Yisrael Beiteinu’s strong third-place showing in Israel’s February 2009 elections for the Knesset was met with dread and disgust from many different quarters. Avigdor Lieberman, the founder and leader of the far-right party and the current Foreign Minister, ran a campaign filled with fascist overtones as he called for “loyalty oaths” to be signed by Palestinian citizens of Israel.
But perhaps we should take a look at Lieberman again in light of his much-condemned United Nations General Assembly speech yesterday and instead feel glad that the true face of Israel is shining to the world because of his position of power.
At the UN, Lieberman called for a “long-term intermediate agreement” instead of a solution dealing with all the final-status issues, dismissed the notion that the occupation and colonization of Palestine is at the core of the conflict and proposed a deal with the Palestinians that would be “about moving borders to better reflect demographic realities.” Although Lieberman claimed that he was not talking about “moving populations,” it’s apparent that Lieberman’s plan would result in the expulsion of Palestinian citizens of Israel to a Palestinian state, all in the service of making Israel an “ethnically pure” Jewish state.
Reactions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Jewish leaders were swift, and the media narrative laid out is that Lieberman’s speech revealed “differences” within Israeli politics about the “peace process.” The New York Times reports today that “sharp differences within the Israeli government over peace negotiations played out in the unusual setting of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.”
Netanyahu’s office distanced the prime minister from the speech and said that Lieberman’s speech was “not coordinated” with Netanyahu and that Netanyahu wants “direct talks” with the Palestinian Authority to go forward.
The reaction from Netanyahu was about promoting the image of Israel as willing to sit down and negotiate for peace with the Palestinians, which Lieberman’s speech did damage to. But that’s all it was about–Netanyahu and the State of Israel’s policies are completely in line with Lieberman’s plan of ethnically cleansing the non-Jewish citizens of Israel and of continuing to colonize the West Bank.
Under Netanyahu, the Bedouin village of Al Araqib has been destroyed multiple times to make way for a Jewish National Fund “ambassador forest.” Netanyahu has presided over the continued colonization of the West Bank, despite talk of a “settlement freeze,” and that’s likely to accelerate in the coming weeks. A recent Israeli Supreme Court ruling has Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah worried about further dispossession at the hands of Jewish settlers, and Silwan in East Jerusalem is still under the threat of home demolitions to make way for Israeli settlements and a theme park.
The list can go on and on. Actions speak much louder than words, and the State of Israel under Netanyahu has continued routine Israeli policies of land theft, colonization and slow ethnic cleansing. That’s not much different than the Israel Lieberman showed at the UN yesterday in words. Maybe that’s a good thing; the true, ugly face of Israeli policy, which the Palestinians know all-too-well, was shown to the world, further confirming that the “peace talks” are useless, and that Netanyahu is playing a public relations game for the international community while the status quo is sustained.
Last week’s FBI raids in the Twin Cities, Chicago and Durham, North Carolina amount to a declaration of war on the activist Left, in which grand juries are deployed as omnibus weapons of political persecution under an infinitely expandable anti-terrorism rationale. The constitutional lawyer in the White House has tossed the founding document into the National Security State shredder, as he prepares for global capitalism’s High Noon encounter with – anyone and everyone that resists.
A government that claims the right to kill U.S. citizens without even a whiff of due process and for reasons that are secret to the public and to the victim, has broken with every notion of the rule of law since the Magna Carta. The Obama Justice Department has spent every available hour since Inauguration Day building upon George Bush’s fascist logic in an attempt to fashion a flawless Orwellian police state doctrine in which secrecy and security are entwined like a strand of DNA. For targets not marked for oblivion, there awaits a grand jury with boundless powers to ensnare anyone, absolutely anyone.
The scope of information demanded of some of last week’s FBI victims – demands with which no one can fully comply, such as all records of domestic as well as foreign travel since the year 2000, or a list of all “contacts” that might somehow have bearing on the conflict in Colombia or the Mideast – is naked proof that the intent is to smother, entangle and utterly demobilize the target. The Obama administration is constructing a legal minefield in which any honest activist can be charged with lying to federal officers or a grand jury by commission or omission – each count of which is punishable by years in prison.
It is not brave, but prudent and self-protective, to refuse to discuss one’s political work or opinions or much of anything at all with FBI agents, as was reportedly the case with all of the recently targeted individuals. But grand juries are places where rights are butchered, and we can clearly see the broad outlines of a mass prosecution strategy unfolding, in which grand juries are the engines of political destruction. As Ron Jacobs wrote in Counterpunch, “There is a grand jury being convened in October 2010 with the intention of perhaps charging some of the people (and maybe others) subpoenaed on September 24. These raids are an attempt by the federal government to criminalize antiwar organizing.”
