September 2012 Archives

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This is encouraging news. I despise the business of politics – all the manipulation and the half-truths. It is encouraging if people across America are finally recognizing what Netanyahu is up to – trying to push the world into a war that will be in nobody’s interests.

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source: 972mag.com…

By Lisa Goldman

|Published September 13, 2012

Mainstream American media and pro-Israel pols are turning against Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu seems to have miscalculated with his latest attempt to bait President Obama and manipulate the results of the U.S. elections results. On Monday, Netanyahu leveled what the New York Times described as “unusually harsh public comments about Israel’s most important ally,” regarding the Obama administration’s policy on Iran. Speaking in English one day after Secretary of State Clinton said the United States was “not setting deadlines” regarding military action against Iran, Netanyahu said:

The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.

As Noam Sheizaf reports, this speech was followed by a claim from the prime minister’s office that Obama had rejected a request for a meeting during Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the U.N., where he is scheduled to address the General Assembly. The White House denied the snub, Obama called Netanyahu – reportedly at 3 a.m. – to have a one-hour chat and thus both sides pulled back from the brink of a public rupture, just two months before the presidential elections.

But then something interesting happened. Yesterday, a prominent U.S. senator and two important journalists made highly critical remarks about Netanyahu. The blunt wording is almost unprecedented in mainstream American discourse.

Senator Barbara Boxer published a letter to Netanyahu on her website as a press release, titled “Boxer Expresses Disappointment Over Israeli Prime Minister’s Remarks.” In the opening paragraph she describes herself as “one of Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress” (which she is), and then characterizes Netanyahu’s remarks as “utterly contrary to the extraordinary United States-Israel alliance, evidenced by President Obama’s record and the record of Congress.” After offering a detailed list of the extraordinary measures the president has taken to ensure Israel’s security, particularly the enacting of the U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act, the senator writes:

In light of this, I am stunned by the remarks that you made this week regarding U.S. support for Israel. Are you suggesting that the United States is not Israel’s closest ally and does not stand by Israel? Are you saying that Israel, under President Obama, has not received more in annual security assistance from the United States than at any time in its history, including for the Iron Dome Missile Defense System?

David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, also had some harsh words for Netanyahu in a piece, Neocon Gambits (“Have Netanyahu’s Attacks on Obama Gone too Far?), published yesterday on the magazine’s web site. He pulls no punches in his opening paragraph:

It is hard to overestimate the risks that Benjamin Netanyahu poses to the future of his own country. As Prime Minister, he has done more than any other political figure to embolden and elevate the reactionary forces in Israel, to eliminate the dwindling possibility of a just settlement with the Palestinians, and to isolate his country on the world diplomatic stage. Now Netanyahu seems determined, more than ever, to alienate the President of the United States and, as an ally of Mitt Romney’s campaign, to make himself a factor in the 2012 election—one no less pivotal than the most super Super PAC.

But then we come to the main point:

In Netanyahu’s view, Obama, despite instituting crippling economic sanctions, despite carrying out a series of covert operations, despite diplomatic pressure, despite vows that an Iranian bomb is impermissible—despite all that—is weak and deluded. The Israeli Prime Minister has made no secret of his distrust, even though Israeli politicians acknowledge that intelligence and defense coöperation has never been stronger. His trusted American allies are not the elected President but, rather, his friends on the American right, the politicians, business people, and lobbyists, who are never willing to disagree with Israel at all.

Remnick seems genuinely outraged. Netanyahu’s “performance,” he writes,” is in the same neocon voice as the one adopted by the Romney campaign and in its opportunistic reaction to the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic outposts in Cairo and Benghazi, which left our Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other consular employees dead.”

And then Joe Klein, another prominent U.S journalist, said during an MSNBC interview that Netanyahu’s remarks were “brazen” and “disgusting.”

I don’t think I’ve ever, in the 40 years I’ve been doing this, have heard of another of an American ally trying to push us into war as blatantly and trying to influence an American election as blatantly as Bibi Netanyahu and the Likud party in Israel is doing right now. I think it’s absolutely outrageous and disgusting. It’s not a way that friends treat each other. And it is cynical and it is brazen. And by the way, a little bit of history here: In December of 2006, George W. Bush went over to the Pentagon, met with the joint chiefs of staff and asked them, “What do you think about military action in Iran?” They were unanimously opposed to it. And as far as I know, the United States military, the leaders of the United States military, are unanimously opposed to it to this day. This is a fool’s errand. It would be a ridiculous war with absolutely no good coming of it.

Mainstream America is not interested in going to war with Iran, it seems. Nor does it take kindly to a foreign leader meddling so obviously in domestic politics. Perhaps the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens was the final straw, but I think the remarks made by Boxer, Klein and Remnick were a long time coming. The fact that they are all Jewish gives the lie to Sheldon Adelson’s claim that he represents the mainstream Jewish community’s point of view – as does a quick perusal of the names of the biggest donors to the Obama campaign (the bundlers).

