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My Gaza rant (part two)

3:43 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Gaza
photo mmansour

To whom it may concern:

“Oppressed beneath the weight of their own corruption and of military violence, they for a long while preserved the sentiments, or at least the ideas of their free-born ancestors” Edward Gibbon – “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”

Relevant quotes:

“There is no more Palestine. Finished . . .” Moshe Dayan As quoted in TIME Magazine (30 July 1973)

“We don’t have a solution, and you will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants will go, and will see how this procedure will work out.” Moshe Dayan speaking of the Palestinians, in Mehiro shel Ihud (Revivim, 1985) by Yossi Beilin, p. 42

“Um-Shmum” David Ben Gurion

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

The Israelis are playing with fire…

7:35 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Nick Cook, 36, of Grand Ledge did two tours in Iraq and, as an Army troop commander, lost five soldiers. “For me, it’s very upsetting,” he said, “I watch what’s happening there. My first six months, it was very intense fighting in Baghdad, but then there was prosperity and good news. And to see that now on the verge of collapse, and knowing I lost five soldiers, it’s very hard. These kids may have died in vain.” (…) It also was a costly war financially for the U.S. The war will eventually cost U.S. taxpayers at least $2.2 trillion, including long-term care for wounded veterans, according to a 2013 study by the Costs of War project, based at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. Detroit Free Press

“If people don’t do politics, others will do it for you. And when others do it for you, they can steal your rights, your democracy and your wallet.” Pablo Iglesias – Podemos

The Middle East now has been torn apart by American invasions and attacks, and careless ideas about how to remake other peoples’ lives according to our own ideas about how they should live and behave and believe. It’s been like the Huns passing through: millions are dead, cities in ruins, the Muslims at war with one another. Iraq and Syria, and probably Jordan, as they exist today, and possibly Lebanon, may never recover from this. The Arabs will survive, and one day Palestine and ancient Syria and Mesopotamia will undoubtedly be reconstituted. Israel? It has existed as a modern state for little more than six decades, although it too existed in antiquity. Will modern Israel still exist at the end of this century? After all that has, and will, happen? I wonder what is the answer. William Pfaff

Through their actions, young American Jews can shape the way a Jewish state wields power. And how Jews behave with power represents a post facto referendum on the Jewish ethical tradition itself. We should tell them that if they believe Jews possess a special passion for justice, they must prove it. And they must prove it in Israel, because although justice is endangered in the United States and all over the world, only in Israel is the Jewish people’s honor at stake. Peter Beinart – Haaretz

Things change if people make them change.

Things have changed since the American people were encouraged to put Vietnam behind them and “move on”. The “gate keeper” function of  “mainstream media” which worked mightily to that end is, if not dead, very, very sick and not expected to recover… especially when confronting something as stubborn as Middle Eastern reality.

Unlike “manufactured consent” social media opinion  today is largely grassroots, village-like. It is a  sullen, brooding, self-confirming, bench tested, consensus, slow to build, hard to budge and in this sense “authentic”.

Many commentators discount the sullen power of public opinion, this is most unwise. Publicists and think tanks can spend billions trying to convince the public that the sky is green and the grass is blue, but to no effect, finally their efforts boil down to Redd Fox’s cheating wife, who, when caught in the act, tells her furious husband, “go on, believe your goddamn, lying eyes!“.

This is now the case of American public opinion and the Middle East. Liberal-Interventionists can whine and Neocons can howl, but Americans have had enough of the Middle East, they will not be easily dragged back there again to spend blood and treasure poring sand down a rat hole and will resent mightily anyone who tries to drag them back.

Netanyahu and the settlers should not press their luck much farther, if Israel negotiates a two state solution with the Palestinians and pulls back to something like the 1967 borders, I believe that Americans would still be willing and still be able to defend that status with decisive armed force and considerable soft power, but that is certainly not the direction things are moving. What I don’t think is that Americans will agree to sending their sons and daughters to die defending apartheid and ethnic cleansing or agree to pay for that out of their taxes. Time is running out.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com/

Middle Eastern Mysterium Fidei (poetry warning)

7:52 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton


In olden times

In so often troubled Palestine,

So it happened, so long ago,

Before the world was old,

Or so they say,

The way the story’s told,

That by a pigeon out of the purist girl,

Sprang forth the Living Water,

From this radiant Jewish daughter,

To redeem an errant world.

Now the heaven sent,

Water and daughter,

Wonder where the pigeon went

And why.

Is he gone to a shudder of love?

Or

Gone with the truth of a dying eye?

