Unfortunately for Abbas, Obama used his remarks in Ramallah to insist the Palestinians enter direct negotiations without preconditions, not even the settlement freeze he himself had urged. At the same time, he insisted on preconditions for the Palestinians, who “must recognise that Israel will be a Jewish state”, effectively condemning the Palestinian citizens of Israel to perpetual second-class citizenship. His conversion has doubtless encouraged Israel’s most annexationist government to date to carry on with legislation to define itself as the national state of the Jewish people.
The unspoken message of Obama’s visit is that the Netanyahu government is free to pursue its hardline agenda with little danger of anything more than symbolic protest from Washington.
Mustafa Barghouthi: “The main goal of Obama’s visit … is to listen… We Palestinians have been listening for too long. This passivity on Obama’s part is unacceptable and dangerous at a time when the two state solution is under risk.”
Here is the rub. Mr Netanyahu already has a stranglehold on the politics of his potential peace partners. He can easily manipulate the fortunes of the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on the two biggest tests he faces: the peace process overseen by the international community, and reconciliation talks with the rival Palestinian faction Hamas.
Obama may not have to worry about re-election but he will not want to hand a poisoned legacy to the next Democratic presidential candidate, nor will want to mire his own final term in damaging confrontations with Israel.
White House tells Sunday Times Obama pressed Netanyahu to postpone Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities until after November, adding president ‘might visit Israel in summer’
Having trapped themselves in a death struggle with Palestinians that they cannot acknowledge or untangle, Israelis have psychologically displaced the source of their anxiety onto a more distant target: Iran. An Iranian nuclear bomb would not be a happy development for Israel. Neither was Pakistan’s, nor indeed North Korea’s. The notion that it represents a new Holocaust is overstated, and the belief that the source of Israel’s existential woes can be eliminated with an airstrike is mistaken. But Iran makes an appealing enemy for Israelis because, unlike the Palestinians, it can be fitted into a familiar ideological trope from the Jewish national playbook: the eliminationist anti-Semite.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Sections of the bill are written so broadly that critics say they could encompass journalists who report on terror-related issues, such as Hedges, for supporting enemy forces. “It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges says of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.”
The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, has suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consider ordering a Mossad hit team to assassinate US President Barack Obama so that his successor will defend Israel against Iran.
IOA Editor: One can only imagine what would have happened if, say, an Arab American were to utter such an immoral and stupid suggestion: they’d be put away for quite some time.
Fear is the psychological weapon of choice for totalitarian systems of power. Make the people afraid. Get them to surrender their rights in the name of national security. And then finish off the few who aren’t afraid enough. If this law is not revoked we will be no different from any sordid military dictatorship. Its implementation will be a huge leap forward for the corporate oligarchs who plan to continue to plunder the nation and use state and military security to cow the population into submission.
Rashid Khalidi: “Nobody believes that firing rockets and getting 1,400 people killed in response is ‘resistance’ that is going to liberate Palestine, and nobody believes that talking with the US, with Dennis Ross putting his thumb on the scales in favor of Israel, which is already overwhelmingly superior, is going to produce an equitable and just and lasting solution of the Palestine question. If you still believe that – you have to have your head examined.”
Rashid Khalidi on Obama: ”I had low expectations and my low expectations were more than fulfilled. He’s done considerably worse than I would have expected. But I never assumed that this would be someone who would be able to break the whole mold of American politics. And he didn’t. Quite the contrary. This has been an Administration that on certain key issues has been almost as bad as and sometimes even worse than the Bush Administration.
It goes without saying that Palestinians and Arabs are outraged by the idea that the United States is threatening to block recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations. What is less obvious, perhaps, is that some of the most vociferous critics of the Palestinian bid for upgraded U.N. recognition are Palestinians themselves. How could it be that advocates of Palestinian rights could be suspicious of, if not altogether opposed to, the U.N. gambit? Isn’t the creation of an internationally recognized independent state the goal shared by all Palestinians? Not exactly. The Palestinian cause concerns more than merely statehood.
Israelis and Palestinians express skepticism of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ UN move, while protests are taking place throughout the West Bank, facing Israel’s technology solution to anti-Occupation resistance: tear gas and a crowd dispersal weapon called “The Scream” which produces a high-pitch sound, disorienting and temporarily deafening the demonstrators.
We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the horrendous atrocities of September 11, 2001, which, it is commonly held, changed the world. On May 1st, the presumed mastermind of the crime, Osama bin Laden, was assassinated in Pakistan by a team of elite US commandos, Navy SEALs, after he was captured, unarmed and undefended, in Operation Geronimo…
A retired journalist who covered the intelligence beat, and with extensive senior intelligence sources, reports to Richard Silverstein that Israel is planning to attack Iran before the September UN meeting at which Palestinian statehood will be discussed and possibly approved.
The votes are there already in the U.N. General Assembly to admit Palestine pursuant to the terms of its Uniting for Peace Resolution (1950). It is the U.N. General Assembly that admits a Member State, not the Security Council. Obama’s veto at the Security Council can be circumvented by the General Assembly acting under the Uniting for Peace Resolution to admit Palestine as a U.N Member State in September.