Meanwhile, the abysmal relationship between Obama and Netanyahu is Politico’s top story today.

“There is a lack of rapport between these two men — they don’t like each other very much. Plus, there are serious differences between our interests and Israel’s own security interests,” said former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who was present for several of Obama’s nine face-to-face meetings with Netanyahu.

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Once again, a powerful and succinct analysis from Uri Avnery – founder of the Israeli Peace Bloc , Gush Shalom

His estimate of Romney’s Foreign Affairs knowledge is undoubtedly correct. Romney offers a no-state and no-hope solution.

I always appreciate Avnery’s optimism with regards to the ongoing possibility of a ‘two-state solution’. What I am less convinced by is his pessimism regarding the so-called ‘one-state solution’.

Avnery says, “The possibility that these two peoples could live peacefully in one state, serving in the same army and police, paying the same taxes and abiding by the same laws enacted by the same common parliament, is nil.” I would have thought that both South Africa and Northern Ireland, while being far from perfect situations, suggest that such a state of peace might be achievable?

Either way, one thing seems clear – that peace in any such form become even less likely should Romney be elected President in the USA!

Father Dave

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

September 22, 2012

A Message from Romnyahu

ONCE UPON a time, President Richard Nixon wanted to appoint a certain lawyer to the US Supreme Court.

“But the man is a complete moron!” one senator exclaimed.

“So what,” answered another, “There are a great many morons in the US, and they have a right to be represented in the court as much as any other sector of society.”

Perhaps the United Morons of America have a right to elect Mitt Romney president. But for the sake of the US and Israel, I hope that this will not happen.

Some people say that Israel is the 51st state of the Union. Some say that it is the first among the 51. Whatever, our lives – and perhaps our deaths – depend to a great extent on the man in the White House.

So, with all my misgivings (and I have a lot) about Barack Obama, I very much hope that he will be re-elected.

IN HIS latest seizure of wisdom, Romney did not only disclose that 47% of Americans are parasites, but also that “the Palestinians” want to destroy Israel. According to him, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has no solution, it will go on forever.

I wonder where he got this last piece from.

In Nazi Germany there was a certain Herr Doktor Otto Dietrich, a functionary of the Ministry for Propaganda.  Every day, he would gather the editors of the important newspapers in Berlin and tell them what their headline and editorial were going to be the next day.

That was before the Internet and fax. Nowadays, the Prime Minister’s office faxes a daily ‘page of messages” to Netanyahu’s ministers and other stooges, telling them what messages they are to spread.

I strongly suspect that Romney read this page of messages just before he met his audience, composed of billionaires (or mere millionaires). After all, he couldn’t have invented these astounding pieces of insight all by himself, could he?

“THE PALESTINIANS” means “all Palestinians”. All  nine million of them in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Israel, not to forget the refugees around the world.

Well, I suppose that if by divine intervention Israel were to disappear from the globe, very few Palestinians would shed a tear. Neither would many Israelis shed a tear if, again by divine intervention, all the Palestinians disappeared. Quite a few Israelis would even volunteer to help God Almighty in this task. Who knows, if Romney’s evangelical friends pray enough, their God may dematerialize all those Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, Iranians and assorted other miscreants.

Alas, such fantasies belong to the realms of dreams and nightmares. In the real world, peoples do not disappear even after gruesome genocides, nor can states which possess nuclear bombs be eradicated by foreign enemies.

I know quite a number of Palestinians, and not one of them believes that Israel can be annihilated. Since Yasser Arafat decided in late 1973 that he must come to terms with Israel, the great majority of Palestinians want a deal that will enable them to set up a state of their own in a part of historical Palestine. This is called the “two-state solution”.

The present government of Israel does not want this, because they are not ready to give up the 22% of historical Palestine which would become the State of Palestine. Since they have no viable alternative, the government’s spokespeople assert that “this conflict has no solution”.

One of the fathers of this slogan is Ehud Barak. After the failed 2000 Camp David meeting, Barak, then Prime Minister, famously declared that “we have no partner for peace”. Since Barak was the main cause for the meeting’s failure, I dubbed him “peace criminal”.

Netanyahu gratefully picked up Barak’s cry, and now the great majority in Israel believes this message implicitly. (Recently I was interviewed by a Danish journalist. I told her: When we finish, stop the first taxi. Ask the driver about peace. He will tell you “Peace would be wonderful. I am ready to give back all the territories for peace. But unfortunately the Arabs will never make peace with us,” An hour later the journalist excitedly called me: “I did as you told me, and the driver repeated your words one by one.”)

“No solution” gives an impression of “everything will remain as it is”. That is a mistake. Nothing remains as it is. Things move all the time, settlements expand, Palestinians will rise up, the world is in flux, the Arab world changes, some day an American president will put the interests of the US ahead of those of Israel. Where will we be then?

THE GIST of Romney’s message is that the two-state solution is dead. This reminds me of Mark Twain’s famous: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”

It is now in fashion to say so. Quite a trend. However, different people have different reasons for believing that the two-state solution is dead.

