadership, coordination, logistics, and fighting capabilities—undermined Israel’s much-prized deterrent factor, and led to the perception of defeat.” The same problem occurred in Gaza in late 2008, where Hamas could be beaten but not defeated, and with the Gaza flotilla raid in 2009, the political costs of which far exceeded the utility of keeping the city under tight naval blockade. The fact that Israel possesses nuclear weapons changes but little in the equation. Of eight other countries possessing the bomb, not one has ever been able to change the status quo in its favor by threatening to use it, let alone by using it. Worryingly for Israel, South Africa had developed its own nuclear arsenal in the 1980s—it has been dismantled since—but this did not enhance its government’s ability to resist the winds of change in the early 1990’s.
Netanyahu’s vision of a Greater Israel and his open-ended strategy of military containment do not take into account the shifting environment and changes within Israel, which make his approach unsustainable in the long term. From its inception Israel has faced numerous threats, but its ability to cope with them in the past does not mean that it will be able to do so indefinitely. The issue is not whether Israel should survive, but whether it has the wherewithal to survive on the basis of the flawed grand strategy to which its ruling political elite subscribes.
After a 30-year-old Palestinian died while in custody and a hunger strike by four other inmates sparked a week of West Bank protests, Palestinians are calling for an international investigation of Israel’s treatment of detained Palestinians.
The death of Arafat Jaradat on Saturday raised recurrent questions about Israel’s Shin Bet [Internal Security Service] because Jaradat was healthy at the time of his arrest last week.
Israeli officials claim Jaradat died of an apparent heart attack and has denied he was beaten or subjected to any treatment that could have led to his death.
In protest, several thousand Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons observed a one-day fast on Sunday which is expected to spur more Palestinian demonstrations that will shine a light on Israeli SECURITY and Prison System.
The AP reported that the Shin Bet arrested Jaradat last Monday because residents in his village of Saeer said he was involved in a rock-throwing attack that injured an Israeli. The Shin Bet claim Jaradat admitted to the charge, as well as to another West Bank rock-throwing incident last year.
The Shin Bet also claims that during Jaradat’s interrogation, he was examined several times by a doctor who detected no health problems.
On Saturday, Jaradat was in his cell and after lunch felt unwell and an official statement claims thay “Rescue services and a doctor were alerted and treated him, they didn’t succeed in saving his life.” 
Israel’s main forensics institute is to perform an autopsy with a Palestinian physician in attendance.
Issa Karake, a Palestinian official who handles prisoner issues has called for an independent international investigation of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees.
The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has also demanded an investigation, including how Jaradat was questioned.
The Shin Bet routinely holds detainees in isolation for extended periods during interrogation, keeps them in cells that are lit around the clock and denies them access to lawyers.
Around 700 complaints have been filed about mistreatment by Shin Bet agents over the past decade, but none have led to a criminal investigation.
|Current Number of Political Prisoners and Detainees|
|0 Israelis are being held prisoner by Palestinians, while4,656 Palestinians are currently imprisoned by Israel. (View Sources & More Information)|
On January 5, 2006, I traveled to Ramallah to the Headquarters of ADAMEER [Arabic for conscience] and met with spokesmen, Ala Jaradat a slightly built man who delivered a powerful message in a soft spoken voice:
“Since 1967, 650,000 to 700,000 Palestinians have been arrested and detained. That totals 20% of the total population and 80% of all adult Palestinian males have been arrested.
“Most of these arrests occur after midnight when large numbers of IDF storm into neighborhoods or refugee camps, horrifying everyone and arresting anyone 14 years or older. Sometimes they storm into business offices and arrest the breadwinners of the families without any charges.
“These arrests and detentions are based on military orders; we live under a kind of Marshall Law which rules every aspect of Palestinian life: where we live, our license plates that restrict our movement and limited voting rights. Under these military orders the Israeli government is free to hold anyone eight days without accusations or charges. They can hold anyone up to 180 days for interrogation and up to 60 days without benefit of a lawyer.
“The Israeli government never agreed to the Second Geneva Convention, the Knesset never ratified it, and when it comes to the Occupied Territories they totally ignore it. Israel is the only State that approved torture of detainees. I know there are dictators who use torture, but Israel is the only State that supported torture until 1999. That is when International, Israeli and Palestinian pressure groups forced the issue and Barack was confronted about it when he visited the United States.
“The IDF will round up and arrest family members and use threats against their relatives to force confessions. The interrogations lead to Military Trials which is theoretically like court with three Judges presiding but only one is required to have an education and a law degree is not at all necessary. The Military Commander appoints the translators, issues all orders, assigns the judges, and has total control. One appeal is allowed, but if the judges are settlers the Palestinian is in deep SH#T!
“Administrative Detentions are issued by the Military Commander for a period of six months and the reason is always labeled ‘Security’ and the charges can be renewed indefinitely.
“One Palestinian spent eight years under Administrative detention and hundreds have endured four or more years. Today fifty are being held for the past four years. They may be released for a day or two and then they are rearrested because they are social or political activists but reasons are not given by the Israeli government.
“At any given moment 10% of those in prison are under Administrative Detention. There are currently 8,000 prisoners and 800 of them are under Administrative Detention. The government does not have to inform anyone about these arrests except the Red Cross and only if they are imprisoned over two weeks, but most arrests go unreported.
“Any Palestinian under the age of 16 is tried as an adult, but for an Israeli Jew it is 18 years of age. Under 12 years old the child can be arrested but not detained. Over 12 they can be arrested, detained, interrogated, prosecuted and sentenced for throwing stones.
“Most of the Israeli Jews that are imprisoned are in for violent crimes against society and they are mixed in with the Palestinian population. The guards encourage them to do what ever they want to do against the Palestinian population. This is an open invitation by the Israeli government to incite violence and terror in the prison system. We have sworn affidavits from Palestinians claiming it was the guards who encouraged the violence inflicted upon them.
“In August 2004 the Palestinians went on a hunger strike to raise awareness of this problem and the Minister of Health who is responsible for them stated publicly: ‘Our hospitals are off limits to them They can all starve themselves to death.’
“No human rights organizations are allowed access to the prisoners. Only lawyers and the Red Cross can visit them but have no access to the facilities where they are detained.
“The methods and photos from Abu Grahib and Guantanamo were no shock to any Palestinian who had been in prison between 1967 and the ‘80’s. All the methods used in Abu Grahib were normal procedures against Palestinians. In 1999 Internationals, Palestinians and Israelis for human rights threatened a boycott against Israel and that is what forced the Supreme Court to address the torture issue. They did not ban torture and the General Prosecutor can choose not to prosecute those who still use it.” 
2. THIRD INTIFADA: NONVIOLENT But With Words Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword by Eileen Fleming
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.
Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.
Only U.S. construction firms are being allowed to bid on the contract and proposals are due Dec. 3, according to the latest Corps of Engineers notice.
Site 911 is the latest in a long history of military construction projects the United States has undertaken for the IDF under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program. The 1998 Wye River Memorandum between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has led to about $500 million in U.S. construction of military facilities for the Israelis, most of them initially in an undeveloped part of the Negev Desert. It was done to ensure there were bases to which IDF forces stationed in the West Bank could be redeployed.
As recorded in the Corps’ European District magazine, called Engineering in Europe, three bases were built to support 20,000 troops, and eventually the Israeli air force moved into the same area, creating Nevatim air base. A new runway, 2.5 miles long, was built there by the Corps along with about 100 new buildings and 10 miles of roads.
Over the years, the Corps has built underground hangers for Israeli fighter-bombers, facilities for handling nuclear weapons (though Israel does not admit having such weapons), command centers, training bases, intelligence facilities and simulators, according to Corps publications.
Within the past two years the Corps, which has three offices in Israel, completed a $30 million set of hangars at Nevatim, which the magazine describes as a “former small desert outpost that has grown to be one of the largest and most modern air bases in the country.” It has also supervised a $20 million project to build maintenance shops, hangars and headquarters to support Israel’s large Eitan unmanned aerial vehicle.
Site 911, which will be built at another base, appears to be one of the largest projects. Each of the first three underground floors is to be roughly 41,000 square feet, according to the Corps notice. The lower two floors are much smaller and hold equipment.
Security concerns are so great that non-Israeli employees hired by the builder can come only from “the U.S., Canada, Western Europe countries, Poland, Moldavia, Thailand, Philippines, Venezuela, Romania and China,” according to the Corps notice. “The employment of Palestinians is also forbidden,” it says.
Among other security rules: The site “shall have one gate only for both entering and exiting the site” and “no exit or entrance to the site shall be allowed during work hours except for supply trucks.” Guards will be Israeli citizens with experience in the Israeli air force. Also, “the collection of information of any type whatsoever related to base activities is prohibited.”
The well-known Israeli architectural firm listed on the plans, Ada Karmi-Melamede Architects, has paid attention to the aesthetics of the site design as well as the sensibilities of future employees. The site, for example, will be decorated with rocks chosen by the architect but purchased by the contractor. Three picnic tables are planned, according to the solicitation.
The Corps offered a lengthy description of the mezuzas the contractor is to provide “for each door or opening exclusive of toilets or shower rooms” in the Site 911 building. A mezuza (also spelled mezuzah) is a parchment which has been inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah, placed in a case and attached to a door frame of a Jewish family’s house as a sign of faith. Some interpret Jewish law as requiring — as in this case — that a mezuza be attached to every door in a house.
These mezuzas, notes the Corps, “shall be written in inerasable ink, on . . . uncoated leather parchment” and be handwritten by a scribe “holding a written authorization according to Jewish law.” The writing may be “Ashkenazik or Sepharadik” but “not a mixture” and “must be uniform.”
Also, “The Mezuzahs shall be proof-read by a computer at an authorized institution for Mezuzah inspection, as well as manually proof-read for the form of the letters by a proof-reader authorized by the Chief Rabbinate.” The mezuza shall be supplied with an aluminum housing with holes so it can be connected to the door frame or opening. Finally, “All Mezuzahs for the facility shall be affixed by the Base’s Rabbi or his appointed representative and not by the contractor staff.”
What’s the purpose of Site 911? I asked the Pentagon on Tuesday, and the Corps on Wednesday said that only an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman could provide an answer.
