by James M. Wall
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been meeting with his seven-member inner cabinet. They are discussing the offer Hillary Clinton made as an incentive to Israel to “freeze” settlement construction for 90 days.
If you are not a Palestinian or an American tax payer, what’s not to like in this proposed deal?
Israel agrees to reinstate a 90-day freeze on West Bank settlement construction, not including East Jerusalem. This means that a freeze that was never in effect will now be reinstated.
In return for reinstating, for 90 days,a freeze that was never frozen, Israel is handed a gift which even the New York Times‘ Tom Friedman, Israel’s Greatest Friend in American media, called a “bribe”.
The bribe includes 20 F-35 fighters, Israel’s control of the Jordan Valley for a year after a final border is established, and a guarantee that the US will veto any UN actions aimed at Israel.
Elected world officials have been distressingly silent over the offer the US has made to Bibi.
However, one set of voices has not been silent. The Elders, an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 issued a statement calling for the US and the rest of the international community to “insist on an end to all Israeli settlement activity”. Former US President Jimmy Carter is a member of the Elders.
Desmond Tutu, the Elders’chair, was blunt and forceful in his criticism of the US offer:
This news breaks my heart. What is Washington thinking? Settlements are illegal; they contravene UN Resolution 242 and violate the Fourth Geneva Convntion. The resumption of direct talks cannot be based on one side negotiating its way out of important question of international law.
Former Irish president Mary Robinson, who led a delegation of four Elders on a trip to the Middle East last month, added: “Doing a short-term deal on settlements to restart direct talks is desperate and wrong.”
Stephen Lendman, a Research Associate of the Center for Research on Globalization reported in Veterans Today that the New York Times gives its typical pro-Israel slant on Clinton’s offer.
Times writers Ethan Bronner and Mark Landler, wrote on November 14, “A 90-Day Bet on Mideast Talks”:
The vote by Mr. Netanyahu’s cabinet on (Obama’s) proposal is expected to be very close but (it’s) likely to pass by at least one vote, analysts said.
Likewise, while the Palestinians have objected partly because the proposed construction freeze does not include East Jerusalem which they want as the capital of their future state, that is not considered an issue likely to dissuade them from rejoining the talks,
Lendman’s analysis of the Bronner-Landler report:
The Times and other major media writers are clueless on East Jerusalem. Palestinians don’t want it as their future capital. [It is already] non-negotiably theirs now, [a reality] neither The Times or other Western media will acknowledge, showing one-sided support for Israel.
Of course, a large portion of the rest of the world sees through this humiliating charade, described by theLondon Independent’s Robert Fisk, as an act of appeasement:
In any other country, the current American bribe to Israel, and the latter’s reluctance to accept it, in return for even a temporary end to the theft of somebody else’s property would be regarded as preposterous.
Three billion dollars’ worth of fighter bombers in return for a temporary freeze in West Bank colonization for a mere 90 days? Not including East Jerusalem – so goodbye to the last chance of the east of the holy city for a Palestinian capital – and, if Benjamin Netanyahu so wishes, a rip-roaring continuation of settlement on Arab land.
In the ordinary sane world in which we think we live, there is only one word for Barack Obama’s offer: appeasement.
It is a sign of just how far America (and, through our failure to condemn this insanity, Europe) has allowed its fear of Israel – and how far Obama has allowed his fear of Israeli supporters in Congress and the Senate – to go.
Three billion dollars for three months is one billion dollars a month to stop Israel’s colonisation. That’s half a billion dollars a fortnight. That’s $500m a week. That’s $71,428,571 a day, or $2,976,190 an hour, or $49,603 a minute.
And as well as this pot of gold, Washington will continue to veto any resolutions critical of Israel in the UN and prevent “Palestine” from declaring itself a state.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (FSJ) is not your run of the mill fighter. It is part of a “joint, multinational acquisition program for the US Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and eight cooperative international partners.”
By the addition of F-35s to its Air Force, Israel joins the US and its eight other international partners as members of a western alliance working together to create what is “expected to be the largest military aircraft procurement ever.”
The stealth, supersonic F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) will replace a wide range of aging fighter and strike aircraft for the U.S. armed forces and its allied defense forces worldwide, which now includes Israel.
In short, Israel is not just receiving a gift of 20 F-35s. It is also becoming part of a procurement program designed to run through 2026 and possibly longer. According to the Global Security Report, the F-35 worldwide fleet “may well stay in service until 2060 or longer”.