Parents, teachers, paedophiles and cannibals all say they love children. But their motives are not the same. This is also true for the would-be undertakers of the two-state solution. They include:

One: Idealists, who wish for people of different nations to live together in harmony and equality in one state. (I would like them to study the history of the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Sudan, and the present situation of the French in Canada, Scots in Britain, Flemish in Belgium and Basques and Catalans in Spain.)

Two: Arabs, who really believe that this is a peaceful way to get rid of Israel.

Three: Settlers, who want to turn the whole of historical Palestine into their dominion and, if possible, “cleanse” the country of non-Jews.

Four: Israelis, who believe that the settlements have created a situation that is “irreversible”. (Meron Benvenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, coined this phrase already in the early 1980s, when there were less than 100 thousand settlers. I told him then that nothing was irreversible except death. Situations created by human beings can be changed by human beings.)

Five: Anti-Zionists, including Jewish anti-Zionists, who hate Zionism indiscriminately, with all its good and bad aspects, and for whom the very existence of a “Jewish” state is an abomination.

Six: Muslim fanatics, who believe that Palestine is a Muslim waqf (religious grant), so that allowing any part of it to non-Muslims is a deadly sin.

Seven: Jewish fanatics, who believe that all of Eretz-Israel, from the Nile to the Euphrates, has been promised to the Jews by God, so that conceding any part of it to non-Jews is a deadly sin.

Eight: Christian fanatics, who believe that the second coming of Jesus Christ will be possible only after the ingathering of all the Jews in this country (with no place in it for anyone else.)

Sorry if I have forgotten someone.

SOME OF these people have invented something called the “one-state solution”. That is an oxymoron. There is a one-state problem, there is no one-state solution.

From time to time it is worthwhile to come back to the basic facts of our life:

There are two peoples living in this country.

Neither of the two will go away. They are here to stay.

While the Arab Palestinians living in the country are still a minority, they will constitute the majority quite soon.

Both peoples are intensely nationalistic.

The two peoples have different cultures, languages, religions, historic narratives, social structures, standards of living. At present, after some 130 years of continuous conflict, there is intense hatred between them.

The possibility that these two peoples could live peacefully in one state, serving in the same army and police, paying the same taxes and abiding by the same laws enacted by the same common parliament, is nil.

The possibility that these two peoples could live peacefully side-by-side in two states, each with its own flag and its own elected government (and its own soccer team), does exist.

Such co-existence can take different forms: from a loose confederation with open borders and free movement to closer forms of evolving structures, like the European Union.

I hope that this is not too complicated for Mitt Romney to understand. But this may become irrelevant if – as I fervently hope – he is not elected.

I would hate for an ignoramus to be given the opportunity to learn world affairs on our backs.

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Dr Ilan Pappe

Dr Ilan Pappe

Ilan Pappe was Professor of History at Haifa University in Israel when he started publicly questioning the official narrative of his country – that it had been a ‘land without a people‘ when the State of Israel was founded in 1948. He is now based in Britain, and lectured across Australia during the month of September.

Below you’ll find the video of Pappe’s first address in Australia. It was given at Sydney University to a full house. Below the video you’ll find links to a video and audio recordings of a variety of other appearances Pappe made in Australia.

Let me introduce the Sydney University talk with some observations of Pappe made by Sonja Karkar – editor of Australians for Palestine:

Simply, the man is extraordinary – his intellect, his wit, his clarity, his moral integrity, his humility, his courtesy all combine to make him the most formidable speaker yet to talk truth to power. Ilan Pappe has had audiences riveted to every word as he makes his way from city to city on his Australian lecture tour.  Those who have heard him more than once are just as captivated the second and more times around which is due to his amazing ability to construct a very human story out of the historical facts, so even those who thought they’ve heard it all before, feel their eyes tear up and their hearts go out to the forgotten Palestinians.  At a dinner in Parliament House last night, he said to forget about the peace process, Oslo, solutions and think instead about the sheer cruelty of what is being done to the Palestinians on a systematic day-to-day basis that never captures dramatic headlines, and yet cumulatively over decades, is worse than even the worst days of apartheid in South Africa.  The simplicity of his words struck home: he was holding up a mirror to our own human condition and vulnerabilities.

Other recordings of Ilan Pappe’s appearances in Australia:

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Here’s a brilliant essay by retired CIA officer turned political activist, Ray McGovern.

McGovern once again raises the question of “Why do they hate us?” in the light of the recent violent protests by Muslim people against the United States around the world. He comprehensively puts the lie to the inane response to this question given by former President Bush – that ‘they hate us for our freedom’. No George. They hate you for your foreign policy. McGovern also shines a light on the clear attempts that have been made to hide that truth from the American public!

Highlights are courtesy of one of the great Fighting Fathers of California, Claudia Devaux.

Father Dave

Ray McGovern

Ray McGovern

Source URL: www.com…

Why the Mideast Exploded, Really

by Ray McGovern

“Why Is the Arab world so easily offended?” asks the headline atop an article by Fouad Ajami, which the Washington Post published online last Friday to give perspective to the recent anti-American violence in Muslim capitals.

