No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

Natural growth of Israeli settlements?

As everyone should know by now, Netanyahu's use of the concept of "natural growth" to continue settlement expansion is little more than a subterfuge intended to keep the colonization of the Palestinian territories moving forward. Yesterday, in Paris Netanyahu rejected the French president Sarkozy's call for a total freeze on settlements, also indicating that the settlements would remain. If Obama blinks on this key issue, the one which has singularly impeded peace for decades while Israel came up with one red herring after the other to distract public attention from the colonization, Obama will fail. The more facts on the ground, the more difficult it will be to get Israel to remove settlements and permit a sovereign Palestinian state to emerge.

Obama's failure to deliver Palestinian statehood will eventually undermine his new Middle East policy. Indeed, Ahmadinejad, Iran's de facto reelected PM,  a severe critic of the United States for supporting Israeli expansionism, will gain the day.

Is it time for Obama to use the nuclear option and suspend aid to Israel?

The Jewish Voice for Peace thinks so and has organized this petition (diary title) addressed to President Obama to tell him so:

Please send an email to President Barack Obama asking him to withhold U.S. aid to Israel until Israel stops all settlement construction and agrees to abide by U.S. and international law and end the occupation of Palestinian Territories. Call on him to back up his words with concrete and meaningful action.

Click HERE to sign on.

In the meantime, the boycott, divestment, and sanction movement against Israel remains in full swing.

Recently, Ilan Pappe, Israeli historian (The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine), and chair of the Department of History at the University of Exeter in England, a peacenik by temperament, also urged boycotts. Pappe's article, The necessity of cultural boycott was published on the Electronic Intifada a few days ago. His main points were directed at the UK, but they could apply equally to the US.

At the minimum, boycotts, in conjunction with US aid suspension, could push Israel to the peace table, something it continually avoids, this time by invoking untenable preconditions.

Tags: Israel, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine (all tags)



Israeli boycotts

In the meantime, the boycott, divestment, and sanction movement against Israel remains in full swing.

Not a very strong swing. Israel

GDP $205.7 billion (2008 est.)
GDP growth 4.2% (2008 est.)
GDP per capita $28,900 (2008 est.)
GDP by sector agriculture (2.7%), industry (31.7%), services (65.6%) (2008 est.)

Not bad growth in these economic times:

The country's GDP (Purchasing power parity) in 2006 reached $195 billion according to the International Monetary Fund or $179 billion according to the World Bank (see List of countries by GDP

Israel doesn't rely on the production of junk, it produces innovation which the world appreciates.

In 1998, Tel Aviv was named by Newsweek as one of the ten most technologically influential cities in the world.[5] American billionaires and business tycoons including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Donald Trump have each praised Israel's economic environment,[6] and the country was the destination for Berkshire Hathaway's first investment outside of the USA when it purchased ISCAR Metalworking, and the first R&D Centers outside the USA for companies including Intel and Microsoft. The country has now become known as Silicon Wadi.

And the world wants Israeli innovation...

Israel has signed free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Jordan, Egypt, and on 18 December 2007, became the first non-Latin American country to sign a free trade agreement with the Mercosur trade bloc.

Here's what lands in the U.S..  May be difficult to identify (729) even if you wish to boycott. Unless you're ready to:

- Ask your dentist to take that new drill out of your mouth.

- Ensure your cell phone doesn't come with SMS, you know, otherwise you're supporting Israel.  Next time you fly United, make sure they remove that radar system.  

- Ask breast cancer victims that they can no longer use fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation.

Exports from Israel to U.S.

With a population of 7.1 million, Israel exported US$20.8 billion worth of merchandise to the United States in 2007, an 8.6% increase from 2006 and up by 63% in 4 years. The following product categories represent about 77% of Israeli exports to America.

Gem diamonds ... US$9.5 billion - up 10.5% from 2006 (45.6% of Israel-to-U.S. exports)
Dental, medical and pharmaceutical preparations ... $2.7 billion - up 3.5% (12.9%)
Telecommunications equipment ... $746.8 million - up 17.6% (3.6%)
Complete civilian aircraft ... $685.9 million - up 41.6% (3.3%)
Other hospital, medical and scientific equipment ... $655 million - up 12.6% (3.1%)
Electric apparatus and parts ... $385.6 billion - up 11.3% (1.9%)
Civilian aircraft engines ... $370.5 million - up 52.6% (1.8%)
Measuring, testing and control instruments ... $337.1 million - down 9.8% (1.6%)
Other military equipment ... $271.3 million - up 223.2% (1.3%)
Computer accessories, peripherals and parts ... $254.6 billion - up 36.5% (1.2%).

