Netanyahu

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Hear these words Benjamin Netanayahu spoke on Monday, 12 November.  Bibi is a perfidious man.  He’s preparing his people for an Israeli attack on Gaza.  By convincing them that they, the Israelis, are the injured party in the conflict.  Peers, we can’t allow Bibi to get away with this.  Contact the White House.  Internationals can write, too.  Spread the word.   Peace, Father Roy   

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More wisdom from the indomitable Uri Avnery. It does seem bizarre that Avnery would hope for American interference in the upcoming Israeli election, akin to Netanyahu’s recent meddling in the Obama v Romney showdown, but his logic is flawless.

Father Dave

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

November 10, 2012

Goodbye to a War

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU and his patron, Sheldon Adelson, betted on Mitt Romney, with the State of Israel as their chip.

They lost.

For Adelson, the betting tycoon, that doesn’t amount to much. Some you win, some you lose.

For Netanyahu, it’s a different matter altogether. He grew up in the US (where he got to know Romney in 1976) and prides himself as a great expert on America. It was one of his strongest cards, since relations with the US are vital for Israel. Now he stands exposed as a know-nothing, together with his ambassador in Washington DC, who was recommended by Adelson.

Does this hurt Netanyahu’s chances in the upcoming Israeli elections? Perhaps. But only if a credible counter-candidate is found, who could repair relations with Barack Obama.

Ehud Olmert is presenting himself as such, and may now join the fray. Some dream of Shimon Peres giving up the presidency to run as a candidate. Peres, who is two weeks older than I, has never won an election in his fifty years in politics. But there’s always a first time, isn’t there?

ISRAELIS ARE, of course, interested mainly in the Jewish vote. It is indeed revealing.

Netanyahu made no secret of supporting Romney to the hilt. US Jews were told that voting for the Republican candidate was voting for Israel. So did they? They did not.

I don’t yet have the detailed statistics, but from results in Florida and other states it seems that the great majority of Jews supported the Democratic candidate, as they have always done.

What does that mean? It means that one of the most basic contentions of Netanyahu and Co. has been shown to be fallacious.

Netanyahu declares almost hourly that Israel is the “nation-state of the Jewish people”. This means that Israel belongs to all the Jews in the world, and that all the Jews in the world belong to Israel. So he speaks not only for the six million Jewish citizens of Israel, but for all the 13 million or so Jews around the globe. (Assuming that no Jews are discovered on Mars.)

Again, this has been proven a fiction. American Jews (or, rather, Jewish Americans) voted as members of the American nation, not of the non-existent Jewish nation. Many of them are certainly sympathetic to Israel, but when it comes to voting, they vote as Americans. Israel plays a very minor role in their concerns. They may give a standing ovation to Netanyahu when he visits, as American Catholics would to the Pope, but they ignore his instruction to vote for a candidate.

This has great implications for the future. In any clash between vital American and Israeli interests, Jewish Americans are first of all Americans. In such a future situation, a similar miscalculation by Netanyahu or his successors may prove fatal.

FOR EXAMPLE, about the Iran war. Israeli hawks can kiss it goodbye.

I doubt that even Romney, had he been elected, would have allowed Netanyahu to attack. Campaign speeches would not have trumped the vital interests of the USA. He, too, would have taken one look at the map of the Strait of Hormuz and shuddered.

Be that as it may have been, there is no chance whatsoever that Obama will now tolerate an Israeli attack. It would have ignited a large scale war with incalculable consequences for the US and world economy.

Americans don’t want another war. They want to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, in practice ceding both countries to their adversaries. Starting another, and far bigger war in Iran is unthinkable.

This may be, for us, the most important result of these elections.

WHAT ABOUT Israeli-Palestinian peace?

No doubt, chances have picked up.

I don’t want to sound too optimistic. The usual cliché says that US presidents in their second term are free of political pressures and can at long last act according to their conscience. That is certainly true – up to a point.