While the Post described Ajami simply as a “senior fellow” at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, Wikipedia gives a more instructive perspective on his checkered career and dubious credibility.

An outspoken supporter of the war on Iraq, Ajami was still calling it a “noble effort” well after it went south. He is a friend and colleague of one of the war’s intellectual authors, neocon Paul Wolfowitz, and also advised Condoleezza Rice. It was apparently Wolfowitz or Rice who fed Ajami’s analyses to then-Vice President Dick Cheney, who cited Ajami’s views repeatedly in speeches.

The most telling example of this came in Cheney’s VFW address on August 26, 2002, in which the Vice President laid down the terms of reference for the planned attack on Iraq. Attempting to assuage concerns about the upcoming invasion, Cheney cited Ajami’s analysis: “As for the reaction of the Arab ‘street,’ the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation, the streets in Basra and Baghdad are ‘sure to erupt in joy in the same way the throngs in Kabul greeted the Americans.’”

In his writings, Ajami did warn, in a condescending way, that one could expect some “road rage … of a thwarted Arab world – the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds.” He then added:

“There is no need to pay excessive deference to the political pieties and givens of the region. Indeed, this is one of those settings where a reforming foreign power’s simpler guidelines offer a better way than the region’s age-old prohibitions and defects.”

No One Better?

Ignoring the albatross of tarnished credentials hanging around Ajami’s neck, the Post apparently saw him as just the right academician to put perspective on the violence of last week in Middle East capitals. As for his record of credibility: Well, who takes the trouble to go to Wikipedia for information on pundits?

Nor were the Post’s editors going to take any chances that its newspaper readers might miss the benefit of Ajami’s wisdom. So the Post gave pride of place to the same article in Sunday’s Outlook section, as well. What the Post and other mainstream media want us to believe comes through clearly in the title given to the article’s jump portion, which dominates page 5: “Why a YouTube trailer ignited Muslim rage.”

Setting off the article were large, scary photos: on page one, a photo of men brandishing steel pipes to hack into the windows of the U.S. embassy in Yemen; the page-5 photo showed a masked protester, as he “ran from a burning vehicle near the U.S. embassy in Cairo.”

So – to recapitulate – the Post’s favored editorial narrative of the Mideast turmoil is that hypersensitive, anti-American Muslims are doing irrational stuff like killing U.S. diplomats and torching our installations. This violence was the result of Arabs all too ready to take offense at a video trailer disrespectful of the Prophet.

Nonetheless, it seems to be true that the trailer did have some immediate impact and will have more. According to an eyewitness, the 30 local guards who were supposed to protect the U.S. consulate in Benghazi simply ran away as the violent crowd approached on Tuesday night.

Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya’s Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the video trailer which made the guards abandon their post.

“There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Predictably, Islamophobes and Muslim haters with influence over Western media coverage are citing the violence as the kind of “irrational” over-reaction that “exposes” Islam’s intolerance and incompatibility with democratic values and demonstrates that Islam is on a collision course with the West.

It is no surprise that Ajami gives no attention to the many additional factual reasons explaining popular outrage against the U.S. and its representatives – reasons that go far deeper than a video trailer, offensive though it was. Ajami steers clear of the dismal effects of various U.S. policies over the years on people across the Muslim world – in countries like Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Tunisia, Libya, Afghanistan. (The list stretches as far as distant Indonesia, the most populous Muslim state.)

Last week’s violence not only reflects the deep anger at and distrust of the U.S. across the Islamic world, but also provides insight into the challenges posed by the power now enjoyed by the forces of extremism long held in check by the dictators toppled by last year’s wave of revolutions.

Cui Bono?

Who are the main beneficiaries of misleading narratives like that of Ajami. He himself concedes, “It is never hard to assemble a crowd of young protesters in the teeming cities of the Muslim world. American embassies and consulates are magnets for the disgruntled.”

So, does that mean the notorious video trailer is best regarded as a catalyst for the angry protests rather than the underlying cause? In other words, if the video served as the spark, who or what laid the kindling? Who profits from the narrative that neocons are trying so hard to embed in American minds?

Broad hints can be seen in the Washington Post’s coverage over recent days – including a long piece by its Editorial Board, “Washington’s role amid the Mideast struggle for power,” published the same day Ajami’s article appeared online.

What the two have in common is that the word “Israel” appears in neither piece. One wonders how and why the Post‘s editors could craft a long editorial on the “Mideast struggle for power” — and give editorial prominence to Ajami’s article — without mentioning Israel.

Presumably because the Post’s readers aren’t supposed to associate the fury on the Arab “street” with anger felt by the vast majority Arabs over what they see as U.S. favoritism toward Israel and neglect for the plight of the Palestinians. The Israeli elephant, with the antipathy and resentment its policies engender, simply cannot be allowed into the discussion.

