Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
More Than a Bribe:
Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights
By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 29, 2010
The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well
prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the
rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned
against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White
House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to
appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the
peace process moving forward.
Former Middle East peace diplomat
Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the
excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.”
He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for
keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during
some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and
isn't giving up -- a central requirement for success.”
what price, Mr. Miller? And wouldn’t you agree that one party’s success
can also mean another’s utter and miserable failure?
State Hilary Clinton reportedly spent eight hours with Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only to persuade him to accept one of the most
generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power.
The agreement includes the sale of $3 billion worth of US military
aircrafts (in addition to the billions in annual aid packages), a blanket
veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable to Israel,
and the removal of East Jerusalem from any settlement freeze equation
(thus condoning the illegal occupation of the city and the undergoing
ethnic cleansing). But even more dangerous than all of these is “a written
American promise that this will be the last time President Obama asks the
Israelis to halt settlement construction through official channels.”
Significant. Achievement. Success. Are these really the right terms to
describe the latest harrowing scandal? Even the term ‘bribe’, which is
abundantly used to describe American generosity, isn’t quite adequate
here. Bribes have defined the relationship between the ever-generous White
House and the quisling Congress to win favor with the ever-demanding
Israel and its growingly belligerent Washington lobby. It is not the
concept of bribery that should shock us, but the magnitude of the bribe,
and the fact that it is presented by a man who positioned himself as a
peacemaker (and actually became certified as one, courtesy of the Nobel
Peace Prize Committee).
Equally shocking is the meager return
that Obama is expected to receive for hard-earned US taxpayers’ dollars.
According to the Atlantic Sentential, this will be “a measly three month
extension of the settlement moratorium that originally expired in late
Acknowledging from the onset that these are mere
“midterm maneuvers”, Noah Feldman, writing in the New York Times, asks the
question: “Can Obama succeed where so many others have not?” He preludes
his answer with: “Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not, of
course, make things easy.”
Seriously, Mr. Feldman?
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose mandate has already
expired, must be living the most humiliating and difficult moments of his
not so distinguished career. At one stage he had hoped that the advent of
President Obama would spare him and his authority further embarrassment.
Imagining the president would side with his ‘moderate’ position, he placed
all his eggs in the Obama basket, even bidding against the democratically
elected government of Palestinians in the occupied territories. He went as
far as to halt an international investigation into Israeli crimes in the
recent Israeli war on Gaza so that not to frustrate Netanyahu’s government
or upset the pro-Israeli sensibilities in the US Congress.
Abbas tried to appear as a confident and self-assertive leader at times.
He asked for a chance to think about the resumption of peace talks,
conditioned his acceptance on Israeli actions that never really
actualized, and finally sought the help of the Arab League, a beleaguered
and muted organization without any political mandate.
Abbas and his authority make things ‘difficult’ for the US, Mr. Feldman?
Would any self-respecting government agree to concessions that are made on
its behalf without the opportunity to offer its own input? This is exactly
what the PA has repeatedly done under Abbas.
Still, many Israelis
are not happy with the barter. Caroline B. Glick, writing in the Jerusalem
Post, described the freezing of construction in the illegal Jewish
settlements in the West Bank as “discriminatory infringement on the
property rights of law abiding citizens (that) is breathtaking.” She had
the hubris to consider the pitiable moratorium as equivalent to “land
As for the major F-35 deal, it is “simply bizarre,”
she argued, for after all, “Israel needs the F-35 to defend against
enemies like Iran.”
Mind-boggling. US generously hands
Palestinian rights to Israel on a silver platter, and the far-right
mentality, which now governs Israeli mainstream politics and society,
still finds it unacceptable.
But aside from this
arrogant Israeli response, and the US media’s attempts to find the
positive in Obama’s latest scandal, one question must be raised. What
happens now that Obama has finally shown he really is no different from
his predecessors? That the United States has lost control of its own
foreign policy in the Middle East? That, frankly, Netanyahu has proved
more resilient, more steadfast, and more resourceful than the American
Shall we go on making the same argument, over and over
again, or has the time finally arrived for Palestinians to think outside
the American box? Can Arabs finally venture off to seek other partners and
allies in the region and around the world who understand the link between
peace, political stability, and economic prosperity? It may perhaps be
time for them to further their relationship with Turkey, to reach out to
Latin America, to demand accountability from Europe and to try to
understand and engage China.
The latest US elections have showed
that the Obama hype has run its course in the US itself. One can only hope
that Palestinians, Arabs and their friends will realize that it was all
indeed a hype -before it’s too late.
- Ramzy Baroud
(www.ramzybaroud.net) is an
internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom
Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on