For Palestinians, there is no Obama-Netanyahu rift

 by Ali Abunimah, in Huffington Post,  02/28/2015

Palestinians do not see any substantive Obama-Netanyahu rift on life and death matters for them. But there urgently needs to be one. (Chuck Kennedy / White House Photo)

Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to the United States Congress next week has led to much talk of a rift between the Israeli prime minister and the US president, and even between their two countries.

Tuesday, national security adviser Susan E. Rice said the growing partisanship regarding Israel is “destructive of the fabric of the relationship.”

Citing protocol of not meeting foreign leaders too close to an election, President Barack Obama will shun his Israeli counterpart in Washington, and Vice President Joe Biden will stay away from the joint session of Congress when Netanyahu appears.

The dispute has taken on rancorous partisan tones with more than two dozen Democratic lawmakers vowing to boycott the speech. They charge that Netanyahu’s goal is to undermine the president’s diplomacy with Iran, and that Republican House Speaker John Boehner invited the Israeli leader to defy and humiliate the White House.

Yet all those objecting to the speech, whether in the United States, or Netanyahu’s rivals at home, where he faces an election next month, protest that their concern is to guarantee US-Israeli relations on whose strength the very future of Israel is said to hang.

But what all this sound and fury misses is that for the Palestinians, there is no meaningful Obama-Netanyahu rift. Indeed US-Israeli relations have never been stronger, nor more damaging to the prospects for peace and justice and for the very survival of the Palestinian people.

Just look at the recent record. Last December, the Palestinian Authority put forward a tepid resolution in the UN Security Council that did little more than repeat long-standing US policy on the outlines of a two-state solution. Obama’s UN ambassador Samantha Power marshaled all her resources to defeat it.

She claimed that the resolution was “deeply imbalanced” and took “no account of Israel’s legitimate security concerns.”

The next day, after disappointed Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas signed the treaty acceding to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Obama’s State Department declared itself “deeply troubled,” accusing Palestinians of an “escalatory step” that “badly damages the atmosphere with the very people with whom they ultimately need to make peace.”

Power said the Palestinian move “really poses a profound threat to Israel.”

These words are perverse. Israel’s 51-day long attack on Gaza that left more than 2,200 people dead didn’t “damage the atmosphere” as far as the Obama administration was concerned, but any Palestinian effort to use international bodies in pursuit of justice and accountability is tantamount to an act of war.

I challenge Power to go and repeat her words to any of the 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza still living in the damp and freezing rubble of their homes, to the surviving parents of more than 500 children killed in the Israeli attack, or to the thousands who will live with lifelong injuries.

Neither the ambassador nor her president has commented on the findings of Amnesty International, which said that Israel “brazenly flouted the laws of war by carrying out a series of attacks on civilian homes, displaying callous indifference to the carnage caused.”

Few Palestinians will forget that when Israeli fire was raining down on them, the Obama administration authorized the transfer of grenades and mortar rounds to resupply the Israeli army.

Last summer’s war was something even Hamas leaders tried to avoid. After it began, armed Palestinian groups declared that their goal was a ceasefire accompanied by a lifting of the eight-year siege that has devastated Gaza’s economy and isolated its 1.8 million people from the rest of humanity.

Since the war, promises that the siege would be lifted have been broken. Billions pledged in reconstruction aid have failed to materialize. As a result, cash-strapped UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, has suspended repairs on Gaza homes.

Israel’s view tends to be unquestioningly echoed by US officials and media: that Palestinians are at fault for the repeated surges of violence.

Yet even senior Israeli leaders and officers have often acknowledged that Palestinian armed groups, especially Hamas, have meticulously stuck to ceasefire agreements, as they are doing currently.

Despite this, the US put no pressure on Israel to end the years-long blockade.

As a result, the lesson Palestinians have repeatedly learned is that whether they fight or stay quiet, Israel will be allowed to do as it pleases. It can besiege and slaughter them in Gaza, seize and colonize their land in the West Bank, deprive them of their most fundamental rights, and Obama will have Israel’s back.

Just because Obama, Netanyahu and their partisan followers may be peeved at each other does not change the basic dynamic of full US support for Israel’s occupation of millions of Palestinians, the continuation of which guarantees ongoing suffering with regional repercussions.

Sure enough, despite the supposed rift, the US is proceeding with the sale of more of the most advanced F-35 fighter jets to Israel.

That’s why Palestinians do not see any substantive Obama-Netanyahu rift on life and death matters for them. But there urgently needs to be one.

It is long past time for the American people and their representatives to challenge Israel on its seemingly permanent subjugation of the Palestinians.

This post was first published by The Huffington Post.

Colin Powell’s Lies Stampeded US into Iraq, and now…….