The President is the leader of a party, and from the first day after an election the party starts to think about the next election. Powerful lobbies like AIPAC don’t cease to exist and will continue to exert a lot of pressure for the Israeli right. Big donors will still be needed. In two years, mid-term elections will come up.

But I hope that Obama will return to his starting position and try to compel both sides to commence serious negotiations. The forthcoming Palestinian application to the UN General Assembly to accept it as a state (with observer status) may be a test. Its acceptance is of great importance, since it would put the two-state solution squarely back on the international table. The US has no veto power there, and it is up to the president to decide whether to apply pressure or not.

The US is like a huge aircraft-[space instead of hyphen]carrier. To turn around it needs a lot of time and space. But even a slight change of course can have a major impact on our lives.

IN ISRAEL, the major question is: Will He Take Revenge?

No doubt, Obama hates Netanyahu, and with good reason. Netanyahu will not receive a warm welcome  in the Oval Office.

But Obama is a cold fish. He will keep his personal feelings in tight check.

But how tight? Will he change his attitude towards Netanyahu and his policies enough to give encouragement or even support to Israeli peace forces? Will he influence the Israeli elections as Netanyahu tried to influence the American ones?

Frankly, I hope so. For Israel’s sake.

Obama’s victory will reinforce the liberal, democratic, secular, social-minded, less-militant spirit throughout the world. If the Israeli government continues on its present course, its isolation in the world will increase dangerously.

Unless we do to Netanyahu what the Americans just did to Romney.

AS EVERYBODY knows, there are some basic similarities between the US and Israel.

Both are immigrant nations. Both were built by white settlers who carried out ethnic cleansing. Both glorify their huge achievements while keeping quiet about the darker sides of their past.

The elections in both countries illuminate another similarity: the ever-growing split between the various “sectors” of society. White male Americans rallied behind Romney, colored Americans and women behind Obama. Demographic factors played a major role. To some extent it was a rearguard action by the dominant white male elite against the new majority of blacks, Hispanics, women and the young.

The split was exacerbated by the Tea Party fanatics. It seems that every few generations the American nation is afflicted by a new wave of insanity – the anti-Anarchist hysteria after WWI, McCarthy after WWII, the Tea Party now. To its immense credit, America has a knack of overcoming these waves.  But the Tea Party killed Romney, in spite of all his desperate flip-flopping.

Israel has a similar split. Society is divided into sectors, which cast their votes on sectoral lines: Whites (Ashkenazim), Orientals, Ultra-Orthodox (Haredim), National-Religious, Russian immigrants, Arabs. The Likud is a party of Orientals dominated by white males. Lieberman’s is the party of the “Russians”. Together with the religious of various stripes they constitute a powerful coalition. Unlike Obama, the Israeli left has not been able up to now to build an effective counter-coalition.

We need an Israeli Obama, who will work with the US Obama for peace.

Before it is too late, please.

For more Avnery articles online, go to zope.gush-shalom.org…

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The following article appeared in the Jerusalem Post on the last day of August.

Things are certainly hotting up in the war of words between Israel and Iran.  According to the article, Netanyahu’s strong words are a response to the ‘anti-Semitic diatribe’ of Ayatollah Khamenei at the ‘Non-Aligned Meeting’ summit that just concluded in Tehran.

Personally, I’m not sure what the term ‘anti-Semitic’ here is intended to refer to. ‘Antisemitism’ would suggest that Khamenei is condemning the Israelis on the basis of their race or ethnicity, wouldn’t it? If the reference is to the quotes from the Ayatollah’s speech that appear in the article, I can’t see anything ‘anti-Semitic’ in them. Certainly the Ayatollah is condemning the crimes committed against the people of Palestine by the Israeli government (and rightly so) but there is surely nothing racist about that in itself? Perhaps there was other material in his speech that was overtly racist? I am open to be convinced.

Perhaps it’s the term ‘Zionist regime’ that is being taken as being anti-Semitic? I’m not sure. Certainly when media commentators speak of the ‘Assad regime’ in Syria they are not being accused of being racist or ‘anti-Syrian’ or wanting the country of Syria to disappear from the map. Feel free to educate me with your comments if you understand this better than I do.