The Arab nation boycotts have been in 'full swing' for some time...

Until the last decade, Israel's trade with the Arab world was minimal due to the Arab League boycott. Beginning in 1945, Arab nations not only refused to have direct trade with Israel (the primary boycott), but they also refused to do business with any corporation that operated in Israel, or any corporation that did business with a corporation that did business with Israel (the secondary and tertiary boycotts).

However, I do support those who wish to particitpate in the boycotting of Israeli products and services. It is peaceful political action... marching. I do not think it will work, Israeli technologies are not simple to isolate, they are part of products made elsewhere.

I, however, will continue to procure items with the 'Made in Israel' label (or at least not avoid those products).

But I also procure many fine products produced by Palestinians as well. For those interested in supporting Palestinian owned and operated businesses, please click on the link below...

by oc 2009-06-25 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Israeli boycotts

A recent Haaretz article claimed that approximately 20% of Israeli businesses have been affected by the international boycotts. I don't have the time to fetch it right now, but that percentage indicates a beginning. And it is not just Jaffa oranges, once Palestinian, now considered Israeli oranges, but other products as well, especially those manufactured in the West Bank.

The point is that if Israel refuses to cooperate in establishing a sovereign Palestinian state, the scope of the boycotts will likely increase. Pappe's call was for cultural and academic boycotts, but there are many other types, like the recent Brazilian soccer team's refusal to play in Israel.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 02:03PM | 0 recs
Yes yes

lots of good shit was made by slave labor too.  We get it.  Anything that makes a buck is a-ok by you.

by JJE 2009-06-25 05:58PM | 0 recs
U.S. praises Israel for easing WB restrictions

From today's Haaretz 752.html

In an apparent effort to ease tensions that have been aired publicly through the press, the U.S. State Department on Thursday praised Israel's lifting of restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank.

State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly said the U.S. was appreciative of Israel's "positive steps" in easing Palestinian freedom of movement in the territories.

There will be a settlement compromise, we just don't know what it will look like.

Netanyahu announced earlier this week that he would dispatch his defense minister, Ehud Barak, to Washington in an effort to reach a compromise with American officials on the settlements issue.

by oc 2009-06-25 02:15PM | 0 recs
Re: U.S. praises Israel for easing WB restrictions

There is no compromise on this matter: continuing settlement building and expansion merely emphasizes Netanyahu's unwillingness to withdraw any settlements from the West Bank. Fortifying settlements is just a way of increasing Israeli population in the Palestinian territories, which now numbers a half million.

I've posted this map before. In the situation as it is, there is no place for a contiguous and sovereign Palestinian state having its own borders along the Jordan River without settlement withdrawal. The Palestinians will not accept a bunch of Apartheid enclaves surrounded by Israeli military which rules the borders, the bantustan model. Take a look at the problem.


by MainStreet 2009-06-25 03:26PM | 0 recs

I've never seen this map before.  For some reason, I thought the majority of the settlements hugged the border.  What in the world were they thinking building settlements in all of these places?

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 07:13AM | 0 recs
Three guesses

First two don't count.

by JJE 2009-06-26 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow.

The US has pretty much been living under a veil of censorship about the settlements, which, contrary to the impression that they are just a bunch of wagontrains settling the wild regions of the West Bank, are actually villages, towns, and fairly large cities that have grown over the past 40 years.

Including East Jerusalem, they contain nearly a half million Israelis and are interconnected with Israel on Israeli only highways and roads. Not only are we talking about large residential communities, but industrial parks and agribusinesses that employ many of the settlers. Others work in Israel and commute daily on those highways, including the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.

Israel has locked itself into a dilemma. Unless they are willing to enter a new phase of the conflict called Apartheid, the settlers will have to leave or tolerate living as Palestinians in the state of Palestine. That option was recently announced by the Palestinian representative, Quereri.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow.

I've done some reading on this and I've seen footage of the larger settlements with the industrial parks and large communities.  I just didn't realize that there were settlements so deep into Palestinian territory.  The Israeli people have been ill-served by governments who built these settlements.  Oh, what a freaking mess this is going to be.