Boehner and Netanyahu’s Lies Press for War on Iran, or no deal on curbing nukes.  AlJazeera digs into the facts with whistle-blower-released Israeli Intelligence Cables, as reported, below, on Democracy Now.  The video (followed by transcript) also contains details of the US-Israeli relations, as well as revealing that the collaborationist Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, had prior knowledge about the Israeli assault on Palestinians in Gaza, but did not reveal or sound the alarm.  A very interesting report, from start to finish.  While Democracy Now leans toward the White House challenge to the Boehner-Netanyahu obstructionist initiative, they do not go into why the Democrat’s US-hegemonic-imperialist interests are expressing some rare tactical differences with Republican-allied-Israel’s regionally aggressive pursuits.  That is a subject for further study and analysis.  —  Frontlines ed.]
Democracy Now, February 24, 2015 — As Netanyahu Tries to Stop U.S.-Iran Deal, Leaked Cables Show Israeli Spies Reject His Nuke Claims

Guest:  Clayton Swisher, director of investigative journalism at Al Jazeera.

In what has been described as the biggest intelligence leak since Edward Snowden, Al Jazeera has begun publishing a series of spy cables from the world’s top intelligence agencies. In one cable, the Israeli spy agency Mossad contradicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb within one year. In a report to South African counterparts in October 2012, the Mossad concluded Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The explosive disclosure comes just as the United States and Iran have reported progress toward reaching a nuclear deal, an outcome Netanyahu will try to undermine when he addresses the U.S. Congress next week. We go to Doha to speak with Clayton Swisher, the head of Al Jazeera’s investigative unit, which broke the Iran story and several others in a series of articles called, “The Spy Cables.”

AARON MATÉ: Just days before his controversial speech to the U.S. Congress, an explosive report has raised new questions about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s effort to thwart a nuclear deal with Iran. According to Al Jazeera, Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad, contradicted Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb within one year. In a leaked cable to South African counterparts in October 2012, the Mossad concluded Iran was, quote, “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The assessment was sent just weeks after Netanyahu went before the U.N. General Assembly with a far different message. Netanyahu held up a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with a fuse to illustrate what he called Iran’s alleged progress on a nuclear weapon.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: This is a bomb. This is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages. By next spring, at most by next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. A red line should be drawn right here, before—before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September of 2012. The Mossad assessment contradicting Netanyahu was sent just weeks after, but it was likely written earlier. It said Iran, quote, “does not appear to be ready” to enrich uranium to the higher levels needed for a nuclear weapon. A bomb would require 90 percent enrichment, but the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, found Iran had only enriched to 20 percent. That number was later reduced under an interim nuclear deal the following year.

That 2013 agreement laid the basis for the ongoing talks in Geneva this week between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif. The U.S. and Iran are seeking a framework agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program and impose international monitoring in return for an easing of U.S.-led sanctions before a March 31st deadline. The talks appear to be gaining momentum, with the involvement of high-ranking officials from both sides and leaked details of a plan to limit Iranian nuclear production for at least 10 years. They are set to resume next week.

AARON MATÉ: The advancing talks and the leaked cable come just as Netanyahu prepares for a controversial U.S. visit, where he’ll try to undermine the nuclear deal. On March 3rd, Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on Iran at the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner. The trip has caused a major rift with the White House, to the point where Obama has refused to host Netanyahu for a meeting. Administration officials are also reportedly withholding details of the talks from Israeli counterparts. Speaking last week, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Israel has spread false information about the proposed nuclear deal.

PRESS SECRETARY JOSH EARNEST: There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate. There’s no question about that.

Continue reading

Palestinians voice resistance, PA suppresses dissent

Dozens of journalists, activists arrested as PA cracks down on dissent

Jerusalem, 1 May 2012

Palestinian journalists in Gaza City protest the arrest of West Bank journalist Yousef al-Shayab, 4 April 2012. (Mohammed Asad / APA images)

JERUSALEM (IPS) – The Palestinian Authority’s arrest of journalists and activists critical of its policies are threatening freedom of expression in the West Bank, according to local human rights groups.

“We monitored a new trend of arresting people and journalists and the oppression of freedom of expression,” Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, said. “There are many people I’m sure that are afraid and will count to ten before they say anything. Maybe they’ll push people to speak underground instead of expressing their opinions freely.” Continue reading

The Futile Undertaking of Palestinian Statehood

[This article by Esam Al-Amin traces Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for UN-recognized sham “Palestinian statehood” as a maneuver to block and bury popular moves toward a secular, multi-ethnic single democratic state encompassing all the peoples of historic Palestine.  Such a one-state solution would empower the divided peoples of that land, but would dis-empower the Zionists and Mahmoud Abbas’ “Palestine Authority” at the same time–which is why Abbas is so determined to prevent the single secular democratic state.

El-Amin argues, at the end of the article, that “Until U.S. politicians, power brokers, military leaders, corporate executives, media conglomerates, and opinion makers are forced to side with what is morally right, a heavy price must be exacted through the ballot box, sanctions, boycott, and shaming them in public.”  But a growing number of solidarity activists and anti-imperialists believe that the notion of “U.S. politicians, power brokers, military leaders, corporate executives, media conglomerates, and opinion makers” EVER talking and walking from a “morally right” position is hopelessly illusory–and sights must be set, and long-terms preparations made, for revolutionary challenges to the entire system. — Frontlines ed.]

