Friday, April 29, 2011
The deal clearly has not been rushed into by any of the parties and all are fully aware of the consequences the new alliance will bring, not just to the Palestinians, but also to the Egyptians whose borders adjoin both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Indeed, as part of the deal, Egypt has already opened its border with the Gaza Strip to allow free access between the two for trade and travel, a move likely to anger the Israelis who have strived for years to economically and socially strangle the Gaza Strip in their efforts to destroy Hamas.
Egypt’s new relationship with the Palestinians may also be seen as a foretaste of the relationship a post-Mubarak Egypt will likely have with Israel. The new Egyptian mood is sympathetic to the Palestinians plight both in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. Now that the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip has been opened allowing trade, it will not be long before the people of the Gaza will actually be better off than the people in the West Bank which for now remains under continued occupation by the Israelis.
Israel’s knee jerk reaction to the reconciliation deal and the opening of the border could well be to formally annex the areas of the West Bank that contain Israeli settlements together with the Jordan Valley with the threat of eventually annexing all of the West Bank, and possibly to invade and occupy the Gaza Strip claiming that they have done so in order to stop weapons being delivered to Hamas. Both of these possible Israeli actions would effectively be a declaration of war against the Palestinians especially if the Israelis were to fully occupy all of the West Bank in order to stop Hamas activity particularly after Fatah have released the Hamas prisoners they are holding.
The problem for Netanyahu is to assess how quickly he needs to act before the West and the rest of the world becomes convinced that the reconciliation has some merit and accepts the new alliance. This would be a disaster for the Zionists of Israel. While the US may suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority as a result of the alliance – a consequence the new alliance would have taken into consideration – there could well be sources of aid from elsewhere that maybe forthcoming. There is no single nation that could afford the kind of aid the US currently provides the Palestinians, which averages about $400 million per year over the last five years, but a group of nations together providing aid either in cash or kind could easily thwart the effect the US cessation of aid will have.
Another big worry for the Zionists of Israel is the possibility that the alliance, once having being accepted by most of the world, could unilaterally declare statehood claiming sovereignty over all of the West Bank, including the settlements and all other occupied areas of the West Bank, back to the pre-1967 line.
The bottom line now is that Israel is in a very tricky spot and has been backed into a corner. So far, all is quiet on the Israel-Palestine front, but it will be interesting to see how long the quiet lasts before the entire region explodes. And, if Israel’s Zionists want to hang on to their dream of a Greater Israel that includes, at least, the West Bank, then the explosion will be very soon.
As I said, the full significance of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah is not yet realised.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
The deal has set the stage for a confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians which could include Israeli unilaterally annexing parts of the West Bank and repealing the Oslo Accords, moves which Likud Member of the Knesset (MK) Danny Danon has already set in motion in the Knesset. Such a move is likely to be supported by other right-wing Israeli Zionist parties that make up Netanyahu’s fragile coalition government. Uzi Landau of the extreme right-wing Israel Beiteinu party told an audience on 21 April: “We'll have to protect ourselves. If such a thing happens, I'm going to suggest to my government to extend our sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the highly-populated blocs we have in Judea and Samaria”, adding ominously, ”just to start with.”
Ever since Hamas unexpectedly won the Palestinian elections of January 2006, Israel has strived to wedge the two Palestinian factions. Immediately after the result was announced, both the Israelis and the US refused to recognise the new Hamas government-elect threatening to withdraw all financial support to the Palestinians and proclaiming Fatah the only government they would support. As Hamas attempted to exert authority fighting broke out between the two factions in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. With the support of the Israelis who occupy the West Bank, Fatah were able to easily and quickly prevail. However, in the Gaza Strip where there were no Israeli occupation forces to support the Fatah elements in the Gaza, Hamas, despite US and Israeli support by way of weapons being given to Fatah forces, were able to consolidate their control over the Strip and force Fatah out. The Israelis have continued to drive a wedge between the two factions ever since refusing to talk to Hamas under any circumstances.