This may be a trend-starter. The Corps is also seeking a contractor for another secret construction project in Israel in the $100 million range to awarded next summer. This one will involve “a complex facility with site development challenges” requiring services that include “electrical, communication, mechanical/
HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] and plumbing.” The U.S. contractor must have a U.S. secret or equivalent Israeli security clearance for the project, which is expected to take almost 21/2 years to complete.
That sounds like a secure command center.
The purpose of Site 911 is far less clear.
Source: Walter Pincus | TheWashingtonPost
The United Nations General Assembly vote of 11/29/12, which some in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps are calling a “birth certificate for our country” is the latest of more than 400 UN resolutions on the Question of Palestine and a rare major victory for Palestinians after 65 years of resisting occupation.
The UN action, which was backed by an overwhelm majority of UN members with a lopsided vote of 138 to 9, may well force the Zionist regime to seriously consider a just peaceful resolution of the conflict.
With due respect to the nearly 50 percent of the UN members who voted against the historic Palestine Resolution on 11/29/12 at the General Assembly, which is to say the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru ( the world’s smallest republic covering just 8.1 square miles with a population of 9, 378)), and Palau, with its approximately 20,000 inhabitants, all former U.S. Trust Territories and currently “freely associated states” of the United States, with U.S. zip/postal and telephone codes much more closely resembling American states (51st, 52nd, 53rd and 54th) than sovereign countries, the World spoke clearly in favor of Palestinian self-determination. Indeed, the only reason these dissenting four “countries” are UN Members at all is due to cold war era efforts of Washington to stack the General Assembly in its favor by running up the numbers of its safe votes.
Over the past fortnight, as the US and Israel piled layers of threats onto their mantra of derision regarding yesterday’s historic UN vote on Palestine, both countries desperately tried to dissuade the Palestinians from scrapping their application for non-member observer state membership status with the United Nations.
Way too much did Israeli officials and their US lobby protest, thus drawing more international attention and curiosity as they kept dissing the “purely symbolic empty gesture and meaningless act.”
Naftali Bennett, leader of the extremist right-wing national religious Zionist party in Israel, Habayit Hayehudi (“The Jewish Home”) warned the day before the vote that “the PA bid for non-member status at the UN has very real implications on Israel, and that we must take harsh measures in response. I don’t accept the claim that this is a symbolic move,” Bennet told Israel Radio. “This is not symbolic at all. This has very practical implications. “He added: “We must tell the Arabs, if you pursue a unilateral strategy at the UN, We will pursue a unilateral strategy in annexing settlements in the West Bank.”
There is some important symbolism in the UN admitting Palestine as a non-member observer on the 65th anniversary of the November 29, 1947, adoption by the UN General Assembly of the resolution on the partition of Palestine (resolution 181 (II)). On December 2, 1977, it was recorded that the assembly called for the annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People (A/RES/32/40 B).
Last minute appeals by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton plus a late night pre-vote visit by US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Middle East envoy David Hale to the hotel room of the Palestinian Authority hold-over President Mahmoud Abbas failed to convince him to withdraw the resolution and to include the demanded eviscerating codicils.
Secretary of State Clinton could not have been more mistaken as she insisted at her news conference on 11/28/12 that “the only path towards a Palestinian state was through direct negotiations. As I have said many times the only path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.” Few in the state department, according to congressional staff members who liaise with Clinton’s staff, believe that direct negotiations would ever lead to Israel voluntarily rejecting its current apartheid system or that the interminable “peace process” has ever been taken seriously by the Zionist regime and in fact constitute a hoax. In contradistinction, the growing reality in the Middle East and all five continents is the belief that only Resistance, with its scores of forms, will liberate Palestine from Zionist occupation.
Low balling the UN vote…
Following the 138 to 9 vote, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, intimated, as did the usual Amen chorus of anti-Arab & anti-Islam zealots, from the US Israeli lobby, including the likes of ADL’s Abe Foxman, that” just as predicted, anti-Semitism was lurking behind the lopsided vote” and that it all amounted, in the words of Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev, “to nothing but cheap political theater that should not come as a surprise to anyone.”
The American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as it does on any issue involving Palestine and Israel issued Talking Points for members of Congress and other Zionist organizations to be used when communicating with constituents and giving media interviews. AIPAC keeps close track of how many interviews each member gives and how closely they tow the Zionist line so as to help determine how much cash the particular member will receive for re-election as well as other perks.
For this crucial UN vote, the US Zionist lobby used U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) drafted a letter from these AIPAC stalwarts to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas opposing any unilateral attempts by the Palestinian Government to pursue non-member state status at the United Nations General Assembly.
In their letter, the Senators asserted that “Palestinian statehood can only be realized as a result of a broader peace agreement negotiated with the Israelis, not through unilateral measures at the United Nations. Should you decide, however, to bypass direct negotiations and unilaterally seek upgraded status at the UN, we want to again remind you of the potential for significant consequences. As S. Res. 185 notes, any such efforts may cause consequences in regards to U.S. policy and foreign aid.”
AIPAC instructed Congress to make the following points which was included in an “urgent advisory” to every member and many staffers.
1. This UN action won’t lead to peace.
Peace will only occur through direct talks. By refusing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking recognition of a state at the United Nations, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is damaging U.S. peace efforts. (nothing in this point is accurate)
2. Recognizing a Palestinian state gives legitimacy to Hamas.
The Iranian-backed terrorist group has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians and is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state. By granting recognition of a state, the international community will reward Hamas for its terrorist actions, rather than condemn them
3. The United States has rejected the Palestinian approach.
President Obama has said that “no vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state” and called the Palestinian efforts at the U.N. a “mistake.”
Other talking points AIPAC told Congress to use include: while Israel Takes Steps for Peace, Palestinians run to UN , Israel Wants Talks; Palestinians Still Refuse, Palestinians Glorify Terrorists by praising the Hamas victory.
What the Zionist leaders of Israel, as they franticly try to intimidate the region by stockpiling American weapons, while grabbing more Palestinian land, fear is that the 11/19/12 UN resolution may be a game changer.
In this they are correct.
The UN action allows the Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates and de facto grants recognition of Palestinian statehood on the pre-1967 ceasefire lines while re-enforcing the wide international consensus that the pre-1967 lines should form the basis of a permanent peace settlement.
It also opens up the 17 Specialized Agencies of the UN including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Labor Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Bank Group, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization (WTO), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) as well as related and comparable organizations.
As noted this week by Al-Haq, the Palestinian human rights organization “ Under such a strengthened position within the international legal system, the State of Palestine will be allowed to formally accede to international human rights instruments and other technical United Nations bodies, thus improving protection of Palestinian rights at the domestic and international level”.
It is also to be expected that Palestinian citizens under brutal Zionist occupation will demand to use their new status to join the International Criminal Court and might press for investigations of Zionist international crimes, crimes against humanity, attempted genocide, and a host of other practices in the occupied territories. Investigating such international crimes and bringing punishment to those convicted is why the ICC was established.
Professor Francis Boyle reminds us that Palestine can also now sue Israel at the International Court of Justice and end the illegal siege of Gaza, and join the Law of the Sea Convention and secure its fair share of the gas fields lying off the Gaza coast with enormous economic benefits. Palestine can also now join the International Civil Aviation Organization and gain sovereignty over its own airspace; join the International Telecommunications Union and gain sovereign legal control over its own airwaves, phone lines and band-widths.
These are just some of the many reason the Obama administration, slavishly joined the Zionist leadership of occupied Palestine to defeat the UN application.
The actions of the Obama Administration and its vehement opposition to the UN vote continues to diminish the relevance of the US in the Middle East as it slides further down the wrong side of history with its client state in tow. Attempting to justify its shameful opposition to the Palestinian diplomatic undertaking in the UN, the Obama administration could only offer a weak brief from the State Department legal department accusing the PLO of acting unilaterally, in breach of signed agreements are simply parroting AIPAC talking points noted above.
Deepening Palestine’s international legal personality within the United Nations system is a legitimate presence on the world stage from which to assert rights guaranteed by fundamental principles of International Law. With more access to the United Nations system, Palestinians have gained a major political and legal framework from which to work and to encourage the international community to comply with its obligation to end Israeli crimes against them and bring Israel’s serious breaches of international law to an end.
Most peoples that resist the power politics of Zionism condemn aggressive actions of the outlaw Israeli state regularly. Yet most of the western democracies that are under the control of Talmud media and Khazar finance continue to defend the apartheid policies that are designed to purge any prospect of Palestinian, right to return, to the land of their forced removal. No matter what your politics are regarding the Middle East, the indisputable fact exists that the Greater Israel design for expanded territory is a core impediment of this interminable conflict.
From the beginning, Zionists advocated a “Jewish State” not just in Palestine, but also in Jordan, southern Lebanon, and the Golan Heights as well. In 1918 Ben-Gurion described the future “Jewish state’s” frontiers in details as follows:
“to the north, the Litani river [in southern Lebanon], to the northeast, the Wadi ‘Owja, twenty miles south of Damascus; the southern border will be mobile and pushed into Sinai at least up to Wadi al-‘Arish; and to the east, the Syrian Desert, including the furthest edge of Transjordan” (Expulsion Of The Palestinians, p. 87) Click here to view the “Greater Israel” map that was submitted by the Zionists to the peace conference after WWI.
The self-justification by Zionists for enhancing strategic security enlargement of territory never deals with the central issues. The entire concept of a homogeneous “Jewish State” under a secular Zionist regime, mocks the notion of religious faithfulness to the teaching in the Torah. The meaning of a “Greater Israel” has little to do with devotion of Jehovah.
In order to comprehend this distinction read the essay Zionism, Racism and anti-Semitism.
“Zionism is a political movement. To equate motives of politics with a religious belief is specious. Judaism is NOT equivalent to Zionism. The distinction is imperative if a correct understanding of relationships and actions, in the Middle East, are to be appreciated. A Zionist often professes their acceptance of the tenants of the Jewish faith, but a ‘true believer’ in the supremacy and survivability of a political state, can and frequently are non-believers to Judaism and the Torah. This is crucial, because it is not a condition of political allegiance to share faith in Yahweh.”
