Obama won’t bring peace to Palestine

19 March 2013

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US President Barack Obama at the Israel lobby group AIPAC’s conference in 2011.

(AIPAC)

If US President Barack Obama wanted to move the Palestine/Israel issue along, he would need to demand that Israel free thousands of political prisoners it holds in violation of international law, end its violations of Palestinian human rights, lift the siege on Gaza or at the very least end the indiscriminate killing of Palestinian civilians.

However, because the fear that retribution by Israel’s lobby will be swift and painful, none of these things will be said — much less demanded — even though they are well-documented and widely known. And so, President Obama’s planned trip to Israel will not offer any solution to the Palestine/Israel conflict.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind would want to clean up. It has become a vicious cycle of deceit and double standards, and it will contaminate any US politician who tries to clean it up. One may trust that President Obama, being fully aware of this, will avoid getting involved with this issue in his second term, just as he did in his first term.

Even if he does visit the West Bank city of Ramallah during his planned visit, there can be little doubt that Barack Obama will continue to stand behind Israel and place his real efforts elsewhere. It’s the cost of doing business.

Blank check

The official US stance on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is that it needs to be resolved within the framework of a two-state solution but without the US pressuring the parties to reach a resolution. The pressures placed upon politicians in the US by the Israel lobby have created a reality in which criticizing Israel constitutes political suicide.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, the Torquemada of the Israel lobby, stated recently on the satirical television program The Colbert Report that: “there are not many issues for which there is bipartisan support, the support for Israel is a true bipartisan issue” (“Obama’s Israel trip - Michael Oren,” 5 March 2013).

“Support for Israel” means a blank check. Understandably, Oren takes pride in this because it is an accomplishment for which his inquisition-style lobby has worked tirelessly. So much so, that the only vote on this issue that is acceptable in Washington is a vote that is aligned with Israel.

Reckless and destructive

The price of doing business in US politics is to applaud, encourage and pay for Israel to do whatever it wants, regardless how reckless and destructive it may be, and to ignore the plight of the Palestinians. This was true before the last Israeli elections, and now with the results of the Israeli elections clearly showing that Israelis have no interest in resolving the Palestinian issue, the president would have to go against Israeli electorate as well as the Israel lobby in the US, and all this to accomplish something no American president would even dare to articulate: peace and justice for Palestinians.

The naïve hope that Obama’s second term in office will be different than his first on this issue is just that, naïve. A just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian question will not come from an American president, nor will it come from an Israeli prime minister. The resolution of the conflict will come as a result of the fall of the Zionist state, not unlike the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

No substance at all

As student groups, churches, trade unions, civil society organizations and the movement calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel increase their pressure, Western governments who are now complicit in Israel’s crimes will inevitably be forced to halt their support for Israel.

This, along with the ongoing pressure from popular Palestinian resistance, disobedience and defiance of the laws that allow the Zionist occupation of Palestine to function, will bring about a democracy in Palestine, in place of the Zionist state.

But this will not come about of its own accord. People who care about Palestinians and Israelis and who care about justice and peace need to act vigorously and demand a democracy with full equal rights in Palestine/Israel. As for the president’s planned visit, we may expect, and we will surely see no substance at all.

Miko Peled is the author of The General’s Son: Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.

Comments

Thank you for your tireless work and the courage to be the voice of so many oppressed Palestinians.

لو الفلسطنية بفهمو كان بكونو أذكياء مثل اليهود ..نتنياهو ما بحبو بس عشان جكر فينا و عشان مصلحة صار يئول أهلا وسهلا بأحلى اوباما نورت شوف كيف الفلسطينية ما بيحترموك ولا بحترمو حدا بس احنا منحبك !!! مع إنو بكرهوا أكتر منا!!! ..طب ليش ما احنا نحاول التنافس معهم بستقبال أحسن منهم و ترحيب أحر مش ممكن نفاجئهمو نزعلهم؟ ؟ و نكسب إحترام اوباما ؟ صدقوني هادة هو إلي اليهود ما بدهم ايانا نوصلو .. الذكاء

I agree with Miko Peled that «The Israeli-Palestinian issue is, politically, a toxic wasteland that no US president in his right mind [sic] would want to clean up» By so doing Mr. Peled is stating the obvious. The question he is not providing an answer to is where does the so-called "power" of Israel's lobby come from? Is that power real or just a convenient 'deus ex machina'? Who needs whom more & why? How does one explain that the US has never seriously penalised Israel despite its continuous and relentless violation of international law?

