Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Corrupt Politicians React to ISIS Militarily,
Ignoring Arab and Palestinian Grievances
By Uri Avnery
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, November 11, 2014
In their continuous effort to show Israel and Israelis as super humans,
the Zionist media in the US, such as Fox News and CNN do not show any
political Israeli soap operas, like the one shown on Israeli TV stations
about Ehud Olmert and his secretary Shula Zaken.
Thanks to Uri
Avnery for his constant exposure of the corrupt and inept Israeli
politicians, whose main objective is staying in power, instead of reaching
peace with the Palestinian people and their Arab neighbors.
Is ISIS Coming?
IF ISIS had approached the borders of Israel this week, nobody in the
country would have noticed. Israel was riveted to a courtroom drama.
There, in the Jerusalem District Court, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
faced his erstwhile secretary, Shula Zaken. No one could take his or her
eyes off them. It was the stuff soap operas are made of.
a 17-year old Jerusalem girl when she first met Ehud. He was a fledgling
advocate, she was a new secretary in the same office.
for more than 40 years, Shula was the shadow of Ehud, a fiercely loyal
secretary who followed her ambitious boss from station to station - mayor of
Jerusalem, then Minister of Trade, and finally Prime Minister. She was his
closest associate, his confidante, everything.
And then it all blew
up. Olmert was accused of several big corruption affairs and was forced to
resign. For years now he has been a fixture in the court rooms and TV court
reports. Shula Zaken, now a 57-year old rather stout matron, is his
co-defendant. She supported him through thick and thin, until in his
testimony he put all the blame on her. Shula was sent to prison for 11
months. Ehud was (again) acquitted.
That was the turning point. It
appeared that for years the devout secretary had recorded her boss's private
conversations with her. According to her, because she could not live without
being able to listen to his voice at any time. Others saw in it as a kind of
And indeed, this week, after Shula made a deal with
the prosecution, the court listened to a whole stack of recordings, which
may well send Olmert to prison for many years.
The drama between the
two was irresistible. It headed the news, pushing almost everything else off
the table. Few dealt with the real importance of the affair.
recordings showed an all-pervading atmosphere of corruption at the highest
level of government. Large bribes moved around as a matter of course. The
relationship between the tycoons and the prime minister was so intimate,
that the leader could request any tycoon by phone to transfer tens of
thousands of dollars to his secretary to pay for his personal life in luxury
and then for her silence.
The recordings do not show what the
ultra-rich got in return. One can only guess.
It seems that
the same symbiosis between top politicians and
the "wealthy" (the American synonym for stinking rich) prevails in
the US. In this respect, too, the
similarity between the two countries is growing. We have indeed common
values - the values of the tiny group of
plutocrats who employ the top politicians in both countries.
WHILE EVERYBODY stares at the court scenes, who is there to watch what is
happening beyond our borders?
Some 2400 years ago, the Gauls were
about to mount a night time surprise attack on Rome. The city was saved by
the geese of a temple on Capitol Hill, which raised such a ruckus that the
inhabitants woke up in time.
We have no temple and no geese to warn
us, only some intelligence agencies with a consistent record of failure.
ISIS is far away. We have enemies galore, who are much nearer: Hamas,
Mahmoud Abbas, "the Palestinians", "the Arabs", Hizbollah, and -somewhere
beyond - "the Bomb" (a.k.a. Iran).
To my mind, none of these are an
existential danger for us. ISIS is.
As I have said before, ISIS
("the Islamic State") poses no military danger. The present and former
generals who shape Israel's policy can only smile when this “danger” is
mentioned. A few tens of thousands of lightly armed fighters against the
huge Israeli military establishment? Ridiculous.
As indeed it is. In
Israelis, like Americans, are practical people. They
don't appreciate the power of ideas. They think like Stalin who, when warned
of the Pope, asked: "How many divisions does he have?"
It is ideas
that change the world. Like those of the legendary Moses. Of Jesus of
Nazareth. Of Muhammad. Of Karl Marx. How many divisions did Lenin have, when
he crossed Germany in the sealed train?
ISIS has an idea that can sweep the region: to do what Muhammad did, to
restore the Caliphate which ruled from Spain to India, to wipe away the
artificial borders that divide the Islamic world, to drive away the pitiful
and corrupt Arab rulers, to destroy the infidels (including us).