Despite tensions in Washington during PM’s visit, Israelis generally don’t believe Obama is hostile to Israel or that US-Israel relations have been harmed, indicating that the public seems to be turning a deaf ear to analysts who criticized Netanyahu’s address to Congress.
Netanyahu … is determined to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state by any and all means. That did not start with the present government – it is an aim deeply embedded in Zionist ideology and practice. The founders of the movement set the course, David Ben-Gurion acted to implement it in 1948, in collusion with King Abdallah of Jordan. Netanyahu is just adding his bit.
This latest of Obama’s statements may be the closest the president has come to legitimising illegal Israeli settlements… Obama’s idea of Palestinian self-determination is for Palestinians to accept whatever Israel decides.
Hamas spokesman: “The US administration will fail, just as all others have in the past, in forcing Hamas to recognize the occupation.”
It was the same old story. Palestinians can have a “viable” state, Israel a “secure” one. Israel cannot be de-legitimised. The Palestinians must not attempt to ask the UN for statehood in September. No peace can be imposed on either party. Sometimes yesterday, you could have turned this into Obama’s forthcoming speech to pro-Israeli lobbyists this weekend. Oh yes, and the Palestinian state must have no weapons to defend itself. So that’s what “viable” means!
[Cornel West] now nurses, like many others who placed their faith in Obama, the anguish of the deceived, manipulated and betrayed. He bitterly describes Obama as “a black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet of corporate plutocrats. And now he has become head of the American killing machine and is proud of it.”
Yossi Alpher: “At this point it’s all spin designed to fend off pressures… The object of the exercise is to gain a day, or a week, or a month, before having to come up with some sort of new spin.”
“It cannot be expected from the State of Israel to forbid Jews from purchasing private property in Jerusalem. There is no democratic country in the world that would impose such a ban on Jews and it cannot be expected that Israel will be the one to do so.”
The American-Israeli special relationship is a classic example of the tail that wags the dog. As a result of its palpable partiality towards Israel, America has lost all credibility in the eyes not only of the Palestinians but of the wider Arab and Muslim worlds. The so-called peace process has been all process and no peace. It is worse than a sham. Peace talks that go nowhere slowly provide Israel with just the cover it needs to pursue its relentlessly expansionist agenda on the West Bank.
Anyone who has visited the West Bank in recent months has been greeted by the din of mountain-moving bulldozers and jackhammers, alongside giant foundation drills sending up clouds of dust that can be seen for miles. Cement mixers are working around the clock, and everything is being done in a grab-what-you-can atmosphere.
Hope is not for the practical and the sophisticated, the cynics and the complacent, the defeated and the fearful. Hope is what the corporate state, which saturates our airwaves with lies, seeks to obliterate. Hope is what our corporate overlords are determined to crush. Be afraid, they tell us. Surrender your liberties to us so we can make the world safe from terror. Don’t resist. Embrace the alienation of our cheerful conformity. Buy our products. Without them you are worthless. Become our brands. Do not look up from your electronic hallucinations to think. No. Above all do not think. Obey.
At the beginning of his term, Barack Obama became the first US president to call for a halt in Jewish settlement construction in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories as a prerequisite for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. But if a deal that stipulates a partial 90-day freeze of settlement building in return for US military and political incentives is reached, he will become the first US president to legitimise the Jewish colonies.
The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the right-wing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel — all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward.
In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter’s reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else’s property would be regarded as preposterous. Three billion dollars’ worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonisation for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem … [T]here is only one word for Barack Obama’s offer: appeasement.
As … Netanyahu knows very well, it is not “settlements” per se that are illegal. It is the transfer of an occupier’s population into the occupied territories that violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. Such transfers are illegal irrespective of where they take place—whether in settlements in the West Bank countryside or in apartment buildings in East Jerusalem.
In addition to the concession in the Jordan Valley and the [$3.00B] offer of combat jets that would effectively double the annual aid from the US, the deal is said to include a promise by Washington to veto for the next year any UN resolutions Israel opposes and to refrain, after borders have been agreed, from demanding any future limits on settlement growth.
The American left is a phantom. It is conjured up by the right wing to tag Barack Obama as a socialist and used by the liberal class to justify its complacency and lethargy. It diverts attention from corporate power. It perpetuates the myth of a democratic system that is influenced by the votes of citizens, political platforms and the work of legislators. It keeps the world neatly divided into a left and a right. The phantom left functions as a convenient scapegoat. The right wing blames it for moral degeneration and fiscal chaos. The liberal class uses it to call for “moderation.” And while we waste our time talking nonsense, the engines of corporate power—masked, ruthless and unexamined—happily devour the state.
A ghost of the Camp David talks of summer 2000 haunted the meeting of the Arab League in Libya, as its foreign ministers decided to give a little more time to the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians – not wanting to expose Mahmoud Abbas to the responsibility for the breakdown of the negotiations.
Obama offered to support the presence of IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley even after the establishment of a Palestinian state, if Israel would agree to a two month settlement building freeze, in a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Other commitments: no more building freeze extensions, veto any anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution in the next year, future fate of the settlements be dealt with only as part of a final status agreement with the Palestinians.