This is much more serious than merely “harassing” the anti-war movement. The Obama regime would not be going to so much trouble to systematically negate the Constitution just for the fun of it. They have a serious offensive in mind, which may have already begun.
U.S. intelligence services know perfectly well that activists like those raided last week barely have the material resources to put out slim periodicals or keep web sites updated. They cannot possibly provide “material support” to “terrorists” unless political statements against war (or silence in a grand jury) can be construed as, somehow, “support” for those the U.S. government deems terroristic. If the aim is to push anti-war and other social activists to the very edge of the cliff, where they will either shut down or fall into the carefully constructed legal abyss – that’s not harassment, that’s a campaign to “neutralize” the Left, in COINTELPRO terms.
As Black Workers for Justice stated, “We’ve seen these FBI and government raids and attacks on African American leaders and activists during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and members of the Black Panther Party, among others, were assassinated, jailed, beaten and driven into political exile for leading demonstrations and speaking out against racism, U.S. wars and other injustices…. Those who profit from these wars and U.S. support for oppressive governments like Israel and Colombia hope that by having a Black President, it will discourage African Americans from speaking out in protest against these raids, and against attacks on other social justice fighters. Dr. King said that during times like these, ‘We must break our silence!’”
Or, as the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women put it, in a joint statement, “the Obama administration is continuing COINTELPRO-type operations the FBI used in the ’60s and ’70s to divide the movements and smash dissent.”
A friend reminded me that, just as Nixon was thought to be the only U.S. president that could have pulled off the “opening” to China, based on his well-earned reputation as an arch anti-communist, so the First Black President might be the one that unleashes the 21st century police state in all its techno-horror. A Black president with a degree in constitutional law, who can still no do no wrong in the delusional eyes of strong majorities of African Americans, some of whom would remain in his corner even if Obama, himself, knocked down their doors in the wee hours of the morning.
If it is legal for Obama to kill Americans in total secrecy and impunity, with no explanation or even acknowledgment necessary, surely it is a lesser affront to an irrelevant Constitution to strangle the Left with grand juries.
Even Obamite-ridden United for Peace and Justice is upset, although not enough to confront the president, directly. The FBI is “a recidivist agency whose abuses have unfortunately recurred throughout its history,” said UFPJ, lamely. So, this is a problem of one agency, disconnected from the larger administration? What about Obama, the boss-man? The UFPJ will be cheering him and the Democrats on Saturday, October 2, as head of the official “peace table” at the NAACP and Big Labor’s mass rally in Washington, while the United National Anti-War Committee (UNAC), the Black is Back Coalition and tens of thousands of folks that demand an immediate end to U.S. wars of aggression, bailouts of Wall Street, mass Black incarceration, a multi-million jobs public employment program and a halt to U.S. aid to Israel, will form a distinct and separate contingent. By their demands, ye shall know them.
The Green Party was, in its anger, bold enough to mention the president’s name. “We demand that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder order an end to ‘police state’ tactics by the FBI and other security agencies and that the Justice Department investigate the Sept. 24 raids,” said Theresa El-Amin, Green Party co-chair. “We demand that grand jury investigations and subpoenas in connection with the raids be canceled immediately. We demand that President Obama restore the rule of law and order all security agencies and police forces to cease spying on citizens without obtaining a warrant. We encourage everyone to protest the FBI’s lawless and outrageous actions as loudly as possible.”
Obama’s newest assault on the Left has generated new demands for the October 2 rally. The San Francisco Labor Council, after resolving that the FBI raids “are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids, McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, and COINTELPRO, and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act,” put forward a demand to choke the pep rally out of labor’s Democratic cheerleaders: “that this Council urge the AFL-CIO to ensure that denunciation of the FBI raids is featured from the speakers’ platform at the October 2, 2010 One Nation march in Washington, DC, possibly by inviting one of those targeted by the raids, for example the SEIU chief steward whose home was raided, to speak at the rally.”
Will the NAACP and Big Labor allow it to happen? By their cowardices and betrayals, ye shall also know them.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
4 Years Without Julio Lopez
Julio Lopez, Luciano Arruga, Silvia Suppo – three names recently listed the doleful roll call of Argentina’s victims of state repression, a legacy left over from the bloody 1976-1983 military dictatorship. These three names have left painful reminders of the paradigm of disappearances and how the social stigma of the crimes committed during the dictatorship has scarred Argentina and other nations which survived brutal military dictatorships.
