Israel, the U.S. and the Arab World
June 1, 2010
As I write at 5pm on Monday, May 31, all day has passed since the early morning reports of the Israeli commando attack on the unarmed ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and there has been no response from President Obama except to say that he needed to learn “all the facts about this morning’s tragic events” and that Israeli prime minister Netanyahu had canceled his plans to meet with him at the White House. Thus has Obama made America complicit once again in Israel’s barbaric war crimes. Just as the US Congress voted to deep-six Judge Goldstone’s report on Israel’s war crimes committed in Israel’s January 2009 invasion of Gaza, Obama has deep-sixed Israel’s latest act of barbarism by pretending that he doesn’t know what has happened.
No one in the world will believe that Israel attacked ships in international waters carrying Israeli citizens, a Nobel Laureate, elected politicians, and noted humanitarians bringing medicines and building materials to Palestinians in Gaza, who have been living in the rubble of their homes without repairs or medicines since January 2009, without first clearing the crime with its American protector.
Attention is again focused on Gaza after Israeli troops stormed ships that were carrying aid to the strip on May 31st, killing at least nine people. Since 2006 Israel has limited the import of various goods to the Hamas-controlled territory to a "humanitarian minimum," though there is no official list for traders to observe. Instead, Israel makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, which has resulted in an odd assortment of prohibited items, as detailed by Gisha, an Israeli human-rights organisation. Newspapers, tea, A4 paper and chocolate are among the items that have at one point been barred. But though certain goods cannot be brought in by boat or through Israel, they do still come—often faster and cheaper, too—through the tunnels. The main impact of the blockade is on people, who have been barred from leaving, and on exports.
Without America’s protection, Israel, a totally artificial state, could not exist. No one in the world will believe that America’s spy apparatus did not detect the movement of the Israeli attack force toward the aid ships in international waters in an act of piracy, killing 20, wounding 50, and kidnapping the rest. Obama’s pretense at ignorance confirms his complicity.
Once again the US government has permitted the Israeli state to murder good people known for their moral conscience. The Israeli state has declared that anyone with a moral conscience is an enemy of Israel, and every American president except Eisenhower and Carter has agreed.
Obama’s 12-hour silence in the face of extreme barbarity is his signal to the controlled corporate media to remain on the sidelines until Israeli propaganda sets the story.
The Israeli story, preposterous as always, is that the humanitarians on one of the ships took two pistols from Israeli commandos, highly trained troops armed with automatic weapons, and fired on the attack force. The Israeli government claims that the commandos’ response (70 casualties at last reporting) was justified self-defense. Israel was innocent. Israel did not do anything except drop commandos aboard from helicopters in order to intercept an arms shipment to Gazans being brought in by ships manned by terrorists.
Many Christian evangelicals, brainwashed by their pastors that it is God’s will for Americans to protect Israel, will believe the Israeli story, especially when it is unlikely they will ever hear any other. Conservative Americans, especially on Memorial Day when they are celebrating feats of American arms, will admire Israel for its toughness. Here in north Georgia where I am at the moment, I have heard several say, admiringly, “Them, Israelis, they don’t put up with nuthin.”
Conservative Americans want the US to be like Israel. They do not understand why the US doesn’t stop pissing around after nine years and just go ahead and defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. They don’t understand why the US didn’t defeat whoever was opposing American forces in Iraq. Conservatives are incensed that America had to “win” the war by buying off the Iraqis and putting them on the US payroll. Israel murders people and then blames its victims. This appeals to American conservatives, who want the US to do the same.
It is likely that Americans will accept Israeli propagandist Mark Regev’s story that Israelis were met by deadly fire when they tried to intercept an arms shipment to Palestinian terrorists from IHH, a radical Turkish Islamist organization hiding under the cover of humanitarian aid.
Americans will never hear from the US media that Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan declared that the aid ships were carefully inspected before departure from Turkey and that there were no terrorists or arms aboard:
“I want to say to the world, to the heads of state and the governments, that these boats that left from Turkey and other countries were checked in a strict way under the framework of the rules of international navigation and were only loaded with humanitarian aid.”Turkey is a US ally, a member of NATO. Turkey’s cooperation is important to American’s plan for world hegemony. Erdogan must wonder about the morality of Israel’s American protector. According to a report in antiwar.com, the Turkish government declared that “future aid ships will be dispatched with a military escort so as to prevent future Israeli attacks.” Will the CIA assassinate Erdogan or pay the Turkish military to overthrow him? Murat Mercan, head of Turkey’s foreign relations committee, said that Israel’s claim that there were terrorists aboard the aid ships was Israel’s way of covering up its crime.
“Any allegation that the members of this ship is attached to al-Qaeda is a big lie because there are Israeli civilians, Israeli authorities, Israeli parliamentarians on board the ship.”The criminal Israeli state does not deny its act of piracy. Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters:
“This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves.”Americans, and their Western European puppet states and the puppet state in Canada, will be persuaded by the servile media to buy the story fabricated by Israeli propaganda that the humanitarian aid ships were manned by terrorists bringing weapons to the Palestinians in Gaza, and that the terrorists posing as humanitarians attacked the force of Israeli commandos with two pistols, clubs, and knives. Many Americans will swallow this story without a hiccup.
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
June 1, 2010
I’m told there won’t be any daylight between the US and Israel in the aftermath of the incident on the flotilla yesterday, which resulted in the deaths of 10 activists.
Regardless of the details of the flotilla incident, sources say President Obama is focused on what he sees as the longer term issue here: a successful Mideast peace process.
“The president has always said that it will be much easier for Israel to make peace if it feels secure,” a senior administration official tells ABC News.The suggestion is that US condemnation of Israel would further isolate that country, and make further peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians even more difficult.
The senior administration official says that President Obama spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu three times on Monday. Mr. Obama pushed the notion that last night – as the United Nations Security Council met to issue a statement about the incident – was the moment when the US had maximum leverage, that the longer the statement was being debated the worse it would ultimately be for Israel.
Ultimately, as the statement was negotiated over night, the US succeeded in making it more neutral where other nations wanted it to criticize and condemn Israel.
The statement expresses that the "Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting form the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza,” but more generally condemns "those acts which resulted in the loss” of lives – leaving matters of blame vague.
The US also pushed for language conveying that it’s acceptable for the Israelis to conduct their own investigation into the matter as long as the investigation is “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent.” Other countries were pushing for an independent investigation, perhaps by the UN itself.
Here's the draft "Security Council Presidential Statement on the recent incident in the Eastern Mediterranean":
The Security Council deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza. The Council, in this context, condemns those acts which resulted in the loss of at least ten civilians and many wounded, and expresses its condolences to their families.
The Security Council requests the immediate release of the ships as well as the civilians held by Israel. The Council urges Israel to permit full consular access, to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded immediately, and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination.
The Security Council takes note of the statement of the UN Secretary-General on the need to have a full investigation into the matter and it calls for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards.
The Security Council stresses that the situation in Gaza is not sustainable. The Council re-emphasizes the importance of the full implementation of Resolutions 1850 and 1860. In that context, it reiterates its grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Gaza and stresses the need for sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.
The Security Council underscores that the only viable solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an agreement negotiated between the parties and re-emphasizes that only a two-State solution, with an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbours, could bring peace to the region.
The Security Council expresses support for the proximity talks and voices concern that this incident took place while the proximity talks are underway and urges the parties to act with restraint, avoiding any unilateral and provocative actions, and all international partners to promote an atmosphere of cooperation between the parties and throughout the region.