In the circumstances of last week, Israel may be less a centerpiece than the ugly Islamophobia that has found a home in America. But these factors tend to build on and reinforce each other. And the indignities suffered at the hand of Israel certainly has resonance is the larger context of Muslims who feel their religion and culture are under attack in a variety of ways.

“Why Do They Hate Us?”

On Saturday, during a live interview on Al-Jazeera, I tried to inject some balance into the discussion. I noted that one key reason for the antipathy toward the U.S. among Muslims is the close identification of the U.S. with Israel and the widespread realization that support from Washington enables Israel’s policies of oppression and warmongering against the Palestinians and its regional neighbors.

[As an example of that Israeli brutality and American complicity, an op-ed in Monday’s New York Times detailed how U.S. diplomats in 1982 acquiesced to Israeli actions in Lebanon that led to the massacre of defenseless Palestinian civilians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.]

As to “why they hate us,” I had time to recall three very telling things I had mentioned in an earlier article on this sensitive topic.

  1. From the 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004, page 147, regarding the motivation of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”
  2. The mainstream-media-neglected report from the Pentagon-appointed Defense Science Board, a report that took direct issue with the notion that they hate us for our freedom. Amazingly, in their Sept. 23, 2004, report to Rumsfeld, the DSB directly contradicted what Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush had been saying about “why they hate us.” Here’s part of what the DSB said:“Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”The New York Times ignored the Defense Science Board’s startling explanation (as it has other references to the elephant plopped on the sofa). On Nov. 24, 2004, the erstwhile “newspaper of record” did publish a story on the board’s report — but performed some highly interesting surgery.

    Thom Shanker of the Times quoted the paragraph beginning with “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom’” (see above), but he or his editors deliberately cut out the following sentence about what Muslims do object to, i.e., U.S. “one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights” and support for tyrannical regimes.

    The Times then included the sentence immediately after the omitted one. In other words, it was not simply a matter of shortening the paragraph. Rather, the offending middle sentence was surgically removed.

    Equally important — and equally missing — there is never any sensible examination of the motives that might be driving what Cheney called this “same assortment of killers and would-be mass murderers [who] are still there.” We are left with Ajami’s image of hypersensitive or irrational Muslims unwilling to confront their own cultural failings.

  3. On May 21, 2009, just four months after he left office, Dick Cheney gave a speech at the neocon America Enterprise Institute and blurted out some uncharacteristic honesty. He explained why terrorists hate “all the things that make us a force for good in the world — for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences.”However, no longer enjoying the services of a functionary to vet his rhetoric, Cheney slipped up (and so did the reporters covering the event).  Expanding on the complaints of the terrorists, Cheney said:“They have never lacked for grievances against the United States. Our belief in freedom of speech and religion … our belief in equal rights for women … our support for Israel (emphasis added) — these are the true sources of resentment.”

    “Our support for Israel” – a true source of resentment. Cheney got that part right.

One Brief Shining Moment

My mind wandered back to June 2004, when former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer published his insightful book, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. The book won him interviews with the likes of NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, and – to his credit – Scheuer rose to the occasion with candor rarely heard in mainstream media before or since.

On June 23, 2004, he told Mitchell:

“It’s very hard in this country to debate policy regarding Israel … bin Laden’s ‘genius’  lies in his ability to exploit those U.S. policies most offensive to Muslims – our support for Israel, our presence on the Arabian peninsula, in Afghanistan and Iraq, our support for governments that Muslims believe oppress Muslims.”

Scheuer went on to say that bin Laden regarded the war on Iraq as proof of America’s hostility toward Muslims, and of the reality that America “is willing to do almost anything to defend Israel. The war is certainly viewed as an action meant to assist the Israeli state. It is … a godsend for those Muslims who believe as bin Laden does.”

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” he added that failure to change American policies to better match realities in the Middle East could mean decades of war. Only if the American people learn the truth could more effective strategies be fashioned and implemented, he added.

By and large, the truth-telling did not happen, so there has been but negligible pressure from the American people. The situation today differs little from then.

Indeed, in the same time frame of Scheuer’s book, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld grappled publicly with a troubling “unknown” that followed along the same lines, i.e., “whether the extremists … are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them. It is quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this.”

Since then, eight years have come and gone – with still no coherent approach and with continued media camouflaging of the bedrock reasons as to “why they hate us.”

Among the chief beneficiaries of this woodenheaded approach? One can look at the military-industrial-congressional-media-security complex, especially the war profiteers and their favored politicians who stoke fear of the “evildoers.” All the better to scare you with.

An earlier version of this essay appeared on ConsortiumNews.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. During his career as a CIA analyst, he prepared and briefed the President’s Daily Brief and chaired National Intelligence Estimates. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas

The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on September 27th 2012, calling on the UN once again to help bring an end to the injustices and oppression experienced by the Palestinian people at the hands of their Israeli overlords.