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow.

international law prohibits the forcible transfer of segments of the population of a state to the territory of another state which it has occupied as a result of the resort to armed force. this principle, which is reflected in article 49 of the fourth geneva convention, was drafted immediately following the WW2. the principle was intended to protect the local population from displacement, including endangering its separate existence as a race, as occurred with respect to the forced population transfers in czechoslovakia, poland and hungary before and during the war. this is clearly not the case with regard to the west bank and gaza.

a more probable outcome will be that the israelis are going to have to either hand over governance of the settlements to the palestinians or complete dismantlement. i think the former is more likely - but who knows.

by canadian gal 2009-06-26 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Wow.

Either way, it is going to be messy.

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: U.S. praises Israel for easing WB restrictions

PS: Anyone who took in the above video will come away knowing that whatever compromise Israel or the US agree upon, as in the past, Israel will just go ahead and do what it pleases. Israel has broken all agreements to freeze settlements, including even going back before Oslo Accords (or Oslo Hoax as some prefer).

If Obama can't stop it this time around, peace is dead and so is Obama's Middle East initiative. At this point in the history of this conflict, it is a very serious matter.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 03:39PM | 0 recs
Pass the hat

Pass the hat, because 12,000 Palestinian families are about to lose their well paid jobs.

Abbas demands that settlement construction comes to a halt, now. I hope he has a plan plan to feed the workers families who will suffer as a result. We all know he does not.

From jpost id=1245924932645&pagename=JPost%2FJP Article%2FShowFull

"I don't care what the leaders say and do," al-Najjar told The Jerusalem Post at one of the new construction sites in Ma'aleh Adumim. "I need to feed my seven children, and that's all I care about for now."

The phenomenon of Palestinians building new homes for Jewish settlers is not new. In fact, Palestinian laborers have been working in the construction business from the first day the settlements began in the West Bank.

Today, Palestinian Authority officials estimate, more than 12,000 Palestinians are employed by both Jewish and Arab contractors building new homes in the settlements.


"If they [fellow Palestinians] want us to leave our work, they should offer us an alternative," Abu Sharikheh said. "We don't come to work in the settlements for ideological reasons or because we support the settlement movement. We come here because our Palestinian and Arab governments haven't done anything to provide us with better jobs."

Not only do the settlements provide jobs, but the Israeli's pay the Palestinians far better wages than their Palestinian counterparts. Three times as much.

He said that he and his colleagues working for Israelis earn almost three times what they would receive doing the same work for Palestinian construction companies.

"The Palestinian employers pay us NIS 100 to NIS 150 a day," Uwaisat said. "The Israeli companies, by contrast, pay NIS 350 to NIS 450 a day. That's why many of us prefer to work for Israeli companies, even if the construction is in the settlements."

Of course these settlements could one day house a happy Palestinian family.

"These settlements are growing every day at a very fast pace," he said. "One day you see empty land, the next day you see new buildings. They are really fast in planning and building. But who knows? Maybe these settlements will one day become homes for Palestinian refugees."

Well intentioned Westerners (Americans), standing up for the rights of people they throw under the bus. Ignorance is bliss.

Perhaps some diarists would like to inform Abu Sharikheh that he is ignorant, because he doesn't know what's best for his family.

by oc 2009-06-25 04:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

The US gives Israel at least 6 billion dollars a year in aid and military equipment, and as such, is partly culpable for the illegal colonization of the Palestinian territories. Our munitions have killed many Palestinians.

By contrast, how much financial aid have we given the Palestinians, a people we have known all along were being subjected to ethnic cleansing while their lands were being colonized. In the case of workers being used to assist in their own colonization, they are obviously being exploited? One way to force workers living under a military occupation to do any kind of work is to make lives so miserable that they will do anything to feed their families. And pretty much that is what Israel has succeeded in doing to the Palestinians.

So what can one say to your question? Israel sucks and so does every US administration that has assisted Israel in creating this situation. These workers are helping Israel engage in an illegal activity, building houses on lands belonging to their own people, while those people are having to live in tents if they stay, or emigrate to Jordan or some other country. How many of those workers are actually refugees from their family's villages in old Palestine, and how many of them have had their own homes in the West Bank demolished, or their farms and orchards destroyed?

You have not thought out the implications of your question. In France after WWII, persons who assisted the enemy had their heads shaven.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

Palestinians receive over a billion a year in aid, unfortunately it tends to not be utilized to the benefit of the average Palestinian.

