By Alan Hart — My Catbird Seat
I never thought a day could come when I would agree with anything stated by Moshe Arens (three times an Israeli minister of defense, a one-time foreign minister, a former ambassador to the U.S. and, in my opinion, Zionism’s in-Israel equivalent of Richard “Prince of Darkness” Perle in America). But the day came.
On 31 August, in article for Ha’aretz with the headline Blame game on the horizon. Arens wrote the following about the nakedness of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as he was making his final preparations for the start of direct negotiations in Washington DC.
“He does not have the backing of all Palestinians, not even of most of them. As far as Hamas is concerned, he has no right to represent the Palestinians in the upcoming negotiations. Even in Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank to the rest of the world) the extent of the support he enjoys among Palestinians is questionable. But most important, he does not have the authority to carry out any agreement he might arrive at with Netanyahu. He is fully aware of this, and that is probably the explanation for his reluctance to enter the negotiations, to which he has been dragged, kicking and screaming every inch of the way, by the president of the United States… Abbas may or might not want to conclude a peace with Israel, but he cannot.”
That’s true but there’s much more to it. No Palestinian leader will ever to be able to make peace with Israel on terms which do not provide for an end to its occupation of the West Bank (now in its 44th year) plus, of course, the ending of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
On 30 August, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said he thought the most fundamental question of the moment was, “What kind of state does Mr. Netanyahu have in mind when he says ‘Palestinian state’?”
I assumed that was Fayyad’s way of saying, “We need to know the extent of withdrawal from our occupied land Netanyahu is prepared to make for peace.”
For me the most fundamental question of the coming days, weeks and months is what will President Obama do when it becomes clear that Netanyahu (or any likely successor) is not prepared to withdraw from all of the West Bank?
He, Obama, will have two options.
One will be to do what all American presidents with the exception of Eisenhower have always done and surrender to the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress and the mainstream media. In this event we could expect a statement from him to the effect that America can’t want peace more than the parties themselves. (I would be surprised if Obama did a Clinton and blamed the Palestinian leadership). And that would be game over, leaving Israel free to go on imposing its iron will on the occupied and oppressed Palestinians. In this scenario I think it is more likely than not that Zionism would resort to a final ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The other option for Obama?
With the mid-term elections out of the way, he could be the first president to put America’s own best interests first and use the leverage he has to cause, or try to cause, Israel to be serious about peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept.
Are there any reasons to believe that, at a point, Obama might repeat might be prepared to confront Zionism?
I can think of one in theory.
Obama himself and some of his top military commanders are aware and have said that peace in the Middle East is a “strategic priority” for America. Without peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, there’ll be escalating conflict between the Western and Islamic worlds which America can no longer afford to finance. (In his address from the Oval Office announcing that the Iraq combat mission is over, President Obama seemed to be acknowledging that when he said: “We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas… Now it is time to turn to pressing problems at home… It will be difficult to get the economy rolling again but doing so is our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as president.”)
On 30 August, Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad also said, “We are approaching a moment of reckoning.”
The question is – reckoning for whom? Obama and America or Zionism?
In an op-ed article in today’s New York Times, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak writes: “For both sides trust can be built only on tangible security. Security, however, cannot be a justification for Israel’s continued occupation of Palestinian land, as it undermines the cardinal principle of land for peace.”
I agree but again there’s much more to it. Israel’s insistence that it must have guaranteed security before peace is a political ploy. You make peace in order to have security. If you get the security you demand before peace, you don’t need peace. (Dictionary definition of ploy: a procedure used to achieve a particular result. In Israel’s case the particular result is keeping occupied Arab land).
Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. He blogs on www.alanhart.net and tweets on www.twitter.com/alanauthor