Review the deplorable history of Israeli territorial designs. The Maps Tell The Story account that displays the chart of expansionist settlements.
“Starting with the United Nations Partition Plan, 1947, the original borders for the state of Israel are quite limited. This index illustrates the significant border changes after the 1949 War of Independence, after the six day war of 1967, than after the 1982 return of Sinai and the invasion of Lebanon, and finally after Palestinian autonomy and Lebanon withdrawal in 2000.
But the most notable map is the one that identifies the Israeli settlements on the West Bank. A careful analysis of the locations and the areas that are an effective no man’s land, demonstrates the consequences of the expanded settlements. It is hard to believe that Israel will ever agree to remove their own population from these areas.”
Most discussions about Israel originate under the premise that the government in Tel Aviv has an immutable right to defend itself. Thus far, the plight of the displaced Palestinians is almost exclusively relegated to condemnation for inflicting savage terrorism. At the same time the enormous military technological offensive strike capabilities of the Israeli Defend Force undertakes carnage with a disproportionate vengeance that unmasks the true vicious hatred of non-Zionists. Conferring moral authority for IDF airstrikes equates to the same erroneous rationale and hypocrisy that NeoCon proponents shower over the U.S. bombing of al-Qaeda enclaves.
The tentative cease-fire in the latest rupture of mutual hostilities just plays into the hands of the incremental Zionist expansionists. The overriding concern in Israel is not that their Iron Dome missile system can destroy incoming Hamas Fajr-5 projectiles. Their goal is to seek cover for their intended preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
RT quotes from the account; Iran confirms military aid to Hamas, sending long-range missile technology.
“Iranian lawmaker Ali Larijani said on Wednesday his country was “proud” to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas according to remarks published on the Islamic Republic’s parliamentary website.
Larijani stressed the assistance had been both “financial and military.” On Tuesday, Larijani lauded the Palestinian missile capability, saying it had given them a “strategic [source] of power.”
Now the world press will decry Iran for their acknowledged support of Hamas. However, the Washington Post article back in 2006, Hamas Sweeps Palestinian Elections, Complicating Peace Efforts in Mideast, grudgingly reports:
“The radical Islamic movement Hamas won a large majority in the new Palestinian parliament, according to official election results announced Thursday, trouncing the governing Fatah party in a contest that could dramatically reshape the Palestinians’ relations with Israel and the rest of the world.
In Wednesday’s voting, Hamas claimed 76 of the 132 parliamentary seats, giving the party at war with Israel the right to form the next cabinet under the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Fatah.”
When did you last read that the radical IDF using American aircraft and smart bombs struck a sovereign country’s industrial facilities and slaughtered civilians as collateral damage? Full Spectrum Dominance, in the pursuit of eliminating any resistance to the New World Order is justified in the Zionist press. Simply put, the NWO is composed of many rabid Zionists that give a new meaning to the term extremist. However, in the bigger scheme of things it is No Surprise – Terrorism Is Winning.
“The reason that Terrorism is seen as the ultimate foe of governments is the nature of the warfare. Let no one mistake the stakes. Those who are willing to die to deliver chaos and turmoil are dangerous. But, more than that, they are unstoppable. Such an assessment may be unpopular but consider the facts. Regimes and prosperous societies have much to lose. Alienated and hostile adversaries that place little value on life, are no match for standing armed forces. By denying the temperament of the attacker and responding with overwhelming force, the inevitable futility of the end result; is guaranteed. Even tactics of aggressive proactive search and destroy strategy, fails to address or eradicate the underlying conflict. The battle may be won short term, but the war just continues.”
In spite of using the term terrorism, the reaction to systemic aggression often takes a violent response. This is the ultimate break with faith, principles and teachings of all the three eminent monotheistic religions. Warfare over territory is as old as history. Destabilizing Egypt, Libya and now Syria is part of a larger master tactic to isolate Iran as the only remaining obstacle to the greater State of Israel.
U.S. forces under the discredited pretext of weapons of mass destruction falsehoods dismantled Iraq. Co-opting Gaza so that Iran can be leveled from the air means that the jointly developed Israeli/American Iron Dome batteries can be deployed for incoming Iranian missiles after a sneak attack strike.
The article Hamas, Israel and the United States sums up the dangers of American involvement into a blood feud. Dominance of the region and impoverishment of the oil poor inhabitants drive the displacement of Palestinians into ghettos of expedient smart weapon annihilation.
“A regional dispute over land that was stolen with the blessing of Western Democracies is and always has been the nucleus of the eventual holocaust. What Americans are so unwilling to accept is that our own country has no duty or moral imperative to arbitrate between eternal enemies. It is a local conflict that can only destroy our own land by intervening. Making matters much worse are foreign policies that the United States acts as a neutral broker for peace.”
Just who is the rogue state in the Middle East? Israel is no ally. The political reality of domestic politics is hard pressed to poke the Jewish lobby in the eye. Nonetheless, attacking Iran in a joint operation with the IDF is pure madness. The old axis of evil rhetoric has deplorable consequences, when applied with JDAM-equipped bombs guided by a global positioning satellite system.
Hamas does not have clean hands, but when will the American public come to grips with the real reasons for the destruction of our own nation? The Western Democracies capitulated to the Zionists in the theft of Palestinian land. Khazar imposters are not Semite descendants of Abraham. Their own ruling class dupes sincere tribal Jews. Zionism puts them at risk. The “Greater Israel” expansionism is an impediment to any negotiated peace with justice.How much more blood needs to be shed to admit the obvious? Christian-Zionists bear a heavy responsibility in fostering the Likudnik mindset. Without a moral treatment of all peoples, not all the military weapons on the planet will ever impose peace. The Arab dynasties hardly champion the Palestinian cause. When desperation becomes genetically acceptable, the entire world loses its humanity. In order to eradicate unremitting bombing, the globe needs to face up to real rogue terrorism.
The United States government and its subject peoples think of the US as “the world’s only superpower.” But how is a country a superpower when its entire government and a majority of the subjects, especially those members of evangelical churches, grovel at the feet of the Israeli Prime Minister? How is a country a superpower when it lacks the power to determine its own foreign policy in the Middle East? Such a country is not a superpower. It is a puppet state.
In the past few days we have witnessed, yet again, the “American superpower” groveling at Netanyahu’s feet. When Netanyahu decided to again murder the Palestinian women and children of Gaza, to further destroy what remains of thesocial infrastructure of the Gaza Ghetto, and to declare Israeli war crimes and Israeli crimes against humanity to be merely the exercise of “self-defense,” the US Senate, the US House of Representatives, the White House, and the US media all promptly declared their support for Netanyahu’s crimes.
On November 16 the Congress of the “superpower,” both House and Senate, passed overwhelmingly the resolutions written for them by AIPAC, the Israel Lobby known as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the only foreign agent that is not required to register as a foreign agent. The Global News Service of the Jewish People reported their power over Washington with pride. Both Democrats and Republicans shared the dishonor of serving Israel and evil instead of America and justice for the Palestinians.
The White House quickly obeyed the summons from the Israel Lobby. President Obama announced that he is “fully supportive” of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, told the media on November 17 that the White House “wants the same thing as the Israelis want.” This is an overstatement as many Israelis oppose the crimes of the Israeli government, which is not the government of Israel but the government of the “settlers,” that is, the crazed land-hungry immigrants who are illegally, with Netanyahu’s support, stealing the lands of the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s Israel is the equivalent of the Lincoln Republicans 150 years ago. Then there was no international law to protect Southern states, who left the voluntary union, a right under the Constitution, in order to avoid being exploited by Northern business interests. Subsequently, the Union army, after devastating the South, turned on the American Indians, and there was no international law to protect American Indians from being murdered and dispossessed by Washington’s armies.
Washington claimed that its invasion forces were threatened by the Indian’s bows and arrows. Today there is international law to protect the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza. However, every time that the world tries to hold the Israeli government accountable for its crimes, Israel’s Washington puppet vetoes the UN decision.
The notion that Israel is threatened by Palestinians is as absurd as the notion that the US is threatened by Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Pakistan, and Iran. No government of any of these countries has ever made a threatening statement against the US. Even had such a statement been made, it would be meaningless. If a Superpower can be threatened by such impotent and distant counties, then it is not a superpower.
Demonizing a victim is a way of hiding state crimes. The American print and TV media is useless as a check on state crimes. The only crimes reported by the media are assigned to “terrorists,” that is, those who resist US hegemony, and to Americans, such as Bradley Manning and Sibel Edmonds, who liberate truth from official secrecy. Julian Assange of WikiLeaks remains in danger despite the asylum granted to him by the President of Ecuador, as Washington has little regard for international law.
In the US the exercise of the First Amendment is coming to be regarded as a crime against the state. The purpose of the media is no longer to find the truth, but to protect official lies. Speaking the truth has essentially disappeared as it is too costly to journalist who dare to do so. To keep one’s job, one serves Washington and the private interest groups that Washington serves.
In his November 19 defense of Israel’s latest war crimes, President Obama said: “no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down from outside its borders.” But, of course, numerous countries do tolerate missiles raining down from the US. The war criminal Obama is raining down missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and has rained missiles on Libya, Somalia, Iraq and Syria as well. Iran might be next.
The German assault on the Warsaw Ghetto is one of the horror stories of Jewish history. Such an event is happening again, only this time Jews are perpetrators instead of victims. No hand has been raised to stay Israel from the goal of the operationdeclared by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai to be “to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.”
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
Yesterday and today (October 14-15) I’ve been taking part in an interesting conference at the Patriarchate of Peć, in the occupied Serbian province of Kosovo. Organized by Bishop Jovan (Ćulibrk), an old friend of Dr. Fleming’s and mine, The Balkans and the Middle East Mirroring Each Other marks the centenary of the First Balkan War and the liberation of Kosovo and Southern Serbia after four centuries of the Ottoman misrule.
The conference has brought together an eclectic group of scholars: Ambassador Darko Tanasković of the University of Belgrade, Boris Havel of the University of Zagreb, Col. Shaul Shay of BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Martin van Creveld of Tel Aviv University, Gordon Bardos of Columbia University, and myself. The proceedings were attended by Patriarch Iriney of the Serbian Orthodox Church (R) and an array of Western diplomats and military officers based in Kosovo.
