prime minister netanyahu

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Father Roy writes: The following article reports a detail of contemporary history while history is in the process of being made.  One must never misunderestimate the efficacy of details.  Benjamin Netanyahu is complaining (whining, really wailing) that President Obama has snubbed him, and some are making an issue of it.  There will be a sensation in the media.

Future historians will refer to today’s detail as "The Snub of September 2012".  Details are most interesting when we ferret out the significance in the process, so let’s read between the lines of the article pasted below.  Let’s notice the comedy in the situation as well as the human tragedy.  Let’s start figuring out what we can do to avoid another world war.

President Obama will address the UNGA on 25 September.  Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the UNGA on September the 28th.  If either of them starts telling lies in his speech, the International Community will be exceeding "annoyed".   There’s a possibility that there will be walk-outs.

Peace,

Roy

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U.S. President Barack Obama Avoids Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Meeting

By Matt Spetalnick and Allyn Fisher-Ilan

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM, Sept 11 (Reuters) – In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally, the White House said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would not meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later this month, as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program.

The apparent snub, coupled with Netanyahu’s sharpened demands for a tougher U.S. line against Iran, threatened to plunge U.S.-Israeli relations into crisis and add pressure on Obama in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.

An Israeli official said the White House had refused Netanyahu’s request to meet Obama when the Israeli leader visits the United States to attend the U.N. General Assembly, telling the Israelis "the president’s schedule will not permit that."

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denied Netanyahu’s request had been spurned, insisting instead that the two leaders were attending the General Assembly on different days and would not be in New York at the same time.

Netanyahu has had a strained relationship with Obama, but they have met on all but one of his U.S trips since 2009. The president was on a foreign visit when the prime minister came to the United States in November 2010.

By withholding a meeting, Obama could alienate some Jewish and pro-Israel voters as he seeks a second term in the Nov. 6 election. Republican rival Mitt Romney has already accused Obama of being too tough on Israel and not hard enough on Iran.

The White House’s decision could signal U.S. displeasure with the Israeli leader’s intensifying pressure for Obama to set specific red lines on Iran.

Word that the two men would not meet came on the same day that Netanyahu said the United States had forfeited its moral right to stop Israel from taking action against Iran’s nuclear program because it had refused to be firm with Tehran itself.

Netanyahu has argued that setting a clear boundary for Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and imposing stronger economic sanctions could deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and mitigate the need for military action.

In comments that appeared to bring the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran closer, Netanyahu took Washington to task for rebuffing his call to set a "red line" for Iran’s nuclear program, which has already prompted four rounds of U.N. sanctions.

"The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’" said Netanyahu, speaking in English.

"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," he added, addressing a news conference with Bulgaria’s prime minister.

"UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK"

The website of Israel’s daily newspaper Haaretz called his words "an unprecedented verbal attack on the U.S. government".

Iran makes no secret of its hostility to Israel, widely assumed to be the region’s only nuclear-armed power, but says its nuclear program is purely peaceful.

Netanyahu’s relations with Obama have been tense because of Iran and other issues, such as Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.

But he has never framed his differences with Obama – who has pledged he will "always have Israel’s back" and is deep in a re-election campaign – in moral terms.

Obama has been seeking to shore up his advantage over Romney with Jewish voters – who could make a difference in election battleground states like Florida and Ohio – by recently stressing his rock-solid support for Israel’s security.

He received 78 percent of the Jewish vote in the 2008 election, but a nationwide Gallup poll in June showed him down to 64 percent backing versus Romney’s 29 percent.

While seeking to put Netanyahu in his place might not go down well with pro-Israel voters, the White House may also be trying to avoid the prospects of an embarrassing encounter at a difficult time in U.S.-Israeli relations.

When the two men met in the Oval Office in May 2011, Netanyahu lectured Obama on Jewish history and criticized his approach to Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

Netanyahu’s office had offered a solution to the leaders’ scheduling problems by having him visit Washington before his U.N. speech on Sept. 28, the Israeli official said. But the White House did not accept the idea.

Obama, who is keeping up a busy schedule of campaign rallies around the country, is expected to take a break to address the United Nations on Sept. 25.