I'll be sure to pass your righteous indignation onto Abu Sharikheh and the workers who stand to suffer with no plan to address their needs.

by oc 2009-06-25 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

First things first. Do you have a link concerning US aid to the Palestinians, as well as how that money is dispersed?

And it is hoped that those workers are cared for, but the notion that the colonization of the Palestinian territories should go on in order to provide employment for Palestinians is somewhat absurd.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 07:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

Sorry, bad edicate on my part. Do you have a non-biased link stating the U.S. gives Israel $6B+ in aid annually? ytimes49a.htm

The International Monetary Fund and the United Nations say the Palestinians received $1.2 billion in aid and budgetary support in 2006, about $300 per capita, compared with $1 billion in 2005.

by oc 2009-06-25 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

In looking at dozens of websites, including many 'Anti-Israel, the consensus is the US delivers about $3B annually to Israel. The $1.2B in economic aid will be reduced by $120 million each year until it is down to zero in the year 2008. This was to help Israel to become an economically independent country. The aid today is purely military.

But this is a far cry from $6B annually as you (and others) repeat often.

Have you found that '$6B+ annual aid package to Israel' link yet?

by oc 2009-06-25 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

US Aid: The Lifeblood of Occupation
By Matt Bowles 001.htm

In addition to nearly $3 billion in direct aid, Israel usually gets another $3 billion or so in indirect aid: military support from the defense budget, forgiven loans, and special grants. While some of the indirect aid is difficult to measure precisely, it is safe to say that Israelÿs total aid (direct and indirect) amounts to at least five billion dollars annually.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 04:45AM | 0 recs
Response to both MS and TXdem08

Thanks for the links allowing me read other posts on the subject. As TXdem08 agreed, Israel receives about $3B annually. What is also clear is that Israel does not receive anything close to $6B+ annually.

Israel has some perks, but its a far stretch to claims $6B+ a year.. ..Israel and the US partner on a great deal of research (military, scientific, health related), but that is that in mutually beneficial.

If ones point is US aid to Israel is too great, it can be made by just sticking to the facts of $3B a year, no need to exaggerate the amount if one wishes to make the point.

Again, thanks for the research, that combined with mine was helpful.

by oc 2009-06-26 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Response to both MS and TXdem08

Just to be clear, they don't receive that money for the year in dispersed payments.  They receive that direct aid upfront within 30 days of the new budget year.

Also, the $3B amount is in direct aid.  That number does not include the military, "humanitarian", or relocation aid that is dispersed through additional agencies.

by TxDem08 2009-06-26 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat /Ten_Reasons_Oppose_Aid.html amp;iid=97 22.pdf

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World
War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign
assistance, having recently been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has
provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.

Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel's receiving benefits
that may not be available to other countries. For example, Israel can use U.S. military
assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military
purchases from Israeli manufacturers
. In addition, all U.S. foreign assistance
earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year
. Most other
recipients normally receive their aid in installments. Congress also appropriates funds
for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs.

Beginning in 1973, Israel
has received grants from the State Department's Migration and Refugee Assistance fund(MRA)20 to assist in the resettlement of humanitarian
migrants to Israel.

Between 1973 and 1991, the United States gave
about $460 million for resettling Jewish refugees in Israel.  Loan guarantees are a form of indirect U.S. assistance to Israel, since they enable Israel to borrow from commercial sources at lower rates and not from the United States government.  Congress directs that subsidies be set aside in a U.S. Treasury account for possible
default. These subsidies, which are a percentage of the total loan (based in part on the credit rating of the borrowing country; in the case of the loan guarantees in the 1990s, the subsidy amount was 4.1%)

U.S. government assistance to Israel began in 1949 with a $100 million Export-
Import Bank Loan

Over the last two decades, the United States and Israel have disagreed over
Israeli sales of sensitive U.S. technologies to China
. U.S. objections have largely been communicated by successive Administrations and Pentagon officials, though in recent years, some Members of Congress expressed dissatisfaction over one reported sale. In 2000, Representative Sonny Callahan, former Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, sought to withhold $250 million in aid to Israel unless it cancelled a planned sale to China of an Airborne Early Warning System. On June 20, 2000, the House Foreign Operations Subcommittee voted nine to six to defeat Callahan's proposal

so, if you're asking simply how much in direct aid the U.S. gives to're right.  On average about $3b/year.  But when you include humanitarian loans, direct and guaranteed non-defaultable loans, military funding, and relocation loans, we are well above $3b/year.

by TxDem08 2009-06-26 09:31AM | 0 recs
Know what else creates jobs?

