Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
A Gift for Netanyahu, Allowing New
Postponement, More Theft of Palestinian Lands
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 15, 2014
That is the
traditional Zionist strategy. Time is everything. Every postponement
provides opportunities to create more facts on the grou
prayers have been answered. God bless Putin.
BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is very good at making speeches, especially to
Jews, neocons and such, who jump up and applaud wildly at everything he
says, including that tomorrow the sun will rise in the west.
question is: Is he good at anything else?
HIS FATHER, an
ultra-ultra-Rightist, once said about him that he is quite unfit to be prime
minister, but that he could be a good foreign minister. What he meant was
that Binyamin does not have the depth of understanding needed to guide the
nation, but that he is good at selling any policy decided upon by a real
(Reminding us of the characterization of Abba Eban by
David Ben-Gurion: “He is very good at explaining, but you must tell him what
This week Netanyahu was summoned to Washington. He was
supposed to approve John Kerry’s new “framework” agreement, which would
serve as a basis for restarting the peace negotiations, which so far have
come to naught.
On the eve of the event, President Barack Obama gave
an interview to a Jewish journalist, blaming Netanyahu for the stalling of
the “peace process” – as if there had ever been a peace process.
Netanyahu arrived with an empty bag - meaning a bag full of empty slogans.
The Israeli leadership had striven mightily for peace, but could not
progress at all because of the Palestinians. It is Mahmoud Abbas who is to
blame, because he refuses to recognize Israel as the Nation-State of the
What…hmm…about the settlements, which have been
expanding during the last year at a hectic pace? Why should the Palestinians
negotiate endlessly, while at the same time the Israeli government takes
more and more of the land which is the substance of the negotiations? (As
the classic Palestinian argument goes: “We negotiate about dividing a pizza,
and in the meantime Israel is eating the pizza.”)
himself to confront Netanyahu, AIPAC and their congressional stooges. He was
about to twist the arms of Netanyahu until he cried “uncle” – the uncle
being Kerry’s “framework”, which by now has been watered down to look almost
like a Zionist manifesto. Kerry is frantic for an achievement, whatever its
contents and discontents.
Netanyahu, looking for an instrument to
rebuff the onslaught, was ready to cry as usual “Iran! Iran! Iran!” – when
something unforeseen happened.
NAPOLEON FAMOUSLY exclaimed:
”Give me generals who are lucky!” He would have loved General Bibi.
Because, on the way to confront a newly invigorated Obama, there was an
explosion that shook the world:
It was like the shots that rang out in Sarajevo a hundred years ago.
international tranquility was suddenly shattered. The possibility of a major
war was in the air.
Netanyahu’s visit disappeared from the news.
Obama, occupied with a historic crisis, just wanted to get rid of him as
quickly as possible. Instead of the severe admonition of the Israeli leader,
he got away with some hollow compliments. All the wonderful speeches
Netanyahu had prepared were left unspeeched. Even his usual triumphant
speech at AIPAC evoked no interest.
All because of the upheaval in
BY NOW, innumerable articles have been written about the
crisis. Historical associations abound.
Though Ukraine means
“borderland”, it was often at the center of European events. One must pity
Ukrainian schoolchildren. The changes in the history of their country were
constant and extreme. At different times Ukraine was a European power and a
poor downtrodden territory, extremely rich (“the breadbasket of Europe”) or
abjectly poor, attacked by neighbors who captured their people to sell them
as slaves or attacking their neighbors to enlarge their country.
Ukraine’s relationship with Russia is even more complex. In a way, the
Ukraine is the heartland of Russian culture, religion and orthography. Kiev
was far more important than Moscow, before becoming the centerpiece of
In the Crimean War of the 1850s, Russia
fought valiantly against a coalition of Great Britain, France, the Ottoman
Empire and Sardinia, and eventually lost. The war broke out over Christian
rights in Jerusalem, and included a long siege of Sevastopol. The world
remembers the charge of the Light Brigade. A British woman called Florence
Nightingale established the first organization to tend the wounded on the
In my lifetime, Stalin murdered millions
of Ukrainians by deliberate starvation. As a result, most Ukrainians
welcomed the German Wehrmacht in 1941 as liberators. It could have been the
beginning of a beautiful friendship, but unfortunately Hitler was determined
to eradicate the Ukrainian “Untermenschen”, in order to integrate the
Ukraine into the German Lebensraum.
