Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, March 2013
Obama's Visit to Apartheid Israel
By Stuart Littlewood
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 23, 2013
US president fails to demand halt to illegal settlements
“There is no peace process, it’s an annexation process…”
One after another, American presidents run away from the challenge.
And so it has been with Barack Obama. This week the world’s greatest peace fraud came to the Holy Land and flunked it. Frankly, if that’s the best he can do after four years in the job he has no business calling himself a world leader.
AIPAC – the stinking swamp in the White House backyard
But I don’t necessarily agree with Peled’s remark. Any US president who fails to drain the stinking swamp in his backyard – i.e. the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) breeding ground – deserves to be consigned to the wastepaper basket of history as a political pansy.
The president who ruthlessly cleans up, however, would be revered big-time.
Take the Chuck Hagel confirmation fiasco. Here in the UK we watched with bewilderment and disbelief. Of course, it’s easy to criticize from this distance, but remember that we too have a Zio-infestation at the heart of government.
At the hearing Hagel appeared flat-footed and unprepared for obvious questions. Even if it was expedient to play the Zionist lackey he needn’t have come across quite so wimpish. The public don’t necessarily understand such chicanery. Even if they did, the spectacle of belly-crawling is disgusting. Who could blame them for wondering what sort of impression Hagel was likely to create in the diplomatic drawing rooms of the world?
A more robust plan would have sent in a stalking-horse, specially trained by George Galloway (and suitably compensated) to swat the Inquisitorial bar-flies for the threat to US interests that they are. This sacrificial candidate’s fate would be crucifixion and rejection, but the process would have electrified the media, American voters and world audiences, and inflicted serious damage on the Zio-lobby’s hirelings. With their fangs drawn and venom spent, Obama could then have put forward his “real” candidate with dignity.
As it was, the lack of steel is now indelibly etched on everyone’s memory in the US and abroad.
Miko Peled is a remarkable Israeli Jew, the son of an Israeli general and himself a former soldier in the Israeli armed forces. He calls the Israeli army “one of the best trained and best equipped and best fed terrorist organizations in the world”. In a fascinating talk (see video above), he explains:
You couldn’t find a more authentic insider source. He confirms what many have known and been saying for years.
And in this excellent “Crosstalk” programme (see video on the right), “Obama’s Israel trip”, Norman Finkelstein and Mouin Rabbani strip away the arrant nonsense politicians use to conceal the truth of what’s happening in the Holy Land. Answering the question “Why is Obama going to the Middle East now and what does he want to achieve?”, here are some of their comments.
Rabbani begins by saying the peace process is not on the agenda. The Israeli government, post-election, is too new to have any serious discussion. In the past the Palestinian leadership has favoured talks simply as a distraction from the awful situation on the ground. But now things are so dire that renewed talks might pose more of a threat that an opportunity to the leadership.
Finkelstein maintains there is no reason why Obama would wish to talk about a peace process that interferes with “the serious work” of annexing the West Bank. In any case the Palestinian people have been “pacified” and the Palestinian Authority can’t do anything without US permission.
There never was a peace process, he says, it has always been an annexation process and right now there are no restraints, no inhibitions on Israel’s pursuit of this.
“Internationalize” the Palestine question
Finkelstein points to the shift in public opinion against Israel in recent years. But two inhibiting factors remain: (1) the US government and its vetoes at the UN, and (2) the Palestinians themselves, who are in no frame of mind to organize mass disobedience and resistance, which in Finkelstein’s view is “the only thing that can possibly force Israel to withdraw”. It is up to the Palestinians, he suggests, to mobilize these forces and to trigger the worldwide support movements. A combination of mass resistance by the Palestinian people in concert with support from the United Nations, the international community and public opinion, is the only likely solution. It would isolate the US and force an Israeli withdrawal. This prospect becomes more real as Israel’s credibility dwindles.
A combination of mass resistance by the Palestinian people in concert with support from the United Nations, the international community and public opinion, is the only likely solution.
Finkelstein is of the opinion that the sham peace process – “political theatre”, as he calls it – has poisoned and confused the minds of normally intelligent people.
Rabbani feels that the Palestinian leadership should disengage from the meaningless diplomacy sponsored by the US and move towards an “internationalization” of the question and solve it on the basis of international consensus.
The video ought to be compulsory viewing for those who still harp on about restarting ‘peace talks’.
On the ground Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was reported to have signalled a willingness to return to peace talks if Israel agreed to an “unannounced ” (i.e. secret) settlement freeze during the period of negotiations. At the same time, the democratically elected prime minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who perversely is not invited to meet Obama because he’s the wrong flavour (Hamas), declared: “We believe American policies perpetuate the Israeli occupation and settlements in Palestine under a slogan of peace.”
Another Hamas spokesman, Dr Sami Zuhri, said that Obama’s renewed commitment to Israel’s security while ignoring the Palestinians’ sufferings affirmed his country’s blind support for Israel. This exposed as nonsense any idea that America could play a positive role in the region. He urged an end to security coordination between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli occupation.
Respected Palestinian writer Khalid Amayreh remarked that Obama was expected to cajole the weak and pliant Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas to give “peace” another chance by returning to futile negotiations with Israel while the latter continued to steal more Palestinian land and build more Jewish colonies for fanatical Jewish settlers.
So what actually happened when Obama arrived?
As soon as he touched down, Obama was gushing. “Why does the United States stand so strongly, so firmly with the State of Israel?” he asked. “The answer is simple. We stand together because we share a common story – patriots determined to be a free people in our land, pioneers who forged a nation.”
Somehow, I doubt if ordinary Americans would wish to be compared to the invading Zionist thugs who drove the Palestinians off their lands, bulldozed their homes and cruelly imprisoned those that have remained in the shredded remnants of their territory for the last 65 years – and did it with billions of dollars squeezed from taxpaying Americans.
According to the Ma’an news agency on 21 March, Obama did finally say something about Israel’s settlements.
Settlements are illegal, nothing less, and Obama needs to remind Netanyahu (and himself) of that fact. There remains considerable confusion over the US position, especially since Reuters reported that Obama stopped short of calling for a halt to settlement expansion and offered no new ideas on how to get the two sides negotiating again. “If the expectation is we can only have direct negotiations when everything is settled ahead of time, then there’s no point in the negotiations,” he said.
No point at all, Mr Obama. Most of it was settled long ago by international law and a raft of UN resolutions. Upholding those rulings is, of course, a precondition to any negotiation.
Why insist on more “negotiations without preconditions” unless it’s to buy Israel time to complete its illegal annexation?
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