Obama buries Gaza under Iran nuclear deal

President Barack Obama and other US officials participate in a videoconference about the Iran nuclear negotiations in March.

Pete Souza White House Photo

The deal between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program lifts an ominous shadow from a region already ravaged by bloodshed and conflict.

The specter of another ideological, US-led war on the pretext, once again, of eliminating phantom weapons of mass destruction recedes with this agreement. For that, the Iranian people and all humanity should breathe a sigh of relief.

Today US President Barack Obama held a press conference in Washington to promote the deal in the face of outright rejectionism from many members of Congress and Israel.

Obama laid out the detailed mechanisms that will place Iran’s nuclear facilities under strict monitoring in exchange for an end to sanctions that have targeted Iran’s economy and civilian population.

“With this deal,” the president said, “we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to a nuclear program, a nuclear weapons program.”

Obama directly confronted critics, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I’m hearing a lot of talking points being repeated about ‘This is a bad deal,’” Obama said. “ ‘This will threaten Israel and threaten the world and threaten the United States.’”

What he had not heard, the president said, were any alternatives.

“And the reason is because there really are only two alternatives here,” Obama stated. “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force, through war.”

“And if the alternative is that we should bring Iran to heel through military force, then those critics should say so,” Obama said, daring Netanyahu to call his bluff.

Tunnel vision

Obama’s press conference did not focus only on the nuclear deal. The president talked about what he hoped the region would look like by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

“I think my key goal when I turn over the keys to the president – the next president – is that we are on track to defeat ISIL [also known as ISIS or Islamic State], that they are much more contained and we’re moving in the right direction there.”

He said he also hoped to have “jumpstarted a process to resolve the civil war in Syria, which is like an open sore in the region, and is giving refuge to terrorist organizations.”

Obama hoped to “make sure that in Iraq, not only have we pushed back ISIL, but we’ve also created an environment in which Sunni, Shia and Kurd are starting to operate and function more effectively together, and to be in a conversation with all our partners in the region about how we have strengthened our security partnerships.”

That would include, the president said, “providing additional security assurances and cooperation to Israel, building on the unprecedented cooperation that we have already put in place” and reinforcing ties with Gulf Arab regimes.

He also urged that “we have to address the youth in the region with jobs and opportunity and a better vision for the future so that they are not tempted by the nihilistic, violent, dead-end that organizations like ISIL offer.”

Amnesia

What was notably missing, however, was any mention whatsoever of the Palestinians.

It was exactly one year ago that Israel was slaughtering children playing football, riding in taxis with their grandmother and sleeping in their beds in Gaza.

It is not surprising that Obama made no allusion to this. He publicly supported and assisted the massacre that killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children.

In the midst of the slaughter, his administration moved to rearm Israel to ensure that it would not run out of bombs.

In the year that has followed, his administration has worked assiduously to block every pathway to justice for Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks.

The Obama administration was the only government to vote against a watered-down UN Human Rights Council resolution endorsing the independent inquiry that documented Israel’s war crimes and called for accountability.

Obama has, moreover, done nothing to lift an ongoing Israeli siege on Gaza that has meant that not a single one of the almost 20,000 completely destroyed homes has been rebuilt.

But a real measure of the official amnesia in the US capital is that not a single journalist asked a question about Gaza or more broadly Israel’s ongoing occupation and violent oppression of millions of Palestinians.

Almost every journalist given an opportunity to ask the president a question sounded like a spokesperson for Israel, echoing its government’s concerns.

No rift

The amnesia serves multiple functions: it reinforces Israeli impunity and it ensures that the official press corps can continue to promote the false narrative of a US-Israeli rift.

Those who believe that the Iran deal is likely to open a breach in US-Israeli relations that might even be beneficial to the Palestinians are therefore likely to be disappointed.

Yes, there is a sharp public disagreement agreement over the Iran deal, but even Obama knows this is mere posturing. Netanyahu too must know he cannot stop it, but what he can do is extort more concessions and handouts from the United States.

Israel’s tactic is always to scream and cry in hopes of getting more of what it wants. And it works.

Even Israel’s ostensible “opposition” leader Isaac Herzog is getting in on the act, with plans to fly to Washington to “lobby for a compensation package to ensure Israel’s military advantage in the region.”

