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Posted by wmmbb in Duckspeak, Human Rights, Humankind/Planet Earth, Israel-Palestine, Modern History, Peace, Terrorism Issues, US Politics.

President Obama went before the UN General Assembly address the Palestinian application to world for statehood.

He rejected the proposition outright to the applause of the Israeli Government and their moneyed supporters in the US. So what is going on?

“Peace is hard” Obama repeated, which reminded me of President Kennedy’s commencement address at the American University in 1963.

Marc H Ellis observed in part:

Mr. President – and with all due respect – may I say clearly that you do not speak for me or many other Jews who do not think that “something” happened to Palestinians simply as a byproduct of Jewish history. We don’t think that Palestinians exist without a history or without a destiny in their own land.
Indeed, as you say, it could be worse, Mr. President. But perhaps it already is. When I heard your words I thought that the end had come. I held my head in my hands – Jewish history couldn’t have to come to this.

I wanted to shut your words out. I wanted you to speak about other things that you know more about or at least are closer to your heart. I wanted something other than the political spin cycle.

Yes, Jews do carry centuries of exile and persecution. European Jews did suffer six million slaughtered. I know this as a Jew. I grew up with these memories.

But Mr. President, as a child learning of our history, I never imagined that Jews would use these centuries of exile and persecution, our six million dead, as a blunt instrument against another people. Never. Not even in my wildest imagination. No!

Hearing you I thought of how things end. How Jewish history has ended – in ethnic cleansing and occupation.

But, Mr. President, this can also be our beginning. That beginning will only come when the truth is told by Jews and Palestinians together. And yes, perhaps one day, by the President of the United States of America

Robert Fisk is emphatic, writing:

As usual, Hanan Ashrawi, the only eloquent Palestinian voice in New York this week, got it right. “I couldn’t believe what I heard,” she told Haaretz, that finest of Israeli newspapers. “It sounded as though the Palestinians were the ones occupying Israel. There wasn’t one word of empathy for the Palestinians. He spoke only of the Israelis’ troubles…” Too true. And as usual, the sanest Israeli journalists, in their outspoken condemnation of Obama, proved that the princes of American journalists were cowards. “The limp, unimaginative speech that US President Barack Obama delivered at the United Nations… reflects how helpless the American President is in the face of Middle East realities,” Yael Sternhell wrote.

And as the days go by, and we discover whether the Palestinians respond to Obama’s grovelling performance with a third intifada or with a shrug of weary recognition that this is how things always were, the facts will continue to prove that the US administration remains a tool of Israel when it comes to Israel’s refusal to give the Palestinians a state.

Charles Richardson at Crickey argues that Obama is driven by the realities of domestic politics and his re-election bid, which raises the question, increasingly relevant in Australia, when do elected governments govern as distinct from run for re-election. For example the boat people policy might be seen as avoiding the electoral wedge. In both cases the people involved – the Palestinians and the refugees – suffer the consequences of political expediency. Charles Richardson writes:

In 14 months, if he wins re-election, Obama may feel able to re-engage with the Middle East in a way that might promote peace and understanding. But by then it will quite probably be too late: a new Arab leadership may have turned its back on the very idea of co-operation with Israel or the US, and the region may descend into a new cycle of violence.

For now, Obama has basically given Benyamin Netanyahu everything he wants. Unfortunately that is the very reverse of what Israel needs. The refusal to contemplate serious engagement with the Palestinians is laying up dreadful troubles for the future; as Peter Beinart says in The Daily Beast, Netanyahu “has weakened two of the men Israel most needs to avoid becoming a global pariah”, namely Obama and Mahmoud Abbas.

So the Palestinian leadership — as moderate a leadership as Israel is ever likely to get — has been forced to try an alternative route, going to the UN to ask for what American policy, under Clinton and Bush as well as Obama, has long proclaimed as their right.

It’s Obama’s tragedy that he can’t possibly give it to them.

So exactly what is Obama’s tragedy? Could it be that he is “serving the masters, not running the country” to beg the question as to who the masters are? And how come they are so successful in selecting the economic and financial policy and military policy, which both determine internal and external relationships.


Sandy Tolan describes the Occupation at Tom Dispatch. He is interviewed by Scott Horton on AntiWar.com.



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