Abbas’ move to court UN support and to apply for UN recognition as a ‘non-member state’ is controversial, even amongst Palestinians. He is an unpopular figure with many Palestinians and many fear that UN recognition could work against their interests – particularly those of the 5.2 million refugees who may have even less opportunity to return to their homeland under such an arrangement. Moreover, Abbas’ bid for UN membership has never received full support from Hamas, who say that they ‘neither accept nor oppose’ the UN move.

Even so, Abbas’ speech is excellent. It pulls no punches.  He speaks frankly about “ethnic cleasning”,“al-Nakba”, “apartheid policies” and the “racist annexation wall”. At the same time he makes quite clear that his mission has nothing to do with ‘delegitimizing’ the State of Israel: “In our endeavor, we do not seek to delegitimize an existing State – that is Israel; but rather to assert the State that must be realized – that is Palestine.”

Of course the members of the UN General Assembly already know all of this, and yet they fail to act! The standing ovation at the end of Abbas’ speech is heart-warming, but will this speech result in any sort of decisive action? We can only hope and pray!

Father Dave

 

A Transcript of Abbas’ speech

“I wish to begin by extending congratulations to the President of the 67tu session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, wishing him all success. I express appreciation as well to H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz A1-Nasser for his leadership of the previous General Assembly session, and also to the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki- moon, for his tireless efforts at the helm of this organization.

Also, from the outset, I wish to affirm our appreciation to all Member States that, in their statements to this Assembly, have stressed the urgency for progress towards the realization of a just peace in our region that allows for the fulfillment by the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights. Ladies and Gentlemen,

Developments over the past year have confirmed what we have persistently drawn attention to and warned of: the catastrophic danger of the racist Israeli settlement of our country, Palestine.

During the past months, attacks by terrorist militias of Israeli settlers have become a daily reality, with at least 535 attacks perpetrated since the beginning of this year. We are facing relentless waves of attacks against our people, our mosques, churches and monasteries, and our homes and schools; they are unleashing their venom against our trees, fields, crops and properties, and our people have become fixed targets for acts of killing and abuse with the complete collusion of the occupying forces and the Israeli Government.

The escalation of settler attacks should not surprise anyone, for it is the inherent byproduct of the continuation of occupation and a government policy that deliberately fosters the settlements and settlers and deems their satisfaction to be an absolute priority. And, it is the inherent byproduct of the racist climate fueled by a culture of incitement in the Israeli curriculum and extremist declarations, which are rife with hatred and are rooted in a series of discriminatory laws created and enacted over the years against the Palestinian people, as well as by the security apparatus and courts, which provide excuse after excuse for the settlers’ crimes and for their accelerated release should one of them happen to be arrested, and by official and military commissions of inquiry, which fabricate justifications for soldiers who have committed what are clearly considered to be war crimes and perpetrated acts of murder, torture and abuse of peaceful civilians.

Over the past year, since the convening of the General Assembly’s previous session, Israel, the occupying Power, has persisted with its settlement campaign, focusing on Jerusalem and its environs. It is a campaign clearly and deliberately aimed at altering the City’s historic character and the glorious image of the Holy City etched in the minds of humankind. It is a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people via the demolition of their homes and prevention of their construction; the revocation of residency rights; the denial of basic services, especially with regard to construction of school; the closure of institutions; and the impoverishment of Jerusalem’s community via a siege of walls and checkpoints that are choking the City and preventing millions of Palestinians from freely accessing its mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and markets.

The occupying Power has also continued its construction and expansion of settlements in different areas throughout the West Bank and continued its suffocating blockade as well as raids and attacks against our people in the Gaza Strip, who to this day continue to suffer from the disastrous impact of the destructive war of aggression committed against them years ago. Nearly five thousand Palestinians also remain captive as prisoners and detainees in Israel’s jails. We call on the international community to compel the Government of Israel to respect the Geneva Conventions, to lift the blockade of Gaza and to investigate the conditions of detention of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, stressing the need for their release; they are soldiers in their people’s struggle for freedom, independence and peace.

At the same time, the occupying Power continues to tighten the siege and impose severe restrictions on movement, preventing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) from implementing vital infrastructure projects and providing services to its citizens, who are also being prevented from cultivating their land and deprived of water for irrigation. It is also obstructing the establishment of agricultural, industrial, tourism and housing projects by the private sector in vast areas of the Occupied Palestinian Authority, which are classified as areas subject to the absolute control of the occupation, which encompasses approximately 60% of the West Bank. The occupying Power continues to deliberately demolish what the PNA is building, projects funded by donor brethren and friends, and destroying PNA projects involving the building of roads, simple homes for its citizens and agricultural facilities. In fact, over the past

12 months, the Israeli occupying forces demolished 510 Palestinian structures in these areas and displaced 770 Palestinians from their homes. These illegal measures have caused great damage to our economy and impeded our development programs and private sector activity, compounding the socio-economic difficulties being endured by our people under occupation, a fact confirmed by international institutions.

Israel’s overall policy is ultimately leading to the weakening of the Palestinian National Authority, undermining its ability to carry out its functions and to implement its obligations, which threatens to undermine ks very existence and threatens its collapse.