Netanyahu’s harsh comments on Tuesday followed U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on Monday that the United States would not set a deadline in further talks with Iran, and that there was still time for diplomacy to work.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that Washington would have little more than a year to act to stop Iran if it decided to produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran has threatened to retaliate against Israel and U.S. interests in the Gulf if it is attacked, and any such conflict could throw Obama’s re-election bid off course.

DEADLINE

Netanyahu did not mention Clinton by name but pointedly parroted her use of the word "deadline," saying:

"If Iran knows that there is no ‘deadline’, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing. It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs …

"So far we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven’t worked. The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy but they haven’t stopped the Iranian nuclear program. That’s a fact. And the fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs."

Despite the recent tougher Israeli rhetoric, over the past week, Netanyahu, in calling for a "red line," had appeared to be backing away from military action and preparing the ground for a possible meeting with Obama.

Opinion polls suggest that a majority of Israelis do not want their military to strike Iran without U.S. support.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak seemed to criticize Netanyahu’s assault on the Jewish state’s biggest ally.

"Despite the differences and importance of maintaining Israel’s independence of action, we must remember the importance of partnership with the United States and try as much as possible not to hurt that," a statement from his office said.

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Father Roy writes: This one is a good one to circulate. I highlighted three words. Peace, Roy

Source: The Washington Post

By Zahi Khouri, Published: August 9

I am a proud American. I am a hardworking businessman and job creator. I am a faithful Christian.

And I am Palestinian.

Much as my multiple identities might drive Mitt Romney to head scratching, it is he who needs a lesson in, to borrow his recent words, “culture and a few other things.”

Were he to spend a day with me in the Holy Land, I could take him to the Jerusalem neighborhood where my family home has stood for five centuries. I could show him the orange trees in Jaffa that my family helped introduce to the world in the 1930s.

That’s right: Jaffa oranges are a Palestinian, not Israeli, trademark. Yet like so many “cultural” markers claimed by the self-professed Jewish state, even the fruit trees my people have tended for centuries have been expropriated.

Romney might be duped into thinking that oranges, falafel and hummus — staples of Palestinian cuisine for generations — are Israeli products. But how dare he claim that a state built at the expense of another people’s history and accomplishments is guided by “the hand of providence”?

Israel did not make the desert bloom. Instead, thanks to a deal struck with the British viceroys of Mandate Palestine, it made away with a land, a set of institutions and, indeed, a culture that was not its own.

It did so at the expense of my people. Like more than three-quarters of Palestine’s population, my family was forced to leave this land after Israel’s creation in 1948. Even though we had to abandon our successful businesses and centuries-old homes, however, we did not become the “uncultured” victims that Romney’s caricature suggests.

Most of us went to other Arab countries, where Palestinians became known for our business acumen and management know-how, and helped to build nascent private and public sectors. Ask our fellow Arabs in Lebanon, Jordan or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf region and they will tell you: Palestinian culture, with its premium on education and hard work, has been a force for hope, development and prosperity.

Despite their circumstances, Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal occupation share the same culture and proudly claim the same remarkable achievements. I, for one, returned to Palestine in 1993 to launch the first Coca-Cola bottling plant in the West Bank. It was granted a Best Country Bottling Operation award in May by Coca-Cola, a testament to my colleagues’ ingenuity and determination. But these traits alone cannot overcome the stifling effects of Israel’s occupation.

If Romney got one thing right, it’s that Israelis far outdo Palestinians in net wealth. In fact, his estimates of the disparity were too conservative: Israel’s per capita gross domestic product is roughly $32,000 to the Palestinians’ $1,500.

Remarkably, that $1,500 figure is roughly half of what Palestinians claimed in 1993, when the Oslo accords were signed. In other words, the U.S.-sponsored peace process has made us poorer.

How is that possible?

Palestinians have no say in our economic development. Every resource — water, land, soil, minerals, airspace, humans — is controlled and commandeered by Israel, which then deigns to sell us back a small portion.