On the first day Professor van Creveld caused some controversy by suggesting that there existed a significant parallel between Israel and Serbia. The former needs to give up all occupied territories, including most of East Jerusalem—he argued—just as the latter needs to give up its claim to Kosovo. Regardless of how attached both nations feel to their ancient shrines and monuments that would be left behind, van Creveld argued that “amputating the gangrenous leg” was the only way to halt the sapping of strength and resources with no end-game in sight.
Disputing van Creveld’s diagnosis, Dr. Shay said that the apt metaphor was not an amputable leg but the patient’s heart that cannot be removed without killing the patient. My own paper reflected a similar point of view. The similarities between Kosovo and the West Bank are not obvious to the uninitiated, and prima facie similarities may appear superficial: In both cases there’s a small piece of disputed real estate, rich in history, poor in everything else, and badly mismanaged by the local Muslim majority which is chronically hostile to its non-Muslim neighbors. In both cases that majority craves internationally-recognized statehood. Far more important, in my view, is the spiritual parallel, with which I closed my remarks:
Proponents of Kosovo independence scoff at the Serbs’ claim that Kosovo, with its many ancient monasteries and the site of the famous battle, represents not just any part of their country but its very heart and soul—“Serbia’s Jerusalem.” Such attitude betrays a cynical contempt for the essence of any true nation’s identity, which necessarily rests on its historical, moral and spiritual roots. Without such foundation a people ceases to be a people and becomes but a random mob. If Serbia can be haughtily deprived of her Jerusalem today, and her historical and spiritual claims are dismissed out of hand, who is to say “al-Quds” will not be demanded of Israel tomorrow as the capital of an independent Palestine? And is it not hypocritical of the United States to actively support the former while claiming to be opposed to the latter?
Turkey is the common denominator in the Balkans and the Middle East, and its return to the center stage as a regional power is a remarkable phenomenon. It is historically unprecedented for a former great power which undergoes a period of steep decline to make a comeback and reestablish its position as a major player. After the Peloponnesian War Athens was finished for all time. Following the collapse of the Western Empire, Rome has never regained its old stature and glory. After Philip II Spain declined precipitously and has remained a third-rate power ever since. The list goes on, yet Turkey appears to be an exception to the rule.
Turkey’s neo-Ottoman strategy was the theme of Professor Tanasković’s presentation. He noted that at different times and in different contexts Turkey presents itself as a Mediterranean, Balkan, Middle Eastern, or NATO country, but that its most important, indeed defining feature is its Islamic character. Both the Balkans and the Middle East have been repeatedly singled out and openly named as priorities in the neo-Ottoman strategy of “Strategic Depth” as articulated by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The ultimate goal is to recreate a sphere of strictly Turkish dominance, according to Professor Tanasković. He insists that the AKP government’s neo-Ottoman strategy is not an ideological projection focused on the past. Quite the contrary, it is a constant feature of Turkish foreign policy—logical and legitimate. The Islamists are rediscovering their heritage which was interrupted by the Kemalist revolution. Neo-Ottomanism is neither good nor bad, it is a reality based on the notion that parallel to globalization, we have macro-regionalization of the world. In reality, Tanasković went on, there is no “globalization” in world politics: in a sense we are still in the 19th century, with regional powers seeking to dominance in their zones of influence. Only the US is still hoping to transcend the spatial limitations by projecting power always and everywhere.
Professor Tanaskovic concluded by saying that Turkey may have overplayed her hand following Ankara’s decision last spring to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. That decision has changed the strategic equation in the region, and it now exposes Turkey to the possibility of both Russia and Iran coming to view it as an adversary.
Shaul Shay opened his presentation by saying that the term “Arab Spring” is flawed. The word “tsunami,” or perhaps “earthquake,” would be more appropriate. It was destructive, unexpected, and not significantly amenable to human intervention. Nothing significant enough had happened in 2010 to enable us to say that this was the trigger for what followed. In the end, Shay argued, the Islamic Evolution proved stronger than the Tweeter Revolution. The process launched by young activists using all the resources the Internet has to offer eventually paved the way for Islamist movements. The main actors for change have been the youth, but the beneficiaries have been the Islamists—they were structured, with deep roots in society, unlike the youth who have not had time to organize. The outcomes of recent Arab uprisings have confirmed the organizational superiority and appeal of Islamist political parties in a number of countries in the Middle East. The fragile transitions from secular pro-Western dictatorships through a “democratic procedure” to the formation of Islamic regimes was a “tsunami” which has moved the tectonic plates of the Muslim societies and will provoke aftershocks that will lead to a region dominated by political Islam.
In recent years, Say concluded, we’ve seen a change in strategy used by radical Islamic organizations. Muslim Brotherhood openly seeks to establish “democracy” based upon Islamic principles. They regard liberal democracy with contempt, but they are willing to accommodate it as an avenue to power but as an avenue that runs only one way.
Historic changes taking place in both the Balkans and the Middle East are the political equivalent to the shift of tectonic plates. This is a crossroad in history and the road the nations involved take will determine our future. In the meantime we might see more Islamization there rather than Western style democracies. Where it will really lead Middle East and the rest of the world only future will tell.
A week-long visit to Tunisia, in the course of which I covered some 2,000 miles by rental car, bus, SUV, and a powered hang glider, has confirmed that of faraway places we often assume to know more than we do. The first country affected by a wave of popular discontent known as the Arab Spring was full of surprises.
To start with, the country is safe for foreign visitors. There have been no attacks on tourists, either at the time of the “Jasmine Revolution” last year or during the periodic eruptions of street protests since then. The violence triggered off by that YouTube video was quickly contained. Last week, more than 50 people—most of them policemen—were injured in protests at the reopening of a rubbish dump on the resort island of Djerba, but the protesters stayed away from the hotels. Even in dusty provincial towns, where no foreigners venture, gas station attendants and cold drinks vendors invariably greeted me with a smile and a polite “bonjour, Monsieur, ça va?” This is in contrast to the barely concealed hostility I have encountered on my recent trips to the West Bank, or—over a decade ago—in Libya.
By the third day, I felt emboldened to venture on my own to the spectacular Roman city of Dougga, a three hour drive from Hammamet, where I had the ruins all to myself for over two hours. At Téboursouk, on the way to Dougga, and at Qa Afur on the way back, I stopped casually at coffee houses for refreshments—the only European for miles around. Mustached men observed the strange sight behind clouds of tobacco smoke. Before long, some bold youngsters initiated conversation. Speaking French (however rusty in my case) definitely helps: it is still compulsory in Tunisian schools, and English has not made many inroads outside the capital and the coastal resorts. (As it happens, it also helps not being an American, or at any rate not admitting to being one.) The conversation did not need to be steered to politics, as most Tunisians find it the only topic currently worth discussing. Such encounters have been invaluable in helping me form a broad picture—more comprehensive and reliable than the one visiting foreign journalists get from their Sorbonne-educated, barely-accented colleagues over cappuccinos on Avenue Habib Bourguiba.
The “Arab Spring” stereotype—a simmering volcano of fundamentalism suddenly erupting and sweeping away a secularist autocracy—does not apply to Tunisia. The causes of the revolt against Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali in January 2011 were social and economic, no less than political. The country had outgrown him. Tunisia is blessed not to have much oil or gas—unlike its two neighbors Libya and Algeria—so it was forced to develop tourism, agriculture, and light manufacturing from its own resources. In contrast to the Emirates or Saudi Arabia, the Tunisians do their own work. The results have been impressive: it is the most literate Arab country, with the highest percentage of women in the workforce. It has good roads, reliable phones, clean if sometimes erratic water supply, and working sewers. Its roadsides are littered with garbage, but its living standards and the quality of its public services are second to none on the African continent. (Libya topped the chart until a year ago.)
In the final years of his rule, Ben Ali made the mistake of pandering excessively to his big business cronies, including his second wife’s corrupt family. The anger of “the street” had more to do with an uneven distribution of the fruits of prosperity and the stubbornly high unemployment rate—especially among the young—than with the kind of endemic poverty rampant in Egypt. A year later the Tunisian economy appears to have avoided the nosedive that seemed imminent after Ben Ali’s fall. The country’s budget deficit will be contained at below 6 percent of GDP next year. This year’s growth is expected to exceed 3.5 percent, and next year’s target is an impressive 4.5 percent. Inflation, interest rates and exchange rates remain under control.
Far from having absolute supremacy comparable to that enjoyed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia’s Islamic party, Ennahdha, is sharing power in a coalition that includes secularists who opposed Ben Ali’s regime and were the first to hit the streets in January of last year. President Moncef Marzouki, a suave, fluent French speaker, is one of them. Ennahdha’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, is still the most powerful player in the country, but he is likely to fall short of an absolute parliamentary majority in the elections due next year. Many Tunisians are disappointed by the graft and corruption that remain endemic a year after his party became the majority stakeholder in the first democratically elected government in the country’s history. The political process is nevertheless well established, the press is free, and not even pro-Western secularists regret the demise of Ben Ali. A recent public opinion survey released by the International Republican Institute shows that most people prefer a democratic Tunisia, however unstable, over a non-democratic system which promised prosperity and security.
A year after gaining 89 of the 217 seats in parliament, Ennahdha has seen its support slip to 30 percent. It is now challenged, even by the veterans of the old establishment. Nidaa Tounes party, led by the former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, has come from nowhere to command the support of one-fifth of the electorate. Many Tunisians—including my young casual interlocutors—object to the continuing demand of some Ennahdha deputies for the inclusion of Islamic provisions in the new constitution, including a controversial amendment making women unequal to men. The secularists, including Ennahdha’s current coalition partners and the leftists Workers’ Party, are likely to obtain sufficient support to prevent the country’s drift into Islamism.
All this is light years away from Libya next door, or Egypt further east. It was only towards the end of my tour that it dawned on me why Tunisia’s destiny is by no means sealed: there was no American intervention, which would have secured an Islamist takeover. Ben Ali gave up too soon for the U.S. to get directly involved, and there was no violence to justify calls for intervention. The “revolution” was a Tunisian affair and it has produced an outcome illustrative of Tunisian realities. It is currently the only functioning democracy in the Arab world. It is to be hoped that the Obama Administration will refrain from trying to engineer a different outcome.