All of this is taking place in the context of an Israeli political discourse that does not hesitate to brandish aggressive, extremist positions, which in many aspects and its practical application on the ground is inciting religious conflict. This is something we firmly reject based on our principles and convictions and our understanding what it means to fuel such fires in this very sensitive area full of explosive flashpoints and how it can fuel the action of extremists from various quarters, especially those trying to use tolerant, monotheistic religions as an ideological justification for their terrorism.

Mr. President,
 Ladies and Gentlemen,

We, on our part, and as proof our seriousness and our sincere intention to create an opening in this impasse, conducted exploratory talks with the Israeli Government at the beginning of this year upon the initiative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. We have also encouraged the expressed desires of several countries to contribute to efforts to break the cycle of deadlock and have also ourselves undertaken initiatives to create favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations. Unfortunately, however, the result of all these initiatives has been very negative.

Mr. President,
 Ladies and Gentlemen,

There can only be one understanding of the Israeli Government’s actions in our homeland and of the positions it has presented to us regarding the substance of a permanent status agreement to end the conflict and achieve peace. That one understanding leads to one conclusion: that the Israeli Government rejects the two-State solution.

The two-State solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the State of Israel, represents the spirit and essence of the historic compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America on the White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people accepted to establish their State on only 22% of the territory of historic Palestine for the sake of making peace.

The recent years have actually witnessed the systematic acceleration and intensification of Israeli measures aimed at emptying the Oslo Accords of their meaning, while simultaneously building facts on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that are making the implementation of the Accords extremely difficult if not completely impossible.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel aims to continue its occupation of East Jerusalem, to de facto annex large areas of the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to continue occupying a large portion of the Territory under different pretexts. It refuses to engage in any serious discussion of the issue of the Palestine refugees. It wants to continue its occupation of Palestinian water basins and its control over the most fertile agricultural areas in our land as well as over our air, skies and borders.

The final map and borders that can be drawn in accordance with Israel’s official positions reveal to us the following: small Palestinian enclaves surrounded by large Israeli settlement blocs and walls, checkpoints and vast security zones and roads devoted to the settlers. Thus, the enclaves would remain subject to the full dominance of military, colonial occupation, only packaged under new names, such as the unilateral plan for a so-called State with provisional borders.

Mr. President, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Israel refuses to end the occupation and refuses to allow the Palestinian people to attain their rights and freedom and rejects the independence of the State of Palestine.

Israel is promising the Palestinian people a new catastrophe, a new Nakba.

Mr. President,
 Ladies and Gentlemen,

I speak on behalf of an angry people, a people that feels that, at the same time that they continue with their calls for their right to freedom and their adoption of a culture of peace and adherence to the principles and rules of international law and resolutions of international legitimacy, rewards continue to be illogically bestowed upon Israel, whose Government pursues a policy of war, occupation and settlement colonization. And Israel continues to be permitted to evade accountability and punishment and some continue to obstruct the undertaking of decisive positions regarding its violations of international law and covenants. This, in fact, represents a license for the occupation to continue its policy of dispossession and ethnic cleansing and encourages it to entrench its system of apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite our real feelings of anger, we, in the name of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, reaffirm, without hesitation, that we as committed to peace and international legitimacy and its covenants and its resolutions as we are adherent to our inalienable national rights and aspirations, and we reaffirm that we are committed to non-violence and reject terrorism in all its forms, particularly State terrorism.

Despite our feelings of disappointment and loss of hope, we continue to sincerely extend our hands to the Israeli people to make peace. We realize that ultimately the two peoples must live and coexist, each in their respective State, in the Holy Land. Further, we realize that progress towards making peace is through negotiations between the PLO and Israel.

Despite all the complexities of the prevailing reality and all the frustrations that abound, we say before the international community: there is still a chance – maybe the last – to save the two-State solution and to salvage peace.

However, this urgent task must be pursued via a new approach. Whoever rushes to advise us to repeat an experience that has proven to be fruitless – negotiations with the Israeli Government without clear terms of reference – must understand that this will result in reproduction of failure and again provide a cover for entrenchment of the occupation and will finish off an already-dying peace process. And, whoever who advises us to wait, must realize that the festering situation in our country and our region has its own timing and can neither withstand further procrastination and delay nor its placement at the bottom of the global agenda.

The approach required for saving the chance for peace must first and foremost be predicated on the understanding that racial settler colonization must be condemned, punished and boycotted in order for it to be completely halted. This approach also requires reaffirmation of and adherence to the terms of reference and foundations of the solution to the conflict, which have been endorsed by all of you.

The core components of a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict do not require effort to discover, but rather what is needed is the will to implement them. And marathon negotiations are not required to determine them, but rather what is needed is the sincere intention reach peace. And those components are by no means a mysterious puzzle or intractable riddle, but rather are the clearest and most logical in the world. This includes the realization of the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied by Israel since 1967, and the realization of a just, agreed solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194 (III), as prescribed in the Arab Peace Initiative.