Building planes, tanks, and missiles.  Time to bomb Iran and North Korea and anywhere else we can think of!  Oaktownchicken has solved the economic crisis!

Of course these settlements could one day house a happy Palestinian family.

Indeed.  And one day monkeys might fly out of your butt.  Could happen.  Who is to say otherwise?

by JJE 2009-06-25 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Know what else creates jobs?

I'm sorry you feel the need to bomb Iran and North Korea. I, for one, think that is foolish and inhumane.

Besides, your useless comment has nothing to do with Mainstreet's diary. Please respect his diary regarding Israeli settlements. I disagree with some of Mainstreets assertions, but I appreciate this dialog with him.

If Mainstreet does not wish me to comment further in his diary, then I will stop.

by oc 2009-06-25 06:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Know what else creates jobs?

You have every right to comment all you wish on any diary including this one.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 07:01PM | 0 recs
Why don't you?

Doing so will create jobs.  If job creation justifies settlement expansion why on earth does it not justify changing those odious regimes?

by JJE 2009-06-25 07:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Pass the hat

I'm sorry but I had to laugh, because there's already a joke that " but it creates jobs!" is the second to last refuge of a scoundrel.  It's like what CAN'T you justify with that?

Indeed: why NOT use those well-made munitions on Iran?  Do you know how many families are employed by General Dynamics?- but I'm sure you know better than them etc...

by Jess81 2009-06-26 12:04AM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

People who are a lot more reasonable than MainStreet seem to think the concept of terminating all U.S. aid to Israel is something they can realistically hope for.  This just seems crazy to me.  It is the nuclear option, and the U.S. is not going to deploy the nuclear option against a longtime ally just because we think they're being stubborn about the peace process.

Heck, we could save an awful lot of money by cutting off anyone who commits human rights violations, and it wouldn't be the worst thing we could do, but it ain't gonna happen.  Heck, we give something like $2 billion to Egypt every year.  How do they treat the Jews, exactly, compared to how Israel treats the Palestinians?

by Steve M 2009-06-25 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

There are not many if any Jews left in Egypt, if I am not mistaken. I would be more concerned with Egypt's treatment of its own people, and the absence of democratic rule.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 07:04PM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

I strongly disagree. A good part of my flock in my community are Jews who fled Egypt in 60's and 70's. Their belongings and homes lost as they escaped to France, the US and elsewhere. You are correct that there a few Jews left in Egypt, but so what, that does not dismiss the awful treatment they received in Egypt.

By your logic, if Israel forced all Palestinians out of greater Israel then after a certain number of years one should no longer be concerned with the fate of those Palestinians.

And the Jews of Egypt were and are Egypts 'own people'.

by oc 2009-06-25 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

I was talking about Egypt today, not back when there was a forced expulsion of Jews, in 1967 or shortly afterward, I believe.

Egypt was one of two Arab countries that forcibly expelled Jews in retaliation for Israel's actions toward Palestinians; the other was Iraq sometime after 1948. Where's Strummerson? He keeps this kind of data in his head.

by MainStreet 2009-06-25 08:17PM | 0 recs

i thought you were talking about principle.

by canadian gal 2009-06-25 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: really?

No we were talking about aid to Egypt, a dictatorship, and Mubarek's suppression of dissidents. Someone else reviewed the source of this aid, which apparently began with Sadat.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 04:51AM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

Your comment suggests that Israel's error was not embarking on ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, but rather its failure to finish the job.

Just push 'em all into the sea and then it will be perfectly reasonable to say, "There are not many if any Palestinians left in Israel, if I am not mistaken.  I would be more concerned with something else."

by Steve M 2009-06-25 09:19PM | 0 recs

If Israel had been able to effect an ethnic cleansing of all the land it wants in 1967 there would be no "Palestinian question."  Isn't that obvious?  You don't see American Indians demanding an autonomous state.  But Israel's failure to do so and dependence on foreign support means it now has to take an incrementalist approach to obtaining the land to which it feels entitled.

by JJE 2009-06-25 09:41PM | 0 recs
Sounds like a plan

no aid for either Egypt or Israel until they clean up their respective acts.  Somehow I doubt you'd actually be willing to accept that bargain.

by JJE 2009-06-25 07:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

Sure, throw in Palestinian aid while your at it. Your cowboy foreign policy suggestions are extremely helpful.

