Obama at UN: same old pro-Israel rhetoric UPDATE
by MainStreet, Tue Sep 22, 2009 at 03:26:06 PM EDT
What Obama said after today's UN meeting with Bibi Netanyahu and Mamoud Abbas: that "Israel, Palestinians must do more," met expectations that no progress will be in the offing in the near future.
What more must they do? This is perhaps the first time since Clinton and Bush II used the 'wink and nod' policy to condone the continuation of Israeli colonialism of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, that an Israeli PM used the same tactic. Is Netanyahu really for the two state solution? Wink, wink, and nod. If he is unwilling to halt the colonialism and insists on continuing the building and expansion of settlements then there will be no room for a Palestinian state.
The issue now is how to blame the Palestinians for the stalemate. In this, Obama came to the rescue. Obama himself did the dirty work, just as Clinton did so after Camp David. Let's find out how from the MSNBC report:
In a moment deep in symbolism but offering little expectation of any immediate breakthrough, Obama brought together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for their first three-way meeting. Obama's words as the meeting got under way showed frustration with the looming gap between the two sides as the U.S. again tries to foster a deal.
"Simply put, it is past time to talk about starting negotiations. It is time to move forward," Obama said.
Obama got specific with his expectations for both sides and outlined a timeline of steps for the coming weeks, eager to show momentum.
The three-way sit-down began about an hour late, after Obama had met individually with both men. Obama said everyone has "worked tirelessly" but still not done enough.
To Palestinians, he said they must build on progress on halting terrorism and "do more to stop incitement."
As for Israelis, he praised their moves to increase Palestinians' freedom of movement and their discussions about restraining Jewish settlement-building in Palestinian territories -- both top priorities of Palestinians.
But, said Obama, Israeli officials "need to turn these discussions into real action." Despite all the obstacles, Obama said, "We have to find a way forward."
So now we get it. Obama has taken up Israeli propaganda memes, the oldest one about Palestinian 'terrorism,' that the Palestinians must do more to halt terrorism if progress is to be seen. Now that's a new slant on the reasons why there is no progress. There has been no terrorism (read resistance to Israel's occupation and colonialism) since the retaliatory suicide bombings which stopped five years ago (I won't get into what 'retaliatory' means in this context or describe Israel's state terrorism that preceded it. Those who understand the propaganda will not ask.).
Why Obama agreed to resurrect this old propaganda meme at the UN is unclear in its implications, except possibly to set the Palestinians up once again for the blame for lack of progress, another 'generous offer' lost. Oy.
But here is the 'terrorism' reality, keeping in mind that we are talking about deaths incurred on both sides during Israel's illegal military occupation, whose sole purpose has been to support the colonization of Palestinian lands, which Netanyahu wishes to continue.
123 Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians and 1,487 Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis since September 29, 2000.
"The majority of these [Palestinian] children were killed and injured while going about normal daily activities, such as going to school, playing, shopping, or simply being in their homes. Sixty-four percent of children killed during the first six months of 2003 died as a result of Israeli air and ground attacks, or from indiscriminate fire from Israeli soldiers." - Catherine Cook.
Source: Remember These Children, a coalition of groups calling for an end to the killing of children and a fair resolution of the conflict, reports that 1,056 Palestinian children and 123 Israeli children were killed between Sep 29, 2000 and early December 2008. (View the complete list of the victims, which was last updated on February 3, 2009.) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that at least 431 Palestinian children (and no Israeli children) were killed during Israel's Dec 27, 2008 - Jan 18, 2009 assault on the Gaza strip. This number does not include any killings of Palestinian children in the West Bank, which may have taken place since the beginning of 2009.
At least 6,348 Palestinians and 1,072 Israelis have been killed since September 29, 2000.
Source: The number of Palestinian deaths is almost certainly an underestimate as it does not include the most recent deaths in the West Bank. B'Tselem, The Israeli Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories reports that 4,908 Palestinians were killed by Israelis and 1,062 Israelis were killed by Palestinians between September 29, 2000 and December 26, 2008. (Visit their statistics page.) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that at least 1,440 Palestinians were killed during the Israel's assault on the Gaza strip, between December 27, 2008 and February 5, 2009. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that 5 Israeli soldiers and 4 civilians were killed by Palestinians between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009, and 1 soldier was killed on January 27, 2009.
39,019 Palestinians and 8,864 Israelis have been injured since September 29, 2000.
Source: The Palestine Red Crescent Society, reports that between Sep 29, 2000 and Dec 31, 2008, 33,639 Palestinians were injured. (Visit their statistics page.) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that approximately 5,380 Palestinians were injured in Israel's assault on Gaza from Dec 27, 2008 - Jan 18, 2009. (This does not include Palestinians injured in the West Bank durng this time.)
Israel's Foreign Ministry reports that 8,341 Israelis were injured by Palestinians between Sep 29, 2000 and Dec 31, 2007. (Visit their list. Their statistics may be somewhat inflated they may include non-Israelis injured in the conflict as well as Israelis who were injured in other places or by people who are not Palestinian.) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that approximately 523 Israelis were injured during Israel's assault on Gaza from Dec 27, 2008 - Jan 18, 2009.
Obama's presentation at the UN must therefore be viewed as a step back from peace negotiations and a realization that he is too weak to do what his predecessors were unable or fearful of doing.
This morning's headlines published in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, read as follows:
Netanyahu: Demand for settlement freeze 'costing time'
Story by the Associated Press
But this one takes the cake:
Netanyahu: Obama pledged commitment to Israel in front of Muslim world; FM: Israel winning on settlements.
A day after meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at a tripartite summit in New York, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the U.S. demand for a complete settlement freeze in the West Bank was "costing us a great deal of time."
Netanyahu, who has rebuffed the Obama administration's repeated calls for a complete freeze to activity in West Bank settlements, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer:
"I think that raising this condition, something that hasn't happened in 15 years of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue - nobody put this precondition - this is just costing us a great deal of time."
"The issue of settlements has to be discussed at the end or in the context within these negotiations, not before," he added.
In other words, no Israeli PM has ever stopped the colonization of Palestinian lands in order to discuss peace with the Palestinians or a Palestinian state. Can anyone make heads or tails out of this? To me, this no conditions stance is like a criminal negotiating with his victim on how much he intends to steal from him, if not everything, while in the motions.