Friday, March 19, 2010

Unmasking Obama’s Middle East policy

What's going on in Israel U.S. relations? Since Israel’s recent slap in the face of their greatest protector and supporter during VP Biden’s visit, there’s been a lot of noise in the media about the incident's effect on U.S. Israeli relations. But since there’s no visible policy change either in Tel Aviv or in Washington, we can surmise that the brouhaha is simply a distraction from the Obama administration's deeply hostile intentions towards the Palestinians in their struggle for justice and for their human and national rights.

Many Obama supporters had hoped that with the departure of the Bush-Cheney regime there would be some respite from their open malevolence and vicious hostility to the whole Arab and Muslim world. We didn’t expect real justice for the Palestinians, we weren't hoping for miracles. We understood the fealty that that the power of the Zionist lobby imposes on Congress and the White House and that the cause of one person, one vote, a country for all its citizens was not going to be on the agenda.

Nevertheless we had hopes that at the very least, the worst of the previous administration's animus towards all things Palestinian was behind us. But as we approach the first days of spring 2010, we find that behind the latest public drama between the two countries, we are facing the depressing and brutal truth that the Obama administration, with its agenda seemingly set by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a committed Zionist, has the same ruthless intentions towards the Palestinians as had the previous U.S. regime.

What's the evidence? In a word: concrete, as in: By their actions ye shall know them. Israel's bloody Operation Cast Lead in December-January 2009-2010 (an operation that could have been headed off or curtailed by President-elect Obama, a point we didn't realize until a year later) was intended and was successful in destroying the best part of Gaza's remaining infrastructure, its schools, hospitals, government buildings, farms, factories, hothouses, much of its housing and on and on. ** It was a brutal, pitiless, more than twenty-day operation against an absolutely helpless and trapped population, which if it happened to Jews, would have been termed the greatest pogrom against them in more than 50 years. But since Jews conducted this attack, it has been accepted as a legitimate defensive action in much of the Western world.

Bad enough, but what about the aftermath? The Gaza community wasn’t asking for much under the circumstances. At the very least they might have expected that the Obama administration do what was necessary to allow them to import concrete and building materials so that they could begin putting something of their lives back together. One can imagine some of the behind- the-scenes pleading by Palestinian representatives and their supporters to the Obama administration: Can’t you at least allow us to rebuild some of the damage?

No, answers back the U.S. We can't. We won't. The U.S. doesn't say that outright, or at least I haven’t heard such a thing. In fact I haven't heard one statement made by a high or not so high U.S. official on the subject, although I'm sure there's a State Department document somewhere to the effect that Israel has every right to defend itself in the ways it sees fit.

No, the only people I've heard on the subject are Israeli spokespeople who most often are unembarrassed to intone: Sorry, we'd love to let you have as much concrete as you want except that we're scared that if you do so, well, who knows what you might do with it? You might use it to cast stones at us if and when we are required to cross the border again with our infantry and our tanks and F-15s.

The effect of U.S./Israeli policy is to ensure that the damage done to the infrastructure of Gaza, which was the apparent point of the Cast Lead operation, is never repaired so as to make it as difficult as possible for the Palestinians to live in their land and to struggle for their rights.

It’s called creeping transfer, creeping expulsion and Obama, led by Rahm Emanuel, has chosen to cast his lot with those who support Israeli policy.

**Wikipedia’s entry on the subject documents much of the damage caused by the Cast Lead operation. [Numbers in brackets refer to the footnotes they cite.]

On 27 December Israel began a wave of airstrikes [26] on the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of stopping the rocket attacks from and arms smuggling into the territory,[27][28] damaging or destroying tens of thousands of homes,[29] 15 of Gaza’s 27 hospitals and 43 of its 110 primary health care facilities,[30] 800 water wells,[31] 186 greenhouses,[32] and nearly all of its 10,000 family farms[33]; leaving 50,000 homeless,[34] 400,000-500,000 without running water,[34][35] one million without electricity,[35], and resulting in acute food shortages.


Just as I was finishing my latest bout of editing this blog entry, I noticed that Alex Cockburn and my mentor, colleague and friend, Jeffrey Blankfort, had recently weighed in on the same subject. I decided not to read their articles before I posted mine, partly because I was afraid that I’d want to modify my own too long delayed post. --RB

See Alexander Cockburn, March 19 - 21, 2010
"My Fellow Americans, Tonight I'm Going to Talk Frankly About a Pesky Little Nation Called Israel ... "

Jeffrey Blankfort, “A Crisis in U.S. / Israeli Relations? Sure. But ...
Why Israel Always Prevails,” March 19 - 21, 2010

Special mention also of recent posts by Dr. Stephen Sniegoski, author of The Transparent Cabal, an important study of neocon influence in promoting the Iraq War, who has been following these issues and shedding much light.