This international procurement program benefits the US company Lockheed-Martin, which on October 26, 2001 won “the largest military contract ever, a possible $200 billion competition to build the Joint Strike Fighter,” winning a competition over Boeing.
Lockheed Martin Corp. is developing the F-35 at its fighter aircraft plant in Fort Worth, where the new stealth warplane is expected to provide about 9,000 jobs over the next three to four decades. Northrop Grumman Corp. is to build the F-35’s center fuselage in California and BAE Systems the aft body in England.
The Defense Industry Daily, reporting on the “largest single military program in history”, described the international dimension of the F-35 program:
For much of the free world’s military forces, the F-35 represents the future–a new family of affordable, stealthy combat aircraft designed to meet the twenty-first-century requirements of the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.
The program is truly international in its scope and participation: Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Norway recently joined the F-35’s system development and demonstration (SDD) phase. All SDD partners will be active in the F-35’s development process and stand to gain economically from the program.
This “free world” reference in the Defense Industry Daily, suggests that the Clinton package is intended to benefit US arms dealers as much as it benefits Israel’s long range military planners. And, lest we forget, arms dealers are generous with their gifts to politicians around election time.
The American war culture has become so dominant in our economy and politics, that official talk of peaceful solutions to world conflicts have become as antiquated as a Model T Ford sedan. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know this, which is why they perform the “settlement kabuki dance” with their best international pal, Bibi Netanyahu.
Clinton and Obama are trying to play to their political base while they dance with Bibi. Their base, which is much more progressive/liberal than the official Republican War Party is also dominated by PEPs (Progressive except on Palestine).
The progressive/liberal segment of our culture is slow to shift its focus. We need only to look back to 1967, when Martin Luther King, Jr., shocked his civil rights followers and media promoters by taking a strong stand against the American war in Vietnam.
The critical cries were loud: “The Reverend has stopped preaching and gone to meddling”.
Five months before he was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968, Dr.King called for his fellow Americans to refuse to fight in an unjust and immoral war in Vietnam.
Dr. King’s November, 1967 statements in opposition to the war culture’s Vietnam project were not received well by the majority of the public and certainly not by the political leaders.
King was a Christian prophet demanding an end to a futile, immoral and unjust war in Vietnam. In his prophetic voice, King condemned his nation’s growing militarization. The Civil Rights hero had become a prophetic critic who ventured outside the nation’s consensus.
This was 1967-68, before opposition to the Vietnam War became more acceptable to the media and the general public.
Glenn Greenwald found a clip of a 1967 King interview with TV host Mike Douglas. Greenwald posted a section of the interview on his website. His source for the video was the website, God Bless the Whole World.
King, among other things, is asked by a clearly hostile Douglas whether King’s emphatic anti-war position — which has now largely been whitewashed from his legacy — raises questions about the “loyalty” of black Americans generally.
King responded by saying his opposition to the war was not directed to his fellow African Americans (he spoke of “Negroes” at the time), but to all Americans. Douglas was so locked into the war culture’s endorsement of the Vietnam war, that he was unable to accept the reality that King’s prophetic voice reached beyond racial injustice.
Currently our nation is involved in two more wars. This time around, the war culture has delivered us into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that are nothing less than a repeat of the Vietnam disaster which we prolonged seven additional years after King’s assassination.
We know about the missing WMDs that were used by Bush and Cheney to take us into war in iraq. What we are slow to accept is that in Afghanistan we are conducting a long term war in what should have been limited to an intensive criminal pursuit of the small number of men who planned and carried out 9/11.
Juan Cole reports on a recent survey of 1000 Afghan men:
An opinion survey carried out in Helmand and Kandahar provinces showed that 92% of the Afghan respondents (1000 men) had never heard of 9/11.
Most Americans are ambivalent about the Afghanistan War precisely because it is hard to dismiss the argument that the September 11 attacks were planned out there in some of 40 terrorist training camps that were aimed at waging war on the US.
If Afghans, 72% of whom are illiterate, have never even heard of September 11, then they have no idea why the United States and NATO are even in their country! And the entire lack of such knowledge would likely make them more hostile to that presence, since it would seem wholly unjustified and from out of left field to them.
Nothing has changed since 1967. We are still dragged into wars we do not understand by war makers who peddle their militant wares as essential to security and peace. King knew this, as we can see and hear from his prophetic words in November, 1967:
King’s vision is needed as each new American president promises peace and promotes war. The King vision still remains. Prophetic voices could still be raised in opposition to bribes to war leaders, bribes that include gifts of F-35 fighters that are just itching, to quote a former Republican presidential candidate, to “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”.