By Brian Cloughley
Israel’s war on the Palestinians will continue with the support of Washington. Obama is a good, decent man. But with enemies like AIPAC and its Congressional pawns, he hasn’t a hope of achieving justice for Palestinians in the occupied territories of their own country
President Obama is trying to find a way out of the Israel-Palestine predicament. He can’t resolve it, because that is beyond anyone except Israelis, and they are not going to permit the problem to be dealt with in accordance with international law and human decency. Such a course would mean that Israelis would have to evacuate the 121 settlements, housing over a quarter of a million people, and scores of “outposts” they have built illegally on Arab-owned land.
Aluf Benn, editor-at-large of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, observed in a recent New York Times opinion piece that “as far as most Israelis are concerned, Mr Obama has made a mistake in focusing on a settlement freeze. For starters, mainstream Israelis rarely have anything to do with the settlements; many have no idea where they are, even when they’re a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv.”
The obvious riposte to this is that “mainstream Israelis” most certainly should know the locations of the illegal settlements. To Benn it seems that because “most Israelis” are ignorant of the whereabouts of stolen Palestinian lands, then President Obama “is mistaken” to propose a settlement freeze. What nonsense.
Stopping illegal occupation of Arab territory should only be a start in resolving grave injustice. But the thought that the most powerful man in the world has to lower himself to bargain with a bunch of swaggering barbarians is pretty sobering. The Israelis not only grab land from Arabs, but they persecute them to the point of attempted genocide. Their war on the Palestinian people reached new heights of ferocity and depths of Apartheid inhumanity eight months ago. On January 12 this year, at the height of Israel’s merciless war on Palestinians, more than 50 victims of phosphorus burns were treated in hospital in Gaza. White phosphorus (WP) shells cause appalling wounds because their flaming poisonous jelly burns deep into bodies, destroying flesh and organs. Victims die — eventually — in shrieking agony. At the time of the reported casualties an Israeli military spokesman flatly denied that Israel had used the shells, which are usually fired from 155mm artillery guns. Israeli denials about using WP continued, even when shell fragments were identified by independent experts. (Independent experts are always regarded as anti-Israeli dupes by “mainstream Israelis”.) No foreign government protested when evidence was produced. Next, on January 16, the Israelis fired WP shells at the headquarters of the UN Relief and Works Agency, and on the following day it was the turn of the UN school at Beit Lahiya. Amnesty International recorded that 1,898 people were sheltering from the fighting in the school and that “an artillery shell hit a classroom where 35 people were sleeping…Two brothers, aged five and seven, were killed. Their 18-year-old sister…had to have her leg amputated…Their relatives told us that they had fled their homes to escape the bombardments and had come to the school hoping to find safety.” Safety? From Israel’s pitiless savagery? Not a hope. But eventually, after the evidence could no longer be denied, Israel admitted use of white phosphorus munitions. But they claimed they were used only to provide a smokescreen, which is a “legitimate” use of WP. A smokescreen? In the UN Relief Agency’s headquarters building? In a schoolroom harbouring terrified children? On January 21, Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman (where do they get these people from? Is there a special international academy for desensitising military public relations people so that they robotically applaud hideous barbarity?) declared that phosphorus was used “according to international law”. Two days later the Israelis, confronted by incontrovertible evidence of their crime, announced that “some practices could be illegal but we are going into that. The Israeli Defence Force is holding an investigation concerning one specific unit and one incident.” Nothing has resulted from the “investigation”, which like all such inquiries was designed to conceal the truth. Which brings us to an organisation in Washington called the America Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC — original name: ‘The American Zionist Committee’), whose members, US citizens, owe allegiance to Israel and have the power to tell members of Congress exactly what they should and should not say. Think not? Well reflect on this: “8 January 2009 — The United Nations Security Council tonight overwhelmingly called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza leading to a full Israeli withdrawal… Fourteen of the Council’s 15 members voted in favour, with only the United States abstaining.” (Israel’s prime minister disdainfully declared that Tel Aviv would ignore the resolution.) So the US Senate declared that “When we pass this resolution [supporting Israel’s ruthless onslaught on Gaza], the United States Senate will strengthen our historic bond with the state of Israel”. That was the day on which the Red Cross found “four emaciated [Palestinian] children…lying beside their dead mothers in a house containing 12 bodies. Israeli soldiers order the rescue team to leave the area.” Then the House of Representatives voted 390 to 5 to support Israel’s Gaza war. President Obama can’t afford to upset AIPAC’s US puppets. That would lead to political meltdown. In May, the House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (a Jewish Republican) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (a Baptist Democrat), both of whom went on tours of Israel in August, hosted through AIPAC, emailed legislators to persuade them to influence the President to support Israel. What was revealing was that they forgot to delete the name of the group that gave them their orders. Attached by mistake to their email message was the document: “AIPAC Letter Hoyer Cantor May 2009.pdf” Israel’s war on the Palestinians will continue with the support of Washington. Obama is a good, decent man. But with enemies like AIPAC and its Congressional pawns, he hasn’t a hope of achieving justice for Palestinians in the occupied territories of their own country. Sorry, sir: you’re yet another victim of the Zionists.
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