[Marxism] Another Act in a Sad and Sick Comedy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Nov 14 09:57:22 MST 2010

No copyright
Excuse multiple copies

 From the desk of Reuven Kaminer  November 14, 2010

Another Act in a Sad and Sick Comedy

On the face of it, it appears that these guys (Hillary and Bibi and 
their staffs) do not have anything to do with their time. The 
“negotiations” between the Israelis and the Americans, designed to 
convince the Israelis to stop building in the Occupied Palestinian 
Territory, have reached a critical point.  After weeks of jockeying and 
a seven hour marathon between Hilary and Bibi, the Israelis are supposed 
to respond to a package of goodies that they will receive if they are so 
kind and generous to agree to a three month freeze on settlements. If 
Bibi and his buddies condescend to stop building on Palestinian land, 
they will receive advanced fighter-bombers and sophisticated weaponry, 
diplomatic vetoes (when required) and backing in international forums, 
and even the right to never hear the word freeze again until hell 
freezes over. These people have lost all sense of decency and go about 
their protracted negotiations on the fate of the Palestinians as if 
their combinations and consultations do not concern the Palestinians. 
Moreover, the Israelis were quick to announce that this US-Israeli deal 
does not require Palestinian approval.

You would have be a political illiterate to not understand that the US 
is trying to buy off Bibi by sacrificing Palestinian rights and paying 
him with Palestinian concessions. Now this was to be expected by all, 
including most Palestinians. For some indecipherable reason, this 
Palestinian “leadership” thought that by ingratiating itself with 
Washington, they could hope for a modicum of fairness. How naïve.

The Americans think that renewed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations will 
improve their image in the region. Indeed, everyone harbors their own 
set of illusions to get through the day. Logically, the U.S. should be 
pressuring both sides. But it does not want to put any real pressure on 
Israel because Israel is an important ally in the schemes for an attack 
on Iran.  It may be that we have come to the point that it is really 
hard to pressure Israel because a weakened US administration has become 
completely scared out of its wits by the ugly AIPAC-Tea Party coalition. 
So what do you do? You make Palestinian concessions to Netanyahu’s 
annexationist government.

The Israelis claim that the deal excludes Jerusalem. The Palestinians 
say that this means that the freeze is non-starter. The only possible 
conclusion is that Hillary and Bibi believe that they will drag Abbas to 
the table or that they intend to lay the blame for a new failure to 
resume talks on Palestinian stubbornness.

This most recent expression of the US-Israeli love fest has reached a 
new level of perversity. This sliding scale of highly priced 
‘freeze-time’ is particularly grotesque. The US, the world’s strongest 
and uncontested super power, buys ‘freeze time’, measured in days, from 
Israel in a transaction similar to many a shady bit of business. Give me 
100 days of freeze-time and I will give you 20 F-35’s and a bunch of 
other murderous stuff and I promise never to ask for any more 
freeze-time and to organize full immunity from all charges and 
condemnation in all international forums.  One can only wonder what 
would be the price of, say, six months of freeze time. Most curious is 
the object of Washington’s passion for this rare commodity called 
‘freeze time.’  Both Obama and Clinton have recently stated very clearly 
that construction in the OPT is illegal, and this is still the official 
US position.  Israel cannot “sell” willingness to desist from building 
in the OPT, because they have no such right. It seems that this is a 
clear case of the US buying stolen goods.

Hillary and Bibi worked a bit on wrapping up this new bargain. As part 
of the deal, the US will do all sorts of things that it does anyhow like 
arming Israel, pressuring Iran, covering Israel’s “rear” in the UN and 
the International Atomic Energy Commision.  Does anyone believe that US 
follow-through on this “package” of goodies for Israel depends on 
Israeli agreement to a three month construction freeze?

There does appear to be a single element of importance in all this yada, 
yada, yada. This is the proposal to concentrate on the delineation of 
the borders between Israel and Palestine. Some “brilliant” people 
figured out that if the borders are clearly marked, then everybody will 
agree as to where Israel can or cannot build. So the US is talking about 
the border issue being the main one and the most urgent. But this is 
just another case of the US maintaining the status-quo while promoting 
the illusion that some real negotiations are feasible. In fact, the 
Palestinians and the Israelis are still miles apart on this issue. 
Israel wants borders based on its annexations and settlements in the 
entire West Bank, including Jerusalem. No legitimate Palestinian 
representatives could agree. The US, in a desperate search for new 
subterfuges, touts the idea that a different, new agenda centering on 
the territorial issue will jump start the talks.  But nobody really 
believes this. It is like suggesting that changing the language of the 
discussion will help to overcome or bypass the basic issues in dispute.

Palestinians Are Up a Blind Alley

It seems that the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas is laboring 
under a serious misconception of the ME role of the United States and 
its ability to make a major contribution to Israeli-Palestinian peace. 
The US has little or no success in the successful solution of 
international conflicts. It does, however, have a lot of success, in 
subverting national and local leaderships. This is done by substituting 
material assistance (money), and military cooperation (police and 
special troops) for clear cut, principled political and diplomatic 
support. As time goes by, national and local leaderships comfort 
themselves by arguing that there is a lack of any other major power 
alternatives. The claim is that the U.S. is no better or worse than the 
other players of the international diplomatic game.  The assistance 
supposedly designed to develop the struggle for real independence, turns 
out to be valuable in order to repel internal opposition. Meanwhile, the 
local leadership looses prestige and fractures as it becomes clear that 
it has “painted itself into a corner.” The connections with the US have 
become the only option. Even with partial autonomy, bills must be paid 
as if you are a full fledged sovereign country, even if you could not 
dream of a sovereign fund.

The most consistent supporters of the Palestinian cause cannot ignore 
the dangerous dependency of the Palestinian Authority on the United 
States. It is not only the fact that the US will not or cannot act as an 
“honest broker” regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Under the 
pretext of including the Arab world in the negotiations for peace, the 
Palestinian Authority has requested backing by the Arab states. These 
turn out to be the narrowing group of pro-US moderates, presently 
engaged in intensive maneuvering to join the US-Israeli axis of 
aggression against Iran. Egypt is the major operator in this context. 
Their diplomats are also involved in suggesting modifications 
undercutting the Palestinian positions in the negotiations.  With 
friends like these, who needs enemies?

The World’s Worst Play

The extreme right elements in Bibi’s coalition, spearheaded by the 
settlers, are on the warpath. Bibi’s internal enemies sense blood and 
are out to prove that Netanyahu is no real leader. A possible  agreement 
for a three months  freeze is portrayed as the end of Zionism and the 
betrayal of its goals.  Everyone knows that you can tell Obama where to 
go, but Bibi reveals his fatal weakness when he has to tell the Hussein 
Obamites not to mess with Israel.

The US two-faced policy cannot do anything about Israeli lack of 
consideration for US sensitivities (including those in the entire Arab 
world) because the first sacred objective is to arm this  country to the 
teeth and to reiterate US commitment to Israeli security.  After 
demonstrating that these bedrock commitments are the cornerstone of US 
policy and that US support is absolute and unconditional, is it any 
surprise that a legion of cheap politicos can convince the public that 
the US can be easily rebuffed if Israel stands pat. The local cynics are 
not wrong when they argue that US diplomacy might attempt to simulate an 
occasional bark, but there is no way to hide the fact that there is no 
real bite.  I guess that this is a comedy, but a sad and ugly one.

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