Father Dave

PM to ‘speak the truth’ on Iran in UN speech

Netanyahu denounces Non-Aligned Movement’s silence on Iranian “blood libel”; Khamanei accuses “Zionist wolves” of “state terror.”

After two-thirds of the world’s countries listened silently Thursday to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei launch an anti-Semitic diatribe against Israel at the Non-Aligned Meeting summit in Tehran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he would respond at the UN General Assembly next month.

“In Tehran today, the representatives of 120 countries heard a blood libel against the State of Israel and were silent. This silence must stop,” Netanyahu said.

“Therefore, I will go to the UN General Assembly and, in a clear voice, tell the nations of the world the truth about Iran’s terrorist regime, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”

Khamenei, speaking to the NAM gathering that included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said “an independent country with a clear historical identity called ‘Palestine’ has been taken away from its people through the use of weapons, killings and deception, and has been given to a group of people the majority of whom are immigrants from European countries.

“This great usurpation – which at the outset was accompanied by massacres of defenseless people in towns and villages and their expulsion from their homes and homeland to bordering countries – has continued for more than six decades with similar crimes and continues to this very day.”

Khamenei said the political and military leaders of the “usurping Zionist regime” killed the people, destroyed their homes and farms, arrested and tortured men, women and children, humiliated and insulted the Palestinians and tried to digest it all into the “usury-eating stomach of the Zionist regime.”

“Even now after 65 years the same kind of crimes marks the treatment of Palestinians remaining in the occupied territories by the blood-thirsty Zionist wolves.

They commit new crimes one after the other and create new crises for the region,” he continued.

Khamenei said the Zionists controlled the world’s media and were responsible for America’s “hateful image” in the region.

“Our standpoint is that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians and that continuing its occupation is a great and intolerable injustice and a major threat to global peace and security,” he said. Khamenei called for a referendum among all the Palestinians – “both the current citizens of Palestine and those who have been forced to immigrate to other countries but have preserved their Palestinian identity, including Muslims, Christians and Jews” – to chose the country’s political system.

Ban, whose presence at the parley is widely seen in Jerusalem as giving legitimacy to the Iranian regime, addressed the gathering and said he “strongly” rejected threats by one UN member state to destroy another, and “outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust.

Claiming that another UN member state, Israel, does not have the right to exist, or describing it in racist terms, is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold.”

His words, however, did little to soothe Israeli anger at his very participation in the event.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, at a gathering in Jerusalem marking 60 years of Israeli-Japanese ties, characterized the event in Tehran as “a march of folly and hypocrisy not seen since the 1930s. Against the background of all the threats to destroy the State of Israel, erase the State of Israel, attack Jews wherever they are, we see the representatives of 120 counties, with the UN secretary- general, come to Iran and give legitimacy to the regime of the ayatollahs.”

Liberman asked what Israel was supposed to understand from the willingness of so many world leaders to take part in the conference, and how this would impact on the future.

“How can we rely on them,” he asked. “What is the meaning of international guarantees of our security?” Liberman slammed the Palestinian Authority presence at the conference.

He said that a speech delivered by PA Foreign Minister Riad Maliki – accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and crimes against humanity – could have been written by Joseph Goebbels.

Maliki said Israel had stepped up military attacks against Palestinians and the sources of their livelihood.

“To the military attacks have now been added violent, provoking and inciting attacks by settlers through organized and systematic terror, which recalls the bloody events taken by the settler and armed gangs – like the Hagana and others – during the Nakba in 1948.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is scheduled to leave for the UN on September 27, immediately after Yom Kippur, and return to Israel on September 30, just before the onset of Succot.

Although there has been talk of a meeting at the UN with US President Barack Obama, no meeting has yet been officially announced.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said Thursday that he did not want to be “complicit” if Israel chose to strike Iran’s nuclear program, saying a premature attack would dissolve the international pressure on the Islamic Republic, The Guardian reported.