Fourteen centuries of Islam have fatally undermined Christianity in the land of its birth. The decline of the Christian remnant in the Middle East has been accelerated in recent decades, and accompanied by the indifference of the post-Christian West to its impending demise. Once-thriving Christian communities are now tiny minorities, and in most countries of the region their percentages have been reduced to single digits. Whether they disappear completely will partly depend on Western leaders belatedly taking an interest in Christian plight and persecution. This seems most unlikely, as the examples of Iraq, Egypt and Syria demonstrate.
In Syria the Obama administration is fully committed to supporting the rebels, although it should be well aware of the ideological outlook and long-term objectives of Bashar al-Assad’s foes. They are Sunni fundamentalists. The partnerships forged thus far are ominous. The New York Times reported last June that CIA officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, deciding which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms. The weapons are being funneled across the Turkish border “by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.”
Syria is the region’s only remaining country where Christians live effectively as equals with their Muslim neighbors. It has the second largest Christian community in the region (after Egypt), some 2.5 million strong. Most of them are supporting President Bashar Al Assad amidst ongoing rebellion in the country because they prefer a dictator who guarantees the rights as a religious minority to the grim future that Assad’s departure might bring. According to George Ajjan, an American political strategist of Syrian origin, an existential fear about a bloody fate awaiting them—should the Assad regime fall in Syria—is the main driver behind the Christian community’s almost unanimous support of its policies:
“The secular regime of the Baath Party dominated over the past four decades by the Alawites, a heterodox Shiite sect to which the Assad family belongs, undoubtedly secured life and liberty for the Christians— although dire economic circumstances resulting from the regime’s failure to provide growth have driven many middle-class Christians to emigrate, seeking a better standard of living abroad. Taking that into account, the commonly-cited figure of 10% Christians is perhaps close to double the real number living in Syria at the start of the uprising.”
It is not to be doubted that if the Obama Administration is successful in its stated objective of bringing Assad down, the Christians in Syria will follow their Iraqi brethren into exile. The predictable consequences of Assad’s fall and the Brotherhood’s victory would be the creation of a Shari’a-based Islamic state.
According to political analyst James Jatras, it sometimes appears as if Washington’s policy toward the unrest sweeping the Middle East is impacted by a network of Muslim Brotherhood agents working in cohorts with Obama who is only pretending to have strayed from his Islamic birth (as defined by Sharia). If this scenario is even only partly correct, Jatras says, then it would be hard to see how the result would be different from the one we have:
“If the conscious goal of the policy were the final uprooting of Christ’s followers from the region of His birth and earthly ministry, it could not have been better crafted. No one can doubt that should the regime of Bashar al-Assad fall, Syria’s Christians (primarily Orthodox), already singled out for attack by the ‘democratic’ opposition, would be subject to a full-scale campaign of elimination that they (unlike the Alawites, who at least can try to defend themselves in mountain areas in which they predominate) are unlikely to survive as a living community. It is thus not too strong to accuse, in so many words, those bipartisan champions of ‘Free Syria’ who urge outside intervention of advocating Christian genocide, whether or not that is their conscious intention.”
That this scenario seems acceptable to the Obama Administration became obvious in October 2011 when Dalia Mogahed, Obama’s adviser on Muslim affairs, blocked a delegation of Middle Eastern Christians led by Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai from meeting with Obama and members of his national security team at the White House. Mogahed reportedly cancelled the meeting at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood in her native Egypt. Rai has warned repeatedly that a Brotherhood-led regime would be a disaster for Syria’s Christian minority, but his admonitions are unwelcome in Washington.
Last July, the Department of State vigorously lobbied against bipartisan Congressional legislation to send “protection envoys” to the Middle East to examine the position of the Christian minorities. The State Department called the protection envoy role “unnecessary, duplicative and likely counter-productive.” In the meantime, tens of thousands of Syria’s Christians have already fled rebel-controlled areas as Islamists who dominate in the rebel ranks target them for murder, extortion and kidnapping. As George Ajjan concludes, this gradual downward demographic pressure of recent years will explode with the exodus of Christians from Syria that is occurring and will accelerate without an end to the current armed conflict:
“Should the uprising continue, with the regime losing control of more and more territory to armed rebels and law and order further breaking down, Christians will increasingly become the targets of intimidation tactics, kidnapping, and overt hostility—if not ethnic cleansing from mixed areas.”
At the same time, Administration officials pressed Egyptian generals into gradual surrender to the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of the country. The decision to treat the Muslim Brotherhood as a strategic partner has been on the cards at least since February 10 of last year—one day before Hosni Mubarak’s resignation— when President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made an astounding statement. He told the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence that the Brotherhood “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements… a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaida as a perversion of Islam.”
The assertion by a top-ranking member of Obama’s team that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular” defies belief. It came into being in 1928 as an outright reaction against secularism, which the Egyptian elites had largely embraced during the British dominance in the country. To this day the Brotherhood’s simple credo remains the same: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Contrary to Clapper’s assurances, the Brotherhood is an archetypical Islamic revivalist movement that opposes the ascendancy of secular ideas and advocates a return to integral Islam as a solution to the ills that had befallen Muslim societies. Today it has branches in every traditionally Muslim country and all over the world, including the United States. Its members share the same long-term goal: the establishment of a world-wide Islamic state based on Sharia law. As is to be expected, they believe that the Koran and the Tradition justify violence to overthrow un-Islamic governments, and they look upon America as a sworn enemy.
During the Cold War, Washington routinely pandered to various Islamists as a means of weakening secular Arab nationalist regimes. In the mid 1950s, the Americans even promoted the idea of forming an Islamic bloc—led by Saudi Arabia—to counter the Nasserist movement. That approach may have made some sense during the Cold War, but it certainly makes none today. The strategy of effective support for Islamic ambitions against the Soviets in Afghanistan has helped turn Islamic radicalism into a truly global phenomenon detrimental to U.S. security interests. The ridiculous notion that the Muslim Brotherhood can become America’s user-friendly partner merely proves that the architects of our Middle Eastern policy have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.
Egypt’s dwindling Copts have seen their position deteriorate over the past year from precarious to perilous. Already facing discrimination and harassment from Mubarak’s secular regime, they now see that things could get a lot worse under the Islamists who are now poised to take complete power. Their annus horribilis started on New Year’s Day 2011, when a powerful car bomb targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, killing 25 parishioners and wounding nearly 100 just as they were finishing midnight liturgy. The next turning point was the Maspero massacre on October 9, 2011, when 27 unarmed Christian protesters were killed and hundreds more injured, not by some shadowy Islamic extremists but by the military. An official commission—established by the Army—has unsurprisingly absolved the Army of all responsibility for the killings.
Egypt shows that the prospect of the end of Christianity in Syria as a direct consequence of American policy is not unique, nor limited to one party or administration. The almost complete Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt already is accompanied by an accelerating Coptic exodus, as church attacks and kidnappings (mainly of girls, who after rape and supposed “conversion” to Islam are denied return to their families).
The process is accelerating. On August 1 Sherif Gadallah, a prominent lawyer from Alexandria, submitted a report to the public prosecutor demanding the exclusion of Copts from the committee in charge of forming Egypt’s constitution. That same week a sectarian crisis escalated in the village of Dahshur, only 25 miles south of Cairo, where hundreds of Muslims torched and looted Coptic businesses and homes. “As 120 families had already fled the village … the businesses and homes were an easy game for the mob to make a complete clean-up of everything that could be looted,” said Coptic activist Wagih Jacob. “The security forces were at the scene of the crime while it was taking place and did nothing at all.” The Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement criticizing officials “for not dealing firmly with the events, demanding the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, the provision of security to the village Copts, their return to their homes, and monetary compensation for all those affected.” Its adherents see the Dahshur incident as a continuation of the Mubarak-era policy of collective punishment of Copts. Renowned Egyptian novelist Alaa Al-Aswany said, “What if the Americans acted the same way as the extremists of Dahshur; would you accept the expulsion of Muslims of America in response to Bin Laden’s terrorism?”
Egypt’s ongoing transition to what passes for democracy in the Muslim world is going to make matters far worse for the Copts, who are fearful the army and courts will not shield them from ever-greater discrimination and harassment. The Freedom and Justice Party, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, now controls the country’s parliament, and the president is a Brotherhood disciple. The adherents of political Islam are in charge. Their spiritual leader is Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, who in a recent video reminded the faithful that Christians are infidels. The Sheikh’s position is in line with orthodox Islamic teaching, which may explain the fact that he is still hailed in the West as a moderate. Five years ago, a U.S. News article described him as “a highly promoted champion of moderate Islam.” As a result, according to an August 14 report in El Fegr, jihadi organizations openly distribute leaflets inciting for the killing of Copts and promising them “a tragic end if they do not return to the truth” (Islam). The letter even names contact points and a location, Sheikh Ahmed Mosque in Kasfrit, where those supportive of such goals should rally after Friday prayers and join forces.
“Liberation” of Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s secular dictatorship has devastated that country’s Christian community, with many taking refuge in Syria, where they are now again under threat. “At least proponents of Muslim liberation in the Middle East can claim, however implausibly, that the negative impact on local Christians is an unintended and regrettable consequence of a fundamentally humane and progressive program,” James Jatras says.
“But in the Balkans, specifically in Kosovo and in Muslim-controlled areas of Bosnia, no crocodile tears are required. The victims are Serbs, and of course they deserve everything they get. But excuses and window-dressing aside, the bottom line is the same: Washington—supposedly the great global opponent of jihad terror—in fact is the consistent supporter of militant Islamization of one country after another, with the predictable result of streams of Christian refugees, burned churches, murdered clergy, and enslaved girls. Given the collusion between our government and media, not one American in ten has a clue what our government is doing in our name and with our money.”
Iraq’s dwindling Christian population marked Christmas 2011 with bomb attacks across Baghdad that killed dozens of them. After U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from the country, Christian exodus from Iraq accelerated. “Our faithful in Iraq live in fear,” Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni complained, “they feel there is no peace, no security, so they go where they can live in peace… The government cannot ensure their lives.”