It seems to me that the US & Israel are two sides of the same coin, for Israel has always been the US' working horse in the Middle East. What does Israel demand in return? It demands US supports Israel unconditionally, so that it can continue with its occupation, annexation and violation of international law with total impunity!

Gart Valenc
Twitter: @gartvalenc

Gart, excellent comment. I agree except for one item. The US has not "always" been Israel's lapdog. This is a recent development. American leaders in the past never trusted Israel or its leaders, who very early on proved to be consummate liars and thieves to their own friends.

The American people have simply lost control of their country. There is no other way to put it. Therefore, they are left with a fundamentally simple calculation if they wish to have their country back. This calculation will inevitably impose itself inside the US.

This is why the pro-Israel lobby is doomed.

That aside, I honestly think the United States needs assistance/aide from outside to deal with the pro-Israel lobby--perhaps from the UN. But America's leaders are hellbent to race into the fire. The pro-Israel lobby has now drawn the attention of the entire world. Everyone now dread the imminent danger to world peace that this loibby poses. This is no longer America's problem alone. Something is clearly wrong.

I meant workhorse

Miko,

I understand what you are trying to say, but some of your premises have been invalidated by recent events in Congress and elsewhere. The pro-Israel lobby is not quite what it used to be. Moreover, there has been serious movement by American politico-military heavies to close the security deficit in the US's relationship with Israel.

Unfortunately, the pro-Israel lobby has a significant advantage--it controls key government machinery, including domestic policy. As Ariel Sharon used to brag, "We have the Congress in our pocket!"

Don't forget, the spearhead of the domestic agenda consists of the very same people who are now busy spearing the American public on Israel. It is a marriage that has endured after Mr. W; it has simply mutated to accommodate the growing internal constradictions and a logjammed Congress.

You say: "Western governments who are now complicit in Israel’s crimes will inevitably be forced to halt their support for Israel."

I would watch what the USA will do in the next five years. Israel is now clearly cornered. No more room to manoeuvre. Obama is its only dangling rope, whatever big-talk you hear from here on! Do you, for one moment, think that anyone in Europe or the US will tolerate an Israel with 200+ nuclear warheads pointed at the heart of Europe for much longer?

Don't take my word for it--just watch and wait, and let us all do what we can to prevent a worse outcome than the world can accept.

"…the fall of the Zionist state." Yes, you heard it here. And from an Israeli.

A call for the destruction of Israel? Hatred of the Jewish people? Sure, like the world wanted to destroy South Africa, and acted out of hatred for South Africans. Through the sanctions and the overwhelming pressure to say "no" to the evil of Apartheid, the world SAVED South Africa, bringing it back into the community of nations, liberating whites and blacks alike from the regime and the ideology that has poisoned their society. That's what we're called to do today. Thank you, , Miko, for your straight talk and your courage.

Mark

Uzi Landau visiting Houston invites world's energy corporations to become a fossil fuel warehouse ("The Deluge" by Vince Beiser in "Pacific Standard" March/April 2013 pg 44) Combined natural gas fields "hold trillions of cubic feet of gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars." It is time to renegotiate US Federal aid ($30 Billion) and military aid to Israel, especially since this $ is coming from US taxpayers pockets.
Thanks for your advocacy for Human Rights.

What concerns our politicians most is a "controversy" erupting. Mass media protects Israel and mass media coordinates attacks on anyone condemning Israel.

All the pro-Israel media needs is a debatable subject that can be slanted. Perception decides election.