What exactly is Israel being “compensated” for, since Obama has repeatedly insisted that his main motivation for negotiating with Iran is Israel’s “security”?

Rewarding Israel

In May, Obama agreed to fork over an additional $1.9 billion in US weapons to Israel that will more than likely be used against Palestinians, and to reinforce Israel’s regime of apartheid and colonization.

Obama has made it clear that this is only a down payment.

The president told the The New York Times yesterday that despite Netanyahu’s efforts to “influence the congressional debate” against the agreement, he was confident the deal would be implemented.

But Obama affirmed that after Netanyahu is done trying to sabotage the Iran deal, the president would “sit down” with the Israeli leader to figure out what more the US could give him.

The message is clear: no matter what Israel does, Obama will reward it with weapons and deeper US ties. Above all, there will be no pressure over the Palestinians. It would be foolish to think that the president’s successor – whether a Democrat or a Republican – will do any less.

The message for those concerned about the Palestinians is to step up the pressure on Israel through all available means, notably boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), which Obama – like his would-be successor Hillary Clinton – has vowed to do all he can to oppose.

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He also urged that “we have to address the youth in the region with jobs and opportunity and a better vision for the future so that they are not tempted by the nihilistic, violent, dead-end that organizations like ISIL offer.”

***The hypocrisy of this statement is that it implicates the US Military...this is where the poor youth go when they can't get a job, all assured of a complete and paid for education, assured medical, assured paycheck, assured food etc, etc, etc...[Money buys corruption].
No matter what, whatever comes out of the mouths of US and/or Israel are statements of the true depiction of their own hypocrisy. They describe, assert, strong arm, manipulate, extort, lie, lie, lie of their own self made tyranny and how they are lord of it. I hate them all...
I am reeling this morning after reading 'most' of http://www.breakingthesilence....
Needless to say after needing a bottle of wine to numb the pain and sorrow of poor Gazans after Israel's War 2014...it didn't bring anymore justice to and for them. I sent this along with other articles of documentation to the senator of my home state...to keep up the message..."THAT THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, OR ANYPLACE IN MY NAME."
BDS ILLEGAL STATE OF ISRAEL..A GODLESS SHAM OF BRUTAL ARROGANCE, BLOODSHED AND GREED. MAY HER JUDGEMENT NOT STAND IDLE. AMEN

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Barack Obama, "person of color" and "Nobel Peace Prize winner": he has managed to turn the world upside down--literally and figuratively; he exhibits the epitome of hypocrisy; he is wholly dishonest and a pathological liar; he is THE global bully; he is an arch-human rights, international law and Geneva Conventions violator; and he is every bit as guilty as sociopathic megalomaniac Benjamin Netanyahu in the merciless massacre and devastation in Gaza last summer, as well as in fully supporting Zionist Israel's six-decade-long (and counting) brutal racist, genocidal, ethnic cleansing forced military occupation and oppression of the State of Palestine, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. God bless America? NO! God HELP AMERICA!

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The world can indeed breathe a sigh of relief. Predictably, the US is covering its tracks by trying to "balance" things out with more assistance to basket-case Israel.

But Israel has no real economy and no prospect of becoming a real country in a soil so foreign. This is becoming obvious in the Western corridors of power. The Western powers have now to decide how to separate Israel from the "occupied territory" without completely severing their lifeline to this Zionist race colony.

Obama is in no position to bury anything, much less Palestine. The US has done everything to please Israel on the Iran nuclear file, for specific strategic reasons which, in fact, have little to do with Israel, despite Netanyahu's endless public antics.

Bibi-the-Bomber Netanyahu's strategy is so transparent that I find it truly breathtaking. Just yesterday, a British diplomat in a TV interview noted that European leaders are aware that Israel's prime motive behind the nuclear weapons issue has simply been to weaken Iran.

Echoing this view, British Foreign Secretary Hammond today stated in Parliament that Israel's position is that no deal with Iran can be acceptable. He made a point of adding that this position is in the interest of neither Great Britain nor the Middle East.

The truth is that the nuclear deal with Iran is vital to both the US and the EU, not to Israel's security. It was the US that asked for this two-year-long round of negotiations in the first place.