The Christian community in Iraq was some two million strong before the US-led invasion of 2003. Up to four-fifths is estimated to have left the country in recent years following a series of attacks by Muslim extremists. While they were still there, the U.S. forces did little to protect them, leaving the task to the Iraqis. On October 31, 2010, an assault on a Baghdad church left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security force members dead. According to Louis Sako, Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, “the security forces are not sufficiently prepared to ensure the protection of Christians.” He says that 57 churches and houses of worship in Iraq have been attacked since the invasion with a thousand Christians killed and more than 6 000 wounded.
At the outset of the Islamic conquests under Muhammad’s successors all of these lands were 100 percent Christian. By the time the Ottomans took over they had a Christian plurality, and in Palestine and Lebanon the outright majority. Under the British Mandate (1919-1947), Palestine officially was a Christian country. Bethlehem, for instance, had a population that was 90 percent Christian. Today, they are disappearing: Bethlehem is now less than 10 percent Christian. Among almost three million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, only 50,000 Christians remain. Within the pre-1967 borders of Israel there are six million people; only two percent are Christians. In the city of Jerusalem the Christian population has declined from 45,000 in 1940 to a few thousand today. At the current rate of decline, the Christian population will be a fraction of one percent in the year 2020, and there will be no living church in the land of Christ
If the Jewish or Muslim population of America or Western Europe were to start declining at a similar rate, there would be an outcry from their co-religionists all over the world. There would be government-funded programs to establish the causes and provide remedies, and heart-rendering Hollywood movies. The endangered minority would be awarded instant victim status and be celebrated as such by the media and academia. But the disappearing Middle Eastern Christians, or their remnant, remain invisible to the Western world. It is evidently hard to be “post-Christian” without becoming anti-Christian.
Congresswoman Illena Ros-Lehtinen will have her hands full as she makes the political and social rounds at this month’s Republican National Convention. Illena, is the only female committee chair in the House of Representatives and arguably Israel’s most ardent agent. She is a constant thorn in the Obama administration’s side, regularly castigating the president for playing “political games with U.S. foreign policy” and being “soft on Iran” and undermining the legitimacy of Israel. Ros-Lehtinen is a congressional cheer leader also for her Jewish voters in Florida — a key battleground in the rapidly approaching US presidential election. Most recently, Ros-Lehtinen helped shepherd through Congress yet another bill tightening sanctions against Iran while calling for US military action against the Assad regime in Syria.
The Congresswomen’s focus will likely not be on pushing the republican’s talking points regarding her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney the former “moderate Massachusetts governor” who she is aware is unlikely to win the White House. Nor, according to a source at the Democratic National Committee, frantically putting together final touches on their own Convention, to be held the week of September 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina,will Ileana spend much time with or promoting Mitt’ running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Ryan, an Ayn Rand (author of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as well as founder of the Objectivism movement) follower, regularly tells audiences that “ Ayn Rand’s teachings have been one of the most profound philosophical influences of my life,” Well, except for religion and abortion, as Ayn who passed away in 1982 was an avowed atheist and strongly pro-abortion, the opposite of what Ryan tells audiences he is.
Rather, Ros-Lehtinen will be meeting with local, national, and international Jewish leaders in this must win state where she has been assigned the task of reassuring them that the Republican Party is Israel’s best friend and that a recent US government draft report urging a US re-think of its relationship to Israel is the responsibility of none other than Barack Obama, and it reveals his true disdain for Israel.
Helping her smear the White House with the findings in the draft analysis will be William Kristol, publisher of the neoconservative Weekly Standard and Director of the New American Century, an “Israel first” Washington-based lobby “promoting joint Israeli and American political and military leadership across the globe, while bringing democracy to the Middle East”.
So what is all the fuss about?
It’s a paper entitled: Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East, an 82 page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors concludes that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.
The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study.
Among the many findings that Ros-Lehtenin and Kristol and other unregistered agents of Israel will likely try to exploit politically between now and November 6, by using them to attack the Obama Administration are the following:
- Israel, given its current brutal occupation and belligerence cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid south Africa could be when as late as 1987 Israel was the only “Western” nation that upheld diplomatic ties with South Africa and was the last country to join the international boycott campaign before the regime collapsed;
- The Israel leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East;
- The post Labor government Likud coalition is deeply complicit with and influenced by the settlers’ political and financial power and will increasingly face domestic civil strife which the US government should not associate itself with or become involved with;
- The Arab Spring and Islamic Awakening has to a major degree freed a large majority of the 1.2 billion Arab and Muslims to pursue what an overwhelming majority believe is the illegitimate, immoral and unsustainable European occupation of Palestine of the indigenous population;
- Simultaneous with, but predating, rapidly expanding Arab and Muslim power in the region as evidenced by the Arab spring, Islamic Awakening and the ascendancy of Iran, as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive Israel is becoming impossible to defend or execute consistent given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries;
- Gross Israeli interference in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers. This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and approximately 7,500 US officials who do Israel’s bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of the US government which should no longer be condoned;
- That the United States government no longer has the financial resources, or public support to continue funding Israel. The more than three trillion dollars in direct and indirect aid from US taxpayers to Israel since 1967 is not affordable and is increasingly being objected to by US taxpayers who oppose continuing American military involvement in the Middle East. US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on Israel’s behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public;
- Israel’s segregationist occupation infrastructure evidenced by legalized discrimination and increasingly separate and unequal justice systems must no longer be directly or indirectly funded by the US taxpayers or ignored by the US government;
- Israel has failed as a claimed democratic state and continued American financial and political cover will not change its continuing devolution as international pariah state;
- Increasingly, rampant and violent racism exhibited among Jewish settlers in the West Bank is being condoned by the Israeli government to a degree that the Israel government has become its protector and partner;
- The expanding chasm among American Jews objecting to Zionism and Israeli practices, including the killing and brutalizing of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, are gross violations of American and International law and raise questions within the US Jewish community regarding the American responsibility to protect (R2P) innocent civilians under occupation;
- The international opposition to the increasingly apartheid regime can no longer be synchronized with American claimed humanitarian values or US expectations in its bi-lateral relations with the 193 member United Nations;
- The Draft ends with language about the need to avoid entangling alliances that alienate much of the World and condemn American citizens to endure the consequences.
Interestingly, it notes Iran as an example of a country and people that have much in common and whose citizens have a real interest in enjoy bilateral associations (here an apparent reference to Israel and its US lobby) not determined by the wishes of other countries and their agents. It also highlights the need for the US to undertake “the repairing relations with Arab and Muslim countries including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.
The coming days will clarity the success of Israel’s in making an issue of the finding in the soon to be published draft report and the degree to which the Republican Party will gain for its findings in the race for the White House.
It does not mean to stand up for any political party, politician or any other another state.
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called upon the Democratic National Committee to rescind its invitation to former President Jimmy Carter to address the upcoming 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Among Carter’s ‘crimes’ are his 2007 book, “Peace Not Apartheid” which the ZOA claims is filled with “falsehoods about Israel, not least the vicious insinuation in its title that Israel resembles the evils of the apartheid regime in South Africa and that Jews living in Judea and Samaria, is the ‘primary’ obstacle to peace.”
According to a UN report, Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein admitted that “Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status…even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors.” 
The ZOA is also up in arms over Carter daring to mention that Israel has destroyed over 40,000 Palestinian homes, which have rendered hundreds of thousand Palestinians homeless and that Gaza is an open-air prison.
The ZOA ignores the Jewish Justice Richard Goldstone’s 575-page report of September 29, 2009, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes perpetuated during the 22 days of assault on Gaza when the Israeli military launched Operation Cast Lead; a full-scale attack on Gaza that killed 13 Israelis and 1,400 Palestinians.
Over 5,000 Palestinians were injured, 400,000 were left without running water, 4,000 homes were destroyed, rendering tens of thousands who are still homeless because of Israel’s targeted attacks upon them, their schools, hospitals, streets, water wells, sewage system, farms, police stations and UN buildings.
US-supplied weapons enabled the 22 days of Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza and we the people of the US who pay taxes provide over $3 billion annually to Israel although Israel has consistently misused U.S. weapons in violation of America’s Arms Export Control and Foreign Assistance Acts.
During the 22 days of Israeli assault on Gaza, “Washington provided F-16 fighter planes, Apache helicopters, tactical missiles, and a wide array of munitions, including white phosphorus and DIME. The weapons required for the Israeli assault was decided upon in June 2008, and the transfer of 1,000 bunker-buster GPS-guided Small Diameter Guided Bomb Units 39 (GBU-39) were approved by Congress in September. The GBU 39 bombs were delivered to Israel in November (prior to any claims of Hamas cease fire violation!) for use in the initial air raids on Gaza. 
During Operation Cast Lead, the UN Security Council, Amnesty International, International Red Cross, and global voices of protest rose up and demanded a ceasefire, but both houses of Congress overwhelmingly endorsed resolutions to support a continuation of Israel’s so called “self defense.”
In a 71-page report released March 25, 2009, by Human Rights Watch, Israel’s repeated firing of US-made white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of Gaza was indiscriminate and is evidence of war crimes.
“Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza,” provides eye witness accounts of the devastating effects that white phosphorus munitions had on civilians and civilian property in Gaza.
“Human Rights Watch researchers found spent shells, canister liners, and dozens of burnt felt wedges containing white phosphorus on city streets, apartment roofs, residential courtyards, and at a United Nations school in Gaza immediately after hostilities ended in January.
“Militaries officially use white phosphorus to obscure their operations on the ground by creating thick smoke. It has also been used as an incendiary weapon, though such use constitutes a war crime.
“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. “It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.” [Ibid]
Last year, I attended AIPAC’s D.C. Conference and heard President Obama speak about the dangers of the spread of nuclear weapons but not a word about Israel’s still un-inspected WMD facility-which everyone in the world, except most Americans learned about 26 years ago, when Mordechai Vanunu’s photos and testimony made front page news in London’s The Sunday Times.