Netanyahu’s response to yesterday’s deal signals an end to Israel’s relationship with Abbas and his Fatah movement, especially if the deal goes ahead. A number of options are available to Netanyahu, few of which are likely to be acceptable to the US and even less so to world opinion.
While annexation of all of the West Bank and Gaza as part of the Zionists Greater Israel dream has always been the long term aim of right-wing Zionism, efforts by some more extreme Zionists in the Knesset have proven to be premature. As recently as February of this year only four MK’s supported such a motion when it was put forward in the Israeli parliament. However, the latest developments may well cause MK’s to reconsider their stance by voting in favour of annexation of at least parts of the West Bank when MK Danny Danon next brings it up to the vote. There can be no doubt that if a vote is made in favour of annexation that this would change the entire Israeli-Palestinian geo-political situation.
Much also depends on how President Obama reacts to the new situation, though it is very unlikely that the administration will continue to support statehood if Hamas are likely to be part of any new Palestinian government. In order to force a change of heart from Abbas, Obama could threaten sanctions against the Palestinian Authority such as suspending aid, though Abbas would not doubt have already taken that into consideration when entering into the deal.
Clearly, if the deal is going to be on, then it is a real game-changer in the Middle East. How the players react to the new arrangements will determine how dangerous the situation will become.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Part of the propaganda that the neoconservatives, many of whom held high positions in the Bush administration, used in the lead up to the US and their allies invasion and destruction of Iraq was the accusation that Saddam Hussein had connections with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and, therefore, must somehow have been complicit in the events of 9/11. Long after it became obvious that Saddam actually had nothing at all to do with bin Laden or al-Qaeda, the neocons continued to insist that he had. Even though President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were vocal about the Saddam-al-Qaeda connection in the run up to the war, both have since conceded that there was no connection.
But, in an article in Weekly Standard today, the neocons once again think they’ve been exonerated by the latest release of 779 US secret documents by Wikileaks. One of the leaked documents, most of which are written assessments by US intelligence analysts on Guantanamo Bay prisoners, accuse one of the prisoners, an Iraqi by the name of Jawad Jabber Sadkhan, of having been an Iraqi intelligence officer who was ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. According to the assessment, Sadkhan had ‘ties that reached all the way to Osama bin Laden’ and that bin Laden had paid Sadkhan money ‘both before and after the September 11 attacks’. However, a careful read of Sadkhan’s leaked file reveals that all of the accusations made about him were made by other prisoners anxious to please their American captors and keen to co-operate in order to secure release or an easier experience while in detention.
The most damaging of Sadkhan’s accusers was a fellow Iraqi prisoner at Guantanamo named Nashwan Abd Al Razzaq Abd Al Baqi, also referred to as Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi. Al-Iraqi was said to have been a major in Saddam Hussein’s military before also being ‘relocated’ to Afghanistan. Al-Iraqi had told interrogators that Sadkhan had been an Iraqi intelligence officer. According to Sadkhan, however, he had been in Saddam’s military but had gone AWOL and had served time for being AWOL and later fled Iraq to Iran and then to Pakistan in order to avoid arrest for theft.
There were a number of Iraqis in Afghanistan, just as there are a great many of other foreigners from Arab and North African countries, but not all were there to fight jihad. Many Iraqis were there simply to live elsewhere or to get away from Saddam Hussein’s government for whatever reasons.
Nowhere in the released Wikileak files is there any evidence whatsoever to link al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden to Saddam Hussein. The neocons are clutching desperately to straws – again to justify the illegal war against Iraq.
Finally, if indeed there were any connections between Iraqi detainees captured in Afghanistan, and Saddam Hussein, would not the US already have made it known to the world in order to justify their destruction of Iraq? Why would the government leave it to the neocons to exonerate America?