Argentina recently commemorated the four year anniversary of the disappearance of Julio Lopez, to demand that the torture survivor and human rights activist be found alive. After four years of searching, marches, and impunity, the cries for justice and punishment seem to have found no response from an indifferent government which claims to defend human rights. Activists also demanded information on the whereabouts of Luciano Arruga, a 16-year-old who was forcefully disappeared in January, 2009 and investigation into the 2010 murder of Silvia Suppo, a human rights activist and torture survivor testifying in a landmark human rights trial.
Julio Lopez has been titled as the man disappeared twice. He last went missing four years ago on September 18, 2006 in his hometown of La Plata. He was disappeared on the day the that his perpetrator and former police chief Miguel Etchecolatz was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity and genocide. Julio Lopez was absent from the courtroom, to witness the historic moment in the landmark trial having been abducted hours earlier.
Lopez was a key witness in the 2006 human rights trial in which Etchecolatz was found guilty of kidnapping, torture and murder of activists during the military dictatorship. Etchecolatz coordinated kidnappings and torture sessions in a network of clandestine detention centers in La Plata, 30 miles from Buenos Aires. In one of these torture centers, Lopez first met Etchecolatz during his detention from 1976-1979.
Julio Lopez is exactly where the repressors want him, in the abyss of impunity that the military have enjoyed for the past 34 years. Julio Lopez was never able to listen to the sentence of his repressors. He was kidnapped the day before his perpetrator Miguel Etchecolatz was sentenced to life in prison and Lopez became another disappeared.
“The forced disappearance of Lopez is called impunity,” wrote the human rights group HIJOS in a press release on the fourth anniversary of Lopez’s disappearance. Impunity for human rights abuses has been Argentina’s dark legacy. Since 1999, when the human rights trials were closed due to amnesty laws, the human rights group HIJOS went out into the streets and into former military officers’ neighborhoods to let the community know that they were living next to an individual who carried out abuses such as kidnapping, rape, torture and forced disappearances. On the fourth anniversary of Lopez’s disappearance HIJOS reminded the government of the results of letting the military go about their normal lives for more than a decade following the passage of amnesty protecting the military from criminal prosecution. “It is the consequence of nasty leftovers from the dictatorship which endured in democracy, added to the government’s lack of response to the seriousness of what occurred.”
Result of impunity
Now justice is possible in criminal courts, following the 2003 abolishment of amnesty laws that protected members of the military government from prosecution of human rights abuses. Many members under arrest were released in the 80’s when the amnesty law was passed. This amnesty allowed former armed forces members to maintain power and hold powerful positions such as judges and executives at private security firms. Etchecolatz was one such repressor who was put on trial and sentenced in the 80´s for abuses, specifically for 91 cases of torture, but later released. The former police chief conspired with local policemen to form right-wing, nationalist groups. “It was foreseeable that the repressors would not stand still when their time came to sit on the court room bench and answer to the courts and the Argentine people,” said the group HIJOS.
According to the human rights group CELS, more than 1,500 former members of the armed and security forces are facing charges of human rights abuses during the dictatorship. However, only 81 people have received sentences.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the disappearance of Julio Lopez has reached a deadlock. The government waited 19 months to consider Julio Lopez a case of forced disappearance. Authorities have also delayed investigation into communication to and from the Marcos Paz jail, where more than 40 repressors are currently under arrest and held under the same roof with the liberty to communicate with one another.
“It’s a combination of lack of response, complicity and covering up,” said Adriana Calvo at the march for Julio Lopez. No one has been investigated much less detained in the police investigation of the disappearance of Julio Lopez.
“Lopez reminds us that the repressive apparatus has not been dismantled and the trials progress but witnesses and survivors testifying are in danger,” said Adriana Meyer, a journalist for the national newspaper Página/12. However, the government and the media have left the issue of witness safety from public spotlight.
The recent murder of Silvia Suppo, a key witness in a human rights trial on crimes committed during the Argentine dictatorship, has sparked fears for the safety of witnesses who testify publicly in the cases. Suppo, a torture survivor, was stabbed to death on March 29 at her crafts shop in the province of Santa Fe in an alleged robbery. In 2009, Suppo testified in a human rights trial against a former judge for his role in abuses during the dictatorship. Human Rights groups suspect that Suppo was killed to send a message to those still willing to testify as human rights trials progress.