Israel would survive, as my comment above regarding Israel's economy highlights. Despite what you may believe Israel has not always received financial and military aid from the US.

But, the US is not OK with risking Israel and Egypt as allies. Israel would more than likely create stronger relationships with India and China (which is already happening) and even Russia to fill the void.

Additionally, much of Israel's aid is spent within the US supporting American industry and employment.

Many US allies receive aid from the US. Like Iraq, to the tune of $120B a year - kind of trumps all the others at this point.

In short, I understand that your only concern with the well being of the Palestinians is financial. If the US dropped aid to Israel, then your concern for the Palestinian would drop as well.

by oc 2009-06-25 07:38PM | 0 recs

as long as my money isn't subsidizing massacres of civilians, I'll be satisfied.  I don't really care about tribal feuds halfway across the world as long as my government isn't taking one side.

by JJE 2009-06-25 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

You can sit around fantasizing about stuff like that all day if you prefer.  I believe my exact words were "not gonna happen."

by Steve M 2009-06-25 09:17PM | 0 recs
Know what is also not gonna happen?

A two-state solution, peace, or any of the other masturbatory fantasies of oh-so-evenhanded liberals.

by JJE 2009-06-25 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Know what is also not gonna happen?

Nice of you to admit you have no constructive goal on these threads, not that anyone who pays attention had any doubt.

by Steve M 2009-06-25 09:37PM | 0 recs
What is your constructive goal?

It appears to just be trolling MainStreet and patting yourself on the back about how "reasonable" you are.  Not that anyone who pays attention had any doubt.

by JJE 2009-06-25 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

This seems simplistic to me: that either subsidies to Israel are stopped entirely or continue at their present level. What about tying aid to specific peformance?  Or holding it part if it in trust, the way they do with Palestinian aid.  Would any of that make sense to you?

I understand you were making a separate point - that because of politics internal to Washington the question is moot.  That may or may not be true, but if it is, does that apply to ANY position other than permanent, unconditional, massive aid?

by Jess81 2009-06-26 12:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

I'm just responding to the diary, which repeats a common refrain we see in these threads.

There is precedent for U.S. Presidents threatening to restrict the flow of aid in order to further the peace process and I would be COMPLETELY supportive of something like that if the goal is a settlement freeze, don't get me wrong.  Such negotiations typically take place in private, which is a little tricky right now because you have an administration in Israel that isn't even privately interested in doing the right thing.

But suggesting a cessation of all aid to Israel is a good way to marginalize oneself, in my view, and not a smart goal for a political movement.  Do you remember the electoral wipeout endured by the last guy to suggest we cut off aid to Israel?

by Steve M 2009-06-26 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

Got any ideas then about how to get Israel to the peace table without any preconditions, like defining what is and what is not negotiable, or requiring recognition as a Jewish state, which will never happen?

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 04:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

I think I just explained such an idea!!!11

by Steve M 2009-06-26 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

Summed up all you said was don't cut off the aid or the aid will not be cut off because there are dire consequences for the president or the US or whomever.

Alternatively, you may be saying that a private threat to cut off aid is what is needed. Not certain.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 05:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Sounds like a plan

The idea is that there would be a private threat to cut off a certain limited amount of aid, as Carter and at least one other President did in the past.  I don't know that Obama has the political capital to play this card just yet, but I would support it.  It seems to me that it has to be private because the Israeli government can't let itself be perceived as knuckling under.

by Steve M 2009-06-26 01:51PM | 0 recs
Aid to Egypt

is part of the Camp David agreement, part of which was that Egypt reorganized its military to be an African force with U.S. money in perpetuity.  This removed Israel's only military deterrent in the region and amounts to a tremendous cash inducement for them to never again be the major player in ME politics that it once was.  The US is quite comfortable with Saudi Arabia in that role.

So there is no one who supports reducing or cutting off military aid to Israel that wouldn't happily have the spigot cut off to Egypt too.

by Jess81 2009-06-26 12:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

Interesting, I never knew that.  I always wondered why we gave the Egyptians so much money.