In the West Bank, for example, Israeli settlers consume on average 4.3 times the amount of water as Palestinians. In the Jordan Valley alone, some 9,000 settlers in Israeli agricultural settlements use one-quarter the amount of water consumed by the entire Palestinian population of the West Bank, about 2.5 million people.

Palestinians have no control over our borders. This means we cannot import or export without being subject to discriminatory measures by our occupier. It also means that, without Israeli permission, we cannot hire experts to enhance our employees’ skills or send employees for overseas training.

Worse, we are restricted within the territories ostensibly under our “control.” At any given time, there are more than 500 Israeli checkpoints, roadblocks and other barriers to movement within the occupied West Bank — an area smaller than Delaware — hindering Palestinians and their goods from moving between their own towns and cities and the outside world.

Palestinian development of all kinds is severely hindered by the Israeli occupation. Yet Palestinians have not given up. Palestine has one of the highest literacy rates in the Arab world. Our youth continue to graduate from our universities, opening businesses and gaining skills. Our private sector innovates and grows.

All of this is happening on the 22 percent of historic Palestine that is the West Bank and Gaza. If Romney had any historical perspective, he would dispose of his racist judgments about Palestinian culture and instead imagine our potential without Israel’s imposed hindrances.

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Father Roy writes:   Is it not curious?   Pat Buchanan … Mr. Conservative Republican … does not trust the most powerful people in his own party.  I refer, of course, to the NEOCONs.  My Allies and I don’t trust them either.  Read PNAC’s Statement of Principles and notice the signatories.  Listen to PNAC’s ideology on FOX News. 

Here’s another essay on the subject: Neocon Imperialism, 9/11, and the Attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq.  Notice the date it was written.  I’ve pasted that essay’s first two paragraphs below Pat’s essay for everybody’s convenience.  I suggest that everybody scroll down and read the two paragraphs first.  Please notice how frugal I was with the highlights while you read.  Try not to be alarmed if all this information is new to you.   Peace, Roy 

Click here: Is Romney Being Neoconned Into War?:Information Clearing House: ICH

Is Romney Being Neoconned Into War?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

July 31, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — –

Has Mitt Romney given Israel a blank check for war?

So it seemed from the declaration in Jerusalem by his adviser Dan Senor, who all but flashed Israel a green light for war,signaling the Israelis that, if you go, Mitt’s got your back:

“If Israel has to take action on its own in order to stop Iran from developing that capability, the governor would respectthat decision.”

“No option would be excluded. Gov. Romney recognizes Israel’s right to defend itself and that it is right for America to stand with it.”

What does “stand with” Israel, if she launches a surprise attack on Iran, mean? Does it mean the United States will guide Israeli planes to their targets and provide bases on their return? Does it mean U.S. air cover while Israeli planes strike Iran?

This would make America complicit in a preemptive strike and a co-belligerent in the war to follow.

What Senor said comes close to being a U.S. war guarantee for Israel, while leaving the decision as to when the war begins to them.

This country has never done that before.

And what does Senor mean by Israel’s need to act “to stop Iran from developing [the] capability” to acquire nuclear weapons?

The collective decision of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies in 2007 that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon — reportedly reaffirmed in 2011 — has never been rescinded. Nor has the White House produced any hard evidence Iran is building a bomb.

Moreover, Iran’s known nuclear facilities are under inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Does the government know something the American people are not being told?

Undeniably, Iran, by enriching uranium to 3.5%, then up to 20%, has a greater “capability” than five years ago of building a nuclear weapon. But Japan, South Korea, and Brazil also have that capability — and none has decided to build a nuclear weapon.

Gov. Romney did not go as far as Senor, but he, too, seems to be saying that not only is Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon a casus belli for the United States, even an Iran that is capable of building such a weapon is intolerable.

“The regime in Iran is five years closer to developing nuclear weapons capability,” said Romney. “Preventing that outcome must be our highest national security priority.”

Preventing what outcome is “our highest national security priority”?

Stopping Iran from building a bomb? Or stopping Iran from being able to build a bomb years from now?