For survivors there is a way to guarantee witnesses safety, for the trials to progress and for all of the repressors. “witness protection program is a mess. Witnesses in a human rights trial in La Plata have received isolated threats.,” said Carlos Zaidman, a torture survivor. “We believe that the only way to protect witnesses is for all of the repressors to be jailed. This has made is doubly important to testify. They haven’t stopped the struggle by disappearing 30,000 compañeros or by disappearing Lopez.”
Silence is impunity
For a democracy to flourish, impunity must end. While Argentina’s government has taken the lead in supporting efforts to try former military and police for rights abuses carried out during the junta years, justice has been slow. And the issue of Julio Lopez has entered an abyss of silence from the media and president.
Lopez’s family sent a letter to the president asking her to push for the investigation into the disappearance of Lopez so that the man who disappeared without a trace twice in his life doesn’t “become the first disappeared in democracy.”
This request has come too late as Argentina has a number of disappeared and thousands of victims of a state repressive apparatus still in tact. Julio Lopez, Miguel Bru and Luciano Arruga are just three of these disappeared in democracy. For democracy to avoid being disappeared, state repression must be abolished.
Julio Lopez presente!
Marie Trigona is an independent writer and radio producer based in Argentina. She can be reached through her blog www.mujereslibres.blogspot.com
For FII purposes, Palestinians only exist as terrorists and delegitimizers
In an article published in the September 6th edition of The Palestine Chronicle (“Imagining Palestinians as Equal”) I began with this quote from novelist Aldous Huxley: “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” It is the key to separating out what is blatant propaganda and what is fair and honest communication.
The purpose of Israel’s political firewall is blocking out and discrediting the testimony of the people it abuses on a daily basis and their supporters, through using high level elites.
In my mental health career working with abusive systems was a main interest, and this is classic abusive system behavior. The example I used in the article was The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), formed earlier this year. Billing itself as dedicated to the scholarly research of the manifestations of antisemitism globally, as well as other forms of prejudice, it fits snugly into the propaganda format promoted by Israel’s Reut Institute.
The Friends of Israel Initiative (FII) led by former Spanish PM José María Aznar and directed by Rafael Bardaji, Sr. Aznar’s former national security advisor is a second example. Founded in May of this year, it is made up of a group of high level personalities supported by a large network of influential opinion formers such as William Kristol, Dore Gold, Alan Mendoza, Joao Spada, Eliot Abrams, Allen Roth, Pablo Kleinman, Jeffrey Gedmin, Robin Shepherd, among many others.
Where does FII’s support come from? That is difficult to say, as donors are not listed on their website, and I’ve unable to locate any information about them on the internet, other than they are a dozen private donors from Spain, America, Israel, France, Italy and Britain, and provide the FII with a working budget of almost £1 million a year, which translates to over $1,550,000 US dollars (Source: The Jewish Chronicle Online, July 22, 2010).
FII’s declared purpose is a familiar one if you are familiar with Israel’s propaganda initiatives: Combating “the deligitimization of the State of Israel at home, abroad and inside the institutions of the international community”; publicly showing solidarity with Israel’s democratic institutions which are “the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s millennial aspiration to live in peace and freedom in its national homeland (emphasis added); supporting Israel’s inalienable right to secure borders “so that its citizens can continue living with the same guarantees that our own societies enjoy; consistently and firmly opposing the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran; working to ensure that Israel is fully accepted as a normal Western country, which they see as “an essential and indivisible part of the Western world to which we belong (emphasis added)”; and “reaffirm[ing] the value of the religious, moral, and cultural Judeo-Christian heritage as the main source of the liberal and democratic Western societies.”
Not one word about the Palestinian people and what has happened to them from 1948 to the present day. Not a single word or syllable anywhere on FII’s website. The clear message is that the Palestinian people do not exist except as terrorists and delegitimizers who refuse to accept Israel’s continued stealing of their lands, murdering their people and treating them like dogs. The sole purpose of the FII is to delegitimize Israel’s critics and dismiss the Palestinians as dogs.
Is this a bit harsh? When the Palestinian people are ignored to this degree, I don’t think it is. The message of The Friends of Israel Initiative is a message that Israel’s propaganda machine very much wants everyone, especially the power brokers in the West to hear … and believe. What the rest of us believe is irrelevant, because to the propaganda machine and power brokers, “the people” do not count. By now that should be eminently clear to anyone who follows the daily news. Am I being needlessly cynical? Sadly, I don’t believe I am.
