By Khalid Amayreh
Some reluctant voices in Washington D.C. have finally admitted that the persistence of the Palestinian plight, namely the continued Israeli efforts to liquidate the Palestinian cause by way of building more Jewish settlements and narrowing the Palestinian horizons, is undermining American strategic interests in the Muslim world.
A few weeks ago, Gen. David Petraeus, head of the United States Central Command in Afghanistan and Iraq, voiced anxiety at the lack of progress in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He reported that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that Arabs were losing faith in American promises and that Israeli intransigence was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region. Petraeus also criticized the George Mitchell mission, suggesting that the American diplomat was “too old, two slow and too late.”
Petraeus was not the only voice to sound his worries about the impact of continued American embrace of Israeli territorial expansion in the West Bank. According to the Israeli daily Yideot Ahronot, visiting US Vice President Joe Biden, a long time stalwart of Israel, engaged in a private and angry exchange with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you are doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us and it endangers regional peace.”According to the Israeli paper, Biden went on telling his Israeli hosts that “since many people in the Muslim world perceived a connection between Israel’s actions and US policy, any decision about construction that undermines Palestinian rights in East Jerusalem could have an impact on the personal safety of American troops fighting against Islamic ‘terrorism.’”
James Baker, US Secretary of State during the former George Bush administration, has made similar remarks, underscoring the dangers facing American interests if the US continues to give Israel a carte blanch to Judaize East Jerusalem, by building homes for Jews and demolishing Arab homes in the heart of the occupied city and by continuing to expand Jewish colonies in the West Bank.
It is too premature to see if these belated but somewhat encouraging voices will have a tangible impact on US policy toward Israel.
Nonetheless, given past experiences, it is more than safe to assume that any given US administration would rather budge to Israel rather than risk losing a public and embarrassing battle with her supporters in the United States. In fact, successive American administrations would rather behave and act like a submissive poodle vis-à-vis Israel than stand for America’s interests.
And Obama is no exception..
When President Obama gave his famous speech in Cairo on 2 June, 2009, many in the Middle East and beyond gave him the benefit of the doubt. However, ever since that speech, he has demonstrated a shocking inability to rein in Israeli criminality and hell-bent determination to kill every opportunity for peace.
In fact, during his first term in the White House, Israel carried out phenomenal expansion of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, including intensifying construction in the heart of Arab neighborhoods such as the Silwan and Mukabber neighborhoods. In recent days, Israel inaugurated a huge synagogue outside the Aqsa Mosque esplanade. The land upon which the synagogue was built belonged to the al-Basheeti family of East Jerusalem.
Similarly, Israel announced plans to build thousands of for-Jews-only settler units in the occupied city, with the Obama administration contenting itself with the same idle statements about the damage the settlement expansion does to the “peace process.”
The announcement was made during Biden’s visit to occupied Palestine in March, which shows the extent to which Israel is willing to challenge and embarrass its guardian-ally, without whose support and fanatical backing, Israel would have vanished a long time ago.
There is no doubt that the latest “crisis” over the negative atmospherics accompanying Biden’s visit to the US would have no real impact on Israeli behavior, especially toward the Palestinians and the moribund peace process the US and its western partners are now trying desperately to revive.
Netanyahu has actually already said that his government will disregard all American objections and reservations about settlement expansion in East Jerusalem. Other Israeli officials have gone a step further by attacking President Obama’s “impetuousness,” with one Israeli official suggesting that “as far as we are concerned, Obama and Clinton can keep up barking for as long as they want, because we control Congress and have a lot of friends in America.” Even Netanyahu’s own brother-in-law accused Obama of being an “anti-Semite,” saying that Israel shouldn’t give the slightest regard because in a few years he would be forgotten.
Unfortunately, it seems that these arrogant utterances by fanatical Israeli officials have more credibility than ostensibly angry statements by U.S. officials such as Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
Congress, it is well known, is an Israeli-occupied territory. Members of Congress, thoroughly enslaved by Zionist-Jewish money, have since time immemorial transformed themselves into political whores for Israel and Israeli causes so much that some of them would be too willing to side with Israel against vital American interests.
This enduring congressional embrace of Israel, regardless of what it does or doesn’t do, has always undercut and aborted any serious American effort to bring about a balanced peace settlement in the Middle East. Indeed, what would prompt the Israelis to alter, even moderate their discourse, when virtually every American official or senator or congressman visiting Israel struggles to find new words that would communicate his profound enslavement and infatuation with a state that differs very little in substance from Nazi Germany?
And the situation is unlikely to be rectified in the foreseeable future unless there is a serious awakening in Washington, which is not expected to happen due to the immense power of pro-Israeli forces and the immense weakness and cowardice of those advocating a more honest American approach toward the enduring Palestinian plight, if only to preserve America’s own interests.
Of course, both camps, the Israel-firsters and advocates of a balanced approach, are well-aware that Israel doesn’t want peace, especially one that would oblige Israel to give up the spoils of the 1967 war. Obviously, a state that has been building settlements on occupied territory for close to 43 years and transferring hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live on land that belongs to another people doesn’t have peace on its priority list.
Hence, it is time the US exercise a modicum of honesty by admitting that the so-called peace process, which has been going on for over 18 years, is a huge failure, a gigantic fiasco, an open-ended illusion.
This fact, which no amount of public relations hucksterism will succeed in obliterating or even blurring, should also be clear to the Palestinians and Arab leaderships who, too, continue to naively and stupidly babble about the two-state solution as if there was still a real chance for the creation of a truly viable and territorially continuous Palestinian state.
Now the choice is as stark and clear as ever: It is either one state for all, or open-ended bloodshed.
River to Sea