FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama Surrenders Palestinian Rights

The Middle East policies of US President Barack Obama may well prove the most detrimental in history so far, surpassing even the rightwing policies of President George W. Bush. Even those who warned against the overt optimism which accompanied Obama’s arrival to the White House must now be stunned to see how low the US president will go to appease Israel – all under the dangerous logic of needing to keep the peace process moving forward.

Former Middle East peace diplomat Aaron David Miller argued in Foreign Policy that “any advance in the excruciatingly painful world of Arab-Israeli negotiations is significant.” He further claimed: “The Obama administration deserves much credit for keeping the Israelis, Palestinians, and key Arab states on board during some very tough times. The U.S. president has seized on this issue and isn’t giving up — a central requirement for success.”

But at what price, Mr. Miller? And wouldn’t you agree that one party’s success can also mean another’s utter and miserable failure?

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton reportedly spent eight hours with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu only to persuade him to accept one of the most generous bribes ever bestowed by the United States on any foreign power. The agreement includes the sale of $3 billion worth of US military aircrafts (in addition to the billions in annual aid packages), a blanket veto of any UN Security Council resolution deemed unfavorable to Israel, and the removal of East Jerusalem from any settlement freeze equation (thus condoning the illegal occupation of the city and the undergoing ethnic cleansing). But even more dangerous than all of these is “a written American promise that this will be the last time President Obama asks the Israelis to halt settlement construction through official channels.”

Significant. Achievement. Success. Are these really the right terms to describe the latest harrowing scandal? Even the term ‘bribe’, which is abundantly used to describe American generosity, isn’t quite adequate here. Bribes have defined the relationship between the ever-generous White House and the quisling Congress to win favor with the ever-demanding Israel and its growingly belligerent Washington lobby. It is not the concept of bribery that should shock us, but the magnitude of the bribe, and the fact that it is presented by a man who positioned himself as a peacemaker (and actually became certified as one, courtesy of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee).

Equally shocking is the meager return that Obama is expected to receive for hard-earned US taxpayers’ dollars. According to the Atlantic Sentential, this will be “a measly three month extension of the settlement moratorium that originally expired in late September.”

Acknowledging from the onset that these are mere “midterm maneuvers”, Noah Feldman, writing in the New York Times, asks the question: “Can Obama succeed where so many others have not?” He preludes his answer with: “Israel and the Palestinian Authority will not, of course, make things easy.”

Seriously, Mr. Feldman?

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose mandate has already expired, must be living the most humiliating and difficult moments of his not so distinguished career. At one stage he had hoped that the advent of President Obama would spare him and his authority further embarrassment. Imagining the president would side with his ‘moderate’ position, he placed all his eggs in the Obama basket, even bidding against the democratically elected government of Palestinians in the occupied territories. He went as far as to halt an international investigation into Israeli crimes in the recent Israeli war on Gaza so that not to frustrate Netanyahu’s government or upset the pro-Israeli sensibilities in the US Congress.

True, Abbas tried to appear as a confident and self-assertive leader at times. He asked for a chance to think about the resumption of peace talks, conditioned his acceptance on Israeli actions that never really actualized, and finally sought the help of the Arab League, a beleaguered and muted organization without any political mandate.

How did Abbas and his authority make things ‘difficult’ for the US, Mr. Feldman? Would any self-respecting government agree to concessions that are made on its behalf without the opportunity to offer its own input? This is exactly what the PA has repeatedly done under Abbas.

Still, many Israelis are not happy with the barter. Caroline B. Glick, writing in the Jerusalem Post, described the freezing of construction in the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank as “discriminatory infringement on the property rights of law abiding citizens (that) is breathtaking.” She had the hubris to consider the pitiable moratorium as equivalent to “land surrenders.”

As for the major F-35 deal, it is “simply bizarre,” she argued, for after all, “Israel needs the F-35 to defend against enemies like Iran.”

Mind-boggling. US generously hands Palestinian rights to Israel on a silver platter, and the far-right mentality, which now governs Israeli mainstream politics and society, still finds it unacceptable.

But aside from this arrogant Israeli response, and the US media’s attempts to find the positive in Obama’s latest scandal, one question must be raised. What happens now that Obama has finally shown he really is no different from his predecessors? That the United States has lost control of its own foreign policy in the Middle East? That, frankly, Netanyahu has proved more resilient, more steadfast, and more resourceful than the American president?

Shall we go on making the same argument, over and over again, or has the time finally arrived for Palestinians to think outside the American box? Can Arabs finally venture off to seek other partners and allies in the region and around the world who understand the link between peace, political stability, and economic prosperity? It may perhaps be time for them to further their relationship with Turkey, to reach out to Latin America, to demand accountability from Europe and to try to understand and engage China.

The latest US elections have showed that the Obama hype has run its course in the US itself. One can only hope that Palestinians, Arabs and their friends will realize that it was all indeed a hype -before it’s too late.

RAMZY BAROUD is editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers and journals worldwide. His latest book is The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle (Pluto Press, London). His newbook is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London)

 

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

June 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Divest From the Business of Incarceration
W. T. Whitney
Angola in Louisiana: Proving Ground for Racialized Capitalism
Susan Babbitt
Assange and Truth: the Deeper (Harder) Issue
Kenn Orphan
Humanity vs. the Rule of Law
Mateo Pimentel
Why on Earth a Country of Laws and Borders?
Michael T. Klare
The Pentagon’s Provocative Encirclement of China
Howard Lisnoff
The Outrageous Level of Intolerance is Happening Everywhere!
Vijay Prashad
The People of India Stand With Palestine
RS Ahthion
Internment Camps for Child Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Rocking the G7: Trump Stomps His Allies
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Lawrence Wittner
Getting Ready for Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Women Protest After Being Told by Turkish-Backed Militias to Wear the Hijab
Dean Baker
When Both Men and Women Drop Out of the Labor Force, Why Do Economists Only Ask About Men?
Bruce Lerro
Big Brother Facebook: Drawing Down the Iron Curtain on Yankeedom
June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail