Juan Cole: 'Where Netanyahu will take America' UPDATES
by MainStreet, Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:02:49 AM EST
When I read this article entitled, Netanyahu: Train Wreck for Israel, Middle East; Looming Disaster for United States, I realized that it was about America's continual succombing to Israel's influence, and how disasterous that has been and will be for America's future.
Juan Cole's outlook on the Middle East and the prospects of Israeli-Palestinian peace, meaning the two state solution, since the Israeli election can only be described as beyond pessimism. To understand why, I have referenced Cole's references by title, all of which provide insightful reading about the train wreck he is talking about. In the end, a confrontation between Israel's new right wing government and Obama is in the making, unless AIPAC can intervene to control him. With George Mitchell announcing Obama's position on two states, a confrontation with Netanyahu and the Apartheid vision of Likud now openly exists. My own impression is that Netanyahu will use the old stall then blame tactic ("we have no partner" or "Hamas denies Israel's right to exist" or some other excuse) to deflect US peace efforts. Read on.
February 21, 2009
The selection of rightwing expansionist Binyamin Netanyahu to form the next Israeli government is being greeted with dismay by the Egyptian government, which remembers him for having derailed the Oslo peace process (Egypt has bad memories of Netanyahu) in the late 1990s.
Netanyahu has vowed to abandon negotiations with the Palestinians, and says he will expand the program of Israeli colonization of the Palestinian West Bank.
Since even before Netanyahu's coronation was announced, the Israelis had been busy stealing more Palestinian land and planning more colonies on the purloined territory, (Israel Takes More Land in West Bank, Expands Settlements), Netanyahu will just be accelerating an already inexorable process.
Despite today's faintly ridiculous attempt in the NYT to depict Netanyahu as a born-again pragmantist, in fact he rejects any withdrawal from the Palestinian West Bank by Israeli squatters, (No Territorial Concessions to Palestinians, Says Netanyahu) despite Israel's commitment to pull back in the Oslo accords. Since the West Bank looks like Swiss cheese with regard to administration and settlement patterns, there isn't a Palestinian state to be had there without an extensive Israeli pullback, and Netanyahu has never shown any interest in either pullback or Palestinian state.
Now his people are trying to revive this bizarre idea of giving Jordan some sort of vague authority over the West Bank Palestinians as a way of denying them statehood in their own right. Jordan's government has been under severe pressure to expel the Israeli ambassador over the brutal Gaza campaign, and any such active collaboration with Israel to repress the West Bankers would risk toppling the Hashemite throne. King Hussein once accused Netanyahu of single-handedly destroying every positive thing the Jordanian monarch had worked for (What a joy Netanyahu's premiership will be for Israel's enemies).
Netanyahu is a train wreck for the Middle East. He is willing to ally with Avigdor Lieberman, an open racist who is gunning for the 20 percent of Israel's citizen population that is Palestinian. Netanyahu wants a war with Iran, and when the Israeli Right wants a war nowadays, they usually want our children to fight and die in it for them. The 1996 "Clean Break" Neoconservative policy paper advocating a war on Iraq was written for Netanyahu. (They are not satisfied with picking our pockets for their weapons and colonization projects). Netanyahu will further oppress and brutalize the Palestinians, which he will keep in a slave-like condition of statelessness, and from whom he will steal what little property they have left. Last time he was in office he went around poisoning his enemies, for all the world like the Bulgarian KGB in the old days.
Netanyahu is the devil's gift to international terrorism, which his policies will provoke. Fifty years from now, the turn of Israel to the hard right will be looked back upon as the beginning of the end of Israel, the time when the crucial decisions were made that rendered it impossible for the Israelis to stay in the Middle East in the face of the increasing popular anger Netanyahu will have provoked in 1.5 billion Muslims. No, Israel cannot be defeated on the battleground. But the French colons in Algeria were never really defeated on the battleground, either, nor were the thousands of Britons who had ruled India.
More bracing realism from Ben White, (No Territorial Concessions to Palestinians, Says Netanyahu) the West Bank.
More immediately, all Americans will have reason to rue Netanyahu's return to power, since the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other elements of the powerful Israel lobbies will pull Congress around to support Likudnik policies in the next few years.
Yes, Cole really said that: Where Netanyahu will take America
Reproduced by permission.
Now we have the EU weighing in on the Netanyahu government to come:
EU: Netanyahu-led government could harm Mideast peace talks
By The Associated Press
European Union officials on Monday raised concerns over hard-line prime minister designate Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to pursuing genuine peace talks with Palestinians.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said he was worried Netanyahu's talks with other right-wing parties to form a coalition could halt peace talks with Palestinians. Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said he expects a rough start once a new Israeli government takes office, warning a two-state peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians was narrowing now that Netanyahu is likely to form a government.
The EU's 27 foreign ministers were discussing peace efforts in the Middle East at talks Monday.
Netanyahu pledged on Sunday to work with United States President Barack Obama for Middle East peace by pursuing the formation of a broad coalition government.
Work with Obama? Obama has already outlined his vision of Middle East peace, Bibi. Aren't you listening?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
US To Offer Nearly $1 bn. for Gaza Reconstruction
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce at the Gaza donor's conference next week that the US will give $900 million to help rebuild the Gaza Strip. That is about a billion dollars.
It is obvious why Clinton is making this gesture. The United States's name is mud in much of the Muslim world because Washington supported to the hilt Ehud Olmert's brutal assault on the people and civilian infrastructure of the Gaza Strip. Gaza was already a blockaded and abused slum before the war, where 15% of the children were undernourished. Bush urged Olmert on, and Obama has been silent.
So at least the US can spend some money to restore to the Gazans the basic prerequisites for a decent life.
Moreover, the US has increasing competition for influence in the area. The Gulf oil states are planning out the rebuilding of Gaza, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar have already pledged $1.25 billion. Qatar stole thunder in Lebanon last spring when it negotiated a peace deal between Hizbullah and the Lebanese government that brought Hizbullah into the government. The Saudis have been trying to bring Fatah and Hamas together. The US has been irrelevant, because under Bush Washington was just a ventriloquist dummy for the Israeli Rightwing. You can only have leverage as a good faith broker if you aren't completely identified with one side of a dispute.
So people are asking where the US government is going to get a billion dollars to give to the Gazans. That's easy. The US should take it out of the over $3 billion a year it gives to Israel. Israel aggressively launched that war, which it planned out for six months beforehand, even while Olmert was ostensibly indirectly negotiating a truce with Hamas. The war was fruitless and accomplished none of its goals. There is no reason for the US government to be giving the Israelis, who have a per capita income of $17,000 a year, money in the first place. But it certainly makes no sense to reward them for bad behavior, especially given that we are living through the great crash and incipient depression of 2009.