Weekend Edition, Counterpunch

September 24-25, 2011

One State, Two States, No State

by ESAM AL-AMIN

Today, September 23, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas submits, to the UN the application for Palestinian statehood for the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

What are the implications of this effort? Does it serve the Palestinian cause? And why do Israel and the U.S. oppose this action? What’s the alternative?

Paradoxically, this month marks the eighteenth anniversary of when Abbas stood alongside Bill Clinton, Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin on the White House lawn in a ceremony celebrating the signing of the Oslo Accords.

As one of its architects, Abbas sold the Oslo agreement to the Palestinian people as the vehicle towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. Continue reading

U.N. may delay vote on Palestinian statehood application

[While the Palestine Authority and the US/Israel maneuver to cut a deal or delay on the pending Abbas application to the UN for “Palestinian statehood” (a maneuver so hollow that many Palestinians have dubbed it as nothing more than a marketing strategy for Abbas to hold on to the appearance of credibility and power amid the rising popular challenges and demands, partly fueled by the “Arab Spring”), Palestinian people are not holding their breath for UN action.  — Frontlines ed.]

”]”]See these pictures from the  West Bank, today…..

”]———————————————————————————————-

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-un-palestinians-20110921,0,4194458.story

The move would let Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas keep his promise of seeking U.N. membership but allow the U.S. to avoid casting a veto in the Security Council.

By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times

September 20, 2011, 8:35 p.m.

Reporting from the United Nations—

Diplomats on Tuesday raced to nail down a plan to deflect the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, crafting a face-saving formula that could lessen the immediate prospect of a Security Council veto, which the Obama administration desperately sought to avoid.

Under the plan, the council decision on the application for recognition, which Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to make Friday, would be put off indefinitely. That would buy time for the U.S. to try to restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and would keep $600 million a year in American aid and other international assistance flowing to the Palestinians. Congress had threatened to cut the U.S. aid.

Diplomats said Abbas, who is scheduled to meet Wednesday with President Obama, had signed off on the plan.

The scenario, which Western officials have been trying to engineer behind the scenes for weeks, “is now likely,” a senior European diplomat said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian legislator and ally of Abbas who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly session, said Palestinian officials are willing “to accept some delay, of the kind you would have under normal United Nations procedures.” Continue reading

Will the Palestinian Authority collide with popular resistance in September?

The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) bid for United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state remains on track, despite heavy pressure from the U.S. and Israel.  But what has received scant attention is the possibility that the September bid may also result in a collision between popular, grassroots Palestinian resistance to the Israeli occupation and the PA’s preferred avenues to statehood.

Following imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti’s call for mass marches ahead of the September UN gambit for a state, the Palestinian Authority echoed Barghouti’s call.

“All of us are talking about resistance and it must be every day,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said in late July.   Al Jazeera English reported August 1 on the PA’s planned mass rallies:

Palestinian officials have said they will begin mass marches against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank on September 20, the eve of a largely symbolic UN vote expected to recognise their independence.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a Palestinian official, said leaders hope to attract millions of people, and the protest will be the first of a prolonged effort.

He said the campaign would be called “Palestine 194″ because the Palestinians hope to become the 194th member of the UN.

“The appeal to the UN is a battle for all Palestinians, and in order to succeed, it needs millions to pour into streets,” Abed Rabbo said.

But this week, the form of the PA’s planned “resistance” became clear, and it will certainly not mark the end of coordination between PA security forces and the Israeli military, one of the most important–and disliked among Palestinians–results of the Oslo era. Continue reading

The Palestine Papers confirm: Total Capitulation by Palestine “Authority”

[Tariq Ali here speaks to the thorough discrediting of the Palestinian Authority, and the bankruptcy of “peace” efforts.  The more fundamental question, we believe, is this:  now that the traitors have been stripped bare, how will the grassroots revolutionary forces get organized and chart the path ahead, taking matters into their hands?–Frontlines ed.]

Tariq Ali
24 January 2011
http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2011/01/24/tariq-ali/total-capitulation/

The ‘Palestine Papers’ being published this week by
al-Jazeera confirm in every detail what many Palestinians
have suspected for a long time: their leaders have been
collaborating in the most shameful fashion with Israel and
the United States. Their grovelling is described in grim
detail. The process, though few accepted it at the time,
began with the much-trumpeted Oslo Accords, described by
Edward Said in the LRB at the time as a ‘Palestinian
Versailles’. Even he would have been taken aback by the
sheer scale of what the PLO leadership agreed to
surrender: virtually everything except their own salaries.
Their weaknesses, inadequacies and cravenness are now in
the public domain. Continue reading