 

 

Obama’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem… yada yada yada

11:37 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

The US is hoping that Obama’s positive first trip will reinvigorate peace efforts, though most settlers are not worried. They see the composition of the new Israeli cabinet as a reassurance that Israeli policy will move away from peace negotiations. Christian Science Monitor

Obama’s visit to Israel was strictly for domestic American consumption, because unless the president and Netanyahu took a decision on when to attack or not attack Iran or intervene in Syria’s civil war, which they could have done by telephone, his trip was strictly a public relations exercise, certainly it wont affect the “Peace Process” or lead to Palestinian statehood.

The much talked about “Two State Solution” is not stalled or even dead, it never existed: it and the “Peace Process” said to leading to the founding of a “viable, contiguous, Palestinian state”,  or even a Bantustan, was never more than a way of stalling, killing time, running out the clock. Israel has been waiting for a moment that now appears to be fast approaching: the disintegration of the Middle East as the west has known it since the end of World War One. In a short time all of the borders that were designed during the First World War by Britain and France  to suit western interests, will now probably become undefined, fluid if not gaseousjust as Israel’s own borders are.

You may not have noticed, but Israel’s frontiers have been undefined since 1967. The objective of the Israelis in avoiding the “Two State Solution” is  to not define them “prematurely”, before all the pieces on board start to move.  In times like these, the last thing the Israelis want is to be the only ones with firmly drawn frontiers when all other borders in the Middle East are going to be negotiable. The settlers are not an “obstacle to peace”, they are merely an excuse for Israel not to define those frontiers.

This Middle Eastern disintegration has been a long time coming and perfectly foreseeable by anyone as cool headed and long headed as the Israelis. The neocon led invasion of Iraq with its “real men go to Tehran” leitmotif, was itself a desperate, Hail Mary pass, attempt to control the events that are now taking place with that certain spontaneity of what looks like a historically driven process.

“What we’re seeing here is, in a sense, the growing—the birth pangs of a new Middle East, and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East”. Condoleezza Rice – 2006

Just in case you don’t know what the “old Middle East” looked like, check this map… As you can see, it’s mostly about Turkey and Iran… Not many borders visible except theirs and Britain’s protectorates and today the British, who used to control Egypt, are no longer players… and as you may have noticed lately, America’s once smothering grip on the area is fading fast.
Map-ME-1914
At this moment Syria is literally disintegrating, spewing nearly half a million refugees into tiny, neighboring  Jordan, where the Palestinian majority is permanently restless and the influence of the Muslim brotherhood is growing. The Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt and Hamas in Gaza is an offshoot of the Brotherhood; and then there is always Al Qaeda which is growing exponentially in the Syrian conflict. So much for the Sunnis

As to the Shiites: Iran besides working diligently on developing atomic capabilities is fighting a proxy war alongside Assad in Syria, is the major power influence in Iraq and is heavily arming  Shiite Hezbollah on Israel’s Lebanese border…

What could the Israelis expect to achieve as all this comes unraveled and the shooting starts?

Simple: they could ethnically cleanse Judea, Samaria, Gaza (and maybe Israel itself too while they are at it) all in the midst of the confusion of a military free for all.  Chaos with thousands of refugees simultaneously in movement everywhere… and when the dust settles, let the Palestinians establish their “viable and contiguous state” on the ruins of the Jordanian monarchy as a Sunni buffer between Israel and Shiite Iraq… if they so desire.

Who thought all this up? Ariel Sharon, I should imagine, who else?

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Palestine at the UN

12:24 pm in Uncategorized by David Seaton

Some commentators have said the UN vote, which, by a massive majority, gave Palestine observer status is meaningless… Meaningless?

Now, for starters, we finally are not talking about a stateless “PLO” or the “Palestinian people”, we are talking about “Palestine“, a country that now actually and officially exists as a sovereign state, although its territory is totally occupied and subjugated and slowly being colonized, by another state, Israel.

The Israelis, of course act as if nothing had happened, in fact to show their contempt for the UN vote they have authorized the construction of 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, only a day after the UN upgraded the Palestinians’ status.

As always any body or anybody that backs Israel into a political or humanitarian corner immediately ceases to be “a credible mediator”, or “partner for peace”, that is the general hasbara line and always has been. Nothing new here, except it wont work anymore.

The significance of the UN vote is that as of now, the vast majority of the world’s sovereign states, with their vote, or with their abstention, have simply told Israel that it ceases to have that special status of political and moral immunity that it has hidden behind until now.

Even Germany abstained!

That is how much moral legitimacy Israel has lost; Germany dared to abstain!

Not important? To begin with the UN vote is a universal slap down of American hypocrisy and the US role in the pantomime “peace process”… It also drains a lot of energy from the march to war with Iran.

But, in my opinion the most important thing the UN vote does is to firmly underline the validity and continuing relevance of the post – six day war, UN Resolution-242, which most Israelis consider a joke.

