Saturday, November 10, 2007

The significance of Har Homa

Philip Weiss indicates that the presence of Har Homa, a settlement built in the 90s around the vicinity of East Jerusalem, is a prime example of how strong Israel's supporters are in Washington, so much so that they were able to paralyse President Clinton in his denouncement of the construction.

"In 1997 the Netanyahu government resolved to build Har Homa, under pressure from the right wing, including Jerusalem mayor Ehud Olmert, now the P.M., who was adamant about the need for the development's 6500 units, for Israeli Jews.

Yasir Arafat was enraged by the plans. Har Homa would serve to cut the southern West Bank off from East Jerusalem, and would violate the Oslo accords, which called on Israel not to establish any more "facts on the ground." Arafat said Har Homa was likely to detonate an "explosion" among Palestinians and he would respond to Har Homa with the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

Arafat felt he had moved Clinton; but when he arrived at Andrews Air Force base to leave the country, he got a call from Dennis Ross. Ross informed him that Netanyahu was refusing to freeze the settlement.

Clinton did send a letter to Netanyahu asking him to postpone construction, the authors report. But Netanyahu blew that off.

The settlements have been a disaster, everyone agrees on that. And they arose from political pressures inside Israel...These settlements have been a pox on the peace process, as threatening to international security as Hamas's rise or Iran's noises about a bomb...Where is the American spine? Can you imagine an American president deferring to any other head of state in similar circumstances? The spinelessness can only be explained politically: that our government also has rightwing constituents engaged on the issue."

It's a sad fact that when a peace process is underway, with concessions forever asked of Palestinians while Israel refuses to define their borders, they accelerate their annexation, preceding to built more settlements in order to delegitimise a future Palestinian state, creating more "facts on the ground" to prevent any sovereignity, only autonomy "through the occupier". (Think Gaza.) All of this is not new. It is a testament as to how strong Israel's apologists are in the circles of policy wonks. Clinton balked. He didn't want to feel the sting of the Lobby. President Bush was helpless to halt Ariel Sharon in his continued building on the West Bank, even more so that he was called "a man of peace" for destroying more Palestinian homes and taking more of their land, at a time when Palestinian violence was rather low. Har Homa is typical. Tanya Reinhart concluded that

"But the new settlement is an irreversible act which eliminates their chances to ever get such rights [over Jerusalem]."

In conjuction, the US Government "vetoed two different UN Security Council resolutions that called on Israel to stop construction at Har Homa. The U.S. was the only country of the 15 members on the council to vote against the resolution." This along with the fact that the US (along with Israel and Micronesia) "were the only countries among the 185 members in the UN General Assembly to vote against an April 1997 resolution demanding an immediate halt to construction at Har Homa."

We hold our hopes in the mediator called the United States; but with all their actions in the Middle East, only a fool could accept such a broker in talks of peace. No one in the Third World is impressed with all the sophistry, no matter how many times you can call it "freedom", or a benevolent occupation, or a "peace envoy", it simply is not. The facts prove another result: that Palestinians are being tortured, assassinated, imprisons children, humiliated, starved, punished, prevented from leaving their homes or going to work, and "voluntarily" transferred.

But all that is necessary for the beauty that is Har Homa.

"As of 2006, there were approximately 2000 families, 8 kindergartens, 2 day care centers, 2 public grammar schools, 3 medical clinics, and 3 shopping centers."

It is important to remember that all of this construction is in violation of international law, further settlements encapsulates Zionist policy towards the West Bank, and continued annexation of Palestinian land is meant to halt any hope of a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. By ignoring this, or perhaps by pre-empting such a fact of contiguity, Israel aims to halt any possibility of a state for Palestinians, that they want them off the land and driven to Jordan (or other neighbouring states). This is common knowledge, especially for any congressman in Washington. But what other state could thumb their noses at the biggest superpower today and adamantly refuse a condition that the US President maintains is an obligation towards a genuine peace settlement in this dialectic?

There are other shining examples of such dualities that seems to escape any scrutiny (but more and more people are seeing the equation for what it is). And the debate rages on. How long can people shut their eyes before they see that these people are dangerous and their cantankerous distortions of policy is detrimental to their so called desires for "peace"? Unless their true intention is an Israel hegemony over the Middle East region, to which it is not us of the left who support "terrorists" but rather the right who support "extremists", then the expose of Israel's espionage should only be intensified.

James Petras reveals in his stunning article that it was the Israel Lobby that pushed for the invasion of Iraq, and the theory of "Big Oil" only clouds the true reason that the war took place, and "[T]he price of the ‘exonerate Israel’ strategy is to overlook the powerful role that the Israel First lobby is playing" to promote future wars (ie Iran) and exculpate the occupier from their duties under the Geneva Accords.

"Analytically, the differences between Israeli state policy and the leading US Zionist organizations are, with very rare exceptions, indistinguishable... An analysis of the relationship between the Israeli state and highly placed Zionist officials in the Bush Administration reveals first and foremost that Tel Aviv laid out the strategic policies of eliminating Middle East regimes opposed to its ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories and unlimited expansion of colonial settlements in Occupied Palestine and the consolidation of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East.

Mearsheimer and Walt describe the pro-Israel power configuration as a ‘lobby, just like any other US lobby’, a ‘loose collection of individuals and groups’ outside of government, acting on behalf of Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The power of Israel in the United States is manifested through a multiplicity of highly organized, well financed and centrally directed structures throughout the United States."

Although Petras may have overstated the influence of The Lobby to invade Iraq on Israel's behalf, the ratio between Bush and his corporate constituencies, Israel's good name and Cheney's lunacy is probably a question reserved for the historians of the future to analyse, it is beyond a doubt that the war in Iraq would not have taken place without the likes of "Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrook, Sandy Berger, William Cohen" in Clinton's administration and "Ari Fleischer, Paul Wolfowitz, David Frum, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Eliott Abrams, Irving (Scooter) Libby, David Wurmser and others" during Bush's reign calling for the attack of Iraq (and to remodel the Middle East in Likudnik style). With key players in very important posts, offensives against Lebanon last year and Syrian strikes make more sense when juxtaposed with the PNAC strategy set up for Bibi all those years ago. In addition to this, the aggressive Israeli position against the Palestinians, which provoke more retaliation and hatred, hence more "terrorism", is overlooked thanks to the many who want to control what is said about the Jewish State. The list of "anti-Semites" is growing, Zionism is losing its luster, more are aware of Israel's human rights record, and the people who count are getting sick and tired of the war in Iraq. So why is it that the only candidates we can look forward to are just as hawkish as the ones we despise today?

It is because of what we have been speaking about all this time: those settlements, that war in Iraq, the smearing of respected figures in public, contemn of those who are willing to go out of line to reveal the true nature of Israel's occupation and treatment of Palestinians, the belligerent status of Israel's position against its neighbouring states (ie Lebanon and Syria), and the looming war in Iran, one that has military experts clamouring to show that that would be a disaster that makes Iraq look like a cakewalk; the Lobby has usurped the leadership and have seduced the public into thinking that all of this is necessary for Israel's good, which equals to America's well being. We can bet on more bellicose planning for the region, all configured to benefit the Jewish State and accomodate their whims. They wanted Saddam removed: they did it for us. They want Iran to be hit: the tough talk is not just for show. They want to keep Syria at bay besides their desire to improve relations: so they bomb them and can get away with it. They want Iran to be nuke-free while they keep their nukes under wraps: done. They want the Palestinians to continue their suffering and to be decimated, forever removed from reality, removed from history, removed from consciousness: it happens as we speak. What is next can only be speculated.

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