The Crimea suffered terribly.
The Tatar people, who had ruled the peninsula in the past, were deported to
Central Asia, then allowed to return decades later. Now they are a small
minority, seemingly unsure of where their loyalties lie.
RELATIONSHIP between Ukraine and the Jews is no less complicated.
Some Jewish writers, like Arthur Koestler and Shlomo Sand, believe that the
Khazar empire that ruled the Crimea and neighboring territory a thousand
years ago, converted to Judaism, and that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended
from them. This would turn us all into Ukrainians. (Many early Zionist
leaders indeed came from Ukraine.)
When Ukraine was a part of the
extensive Polish empire, many Polish noblemen took hold of large estates
there. They employed Jews as their managers. Thus the Ukrainian peasants
came to look upon the Jews as the agents of their oppressors, and
anti-Semitism became part of the national culture of Ukraine.
learned in school, at every turn of Ukrainian history, the Jews were
slaughtered. The names of most Ukrainian folk-heroes, leaders and rebels who
are revered in their homeland are, in Jewish consciousness, connected with
Cossack Hetman (leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who
liberated Ukraine from the Polish yoke, and who is considered by Ukrainians
as the father of their nation, was one of the worst mass-murderers in Jewish
history. Symon Petliura, who led the Ukrainian war against the Bolsheviks
after World War I, was assassinated by a Jewish avenger.
elderly Jewish immigrants in Israel must find it hard to decide whom to hate
more, the Ukrainians or the Russians (or the Poles, for that matter.)
PEOPLE AROUND the world find it also hard to choose sides.
usual Cold-War zealots have it easy – they either hate the Americans or the
Russians, out of habit.
As for me, the more I try to study the
situation, the more unsure I become. This is not a black-or-white situation.
The first sympathy goes to the Maidan rebels. (Maidan is an Arab
word meaning town square. Curious how it travelled to Kiev. Probably via
They want to join the West, enjoy independence and
democracy. What’s wrong with that?
Nothing, except that they have
dubious bedfellows. Neo-Nazis in their copycat Nazi uniforms, giving the
Hitler salute and mouthing anti-Semitic slogans, are not very attractive.
The encouragement they receive from Western allies, including the odious
neocons, is off-putting.
On the other side, Vladimir Putin is also
not very prepossessing. It’s the old Russian imperialism all over again.
The slogan used by the Russians - the need to protect Russian-speaking
people in a neighboring country - sounds eerily familiar. It is an exact
copy of Adolf Hitler’s claim in 1938 to protect the Sudeten Germans from the
But Putin has some logic on his side.
Sevastopol – the scene of heroic sieges both in the Crimean War and in World
War II, is essential for his naval forces. The association with Ukraine is
an important part of Russian world power aspirations.
cold-blooded, calculating operator, of a kind now rare in the world, Putin
uses the strong cards he has, but is very careful not to take too many
risks. He is managing the crisis astutely, using Russia’s obvious
advantages. Europe needs his oil and gas, he needs Europe’s capital and
trade. Russia has a leading role in Syria and Iran. The US suddenly looks
like a bystander.
I assume that in the end there will be a
compromise. Russia will retain a footing in the coming Ukrainian leadership.
Both sides will proclaim victory, as they should.
(By the way, for
those here who believe in the “One-State Solution”: Another multicultural
state seems to be breaking apart.)
WHERE WILL this leave
He has gained some months or years without any movement
toward peace, and in the meantime can continue with the occupation and build
settlements at a frantic pace.
That is the traditional Zionist
strategy. Time is everything. Every postponement provides opportunities to
create more facts on the ground.
Netanyahu’s prayers have been answered. God bless Putin.