The governor seems to be aligning himself with Israel’s hawks who are demanding that not only must Iran swear off nuclear weapons forever, Iran must cease all enrichment of uranium and dismantle the facilities at Natanz and Fordow.

Romney’s policy is zero enrichment, said Senor. Tehran must understand that “the alternative to zero enrichment is severe, and that’s why the threat of military force has to be critical.”

This is tantamount to an ultimatum to Tehran: Either give up all enrichment of uranium and any right to enrich, or face war.
Here we come to the heart of the issue, which may be impossible to resolve short of war.

Unlike its neighbors Israel and Pakistan, Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has no nuclear weapons. The ayatollah has said they are immoral and Iran will not acquire them.

But under the NPT, Iran claims the right to enrich uranium and seek the benefits of nuclear technology. And in that decision, the people of Iran stand behind their government.

Is denying Iran the right to enrich uranium a reason for America to plunge into its fifth war in that region in a generation?

That appears where we are headed. Reportedly, Obama’s national security adviser recently briefed Bibi Netanyahu on the specifics of U.S. contingency plans to attack Iran.

Has Congress been briefed? Have the American people been consulted? Or are we simply irrelevant?

A decade ago, this country sent an army up to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam and strip Iraq of a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons we were told it had and was preparing to use.

We were misled; we were deceived; we were lied to.

Before we outsource to Bibi and Ehud Barak the decision to take us to war with a country three times the size of Iraq, we need to know:

Was the U.S. intelligence community wrong in 2007 and 2011? Is Iran hell-bent on building nuclear weapons? If so, where are they constructing and testing these weapons?

Finally, if Iran is willing to permit intrusive inspections of its actual and suspected nuclear sites but insists on its right to enrich uranium, should we go to war to deny them that right?

But if we are going to go to war again, this time with Iran, the decision should be made in America, according to our Constitution, not by any other country.

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What Barghouthi says is not new but that doesn’t make it any less tragic. It is simply crazy that a man of his stature should be denied access to the city in which he was born, and what is more obscene is that the ‘West’ turns a blind eye to this legalized racism and indeed finances it! Dave

‘Separate and Unequal’ is unacceptable to Palestinians 

By Mustafa Barghouthi, member, Palestinian Parliament

07/27/12

When presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives in Israel Saturday and travels to occupied East Jerusalem to see the holy sites there he will be entering a city I am no longer allowed to visit – privately or as a medical doctor or as a presidential candidate. He somehow possesses more rights to the city than I do despite the fact that I was born in Jerusalem and worked as a medical doctor in Makassed hospital for several years. During my presidential campaign I was arrested and deported four times for entering the city to meet Palestinian voters.

My enforced absence pains me enormously. And I believe that my inability to enter — and that of hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians — points to the fast-approaching demise of the two-state solution. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his international friends are simply not interested in addressing the dispossession and absence of rights endured by Palestinians.

The demise of the two-state solution is right there with climate change: It’s staring us all in the face. But politicians are either too incompetent to see it, too scared to address it, or too content with a reality that benefits Jewish settlers and harms Palestinians because it works to their political advantage.

Palestinian politicians and civil society leaders have signaled the impending impossibility of two states for several years. Yet too many international observers regard us as the boy who cried wolf. I do not know precisely when a younger generation of Palestinians will decide that two states is an outdated pipe dream of their parents’ generation, nor when Fatah officials will reach the same conclusion. But I do suspect that Israeli moderates and American officials will one day look back at this time period and wonder why Israeli leaders did not seize the moment, freeze settlement activity, and strike a deal with the Palestinian people. Hubris and a zealot’s certainty are likely causes of the Israeli leadership’s inability to see with clear eyes what should be done.

The settler population in the West Bank has grown by 18 percent in Netanyahu’s three-plus years in office. Israel’s hold on the West Bank is increasing and the growing population ensures that no Israeli leader would dare to abide by international law and insist that settlers move out. Recently, the Levy Commission determined that there is not even an occupation of the West Bank, though Israeli, American, and international officials have recognized its reality for years. Netanyahu is reportedly poised to embrace the Commission’s findings.

