Washington’s gift to Netanyahu — unconditional UN support for all time
Now more than ever we must urge Abbas: stop these surrender Talks. Read, sign and share our Open Letter to Abbas
Just when you thought the US mid-term elections were safely over and done with, easing the intensive pressure on the PA to return to talks, it seems that jockeying for the US 2012 Presidential nomination is already in full swing. So while Obama left Washington for some much-needed adulation in Asia, Netanyahu arrived in town to cosy up to 2012 hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
If Israel’s PM had Obama eating out of his hand, these two were feasting from Netanyahu’s backside. He has now returned home with a package of gifts from Washington that even his coalition cabinet are tipped to accept in return for a one-off, never to be repeated, 90-day settlement freeze intended to lure the PA leaders back into the talks.
No doubt the ultra-right coalition partners got plenty of other back-room inducements from Netanyahu himself that will help them to consolidate their growing hold on Israel’s internal politics.
Washington’s offer ranges from 20 fighter planes to promises of unqualified support for Israel against any efforts to enforce international law against them. Nothing new there, of course, except that this time it is in the form of a blank cheque underwriting past, present and future Israeli infringements, wars and atrocities, and summed up as “anything hostile to Israel”.
Not released or leaked to the press, but quite possibly a private aspect of the deal, is a stepping up of police and financial repression against advocates of BDS and Palestine solidarity activists: some countries (e.g. France) are already using laws against anti-semitism to target BDS activists, and there have been a number of raids and attacks on activists in America. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a major threat.
The PA leaders have painted themselves into a corner by staking everything on a settlement building freeze. While objecting (privately) that Israel is being bribed “to fulfill basic international obligations”, and that really a settlement freeze should include Jerusalem, they seem to be covering their retreat with the feeble complaint that no-one has told them anything: “An official Palestinian commitment will come only after President Abbas hears officially from the American administration what is going on between them and the Israelis,” Nabil Abu Rdainah told Reuters.
(Imagine this in reverse: Abbas goes to Washington, says he’ll talk for three months unconditionally, and he comes away with 20 warplanes, an indefinite security treaty against the IDF, a promise not to be pressured into talks again without something to show for it, and the promise of support at the UN to uphold a heap of resolutions to rectify Israel’s misdeeds.)
The only alternative to an imposed, humiliating and utterly useless two-state deal that the PA have any idea of pursuing is their fantasy of a virtual Palestinian state willed into being by a unilateral declaration but without the physical means to remove a single IDF checkpoint, dismantle a single section of the wall, release a single prisoner or wish away a single settler.
Maybe as a diplomatic device it could have rattled a few bars of the cage: certainly Washington was quick to pronounce it “unhelpful”. And now US opposition is written into the promises Hillary Clinton has made to Netanyahu: to veto any attempt by the Palestinians to win UN recognition of their state unilaterally.
The fact is that the PA will always be out-manoeuvred because they have no power on the ground. Instead of playing these games that only show up their feebleness, they should play to their strengths: the determination and courage of the resistance movement, the amazing steadfastness of their people, the rightness and justice of their cause, and the weapons of mass resistance and the international BDS movement that this inspires.
A demand for civil rights and the vote in the single country that Israel has created, which would unite occupied Palestinians with their cousins in Israel, will not end up with Palestinian leaders frog-marched into talks with their arms twisted up their backs, their pockets filled with trinkets, and bitter pills on the table.
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