There is more. Marcello Perla, former president of the Italian Senate remarked at the launch of the FII that Israel was viewed “as the father of human rights”, and that “attacking Israel is attacking the culture of human rights” (The Jewish Chronicle Online, 22 July 2010). (It took me a minute after reading that before I could say “You have got to be joking!”) On FII’s website’s home page, Mr. Perla is quoted as saying that “The campaign of demonization against the State of Israel must stop. All men and women of goodwill should join together to say that enough is enough” (almost a word-for-word quote from the Reut Institute’s report “Building a Political Firewall Against Israel’s Delegitimization”).
On the same date, former Spanish PM José María Aznar published an article in The Jewish Chronicle Online titled “We in the West need to regain moral clarity, complete with a head shot of Sr. Aznar looking very serious and morally clear. Claiming that Israel is an integral part of the West, he makes this astonishing claim: “The one thing setting it apart from the rest of us is its status as the only democracy whose existence has been questioned since inception.” He then makes this incredible, whiplash-inducing statement: “[I]f Israel fell into the hands of its enemies, the West as we know it would cease to exist.” Say what?
Take a moment to sit back and take three deep, slow breaths to clear your mind and unclench your jaw. Go to this link and read the article for yourself (http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/36089/we-west-need-regain-moral-clarity), take three deeper, slower breaths to calm the hysterical laughter or rage that’s beginning to well up inside and overwhelm your thinking mind, refocus your eyes and move on.
What Mr. Aznar has done is declare war against Israel’s enemies whom he declares are enemies of the West. Worse, he uses the rhetoric of cultural warfare, a “clash of cultures” between the virtuous West and the evil and cynical Muslim world. This is so bizarre that it makes my hair stand on end. Does he really not see how dangerous this Reut-think is? Are he and his friends fools, or just suicidal idiots bent on dragging all of us into a neocon war to defend a state that, from its inception has been morally indefensible?
We in the west do need to regain moral clarity, which is the point the growing legions of Israel’s critics are making eminently clear. But refusing to even mention the Palestinian people is morally reprehensible to all men and women of good will, to say nothing at all about good sense.
Mahmoud El-Yousseph said it best in a recent article in The Palestinian Chronicle titled “The Hesder Quiz: Where is Israel?”. “‘Where is Israel’?” he asks. “The more accurate answer would be: It is located in the heart of the Arab world. It was built illegally in 1948 on stolen Palestinian land and on the ruin of hundreds of towns and villages that have been erased from the face of the earth so the native inhabitants will never have a chance to return back home and to what is rightfully theirs.”
Until Sr. Aznar and his friends understand that, the West has no moral clarity at all. Moral clarity comes to us courtesy of people like Mahmoud El-Yousseph and others who call Israel out on its racism and violence toward the Palestinian people. To quote from a recent article by Gilad Atzmon, Israeli expatriate, jazz musician and activist, “reconciliation is the surest way to peace.” And this is true wherever injustice exists, which is to say wherever one group of people treat another group or groups of people as if they are nothing at all.
I will say this for Sr. Aznar and his friends: They do know how to parrot their lines. Wouldn’t you love to know who their financial backers are? Now that is a worthy subject for someone to research and publish at least one article on.
- George Polley is a Japan-based writer.
The Israeli Authorities detained Irish Nobel Prize laureate, Mairead Maguire, at the Ben-Gurion International Airport Tuesday, and refused to allow her into the country. She was later escorted to a flight bound to Britain despite legal appeals to allow her into the country.
In 1967, Maguire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work against sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. The Nobel Prize was awarded to her and to Betty Williams.
Maguire flew to Israel on Tuesday morning from Frankfort – Germany. The Nobel Prize laureate was accompanied by a peace delegation of women, including five other Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Israel previously issued a permanent order banning Maguire from entering the country for her participating in solidarity flotillas sending humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip. She was one of the human rights activists who were on the “Rachel Corrie” solidarity ship that was seized by Israel in May this year.
Judy Williams, an American Nobel Prize recipient, who intended to be part of the delegation with Maguire, stated that preventing entry to Maguire is of a great concern to the people who dedicate their lives for peace.
“The people who dedicate their lives to peace should not be considered a threat to security”, Williams said.
Two years ago, Maguire voiced a sharp criticism to Israel for ignoring all international community resolutions calling for ending Israel’s occupation in Palestine. She also called for removing Israel from the United Nations for its ongoing violations to Human Rights.
The reaction of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to the latest Zionist provocations, including the all-out settlement expansion drive in the West Bank, has been disastrous and calamitous.
