Obama, Youíre No Ike
by Eric Margolis
by Eric Margolis: The
Scarlet Pimpernel of Cyberspace
Obamaís stirring vows to bring peace to the Mideast and oversee
creation of a viable Palestinian state have turned to ashes in the
face of Israelís adamantine opposition, and with them the presidentís
dignity and credibility, and Americaís national interests.
comparison, think back to 1956. Britain, France and Israel colluded
to trump up a war against Egypt to overthrow its hugely popular
nationalist leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
border clashes and quickly captured the Sinai Peninsula. The British
and French landed at Suez, in a so-called Ďpeacekeepingí mission.
An angry US
President Dwight Eisenhower deemed the tripartite Suez aggression
immoral and damaging to American interests in the Muslim world.
"Ike" ordered the British, French and Israelis to get
out of Egypt at once Ė or else. They got.
to 2010. President Barack Obama has been demanding Israel stop building
illegal Jewish settlements around Jerusalem and on the West Bank
that were thwarting efforts to create a Palestinian state.
concluded the ongoing agony of Palestine has turned the Muslim world
against the United States. It is also the primary cause of what
Washington calls "terrorism." The 9/11 hijackers cited
Palestine as the prime motivation for their attacks, not Islam,
as was later claimed by the Bush administration.
After the Suez
invasion, Israelís American partisans set about building an influence
network that would ensure no American president could ever force
Israel to do anything against its will. Over the next half century,
Israelís advocates became the most powerful and feared lobby in
America, strongly influencing both the US Congress and media.
remarkable success was again confirmed last week as Benjamin Netanyahu,
leader of Israelís rightist coalition, contemptuously spurned President
Obamaís pleas to create a viable Palestinian state. Vice President
Joseph Biden was earlier humiliated on a trip to Israel to plead
with Israel to stop building Jewish settlements. Obama and Biden
were being taught a lesson.
The US Congress
and rightwing media actually applauded the public humiliation of
their president and vice president.
How the mighty
have fallen. Obama has shown himself utterly without spine, and
terrified of the Israel lobby at a time when his political fortunes
are plummeting. Unfortunately, this shameful spectacle was largely
overshadowed by the WikiLeaks uproar.
The White House
understands that Americaís vital interests in the Mideast are being
increasingly undermined by Netanyahuís adamant refusal to allow
a workable Palestinian state. Netanyahu has vowed never to accept
a Palestinian state; instead, he advocates for West Bank Arabs "homelands"
that resemble South Africaís old apartheid Bantustans.
minister is also undermining the long-term security and well-being
of his own people by refusing to make a lasting peace with Palestinians,
condemning them to generations more of violence and siege. And all
this for the sake of settlements on the West Bank and Gaza that
Israel does not need for reasons of security or economics.
Netanyahu made clear Israel would retain all of Jerusalem, settlement
blocks around it, water resources, key roads, the West Bank high
ground and the Jordan River valley. In short, "useful Palestine."
The rest, waterless scrub and slums, might be left to the Arabs.
Nothing was said about Israelís illegal occupation of Syriaís Golan
Heights which has become, de facto, an annexation.
astounding, shameful offer of a multi-billion dollar bribe to Israel
of 20 F-35 warplanes and promises to veto any UN resolutions calling
for a Palestinian state in exchange for a flimsy 90-day temporary
settlement building freeze, was contemptuously rejected by Netanyahu.
Americans should have been outraged by this craven groveling.
knows the US Congress would give Israel the moon if asked. The US
has already given Israel at least $114 billion in official aid since
its creation in 1947, as well as tens of billions more in covert
What does Obamaís
humiliation mean? His chances of being defeated in the next presidential
election are growing. Obamaís arch-rival, Hillary Clinton, who is
regarded as pro-Israel, is positioning herself to take over the
Democratic Party from a fallen Obama. There are already rumbles
in the Democratic Party of a primary challenge to Obama.
The US diplomatic,
intelligence and military establishment has got the message, loud
and clear: donít mess with Israel.
By caving in
to Israelís hard right over the West Bank, Obama sends a message
of profound weakness to the rest of the world. He is signaling that
Israel is as influential as the White House in making Americaís
increasingly influences US policy towards Pakistan, Afghanistan,
Iran and North Korea, and promotes ever warmer relations with India,
a key ally of Israel.
Palestinian Authority is shown as a helpless puppet of the Americans
and Israelis, as rival Hamas has long charged. Its hapless leader,
Mahmoud Abbas, should resign if he has a shred of pride left. The
pliant Abbas was put into power by the US and Israel after PLO chief
Yasser Arafatís convenient death that many Palestinians suspect
was caused by poison.
suggests Israel now has "carte blanche" to move ahead
and attack Lebanonís resistance movement Hezbullah, Syria, and eventually
In fact, Israel
now seems to have the power to plunge the US into war against Iran
whenever it decides the time is right and the risk worthwhile. Thatís
a major reason why Netanyahu holds the whip hand over Obama. Thanks
to George Bushís reckless wars, US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan
are now in a sense hostages of Iran. If Israel attacks Iran, these
US forces will be the first and most important target of Iranian
Since the US
has become a helpless giant, itís up to the rest of the world to
end the suffering in Palestine. Brazil and Argentina have taken
an important step forward by recognizing a Palestinian state in
the pre-1967 borders. Uruguay will reportedly follow next year.
The 2002 Saudi
peace plan still offers all parties concerned the fairest, most
practical road to peace: Israel is to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders;
a Palestinian state established on the West Bank, Jerusalem shared;
Golan returned to Syria; some token Palestinian refugees returned
or compensated (there are over 5 million).
the entire Muslim world will recognize Israel and normalize relations
with the Jewish state, opening a vast commercial market to Israeli
goods and services. The US will guarantee Israelís borders. Israeli
observers can stay on to monitor the Jordanian and Syrian borders.
UN General Assembly should again endorse this plan and call for
full compensation for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who fled
or were expelled from Arab nations when Israel was created. Israelís
own pro-peace movement badly needs to hear support from abroad.
and his fellow rightwing zealots are determined to hold on to every
inch of the West Bank and Golan. Some far rightists want to further
expand Israelís borders. In fact, Netanyahuís Likud Party has been
reluctant to define Israelís permanent borders.
to compromise over Palestine is at the heart of its increasingly
dangerous confrontation with Iran. If Israel would conclude a peace
deal with authentic Palestinians Ė not the current Palestinian Authority
puppets Ė the confrontation with Iran would likely end.
All this is
now down the drain. Obamaís shameful failure in the Mideast will
haunt the world for decades.
him mail] is the author of War
at the Top of the World and the new book, American
Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the
West and the Muslim World. See his
© 2010 Eric Margolis
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