For millions upon millions of young Muslims in their impotent and
impoverished failed states, this is an idea that straightens their back and
swells their breast.
Ideas cannot be detected by spy drones. They
cannot be blown out of existence by heavy bombers. The American conviction
that you can solve historical problems by bombing from the air is a
It is an old Israeli complaint that whenever
something goes wrong in our region, Israel is always blamed. Take Sabra and
Shatila. As our then Chief of Staff exclaimed: "Goyim kill goyim and the
Jews are blamed."
Once more, ISIS has nothing to do with us. It is a
purely Islamic affair. Yet many people blame Israel.
time the blame is not without reason. Israel considers itself an island in
the region, the famous "villa in the jungle". But that is wishful thinking.
Israel is located in the middle of the region, and whether we accept it or
not, everything that we do or do not do has a huge impact on all the
countries around us.
successes are a direct outcome of the general frustration and humiliation
felt by a new Arab generation faced with our military superiority. The
oppression of the Palestinians is felt by everyone in the Arab world.
(Yesterday, I happened to see on TV an old Saudi movie about a
high-school student who was punished by her teacher for riding a bicycle.
The punishment was a fine "for our Palestinian brothers." The movie had
absolutely nothing to do with Palestine).
IF ISRAEL did not exist,
ISIS would have had to invent it.
Indeed, somebody with a taste for
conspiracy theories could well arrive at the conviction that Binyamin
Netanyahu and his minions are secret ISIS agents. Is there any other
reasonable explanation for their doings?
It is one of the main
tenets of ISIS that the struggle against Israel is a religious war, at the
center of which is the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem (Al-Aqsa Mosque).
For months now, a group of Jewish zealots has been kicking up a storm in
Jerusalem by advocating the building of the Third Jewish Temple on the sites
of the two Islamic shrines - the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.
This group is tolerated and even promoted by the police and the government,
and makes news daily.
The Noble Sanctuary (or "Temple Mount") is
one of the most sensitive spots in the world. Who in his right mind would
upset the status quo and allow Jews to pray there, turning the political
conflict into a religious one, just as ISIS desires?
violent protests in annexed East Jerusalem are daily occurrences. The
government has just passed a law that allows stone-throwing Palestinian
teenagers to be imprisoned for nine years. That's not a typo: years, not
The recent Gaza war has stirred sentiments throughout the
Arab world. The human and material losses suffered by the Palestinian
population remain immense, as does the rage throughout the region. Who
And so forth. A constant stream of deeds and misdeeds
designed to upset the Palestinians, all Arabs and the entire Muslim world.
Food for ISIS propaganda.
WHY, FOR God's sake, are our politicians
doing this? Because they are just politicians. Their sole interest is in
winning the next elections, which may come sooner than the law requires.
Keeping the Arabs down is popular. And the traditional contempt for all
things Arab is blinding them to the serious dangers ahead.
be the beginning of a new era in our region. A new era necessitates a
re-evaluation of reality. Yesterday's enemies may become today's friends and
tomorrow's allies. And vice versa.
If ISIS is now the paramount
existential danger for us, we must reassess our policies comprehensively.
Take the Arab Peace Initiative. For years now it has been lying
around, like a discarded sandwich paper. It says that the entire Arab world
is ready to recognize Israel and establish normal relations with it, in
return for the end of the occupation and a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian
peace agreement. Our government has not even responded. The occupation and
the settlements are more important.
Does this make sense?
Peace with Palestine on the basis of the pan-Arab initiative would take much
of the wind out of ISIS' sails.
If ISIS is now our main enemy,
yesteryear's enemies become potential allies. Even the abominable Bashar
al-Assad. Definitely Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas. Israel must reconsider its
attitude to all of them.
When the Mongol invasion destroyed Iraq in
1258 and threatened the entire Arab world, the Crusader state opened its
gates and let the (Egyptian) Muslim army pass through it to march to Ain
Jalut in the valley of Jezreel, where they crushed the Mongols in a battle
which changed history.
Only an Israel that makes peace with
Palestine can join a new regional alignment to face ISIS, before it engulfs
the entire region. This is a matter of survival.
A great Israeli
statesman would recognize the historic challenge and the historic
opportunity - and seize it.
Unfortunately, there is no great Israeli statesman in sight. Only the little
Netanyahus, who are now riveted to the story of Ehud and Shula.
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