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 03:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

perhaps you should clarify that this was a result of the camp david accord of the seventies....

most of the foreign aid the US provides to israel is in military credits, meaning, israel must use the funds to purchase arms for US. very little in fact consists of outright grants. most aid given to israel, comes from private sources, not tax dollars. this military aid allows israel to keep it's technical edge over its neighbours. the US has its own strategic interests for doing this. a weak israel would invite disaster to itself, as well as oil supplies to the west.  

interestingly america's largest expenditure to most countries isn't even designated in the foreign aid budget. most money is spent on the defense of countries in southeast asia like japan, but because it's part of the defense budget, people don't get their knickers in a twist although it far surpasses anything given to israel by tens of billions of dollars. In fact, i believe there was a senator who suggested that the money given to israel be transferred to the defense budget since that's what most of it goes for...

by canadian gal 2009-06-26 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

Sadly, and we saw the result of such transfers in Gaza earlier this year. And the effect of requiring military expenditures be from the US is not very mollifying. In essence, it was our weapons and munitions, and even some experimental killing devises, that were used in the Gaza massacres.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

Does Japan even have an army at all?

Anyway, I figured most people would know it wasn't the Clinton era Camp David which Egypt wasn't a party to and reached no final agreement.

And military "edge"?  Knickers in a twist?  Come on, that's not right.

by Jess81 2009-06-26 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

yes japan has an army. in fact - seoul to fukawoka is about an hours flight. meaning that one  to kookiest nuclear threats is about a stone's throw away from japan proper. note that i didn't mention american aid (military $) to s. korea which is quite substantial as well. i believe there are about 34,000 US troops in s. korea alone.

but why isn't that right?  i don't think there is much disagreement on these boards that the settlements need to stop.  perhaps my semantics are dripped with a bit of sarcasm, but this is more about the tiresome tone and one-sidedness that these threads tend to devolve to especially with this particular diarist.

by canadian gal 2009-06-26 12:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

28,000 as of end of '08.  3,500 in the DMZ on the line, another 6,500 within 2 minutes call-up.  They are indeed the speed bump so that the rest of the troops we have there can hold off the N. Korean's for 8-12 hours.  Just enough time for us to bomb the N. Korean capital and it's ports and if necessary nuke the peninsula.

Sucks.  But that is the plan.

by TxDem08 2009-06-26 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

on a personal note, i've lived in s. korea and tell you that threat of war is v. real to the people there and the US military presence there is unmistakable all over the country.

by canadian gal 2009-06-26 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Aid to Egypt

I know exactly how very real the threat is.  And while unmistakable, both you and I and every single GI on the ground knows they're road-blocks.  That if N. Korea invades that they are there only to serve in a manner to give us time to deploy our missle force as well as our bomber force on N. Korea.

Those that stand a post in the DMZ should be especially thanked as well.

by TxDem08 2009-06-26 05:52PM | 0 recs
Thank you for saying it!

No Settlement Freeze - No More Aid

It's a no-brainer. Too bad our leaders have no brains.

by obsessed 2009-06-25 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Thank you for saying it!

It is difficult to make someone understand something when their fortune depends upon their not understanding it.

by the mollusk 2009-06-26 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

I'm generally supportive of Israel's right to self-defense but expanding settlements is unacceptable.  It's a shame that at the moment that we finally have a US administration that is willing to get involved in the conflict, we have an Israeli government that is less likely to cooperate.

This interview with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman makes me very pessimistic about the prospects for peace in the near future.

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 03:30AM | 0 recs
I am against settlement expanding,

but I think Obama has got accept that Bibi is only gonna talk settlements in the negotiations. It is time to get those started, and that begins with getting Abbas there.

by Lakrosse 2009-06-26 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: I am against settlement expanding,

I can't believe that anyone would believe, given the history of Israeli subterfuge concerning the settlements, that Obama would fall for that ploy.

Agreement to stop settlements which Israel has persistently signed off on, then does the opposite, is well known. The promises did not begin with Oslo, but had an earlier origin. Deception has been Israel's modus operandi, and I really don't think that Obama will put up with it.

If he does, Obama's new Middle East anti-Neocon initiative is dead.