Thanks Miko: you pull the mask off the illusion of peace that surrounds the Obama visit and the seductive spin that surrounds it in the mainstream media. Your voice is prophetic in the true sense of those who refused to buy into the delusion of their time---Jeremiah, Amos, Micah, your father, so many. You inspire and challenge---thanks and don't let up. Don Wagner

Of course Barack Obama will not bring "peace". Hopefully you never believed
that he would. He has been owned by AIPAC and its (bipartisan?) friends
for years. The important thing is to commit yourselves to truth , knowlege and wise timing. Communication of the realities in Palestine is an absolute
necessity. So too is a knowledge (not sympathy for) American politics.
Islam has survived many massacres in its history. Few are known
much less understood in the west. Stand for truth in these our dark days. We will
be called names and it will hurt. We must NOT let ourselves be manipulated.

Do not be bamboozled by talk of quagmire and pain. Israel must either accept all Palestinians as citizens, or allow a Palestinian state in the West Bank and their "settlers"/land thieves become Palestinian citizens.

The international community must force it. The pressure on Israel must continue.

U.S. public opinion must be changed by spreading truth: Israel is committing ethnic cleansing, Israel is in violation, Israel creates enemies for the U.S., therefore Israel must be stopped.

Thanks to Peled for your insightful article and the remarks of many who commented. I only wish many more comprehended the politics of the situation
and the growing influence of AIPAC (The American Israel PAC).
The reference in my comment to sacrifice and truth is of course to the Massacre
at Karbala in 680 CE. I do not wish to devide as between shi'ites and
sunnis but on 10 OCTOBER I urge all to join in drawing strength from sacrifice and loss. Despite my miniscure monthly allowance I will be purchasing a Quran translated into English as well as a work on 12-er shi'ism. The Judeo-Christian west prepares for Easter(3/31). I seek only to learn and understand with greater clarity

In his speech, Obama said “Only in Israel could you see the Dead Sea Scrolls.” The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1946 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran in what was, at the time of the initial discovery, in British Mandate Palestine, and which since 1947 has been known as the Palestinian West Bank. Obama shared his appreciation of the Zionist obsession with ethnicity as he advised his listeners: “Given the demographics west of the Jordan River, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realisation of an independent and viable Palestine.” This appeal to Israel to permit the establishment of a Palestinian state was not based on humanitarian considerations, or international law but solely upon a coldly calculated estimation of the best way for Israel to achieve its ideological goals. Obama continued “Peace is just”, saying moreover “That is why security must be at the centre of any agreement. And there is no question that the only path to peace is through negotiation.”
Saying that “the only path to peace is through negotiation” dovetails with the bald assertion that “Peace is just”. There are two kinds of 'peace'. One is enforced by the powerful upon the conquered. The other is a just peace.
Leslie Bravery
PS Those critics who pretend that it is the Palestinians that persecute the Christian community, should listen to to the Christians of Palestine who do suffer from Israeli oppression. A Palestinian researcher at the Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities in occupied Palestine, Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh, tells us that “. . . eighty-seven per cent of the land of Bethlehem is now off-limits to our development and open for the expansion of 23 colonial settlements built on our land. And this canton of Bethlehem is increasingly surrounded by a wall and I, as a Palestinian Christian, am not allowed into Jerusalem, my Church of the Sepulchre.”
LB

Just finished reading THE GENERAL'S SON. I found it fasinating and hope and pray there are many more Israelis with an open mind such as you reveal. There is a growing bitterness in the U.S. concerning the corruption that AIPAC practices in order to benefit Israel at the expense of American taxpayers. The u.s. media has failed the American public in that it publishes only Israeli propaganda. As an example, Judy Miller's reporting in the New York Times concerning removing Saddam Hussein from power and invading Iraq. How can anyone ever trust whatever information published by that newspaper? As with most Presidents of the U.S., Barak Obama is most interested in what his legacy will be in history. His principal interest is himself -- not American citizens. Just recently he has agreed to provide Israel with $400 million for tunnels. Americans' tax dollars are being distributed by fools -- which admittedly we continue to be taken for fools. I do hope there will not be "bitter" repercussions against innocent Israelis as that will not bring justice to either the Palestinians or the Israelis.