Monday, April 18, 2011
The ‘Predator’ now seems to have emerged as the United States tool of choice to execute people who have been tried in absentia by American officialdom. Not only have neocons taken it upon themselves to demand that certain people be effectively executed by the US without any form of trial, but they are now demanding it of people who, despite being thoroughly despicable criminals, are not actually a threat to the US. Not only have the US taken it upon themselves to be the world’s policemen, the neocons want the US to be the jury, judge and executioner of anyone they don’t like – especially if they happen to be Islamic.
As despicable as Gaddafi is, he is no threat to the US and nor is he any longer a threat to anyone else except his own people. It is clear that Gaddafi has committed warcrimes but it is not up to the US to convict him and then execute him for those crimes. Since the international community through the auspices of the UN decided to protect the civilians of Libya against the murderous dictator Gaddafi, it is up to the international community – not the US – to try and, if found guilty, punish him in accordance with the international communities legal guidelines – which, incidentally, excludes the death penalty.
If Gaddafi is killed leading his forces into battle then that is an entirely different matter, but to target him for assassination will set up all sorts of precedents that world really shouldn’t be going anywhere near. Already there are far too many extra-judicial killings going on. Not only are they legally questionable, they also have a terrible tendency to kill innocent people who have been either mistaken as targets or are ‘collateral damage’ to identified targets.
In the case of Gaddafi, it is up to either the Libyan people, if they are able to capture him alive, to properly try and punish him or, far more preferably, to hand him over to the appropriate international court to be dealt with. In that way other despots and leaders of nations that commit warcrimes against either their own people or people of other nations will get the message that they will not get away with their crimes.
People who kill others extra-judicially are as much criminals in many cases as those they wish to kill. Arrogant self-righteousness is not an excuse to kill others who are killers. Once the world’s governments start becoming unaccountable for extra-judicial killing in this way, there will be no end to it and anyone could end being a target even if one is merely a dissenter.
Finally, if the trend continues, there will come a time when America and her allies enemies will also find a way to assassinate their enemies remotely in the belief that if it’s good enough for the West then its’ good enough for the West’s enemies too. Prime Ministers and Presidents could then find themselves targets for assassination thus running the risk of not only being killed themselves but their families, as well as other civilians, may end up being killed as ‘collateral damage’.
This ‘Kill, kill, kill!’ by remote control madness needs to end. The world needs to come back to the principles of justice. Killing enemies in this way will only enrage them further as they seek revenge.
Justice is the only way peace.
Friday, April 08, 2011
AS JULIUS STREICHER WAS TO 'DER STÜRMER' SO ANDREW BOLT IS TO THE 'HERALD SUN' AND GREG SHERIDAN IS TO 'THE AUSTRALIAN'
Julius Streicher was a low-life Nazi Jew-hater whose diatribes about Jews were often so disgusting they even offended fellow Nazis. Streicher was eventually hung at Nuremberg after being found guilty of crimes against humanity. But, it seems, extreme right-wing racists have not learnt from the lessons of the Nazi era. Again, racists are using newspapers to spread hatred and fear. And now it’s not just newspapers that are being used; Andrew Bolt has just been given a Sunday morning time slot on Australian Channel Ten TV.
Like Streicher, Andrew Bolt is a low-life Muslim and Aborigine hater whose diatribes about Aborigines and Muslims as well as other non-white Australians generally are also offensive even to other right-wing Australians. Greg Sheridan has come out with his racist agenda and has now also placed himself in the ranks of low-life Muslim haters when he wrote his lengthy diatribe last Saturday in The Australian.
Like the era of anti-Semitism during the last century, so Islamophobia and racism against non-whites is a threat to the future of the world. If the racist and Islamophobic hatreds peddled by the likes of Sheridan and Bolt are not stopped then the world has no more to look forward to than it did in those dark days that culminated in the deaths of millions in the middle of the last century.
These people are using the rhetoric of ‘the right to free speech’ to deprive people of their freedoms and rights – just as the likes of Julius Streicher did back in the 1930s.