Levy is, of course, wrong in his legal reasoning. But far more important is what he leaves unsaid. What will be the rights of Palestinians in a West Bank no longer regarded as occupied? Will we be afforded full voting rights or subjected to a system of apartheid?

I fear the latter. In introducing a 166-page report in December 2010, “Separate and Unequal: Israel’s Discriminatory Treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Carroll Bogert, deputy executive director for external relations at Human Rights Watch, stated, “Palestinians face systematic discrimination merely because of their race, ethnicity, and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools, and access to roads, while nearby Jewish settlers enjoy all of these state-provided benefits. While Israeli settlements flourish, Palestinians under Israeli control live in a time warp – not just separate, not just unequal, but sometimes even pushed off their lands and out of their homes.”

The Palestinian reality has only deteriorated since then with the Israeli Knesset taking up discriminatory legislation. A New York Times editorial recently noted that “activists say, more than 25 bills have been proposed or passed by the Parliament to limit freedom of speech and of the press; penalize, defund or investigate nongovernmental groups; restrict judicial independence; and trample minority rights.”  When Israel sneezes, or gets a bad flu on the rights front, one can be certain that the reality in occupied Palestinian territory is even more dire.

How else can we describe this week’s report that Israel intends to demolish eight Palestinian villages in the West Bank and force the inhabitants to live elsewhere? This is surely a form of ethnic cleansing as it makes way for the Israeli military and perhaps later for settlers to seize land Palestinians have tended for centuries. The proposed demolition is precisely why nonviolent Palestinian and international activists are pressing for divestment from Caterpillar. The company’s equipment is already being used against individual Palestinian homes, but more recently Israel has begun to use it to demolish whole communities.

President Barack Obama’s increasing reticence on Palestinian rights suggests that Israel’s fiercest right-wing advocates have carried the day with the President. He’s now locked in a battle with Romney to prove his hardline, pro-Israel bona fides. And he’s feeling the heat when Romney states, “Well, I think by and large you can just look at the things the president’s done and do the opposite. I mean, you know, you consider his first address to the United Nations, he castigated Israel for building settlements.”

President Obama was right to criticize such law-breaking. It showed wisdom and responsibility and the realization that settlement expansion works against a two-state solution. But Obama’s recent silence and Romney’s seemingly neo-conservative embrace of Israeli expansionism suggest that the prospect of a two-state solution will end during one administration or the other.

If President Obama and Gov. Romney expect Palestinians will meekly accept apartheid then they are quite wrong. A battle for equal rights is looming in the near future because of the arrogance of Israeli and American leaders who are proving incapable of understanding the discriminatory conditions they are creating with the expansion of settlements and ongoing disregard for Palestinian rights.

Barghouthi, a doctor and member of the Palestinian Parliament, is secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, a political party. 

Source: thehill.com…

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Father Roy writes:   Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who has specialized in the Middle East.  His Latest book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, is a three-volume epic in its American edition.  He blogs on AlanHart.com….   Peace, Roy

"The most dangerous man in the world"
Netanyahu v Obama


By Alan Hart

March 16, 2012 "Information Clearing House" — The headline over an article in Ha-aretz by Bradley Burston on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s poker game with President Obama was If Obama wins in November, is Netanyahu in trouble? That’s a question I’ve had in my own mind for quite some time and it begs another. What, really, worries Netanyahu most – the prospect (not real) of Iran posing an existential threat to Israel or the prospect (real) of a second-term Obama?

There is, Burston wrote, something new in the air, something Netanyahu does not like. What is it? “American conservatives have begun to think out loud that Barack Obama will win in November.”

In my opinion there’s a better than evens chance that in the course of a second Obama term, America would put its own best interests first, which would mean an end to unconditional American support for the Zionist state of Israel right or wrong. (As is often the case, the Gentile me and Gideon Levy are on the same page. The headline over one of his recent articles in Ha-aretz was It’s only a matter of time before U.S. tires of Israel).

There are three main reasons why I have that opinion.