Obama also mentioned his visit to the Jewish Wailing Wall and how he thought about the generations who have wanted a homeland; but not a word was uttered about the generations of indigenous Palestinians who are still denied their inalienable right to return home or about the 21st century Wailing Wall: The Apartheid Wall:
Obama told of his visit to Sderot and the struggles of those residents, but he neglected to travel five minutes away into the open air prison of Gaza where 1.5 million human beings-800,000 are under the age of 16-struggle every moment of the day just to survive under a brutal siege aided and abetted by USA policy!
In 2009, I spent an evening in Sderot and learned that most everyone there would be just as happy to migrate to Las Vegas than live in Israel: Read more…
Israel’s existence is a fact of life, but what can never be accepted by people of conscience is Israel’s ‘right’ to steal land and resources of the indigenous people of Palestine and we the people of this homeland’s tax dollars that aid, abet and sustain an illegal, immoral and brutal military occupation.
All through that AIPAC conference I heard the incessant drumbeat of Israel’s rights, about the “special relationship” “shared values” “common Interests” the “Jewish State” and claims that Israel is a democracy, but Israel is not-and never has been a Democracy!
In the May 28, 1993 edition of Yedioth Ahronoth, Ariel Sharon explained:
“The terms ‘democracy’ or ‘democratic’ are totally absent from the Declaration of Independence. This is not an accident. The intention of Zionism was not to bring democracy, needless to say. It was solely motivated by the creation in Eretz-Isrel of a Jewish state belonging to all the Jewish people and to the Jewish people alone. This is why any Jew of the Diaspora has the right to immigrate to Israel and to become a citizen of Israel.”
Jeff Halper, American Israeli, co-founder and coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and Professor of Anthropology explained that, “An ethnocracy is the opposite of a democracy, although it might incorporate some elements of democracy such as universal citizenship and elections. It arises when one particular group-the Jews in Israel, the Russians in Russia, the Protestants in pre-1972 Northern Ireland, the whites in apartheid South Africa, the Shi’ite Muslims in Iran, the Malay in Malaysia and, if they had their way, the white Christian fundamentalists in the US-seize control of the government and armed forces in order to enforce a regime of exclusive privilege over other groups in what is in fact a multi-ethnic or multi-religious society. Ethnocracy, or ethno-nationalism, privileges ethnos over demos, whereby one’s ethnic affiliation, be it defined by race, descent, religion, language or national origin, takes precedence over citizenship in determining to whom a county actually ‘belongs.'”
In his Farewell Address, President George Washington warned US:
“Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all…and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils.”
Obama admitted that true friends speak open and honestly and that “the current situation does not allow procrastination. The world is moving too fast [and] the Talmud teaches as long as one has life do not abandon faith. We will never abandon universal human rights.”
It was President Harry Truman who crossed out the word “Jewish state” on the draft of the Establishment of Israel that was cabled him and substituted “State of Israel” which he affirmed was contingent upon Israel upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Read more…
As a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, America is obligated to hold ALL other Member States to it!
As an American patriot who went online in 2005 after my first of 7 trips to Israel and Occupied Palestine, all I have been saying is that when Israel honors its founding promises and America upholds its obligation as a Member State of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then YES WE CAN begin this world again by BUILDING IT according to the principals outlined and agreed to in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
3. Jeff Halper, An Israeli in Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel, Page 74
The NeoCons are delighted with their new imperialist firebrand, Mitt Romney. Just look to all the familiar faces and names that surround the presumptive GOP nominee for dictator in chief. It is impossible to support the Republican Party when their foreign policy is made in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. If you belief this assessment is too harsh, explain away the recent pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall. The Moderate Voice makes a striking point on Romney’s recent visit to Israel, which is difficult to refute.
“Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.” But what Romney DIDN’T SAY was almost as striking — if not more so. Not once did he utter the phrase “peace process” nor the words “Palestine” or “Palestinian,” and that also means he never talked about or made the case for a two-state solution. Was the speech for anyone other than base Republicans? This trip to Israel felt like a primary trip, not one aimed at the general election.”
Old friends often make strange bedfellows. Back at the predecessor to Bain Capital, Bain Consulting Group, Romney and Netanyahu developed a close relationship. Well at least that is the popular perception. Sometimes the diatribes from the progressive left, like the Daily Kos, leaks out a viewpoint that only a committed Zionist appreciates. Could there be a sensitivity difference with the NeoCons?
“Romney to the New York Times:
ROMNEY: “We [Mitt & Netanyahu] can almost speak in shorthand. We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”
In December GOP Debate regarding how America should handle Iran:
ROMNEY: “I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say, ‘Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?'”
Sounds like Romney would put Bibi First and America Second and that is very disturbing to me.
In April 2012, Romney said:
ROMNEY: “Israel’s current prime minister is not just a friend, he’s an old friend”
Romney has touted his ‘friendship’ with Netanyahu as being “nurtured through meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem.”
Look, it’s no surprise that Romney is a pathological liar and is lying about his “friendship” with Bibi to garner the Jewish vote — duh — But I would urge all my Jewish friends to remember that no one, of any religion or non-religion, can believe a thing that comes out of Romney’s mouth because he lies like a smelly old, nasty rug.”
Getting past the slurs, the nature of the Romney – Netanyahu comradeship dominates the discussion. Is there a meeting of the minds or only a relationship of interests?
Another voice, Crooks and Liars, chimes in quoting Bibi, adds more skepticism:
“I remember him for sure, but I don’t think we had any particular connections,” he tells me. “I knew him and he knew me, I suppose.”
Wow . . . what an endorsement of familiarity! Sure looks like both men have something to hide. It is difficult to believe in the accuracy of Netanyahu, as the stench of his own deep-rooted rug is undeniable.
“What does it mean for an American like Romney, unskilled in international politics and innocent of the complexities of the Middle East, to back the pressure now being exerted by Netanyahu against the advice of the American president and against the advice of high-ranking intelligence and military officers in Israel? It means that Romney is not a friend of Israel so much as he is a friend of Netanyahu. Or rather, for Romney, as for the billionaires he had in tow, the personal is political. For them, Netanyahu is Israel.”
Romney is no foreign policy expert. His advisors play the role of the puppeteer. The strings that pull the movements of the extremities and sound like an empty echo of a true America First strategy, gives profound pause, that a new administration will work to break the stranglehold of the Zionists. Paul Craig Roberts’ article, Is Washington Deaf As Well as Criminal?, amplifies this theme in detail.The recent Romney remakes, while in Israel on culture makes all the difference, demonstrates his bias and lack of understanding of the character of the struggle. The Atlanticquotes: “Culture makes all the difference. And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things. One, I recognize the hand of providence in selecting this place.”So what exactly is the basis of a Romney relationship with Israel? According to
2012 Republican Candidates, the following is his viewpoint.
• In Mitt Romney’s opinion amidst the many critical challenges that America faces today, the threat of violent and radical Jihad and the threat of nuclear proliferation stand at the top.
• Romney cites the former President Jimmy Carter’s view with regard to bringing peace to the Holy Land and thinks the opposite. According to him, it is only helping to prevent terror and bloodshed and violence.
• Romney quotes. “State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel.”
• Romney fears that radical Islam has one goal; to replace all Islamic states in the world under one caliphate and convert the non-believers of Islam forcibly, if necessary, to Islam. He says that this plan is more irrational than the Nazi Germany policies of the 1930s and Stalin’s Cold War or the 1940s.
• Mitt Romney has committed that he would defeat the jihadists all around the world. Most of his speeches however focus on restricting Iran rather than making decisions to resolve the tension between Israel and Palestine.
• Romney requested the Arab states to stop providing weapons and financial support to Hezbollah and Hamas and instead to put pressure on the Palestinians to “drop terrorism and recognize Israel’s right to exist.”
• Mitt Romney strongly supports the security wall that divides Israel from the West Bank.
Sure sounds like Netanyahu has a hand in writing the script that Sheldon Adelson dangles in front of Romney. The $10 million figure to a super PAC supporting a kosher policy position is standard practice for the “so called” culture that makes all the difference.The plastic demeanor that Romney projects on so many issues is not evident in his bellicose attitude towards Iran. The insanity of the above laundry list of genuflection to the domestic Christian Zionist and the Israeli Likudniks is evident that a Romney administration will have a deep lineup of NeoConservatives.
As for Netanyahu incessant intrusion into American politics, the conclusion of Ümit Enginsoy in the Daily News is revealing.
“In fact Netanyahu has the power to affect this U.S. election by striking Iran, shortly before the election. The effect of the strike on Iran would be unimportant compared to the election results. Romney would definitely be elected.
The best would be for Netanyahu to stay clear of this kind of a risk to Israel and the U.S. election. But this is a possibility it can play in the region. In this way in return for taking a certain risk on Israel, he would get rid of the president he has hated the most in recent years and could replace him with someone he and his country mostly respect.”
If you think the Muslim Brotherhood is the major threat to Middle East stability, reconsider. The fraternity between Netanyahu and his “old friend” Romney and the cronies that come with the NeoCon package is far more dangerous. The central casting coming out of AIPAC that shapes the proposed Romney NeoCon policy is a fundamental scourge that endangers the region. The prospects of an even wider conflict, leading up to a World War III confrontation is very real with a proposed Israeli pre-empted strike on Iran.
Shades of a Pearl Harbor treachery attack by Israel are well documented. Remember the Osirakstrike. Placing America’s true interests in peril is a standard tactic of the Zionist. Buddies like Romney and Netanyahu are part of a club of opportunists. The military-intelligence-banking cabal has a plan for a greater Israel and the culture they promote ends up in a scorched earth destruction.
In a battlefield that conducts Operation Opera II, the prospect of Romney siting in the situation room with Bibi on a secured phone line calling the plays, is a total offense to any red blooded American. As long as the Republican Party allows the NeoConservative usurpers control of the nomination process, the kind of intelligent and balanced foreign policy of a Ron Paul will never be allowed to see the light of day.
There is a profound reason why the active military supported Congressman Paul in such droves. Going to war for Israel is an existential blunder for the United States. The Bain connection between Romney and Netanyahu goes to the core of trust and duty. It is time for Mitt Romney to shut the door on Netanyahu and part company.