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 11:31AM | 0 recs
what does "neo-con" mean to you

what does this have to do with the War in Iraq, which pretty much defines neo-conism?

by Lakrosse 2009-06-26 03:44PM | 0 recs

neo-conservatism predates the Iraq war by two decades.  Try not to make your ignorance so obvious.

by JJE 2009-06-26 09:14PM | 0 recs
yes but when people here talk "neo-con,"

they generally refer to Bush, etc.

by Lakrosse 2009-06-27 09:27PM | 0 recs
Re: lulz

Just a comment, JJE, it is possible to respond to those you disagree with, without personally insulting them.
by oc 2009-06-28 08:49AM | 0 recs
Do tell

I wonder who said this:

Well intentioned Westerners (Americans), standing up for the rights of people they throw under the bus. Ignorance is bliss.

by JJE 2009-06-29 06:54AM | 0 recs
I hope he doesn't cut a deal.

At some point, the Israelis are going to have to dismantle/abandon/turn over nearly all of those settlements.  Continuing to build will only make that process that much worse.

by psychodrew 2009-06-26 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: I hope he doesn't cut a deal.

That is, assuming Israel (I mean Israeli leaders)
will accept peace. On the other hand, if Israel aims at getting rid of Palestinians, then
it makes perfect sense to expand settlements, drive them mad so that they send a few rockets, exterminate some, explain that it's all their fault, and continue expanding settlements.

How about applying Occam's razor viewpoint?

by french imp 2009-06-28 01:58AM | 0 recs
You just can't help yourself...

Or is it intentional, you always put some statement in your diaries that is so hyperbolic and ludicrous at the same time, are you conciously or unconciously trying to undercut your position as the main voice for Palestian on these boards?

Obama's failure to deliver Palestinian statehood will eventually undermine his new Middle East policy.

Where do we start, yes, Obama HAS failed to deliver Palesintian statehood (as if he as a sole actor, or even a united US political machine COULD do it solo), and, how lame is that?

Why can't he solve a 6 decade old problem in 6 months?

Oh, and btw, let's say he would do something crazy like you think is a good idea.

Acting Solo, Obama issues an executive order freezing ALL payments and support to Israel till there is a settlement freeze.

Let's ignore the fact it is CONGRESS that allocates that funding, and say he is just crazy enough to unilaterally do that.

Well, basically, we can write off NOT ONLY any chance of progress in the Middle East (as that would allow AIPAC and it's congressional allies to align and simply torpedo any diplomatic innitaive that MIGHT be going on vis a vis Clinton, in the background etc...)

That would be a DREAM come true for Bibi, because

1. The money would not stop, congress would simply find a way to make it happen.

2. There would be a consitutional crisis, taken very quickly to SCOTUS, and GUESS how this court would vote?  The money would flow again, Scalia and Thomas et all would see to it.

3. You would have NO other issues possible to get through Congress this year.

4. Obama would be done as any kind of arbiter or negotiator in the I/P issue, because ALL that would be said is, he is NOT Pro-Israel, but only Pro Palestianin.  And, so, the Media chorus would sing....I mean, where is the comprable nuclear option he would demand of the Palestians?  

No more missile or terrorist attacks or what?

What's his leverage there, HELP build the Settlements?

Effectively, Obama, acting alone, and cutting off Israeli funding ends his Presidency six months in.

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-26 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: You just can't help yourself...

"Obama's failure to deliver Palestinian statehood will eventually undermine his new Middle East policy."

That's what I said and that's what I think, and so do many others.

Otherwise, one would gather that you are for continuing the settlement building, the point of which is to definitely throw Israel into the next phase of this conflict: Apartheid.

Why aren't you and others listening to Bishop Tutu and so many others, who have informed on this conclusion?

By the way, are you proIsrael in this right wing sort of way, Apartheid?

by MainStreet 2009-06-26 11:38AM | 0 recs
Yes, me and Strummerson...we're the Likud Wing

of MyDD...

Sheesh, why do I even bother, between you and Bruh, it's like talking to a brick wall.

by WashStateBlue 2009-06-26 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: No settlement freeze-No U.S. aid

If you have a friend or family member engaged in self-destructive behavior you do not enable it. How anyone could think that establishing an apartheid state in the occupied territories and enforcing through lethal force, occupation and further colonization is in the interests of Israeli security is beyond me. Just because the Israeli's are determined to continue the policies of Bush-Cheney, their own religious fanatics and the Neo-cons does not mean we must follow.

Time for some tough love. The Israeli's hold most of the cards. They are occupying the future Palestine, control through force the Palestinian population and are engaged in ethnic cleansing and colonization of the lands they occupy. Obama jumped in the middle of this and he now has no choice but to move ahead.

by hankg 2009-06-27 12:58PM | 0 recs


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