Indeed, the fundamental components of the solution to the conflict exist in the documents and resolutions of the United Nations and in the resolutions of regional organizations, starting from the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) and the African Union (AU), as well as in the statements of the European Union (EU) and the international Quartet.

The international community, embodied in the United Nations, is required now more than ever to uphold its responsibilities. The Security Council is called upon to urgently adopt a resolution comprising the basis and foundations for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that would serve as a binding reference and guide for all if the vision of two-States, Israel and Palestine, is to survive and if peace is to prevail in the land of peace, the birthplace of Jesus (peace be upon him), and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and the final resting place of Abraham (peace be upon him), the land of the three monotheistic religions.

Mr. President, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The independence and freedom of the State of Palestine is above all and ultimately a sacred right of the Palestinian people and an entitlement that must be realized for it has been long overdue for too many decades.

At the same time, the Palestinian National Authority has affirmed, through implementation of its State institution-building program, the ability to create an advanced model for an effective, modem State through the development of the performance of its institutions, public finance management through the adoption of transparency, accountability and rules of good governance. These achievements have been considered by the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to constitute an impressive undertaking and success story, one that was again commended in the latest report just a few days ago, confirming full Palestinian readiness for the transition to an independent State, while at the same time stressing that the Israeli occupation remains the only obstacle to the realization of the State of Palestine.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

When, a year ago during the previous session of the General Assembly, we submitted our application for consideration by the Security Council to allow the State of Palestine to assume its rightful place among the nations of the world as a full member in the United Nations, a major and hostile uproar was raised by some against this political, diplomatic, peaceful step aimed at saving the peace process by asserting its basis and foundation. However, our endeavor was aborted, despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the countries of the world supported, and continues to support, our application.

Yet, last autumn, when the countries of the world had the opportunity to declare their stance without any restrictions or “veto”, they voted, despite enormous pressures, in strong support of the acceptance of Palestine as a Member State of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A year has passed and Palestine, the homeland of Mahmoud Darwish and Edward Said, is playing its role in UNESCO with high responsibility and professionalism, and is committed to international conventions, cooperating with all Member States in order to advance the objectives of the organization, and providing a model of what its positive, constructive contribution in international organizations would be.

Mr. President, 
Ladies and Gentlemen,

In order to enhance the chances for peace, we will continue our efforts to obtain full membership for Palestine at the United Nations. And, for the same purpose, we have begun intensive consultations with various regional organizations and Member States aimed at having the General Assembly adopt a resolution considering the State of Palestine as a non-Member State of the United Nations during this session. We are confident that the vast majority of the countries of the world support our endeavor aimed at salvaging the chances for a just peace.

In our endeavor, we do not seek to delegitimize an existing State – that is Israel; but rather to assert the State that must be realized – that is Palestine.

Mr. President,
 Ladies and Gentlemen,

More than 64 years have passed since A1-Nakba and a large portion of those who were its direct victims and witnessed its horrors have died with their memories preserved in their minds and hearts about their beautiful world that was devastated, their warm homes that were demolished, and their peaceful villages that were erased from existence, and about their renaissance that was undermined, and their loved ones, dear men, women and children, who were killed in wars, massacres, attacks, raids and incursions, and about their beautiful country that was a beacon of coexistence, tolerance, progress and a crossroads of civilization. They died in the camps of displacement and refuge to which they were expelled following their uprooting fi’om their homeland as they awaited the moment in which thcy would resume their suspended lives and complete their journey that was interrupted and repair their shattered dreams. They died while they clung to their legitimate human right to justice and freedom and to redress for the historic unprecedented injustice inflicted upon them.

At present, 77% of the Palestinian people are under the age of 35 years. Although they did not experience the horrors of A1-Nakba, they know very well the details of its horrendous facts from the accounts told to them by their parents and grandparents who endured it. And, they are suffering its ongoing effects until today and every day as a result of the practices of the occupation and the settlers on a land that is diminishing and a horizon before them that is blocked against their simple, ordinary dreams. They see their homeland and, their present and future vulnerable to continued usurpation and they say firmly: we will not allow a new Nakba to happen.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I say to you that the brave Palestinian people will not allow themselves to be the victim of a new Nakba. My people will continue their epic steadfastness and eternal survival in their beloved land, every inch of which carries the evidence and landmarks affirming their roots and unique connection throughout ancient history. There is no homeland for us except Palestine, and there is no land for us but Palestine. Our people will continue to build the institutions of their State and will continue to strive to achieve national reconciliation to restore the unity of our nation, people and institutions via resorting to the ballot boxes, which will confirm our people’s pluralistic democratic choice. Our people are also determined to continue peaceful popular resistance, consistent with international humanitarian law, against the occupation and the settlements and for the sake of freedom, independence and peace.

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Prevent the occurrence of a new Nakba in the Holy Land.
 Support the realization of a free, independent State of Palestine now. Let peace be victorious before it is too late.”