The first is my belief that Obama hates being a prisoner of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress. (I think that Max Hastings, a former editor of the Daily Telegraph and a well respected military historian, was spot on when he wrote the following in a recent article for the Daily Mail. “Privately, Obama yearns to come down hard n Netanyahu, whom he dislikes intensely. But the U.S. President does not dare to do this when his own re-election may hinge on the three per cent of American voters who are Jewish.”)

The second, and much more to the real point, is that behind closed doors there are now many in the top levels of America’s military, intelligence and foreign policy establishments who are aware that an Israel which has no interest in peace with the Palestinians, and is led by men who want war with Iran, is an Israel that is much more of a liability than an asset for the U.S. There is also awareness in the top levels of America’s military, intelligence and foreign policy establishments that Netanyahu decided to play the Iran threat card in order to divert attention away from Israel’s on-going consolidation of its occupation of the West Bank and, in short, to have Palestine taken off the American foreign policy agenda.

The third is the insight given to me by former President Carter when my wife and I met with him and Rosalyn after they had said goodbye to the White House. “Any American president has only two windows of opportunity to break or try to break the Zionist lobby’s stranglehold on Congress on matters to do with Israel Palestine.”

The first window is during the first nine months of a president’s first term because after that the soliciting of funds for the mid-term elections begins. Presidents don’t have to worry on their own account about funds for mid-term elections, but with their approach no president can do or say anything that would offend the Zionist lobby and cost his party seats in Congress. The second window of opportunity is the last year of his second term if he has one. In that year, because he can’t run for a third term, no president has a personal need for election campaign funds or organised votes. (I imagine that incoming President Obama, briefed by Carter or not, was fully aware of these limited windows of opportunity and that was why he tried in his first nine months to get a freeze on Israel’s illegal settlement activity).

So my answer to Burston’s headline question is yes, Netanyahu could very well be in trouble if Obama wins a second term.

A good indication of Netanyahu’s fear of a second term Obama is, I think, the mountain of money his seriously wealthy supporters in America are investing in the effort to get a Republican into the White House who will allow Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby to pull his strings.

Question: Given that he does not want Obama to have a second term, what now are Netanyahu’s options?

I can see three possibles.

One is to watch and wait and hope that there will be a downturn in the American economy between now and November that will assist a Republican presidential candidate to defeat Obama.

Another is to launch a unilateral attack on Iran’s nuclear sites (never mind that Iran’s leaders have not taken a decision to go nuclear for weapons and possibly never will unless Iran is attacked).

Question: How might initiating a war with Iran assist Netanyahu to put Obama in real trouble?

One short answer is that the probable regional and global fall-out of an Israeli attack on Iran, including soaring oil prices, could bring what is being presented as a slow but sure recovery of the American economy to a swift halt. And that, most likely, would be enough to guarantee Obama’s defeat in November. (In an analysis for The National Interest, an American bi-monthly foreign policy journal, Paul Pillar, a former, very senior CIA analyst and today a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies, noted that the welfare of American consumers and workers is “not high” on the list of decision-making criteria for Netanyahu and his government).

There is, however, one thing that could cause Netanyahu not to go with this option. Quite apart from the fact that Israel’s past and present intelligence and military chiefs are divided on the wisdom of a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran, the polls are showing that a majority of Israeli Jews are opposed to Israel going it alone with an attack on Iran. They’re in favour of Iran being attacked but only if America becomes engaged and takes the lead.

And that brings us to a possible third option for Netanyahu. It is to commission a Mossad false flag operation – an attack on a vital American interest or interests for which Iran could be and would be framed.

The Zionist lobby, Obama’s Republican rivals and much if not all of the American mainstream media would promote this falsehood as fact, and that could leave Obama with no choice but to commit American military power. If he did not, his Republican challenger or challengers, assisted by the Zionist lobby and most if not all of the American mainstream media would accuse him of failing to protect America’s security interests and betraying Israel. And that, given the ignorance of American public opinion, would almost certainly be enough to guarantee Obama’s defeat.

For his own part Obama absolutely does not want war another war. He’s frightened, as he should be, of the possible/probable consequences.