Israel has paralyzed itself and can only resort to assassinations, terrorist bombings, airstrikes in Syria and Lebanon, and vital support for Nusra Front terrorists still operating in the border area but who are now being dislodged by the Syrian army.

The US can't count on Israel. Nor on Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, which is finding it impossible to unglue itself from its Yemen trap. This Gulf terrorist powerhouse is like a strangely serene bird glued to a trapper's perch pretending it can still fly away.

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It is time someone underlined the significance (or insignificance?)
of the so-called Iran "nuke deal". The US (such as Secretary of
State John Kerry) continues the Israeli stereotype of Iranians
as "terrorists", "not to be trusted" "militant adventurers", "threat
to our---?---security" and similar worn out namecalling.

What is clear as Ali Abuminah puts it well, is that Iran is no
threat to the US. There are no Iranians under US bushes.
As clear is Israeli's desperate need for an enemy. It is so
similar to the US's need for USSR to be a monstrous
enemy threatening 5th graders in Iowa. USSR;s "peace
initiatives" frightened the US which refused to sign the
Geneva protocol (1954). Truman knew that this enemy
was a reqjuirement to pass legislation for the Marshall
Plan whose major goal was to make every nation like the
US and dependent on the US. Despite US military technological
supremacy, the US l;ost the war in case you have forgotten.

(See Robert Parry's article in Consortiumnews of 7/16 on
Israel's Behavior.)

I have always been sceptical that there will be any "deal"
at all when all is said and done. When Israel is willing---with
US backing--- to totally disarm all its nuclear bases, join
the NPT etc. (all suggestions overwhelmingly passed over US
and Israeli objections in the UN Security Council in 2014)
there is no reason Iran should give up its sovereignty.
To the US? To Saudi Arabia? To Israel?

Such a suggestion is absurd.

I remain extremely scelptical that any agreement will pass the
US Congress which is owned by Israel lock stock and barrel.

A. A. is absolutely correct. It is Israel, not Iran, which has been
the terrorist of the Middle East since Zionism invaded at the
beginning of the 20th century. Your knowledge of the history
of this settler-colonialism is assumed here.

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

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I have supported BDS while simultaneously having some questions.

l. "Based on international law"? While it is true that the GENERAL
ASSEMBLY of the UN passed statements regarding what should
be, I question whether these have the force of "law" as usually
understood. This means outside of the the UN. Within the UN and
its agreements, I have concerns as to whether such statements
are "international law." As I am not an expert on international
law, I would like to submit this to those more expert than I .
Shouts of "international law" may ring well in the streets but
I seriously doubt their veracity. (Agreements, covenants,
"customary law" and items referred to "Chapter VII" by the
UN Security Council are another matter. It is doubtful that
the Security Council would make such a referral given US
consistent opposition and position that Israel is above the
law and indeed all law. For a good analysis of the American
perspective see the beginning of Norman Finkelstein's THE
HOLOCAUST.

2. When do we (who suppot BDS) take on issues about boykotting
embargoing etc. all of Israel, not only settlements?? Some are
afriad and squeamishly try to say "Well, this is only...the sttlements."

I think it is all of Israel. In our hearts!

----Peter Loeb, Boston, MA USA

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The point to remember is that the US is not the only party involved in this deal.the congress can try to negate the deal but that will leave the US isolated from the others who happen to represent a very large portion of the worlds populous.The others who invested many years of time and resources will not so easily be convinced to go along and will most probably be advising their trade ministers to get on planes and meet their counterparts in Iran.Already the British Government is talking about reopening it,s embassy in Iran.Phillip Hammond , the British FM stated that the only deal acceptable to Israel is a permanent state of conflict.The German FM Steinmeyer also scolded Israel for it,s negative and obstructionist policies.They too will not be cowed into continuing sanctions against Iran and will also be vying for whatever contracts are going.Same with France and Russia and China and the rest of the EU.

Netnyahu overplayed his hand and is doubling down by continuing his attacks (aided by bought and paid for congress critters) against Obama.This will backfire and leave Israel even more isolated and netanyahu will not see the inside of the WH for the rest of Obama,s Presidency.

I think this is a seminal moment and Israel will do what it always does ---make a bad situation worse , which is just what is needed

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.