Speaking to journalists in London, Dempsey said an attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program,” but added that the “international coalition” pressuring Iran “could be undone if it was attacked prematurely.”

“I don’t want to be complicit if [Israel] chooses to do it,” he added.

The White House said on Thursday that it was closely studying a UN report that showed Iran has possibly expanded uranium enrichment machines and increased stockpiles of nuclear material.

“We are closely studying the details of the report, but broadly speaking it is not surprising that Iran is continuing to violate its obligations,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the UN International Atomic Energy Agency’s quarterly report on Iran.

“As the report illustrates, we are in a position to closely observe Iran’s program,” he said.

The report showed Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment machines it has in an underground bunker. Carney said the US has made it clear to Iran that they have a limited window of time to stop its atomic work and diplomatic terms offered by the Western world will not remain open “indefinitely.”

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I find Larry Derfner’s argument in the following article unconvincing. Derfner says that only Gantz can stop Barak and Netanyahu, but are any of them really going to launch a war without the permission of the USA?

If Israel attacks Iran, Iran will close the Strait of Hormuz, and American can’t afford to have those shipping lanes closed. It would require the US committing to a full-scale ground assault in order to re-open the Strait, and the US cannot afford to do that! Therefore, for the very worst of reasons (ie. economic), America will not allow an attack, and Israel will do as its told!

Of course there are better reasons NOT to attack Iran (such as Iran having no intention of attacking Israel or anywhere else, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa forbidding the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons) but the economic argument is the only politically relevant one.

Peace. Dave

Original link: 972mag.com…

Not even the IDF chief can stop this war

By Larry Derfner

A leading Israeli defense reporter writes that Barak and Netanyahu have decided to attack Iran before November, and only IDF chief Benny Gantz can stop them. I say even he can’t.

Channel 10 defense reporter Alon Ben David, who’s been covering the Israeli security establishment for about 20 years and is as plugged in up there as anyone alive, writes in Haaretz today that the only person who can stop an Israeli attack on Iran before the November 6 presidential election is IDF chief Benny Gantz. This is an extremely newsworthy op-ed because Ben David is not a pundit, he’s a top-drawer reporter (also writing for the “Bible” of military affairs, Jane’s Defence Weekly) and he’s saying Netanyahu and Barak have made the decision to strike between August and October. He also says the cabinet – a majority of which supports an attack, and no surprise there – ”will only be convened right before the strike to prevent leaks.” Interestingly, the key leaker whom Netanyahu and Barak want to keep in the dark about the exact time of the attack is Shimon Peres, who, Ben David writes, might go so far as to alert the White House to try to stop it.

The chief of the Mossad, head of military intelligence and commander of the Air Force all oppose a war, according to Ben David – and so does Gantz, at least for now. ”The State of Israel cannot go to war without the support of the chief of staff,” Ben David notes, so it’s going to be up to Gantz to face down the entire political leadership. He would be speaking on behalf of the security establishment, which opposes an attack.

Much of what Ben David has to say about Gantz is encouraging. First of all, he’s not gung ho.

Gantz is familiar with the widespread assessment that an attack will not only not scuttle the Iranian bomb project, it is liable to intensify the pace of its development. Israel will be dragged into a painful war, which will not defeat it but will paralyze it and deliver a critical blow to the home front, after which Israeli society may be irrevocably changed. It will be a war that is liable to lead many Israelis to reconsider their future in this place.

Also, in line with Gantz’s hesitancy about a war with Iran, Ben David says he has an “accurate moral compass.” All very good to hear. On the worrisome side, though, he “so dislikes personal confrontations.” Barak, who is Gantz’s direct boss, lives for them. There’s another problem – Gantz was not Barak and Netanyahu’s first choice for IDF chief; their first choice, Yoav Galant, who lost the appointment over his tricky land dealings, was said to be in favor of a war.