Now the West Bank territories that are illegally occupied by Israeli troops and “settlers” are clearly the legitimate property of a people whose existence and rights as the citizens of a universally recognized, but illegally occupied, state have now been overwhelmingly validated by the “international community”…

This leads us to the point that most worries the Israelis: the possibility that the state of Palestine will take the state of Israel to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. And well the Israelis may worry: for decades they have been in flagrant violation of international law as an occupying power with hundreds of well documented incidents, each of which could lead to international arrest warrants.

The UN vote has made it clear that if Israel doesn’t change its ways, it is about to gain apartheid-South African-pos-Milosevic-Serbian status. This will certainly complicate things for them in dealing with their only friendly neighbors and major trading partner, the EU, both culturally and commercially.

Because Israel is about to replace apartheid South Africa as a universal pariah.

Not important? I cannot think of any comparable disaster in the entire history of modern Israel.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com.es

Fatah’s corruption is the origin of Hamas’s power

11:14 am in Uncategorized by David Seaton

I posted the following to my blog on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 and reading it today, I find it rather prophetic… I wish all my old posts were this well aimed.


Fatah’s corruption is the origin of Hamas’s power – June 20, 2007

In contemplating the Hamas takeover of Gaza, observers seem to be missing something obvious: Hamas has just produced a de facto “two state solution”… history’s first example of a “free Palestine”. Gaza is now governed by the winner of what international observers considered at the time a “model” democratic election and they are untainted in Arab eyes by subservience to Washington. At the same time, on the West Bank, the “other” Palestine, is still effectively controlled by the Israelis and their “separation wall”, private roads, checkpoints and growing settlements, all of which makes president, Mohammed Abbas look like little more than an American puppet charged with protecting Israeli lives and property. In Gaza, as Tony Karon, a senior editor of Time Magazine and expert on Middle Eastern affairs wrote, “Having trounced Fatah on the polls, Hamas now moved to trounce them on the streets,” using what Jimmy Carter called Hamas’s, “superior skills and discipline.”

It wasn’t Palestinian religious fervor that opened the doors for Hamas, it was Hamas’s honesty and Fatah’s corruption. The strategy the “west” has decided to follow now is to strangle Hamas and fatten Fatah. This is difficult because Hamas needs very little to get by and Fatah’s proven capacity to engulf donor’s money uselessly is limitless. A basic principal is at work here that explains the fall of Fatah and the rise of Hamas: when public servants are honest and hardworking it is surprising how much can be done with little money, but crooked politicians are a literally a bottomless pit. If the United States, Israel and the hapless European Union, were intelligent they would shower money on Hamas, hoping to corrupt them in the same way they did Fatah during the “Peace Process”. Hamas’s strategy is simple, as Ahmed Yousef the political adviser to the democratically elected Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniya, explained in the New York Times, “We have begun disarming the drug dealers and the armed gangs and we hope to restore a sense of security and safety to the citizens of Gaza. We want to get children back to school, get basic services functioning again. (…) Our sole focus is Palestinian rights and good governance.”

The “international community”, by encouraging the Palestinian split, are giving Hamas and Fatah each their separate, universally publicized, chemically pure showcase: one for Hamas to demonstrate disciplined sacrifice and another for Fatah to demonstrate feckless larceny. This may have the unintended result of publicizing the Muslim Brotherhood style of government all over the endemically corrupt Middle East: something that could destabilize the west’s “moderate” allies in the region.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com.es/2007/06/fatahs-corruption-is-origin-of-hamass.html

Netanyahu’s target is Obama, not Iran

1:09 pm in Uncategorized by David Seaton

It cannot be denied that the Holocaust theme has served Netanyahu well politically. As many commentators have pointed out, Netanyahu has succeeded in reframing political discourse on the Middle East: this visit to the U.S. was the first in a long time in which the Palestinian issue was completely off the table. Nobody even raised the question of settlement construction or the old question how to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiation table. Instead of being on the defensive on the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu is now on the offensive on Iran. By invoking the allied power’s failure to disrupt the Nazis sending millions to concentration camps in 1944, he is reminding the Free World of a horrible mistake, and demanding that this mistake not be repeated. Carlo Strenger – Haaretz

Observing Netanyahu’s continuous invocation of the Holocaust and the imminent threat of Iran annihilating the Jewish people, it is passing curious to note that much of the most qualified Israeli military and intelligence community is openly against attacking Iran and neither are most Israelis.

Most Israelis believe that if the United States does not attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Israel must no try to do so alone, according to a Haaretz poll.

This lack of enthusiasm by informed Israelis and the Israeli street at such a moment of declared existential threat,  makes me suspect that Iran is not really Bibi’s true objective, that is to say, this hysterical lead up to war is merely a tactical “feint” to distract world attention from his true strategic objective.