Almost a year has passed since we last took note of Turkey’s increasing clout in three key areas of neo-Ottoman expansion: the Balkans, the Arab world, and the predominantly Muslim regions of the former Soviet Union. Each has played a significant part in reshaping the geopolitics of the Greater Middle East over the past decade. This complex project, which remains under-reported in the Western media and denied or ignored by policy-makers in Washington, is going well for Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AKP (Justice and Development Party).
On the external front, Ankara’s decision to support the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria has changed the equation in the region. Until last spring, Erdoğan’s team was advising Bashar to follow the path of political and economic reform in order to avoid descent into violent anarchy. Within months, however, Turkey has become a key player in Washington’s regime-change strategy by not only providing operational bases and supply channels to the rebels, but by simultaneously confronting Iran over Syria. The war of words between them is escalating. Earlier this week, Iranian Chief of Staff General Hassan Firousabadi accused Turkey of assisting the “war-waging goals of America. The AKP government has reinforced Turkey’s old position as a key U.S. regional partner. It is skillfully pursuing its distinct regional objectives, which in the long run are bound to collide with those of the U.S., while appearing to act at the behest of Washington and revamping its Cold War role as a reliable NATO-“Western” outpost in the region.
This newly gained credit has enabled Erdoğan to make a series of problematic moves with impunity, the most notable being Turkey’s growing support for Hamas in the Palestinian Authority and its treatment of Iraq as a state with de facto limited sovereignty. In a highly publicized symbolic gesture, on July 24 Erdoğan met Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at his official residence to break the daily fast during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. Ties between Turkey and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, have blossomed since Turkey’s alliance with Israel collapsed following a raid by Israeli troops on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in 2010. At the same time, Ankara’s links with the more moderate Fatah movement, which rules the West Bank, are at a standstill; Turkey wants Hamas to prevail in the Palestinian power struggle.
In northern Iraq, Turkey has developed close relations with the Kurdish leadership in Kirkuk. It has made significant investments in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region as a means of exerting political influence and thus preempting demands for full independence, which could have serious implications for the Kurdish minority in eastern Turkey. In an audacious display of assertiveness, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu visited the Kurdish-ruled northern Iraq earlier this month without notifying the government in Baghdad, let alone seeking its approval. Turning the putative Kurdish statelet in Iraq into its client is a major coup for the government in Ankara. The partnership is based on the common interest of denying the Marxist PKK guerrillas a foothold on either side of the border. In a joint statement, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan warned the PKK that they would act jointly to counter any attempt to exploit the power vacuum in Syria. Another far-reaching albeit unstated common goal is to provide Iraq’s Kurds with a potential northwestern route for their oil and gas exports, which Al Maliki’s central government would not be able to control. The net effect is likely to be further weakening of an already unstable Iraq in the aftermath of U.S. withdrawal; yet Washington appears unperturbed by Turkey’s gambit. It is apparently unaware of the fact that, in Ankara’s worldview, “nothing can stand in the way of its dream of becoming the ultimate energy bridge between East and West.”
The Obama Administration has been equally indifferent to Prime Minister Erdoğan’s trouble-making in the Balkans. Most recently, his provocative statement last month that Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the “care” of his country has caused no reaction in Washington. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to us,” stated Erdoğan during a meeting of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) provincial heads held in Ankara on July 11,recalling the alleged statement of the late Bosnian Muslim leader, Alija Izetbegović, whom Erdoğan visited on his deathbed in Sarajevo. “He whispered in my ear these phrases: ‘Bosnia is entrusted to you [Turkey]. These places are what remain of the Ottoman Empire’,” said Erdoğan. He went on to describe Izetbegović as “a legendary hero and captain,” and to declare that Turkey would “put this trust in God with high precision.”
The notion of Bosnia and Herzegovina being given as a ‘trust’ to Turkey in the name of its Ottoman legacy reflects an earlier statement by the outgoing leader of the Islamic community in Bosnia, Efendi Mustafa Cerić, who told Erdoğan that “Turkey is our Mother. That’s how it was always, and it will remain like that.” Erdoğan’s latest outburst was immediately welcomed by the leader of the biggest Muslim party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sulejman Tihić.
The notion that Bosnia has been bequeathed by its fundamentalist Muslim leader to the Turkish state is unsurprisingly anathema to the non-Muslim majority of Bosnia’s citizens. “Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a land to be inherited,” said Igor Radojičić, the Bosnian Serb Parliament speaker. Bosnian Croat leader Dragan Čović expressed puzzlement that Izetbegović could imagine Bosnia was his to give away as a trust. Analysts outside Bosnia also expressed outrage. Serbian historian Čedomir Antić, called the statement “an unprecedented provocation” that should be “officially renounced by Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia”. Professor Darko Tanasković, Serbia’s former ambassador to Turkey, was not surprised, however. The statement represents a political reality, he said, that Turkey sees the Balkans as a priority in its ambitious foreign policy.
Three months earlier the leader of the Islamic Community in Montenegro (Islamska zajednica Crne Gore, IZCG),Reis Rifat Fejzić, signed an agreement with the authorities in Podgorica on the status of the Muslim minority there. The Agreement stipulates that any disputes within the Islamic Community will be referred for arbitration to the Directorate of Religious Affairs of the Turkish Republic (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı). This is a remarkable development: the Republic of Montegnegro—a sovereign, non-Muslim Balkan state—has formally granted decision-making powers in matters affecting some of its citizens to an institution of another sovereign and nominally still secular state. Imam Fejzić’s explanation added an interesting twist to the story. Some disputes among Roman Catholics are referred to the Vatican, he said, so it is normal for Muslim disputes to be referred to Ankara. In other words, the Turkish state is to assume the role of an Islamic Vatican for the Muslim millets of the former Ottoman Empire. The Montenegrin precedent is the model Ankara will seek to apply elsewhere. Turkish politicians have already taken an active role in mediating between the rival factions of the Muslim religious and political establishment in Serbia’s Sanjak region.
The U.S. is sympathetic to Turkey’s Balkan ambitions not only because they seem to fit in with a Western strategy of long standing, but also because Turkey is seen as a counterweight to Iran’s influence in the region. As John Schindler, the author of the seminal book Unholy Terror pointed out recently, the close relationship between leading circles in Sarajevo and Tehran harks back to before the Bosnian war. During the war the Clinton Administration aided and abetted Iranian deliveries of arms to the Bosnian Muslim side, and the SDA has always had a soft spot for Tehran. Now, however, with a potential war with Iran looming, Schindler says,the U.S. and its European allies, who have done so much to help the Bosnian Muslims for a generation, have had enough. As reported by the Sarajevo daily Dnevni avaz, last week Patrick Moon and Nigel Casey, the American and British ambassadors to BiH, jointly read the riot act to Sadik Ahmetović, the country’s powerful security minister, telling him that the SDA and Sarajevo must sever their secret ties—espionage, political, financial—with Tehran:
Sarajevo officially has been given a warning to reset its course in a European and Western direction as war with Iran looms. Hard decisions will have to be made by the SDA. They have been repeatedly deferred for nearly two decades but can be avoided no longer. If the Bosnian Muslims opt to stick with Iran as tensions rise, the ramifications for them and all Europe may be dire indeed.
Bosnia’s Muslims, ever mindful of the need for foreign support in their disputes with the country’s Serbs and Croats, will likely opt for even closer links with Ankara to compensate for an eventual weakening of the Iranian connection —and they will do so with Washington’s approval. Yet again Turkey will strengthen its position in the Balkans while relying on the Western powers to do its field work.
At home, the parallel process of re-Islamization of the Turkish state and society is well-nigh-irreversible. The Army has been decisively neutralized as a political factor. Last February, Erdogan declared that it is not the goal of the AKP government to raise atheist generations, and he certainly has been true to his word. Earlier this month, Turkey’s Board of Higher Education appointed Islamic scholar Suleyman Necati Akcesme as its secretary-general. His duties will include appointing professors and rectors, as well as overseeing universities. Akcesme will occupy a position of direct influence over Turkey’s higher education —unimaginable for an imam in the old Kemalist setup. The influence of the shadowy Gülen Movement, a fundamentalist sect calling for a New Islamic Age based on the “Turkish-Islamic Synthesis,” is becoming all-pervasive, with rich businessmen and senior civil servants donating an average of 10 percent of their income to the cemaat. According to the August 8 issue of Der Spiegel,
Gülen’s influence in Turkey was enhanced when … the AKP won the Turkish parliamentary election in 2002. Observers believe that the two camps entered into a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the cemaat. According to information obtained by US diplomats, almost a fifth of the AKP’s members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement in 2004, including the justice and culture ministers. Many civil servants act at the behest of the “Gülen brothers,” says a former senior member… In 2006, former police chief Adil Serdar Sacan estimated that the Fethullahcis held more than 80 percent of senior positions in the Turkish police force . . .
Sharia-inspired legislation is affecting the society at large. Turkey’s recent laws and taxes on alcohol sales are more rigorous than those in Egypt or Tunisia before last year’s revolutions. Employers are now authorized to fire any employer who comes to work having had a drink, as opposed to being drunk. Having a single glass of raki, wine or beer with lunch—perfectly common in the business community until a few months ago—may now abruptly end a career. More troublingly, Turkey now leads the world in “honor killings” of girls, with a murder rate five times that of Pakistan. As Turkish affairs expert Barry Rubin has noted, many Turks are astounded by Obama’s policy of favoring the current regime in Ankara: “the regime has thrown hundreds of people in prison without trial or evidence… and it is turning Turkey into a repressive police state,” yet the Department of State and the White House remain indifferent. Turkey’s secularists feel abandoned and betrayed.
Turkey’s shift from Kemalism via post-Kemalism to anti-Kemalism is a process of historic significance for the Greater Middle East. In 2005 senior State Department official Daniel Fried declared, absurdly, that Erdoğan’s AKP was simply the Islamic equivalent of a West European Christian Democratic party and that Turkey remains a staunch ally of the United States. The diagnosis was evidently mistaken seven years ago. Today it amounts to an unforgivable act of willful self-deception.
In the meantime Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares for discussions in Istanbul on August 11 that will focus on forming a “common operational picture” with the Turks “to guide a democratic transition in post-Assad Syria.”