Quite apart from the possible/probable economic consequences (including soaring gasoline prices in America), Obama understands completely that U.S. engagement in a new and broader regional war will ignite more anti-Americanism and play into the hands of Arab and other Muslim radicals and extremists, perhaps to the point of assisting them to become the dominant political power in the region. And that, were it to happen, would be potentially catastrophic for America’s best interests in the Arab and wider Muslim world. (Netanyahu would, of course, be quietly pleased because his Israel needs enemies).

So far as I am aware there is no well informed commentator who is prepared to make an explicit prediction about what Netanyahu will do – whether he will or will not order a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran in the closing stages of the American election. If I had to bet my life on it, I’d say he won’t; but there’s a real danger that his anti-Iran rhetoric, described in a recent Ha’aretz editorial as “a combination of wretchedness and megalomania”, may create an unstoppable momentum for war.

As my readers know, I regard Ha’aretz as the most honest newspaper in the world on the subject of what is really happening in Israel. Its view of Netanyahu was on display in a recent editorial headlined Israel must not lend itself to Netanyahu’s vulgar rhetoric on Iran. I think the whole editorial ought to be required reading not only for those who want to replace Obama as president but for all American voters. Here is the text of it (with my emphasis added).

Anyone who cares about Israel’s future could not help but feel a chill upon hearing Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech at the AIPAC conference – if not because of the gravity of the existential threat it described, then because of its sheer vulgarity and bad taste. The prime minister, as if he were no more than a surfer leaving feedback on a website, did not hesitate to crassly compare Israel today to the situation of European Jewry during the Holocaust. And to spice up his speech with one of those visual gimmicks he so loves, he even pulled out a photostat of correspondence in order to imply a comparison between U.S. President Barack Obama’s cautious approach toward attacking Iran and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s refusal to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz.

Netanyahu sometimes seems like he is holding a debating competition with himself. Every speech is the “speech of his life” and must overshadow its predecessor, while afterward, as if they were rehashing a sporting event, he and his aides gleefully count the number of standing ovations, especially from his American listeners. And in order to wring an ovation from the end of every sentence, it seems as if all means are legitimate: kitsch (trash) and death, threats and vows, warnings and rebukes of the entire world.

This time, too, it’s not quite clear what he wanted to obtain via this inane rhetoric – a combination of wretchedness and megalomania – aside from applause. Did he want pity? To prick the conscience of the world? To terrify himself, or perhaps to inflame the Churchillian fantasy in which he lives? But one thing is clear: Aside from the fact that he deepened our feelings of victimhood, insulted the American president and narrowed the options for diplomacy, Netanyahu did not improve Israel’s situation one jot by this speech, just as he hasn’t by any of his others.

Netanyahu isn’t the first Israeli prime minister, especially from the right, to harp on the trauma of the Holocaust. But in contrast to Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, who at the moment of truth also displayed diplomatic and leadership abilities, Netanyahu was and remains essentially a PR man: someone for whom words and rhetoric replace reality. The spine-chilling fear is that one day, all of us – himself included, despite his caution and hesitation – will discover too late that we have become hostages to his Churchillian speech, but without a Churchillian victory.

I’ll conclude with my own favourite story about Netanyahu.

Way back in 1984 I had an appointment for lunch in New York with the Englishman I most admire, Brian (later knighted) Urquhart. He was an Undersecretary General of the UN with the responsibility for conflict management. He served four Secretary Generals and was, in fact, the world’s number one trouble-shooter. Because of his matchless grasp of international affairs and his integrity, he was respected by leaders on both sides of all the conflicts he managed. And he never pulled his punches in behind-closed doors exchanges with leaders. On one private occasion Prime Minister Begin said he should not talk with Arafat. Urquhart looked Begin in the eye and said: “Mr. Prime Minister, I am the servant of the international community, don’t you dare to tell me who I can and cannot talk to!”

When Brian arrived for lunch, he said as he was sitting down, “I’ve just met the most dangerous man in the world.”

I asked who it was.

Brian replied: “He’s just presented his credentials as Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who has covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. His Latest book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, is a three-volume epic in its American edition. He blogs on AlanHart.com…