I believe that the prime strategic objective of Netanyahu, and the hard Israeli right wing that he represents, is to prevent, at any cost, the  final delimitation of Israel’s borders. Because any “two state” solution of the Palestinian problem, however modest and fudged it might be, would create a Palestinian state in “Judea” and “Samaria”, whose boundaries would be sanctioned by the United Nations. This would mean kissing goodbye, or putting on ice, any hope of finally creating the ultra-right dream of “Greater Israel”.

What is Greater Israel? Lets look at this map from Wikipedia Commons:

“Greater Israel” – Wikipedia Commons

As you can see from the map or from the Wikipedia article, we are talking here about “Biblical” Israel.

The Bible contains three geographical definitions of the Land of Israel. The first, found in Genesis 15:18-21, is vague. It describes a large territory, “from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”, comprising all of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Lebanon, as well as large parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The proportion of current Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey included in this territory is debatable. The other two definitions are found in Numbers 34:1-15 and Ezekiel 47:13-20 and describe a smaller territory

Now, polls usually show that most Israelis would accept, perhaps welcome, a two state solution, based on the 1967 frontiers, with “minor adjustments”(the devil being in the details). That being so, it isn’t difficult to see that a lot of the pressure to keep a settlement of the Palestinian problem from being solved is coming from outside Israel. In fact, much of the sound and fury is coming from right wing, American, Jewish people, who are doubly adamant supports, having, as many Israelis note, no actual skin in the game. This reminds me of how rich Irish-Americans used to raise money to finance and arm the IRA.

A prime example of this group of “more Zionist than thou” Americans would be casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who someone no less than George W. Bush, described as a “crazy Jewish billionaire”. Adelson, the third richest man in the USA, who according to The New Yorker, “is fiercely opposed to a two-state solution”, is bankrolling the campaign of Newt Gingrich to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars, in order to have him describe the Palestinians as an “invented people”. Gingrich is not going to be the Republican candidate, but he is setting the tone: no Republican would like to appear less pro-Israel than New Gingrich in an election year, all of them are accusing Obama of selling out Israel. With Netanyahu feeding the hysteria these attacks and calls for war with Iran, will become even more shrill.

Well, obviously the President of the United States, today Barack Obama, is going to come into any issue touching foreign affairs, but why would the Israel Lobby and Netanyahu have any beef with such a malleable pragmatist as Barack Obama, someone who is easily as adept as any other American politician in swearing eternal fealty to Israel?

The first reason is that he is on track to win a second and final term as president.

The first two years of any US president’s second term of office is famously/notoriously the only time when he is free to lead, or get anything important done. In his first term, he spends four years running for reelection and during the last two years of a hypothetical second term he is considered a “lame duck” who becomes daily more irrelevant as the excruciatingly, interminable American presidential cycle kicks in once more and begins to dilute and drain out his power and relevance. The sixth and seventh year of a US presidency are the dangerous years, this is when a president might actually do something in the genuine public interest. Some of these people even begin to think about their “legacy”, like an aging lady of the evening who begins going to church, presidents suddenly aspire to virtue… Very dangerous that legacy stuff.

So from the point of anyone who influences politics by funding politician’s election campaigns, first term presidents are to be greatly preferred to second term presidents. Obvious, right? So Obama, despite all his professed love for Israel, has that against him from get-go this year.

This takes us back to the Middle East and the second reason for trying to derail Obama.

As you may have noticed the Middle East is on the boil, and how to stabilize the most important oil and gas producing region on earth is a  priority for everybody, everywhere, now, with the world economy teetering on the brink of a great depression.

After, supporting tyrannical Arab regimes for decades, invading Iraq and botching up the occupation and never missing a chance to kowtow to the Israelis, America’s credibility at present is as low as a snake’s abdomen. Except for killing people and blowing things up, nobody is expecting much from the USA these days in the Middle East.

There is one thing that has worldwide support and universal approval,  something, which would at least give the USA a minimum of credibility and that something would be to finally “solve” the Palestinian problem and give them a state of their own… and the six and seventh year of a second term American president would make that something look doable

Now cynics among you will point out that all the versions of that proposed state that the USA has ever put forward added up to miserable little unarmed bantustans cut up by Israeli security roads, without control over the water under them and without sovereignty over the airspace above them… And I doubt if even the most “liberated” version of Barack Obama would ask for much more than that. And even something that mild and decaffeinated would probably justify his heretofore absurd Nobel Peace Prize and refurbish his tattered image as “The One”.

Why should this be such a huge problem?

Because, even such a pitiful, Swiss cheese, scrap of a state would finally and unambiguously establish the frontiers of Israel and put paid to the dream of Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlema (greater Israel).

And in my humble opinion, it is the fear of that, and not the fear of a nuclear Holocaust that is behind Netanyahu’s hysterical push toward war. He is trying to create a damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario for Barack Obama to see if he can derail his reelection and get himself another first term president to manipulate at will.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com