Ben David writes that the military/intelligence brass are “walking around like they’re carrying a heavy burden” – they don’t want to do it. With few exceptions like Galant and Amos Yadlin, director of Israel’s leading security think tank, the retired military/intelligence types are against it, too. So is a majority of the Israeli public (though a majority of the public, like most of the military/intelligence establishment, would like the U.S., with it’s far superior capabily, to do the job instead).

It’s only the politicians who are eager to strike. A huge problem is that that the politicians include three former IDF chiefs (Barak, Mofaz and Ya’alon) as well as other stars of the military/intelligence establishment.

Ben David says it all comes down to Gantz. If he agrees with Netanyahu, Barak and the cabinet majority, Israel will attack; if he doesn’t, Israel won’t.

I happen to disagree with Ben David, and I’m speaking strictly out of my own reading of things. Finally, the army takes orders from the elected political leadership. If the IDF chief of staff tells the prime minister and defense minister he’s against a war, that Israel cannot do enough damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities to make the consequences worth suffering, I’m sure Netanyahu and Barak will listen to him politely – and then tell the cabinet it’s time to vote, the vote will be for war, and Gantz and the army brass will have no choice but to launch it. Unless, of course, they resign on the spot, which is not the sort of thing these career military men would ever dream of doing. They may voice their disagreements, but in the end they will follow orders – and as Ben David reports, the people who give the orders, the political leaders, are down for war. Sometime before November 6.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu, Barak and the people they frighten into obedience, which is a lot of people, hate to hear dissent, especially on Iran. Anybody who speaks out, like Dagan, like Diskin, like Netanyahu’s long-time chief aide Uzi Arad, is discredited and turned into an outsider. With the political leadership set on war, Gantz, as head of the military, will make it his business to remain an insider. He may stick to his current opinion and even say it out loud, but he will also make it absolutely clear that if those who give the orders want war, he will be a 100% loyal soldier and lead the IDF toward its objective with everything he’s got.

“All the weight of this decision has been placed on the narrow shoulders of a single army officer,” Ben David concludes. I’m afraid this is much, much too big for any one officer, even the IDF chief, to stop.

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Father Roy writes:Is what we have here not a clear provocation?It’s certainly a violation of International Law. It’s also a violation of God’s law:“Thou shalt not steal… etc.” Peace, Roy

Gov’t to approve 551 new housing units in West Bank

06/06/2012 20:13

Housing and construction minister says new homes to be built in addition to 300 in Beit El; PM says the gov’t is acting responsibly in decision to evacuate West Bank Ulpana outpost, strengthening settlement enterprise.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Photo: GPO / Amos Ben-Gershom

Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias announced Wednesday evening that his ministry would approve the construction of 551 housing units in the West Bank.

They will comprise 117 units in Ariel, 92 in Ma’aleh Adumim, 114 in Adam, 114 in Efrat and 84 in Kiryat Arba. The new housing units will be built in addition to the three hundred that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already promised to build in Beit El following the evacuation of the apartment buildings in the West Bank outpost Ulpana.

This decision was reached in a conversation Wednesday between Netanyahu and Atias.

“Increasing the supply of land helps young couples, and construction in the West Bank strengthens the settlements. Although 30 apartments will be evacuated, 850 will be built instead. Under the circumstances, this is the appropriate solution,” said Atias.

Earlier Wednesday, in a televised statement Netanyahu said that the government is in the midst of a very complex environment, and is upholding democracy and strengthening the overall settlement enterprise in its decision over the Ulpana outpost.

A bill to legalize the West Bank outpost was defeated by a vote of 69-22 on Wednesday.

Netanyahu said that the government had acted with responsibility and discretion, and thanked his coalitions partners.

Heexpressed sympathy for the pain of the families living in the Ulpana outpost who are due to be evacuated. However, he said, “you have to understand, we are working in a very complex reality; internally, internationally and in terms of the law.” He emphasized that his government would continue to strengthen the settlements, at the same time as strengthening democracy in Israel.