Abbas has issued a plethora of conflicting statements, some signaling his willingness to remain engaged in the so-called “peace process” with Israel. This is despite the fact that Israel keeps trampling on that damned, whoring process, if only by embarking on more settlement building, and more land theft at the Palestinians’ expense.
This is not a minor matter. The occupied territories are the proverbial disputed piece of cheese which Israel keeps devouring around the clock to the extent that most Palestinians are justifiably worried that no territories will be left for establishing a viable and territorially contiguous state that is worthy of the name. Some, including this writer, believe that it is already too late for Palestinian statehood.
When Abbas is speaking to a Palestinian audience, he expresses his dissatisfaction with Israel and warns that he may pull out of the American-brokered talks with Israel.
It is not very difficult to diagnose Abbas’s duplicity and inconsistency. The PA leader can’t displease Washington for obvious reasons.
The financial bloodline upon which the deformed Ramallah entity depends comes from Washington. Moreover, Abbas realizes that should Obama or the US congress, both under effective Jewish control, clear their throats, a financial and economic earthquake would instantaneously occur in Ramallah and thousands of civil servants would lose their jobs and their salaries.
This is how stupid and bankrupt regimes that allow themselves to be hostage to foreign countries end up because he who pays the piper calls the tune.
Abbas often claims that this is not the case with his authority. However, his words in this regard can’t really be believed.
In the meantime, Abbas, like other despotic dictators in the Arab world, would very much want to retain a semblance of popular legitimacy. This he does by pretending that he is still faithful to Palestinian national constants when in fact he is striving to destroy them, knowingly or unknowingly, by way of lying to the public and desensitizing the Palestinian masses.
In the past few years, many people gave Abbas the benefit of the doubt, citing the immense international pressure to which he was subjected as well as the phenomenal weakness overwhelming the Arab world.
However, there are things that can’t be justified under any circumstances, but Abbas doesn’t seem to know the difference.
Abbas keeps lowering the Palestinian national ceilings by allowing Israel to gain more time to build more settlements. And when the steps he is demanded to make prove too embarrassing or too scandalous, like resuming peace talks in the absence of a settlement expansion freeze by Israel, Abbas hastens to Cairo or Amman or Riyadh, begging Arab leaders to save him. The next day, he would reappear in Ramallah to tell the frustrated Palestinian masses that “I can’t not refuse to take the advice of our brotherly Arab leaders.”
In the not-too-distant past, Arab leaders did give us truly brotherly advice. They would urge us to reject Zionist schemes and resist Zionist aggression. “However, for many years now, the only Arab advice we have been receiving from most Arab capitals is a demoralizing message calling on us to surrender to Israel and cede all or most of our legitimate rights, including the right to freedom and independence.
In brief, the Arab regimes want us to “be happy and not worry.” In other words, these regimes are a liability, not an asset in the struggle for the liberation of our countries from shackles of Zionism.
I don’t know for sure why Abbas is behaving the way he does. Is he senile? Is he not fully aware of what he is doing? Does he have a blind faith in Barack Obama, the man who shakes at the mere notion of criticizing Israeli insolence and arrogance of power?
Ok, cowardice is a natural phenomenon just as courage and wisdom and other attributes, good or bad. However, it is illogical to entrust the enduring Palestinian cause to a man who is unable and unfit to navigate the national boat to the shore of safety.
Like the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Abbas refuses to face reality as it is. He is also becoming increasingly peripatetic, preferring to be far away from the theatre of events. He also prefers very much to listen to himself, and when one confronts him with news or views he doesn’t like to hear, he get nervous and asks the speaker to shut up.
Abbas on many occasions justifiably attacked the governance style of Yasser Arafat. He thought that the second intifada was a disaster for the Palestinians. However, instead of suggesting a wiser approach, Abbas has effectively reached the conclusion that surrendering to Israel is the best alternative, not knowing that Israel is very much like a treacherous crocodile, the more meat you give it, the more it demands.
Indeed, the latest gestures Abbas and his aides have been making toward Israel have not only been scandalous from the view point of Palestinian national dignity. They have also been politically disastrous.
In the final analysis, displaying weakness and compromising our people’s dignity will not make Israel come to terms with our usurped rights.
Today, the Palestinian cause stands at a crossroad as the US seems both unwilling and unable to pressure the Zionist regime to end the occupation that started in 1967.
I am not a prophet of doom and gloom. However, it is difficult to believe that the US would be able to force Israel to return to the 1967 borders when it can’t get the Zionist regime to extend a partial and insignificant settlement freeze for a few more months.