The Charade Continues, in Spades

Monday, March 15, 2010 11:20 AM

There are multiple levels of hypocrisy, posturing, and exaggerated pique at work in the Biden-Netanyahu blowup over the badly-timed announcement of new Jewish outposts in occupied Jerusalem. BarackO can't stomach or deal with the impossible Bibi Nut&yahoo--anymore than Bill Clinton could--so he sent in the second team, led by Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden, the immediate past Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His assignment was to try to get something, anything, started in the negotiating process between the Mahmoud Abbas/Saeb Erekat Palestinian faction, on the one hand, and the Likud crazies led by Nut&yahoo, on the other. The entire scenario is a farce from the word go, however, because president Abbas is no longer president, his Fatah party having lost the last election years ago to Hamas, and Abbas can deliver next to nothing. Everybody knows that.

Abbas is hanging around, at the insistence of Washington, because Hamas has been branded a terrorist organization by Washington (in accordance with Tel Aviv’s directives) and the American subsidies are nice for Abbas and his cronies. In the other corner, we have the state terrorists of Likud and its associates, headed by Nut&yahoo and Avigdor Lieberman. They have made it perfectly clear to Washington and to the EU and to the so-called Quartet that all of Jerusalem belongs to "the Jewish state" and that Jews from anywhere in the world, especially from the former Soviet Union and Brooklyn, have a right and duty to settle anywhere they please in Greater Israel.

So you might conclude that there is very little of substance for Senator George “mission impossible” Mitchell to do, and nowhere for "the peace process" to go, but pretend that something is happening, and hope for the best. That pretense would be more than enough to satisfy Washington officialdom and the American news media, but even this fig leaf has been shredded by Bibi and his fellow fanatics. Zut alors!

One wonders what BarackO and Joe “central bolt in our existence” Biden and Obliterator Hillary expected from Tel Aviv under such circumstances. You should expect to be treated like a lackey and a jackass if that is, in fact, the outstanding characteristic of your curriculum vitae. As for Tel Aviv, a brat whose conduct has been perennially indulged, enabled and encouraged will keep acting like a brat when dealing with his enablers. It is only human nature. Anything else would be a surprise. This affair amounts to a family spat among Zionist Jews and their fawning Gentile front men who have been bought and paid for. In the case of Joe “no space between us” Biden and Hillary Clinton, their minion status has been in evidence for years. BarackO is a late arrival to the party. Lackeys such as these serve a useful purpose, but they ought not presume that they possess independence or power.

Bibi's mentor, Ariel "the bulldozer" Sharon explained the matter succinctly in an outburst directed at foreign minister Shimon Peres, during a cabinet meeting in 2001: "...every time we do something you tell me that Americans will do this and will do that. I want to tell you something very clear, don't worry about American pressure on Israel, we, the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it." What part of that don’t we understand? Is anybody disputing it? Just today, Nut&yahoo proclaimed to Likud members of the Knesset, “Building in Jerusalem and in all other places will continue in the same way that has been accepted in the last 42 years.” Bibi was praising the long track record of American foreign policy under multiple presidents, to wit, near total acquiescence and quietism in response to relentless Zionist colonial expansion. What is the basis of this U.S. policy? Political expediency. Why should anything be different now?

In all this, of course, the luckless Palestinians and their endless nightmare of dispossession, defamation and military occupation are a non-issue, just an annoyance, both to Tel Aviv and Washington. Note in the item below from today's Financial Times, that Israel's ambassador to Washington, professor Mike Oren was "summoned" to an "unscheduled" meeting with James Steinberg, U.S. deputy secretary of state, to discuss the purported shock and horror caused by the announcement of more Jews moving into Arab East Jerusalem when the glad-handing gasbag, Joe “Israel captured my heart” Biden, was in town.

Meanwhile, David Axelrod, the man who orchestrated BarackO's ascension into the Oval Office, went on Meet the Press yesterday to state that "the message was received" in Tel Aviv. What message? Mike Oren, Jim Steinberg and Dave Axelrod are all prominent American Zionists, doing their part for The Cause. The same could be said of Bibi, who was educated in the U.S. What "messages" do you think they are passing around to one another about Jewish settlements in the “Jewish state”, and what is the point of this whole charade? The conflicts of interest in Washington inside the BarackO Administration on the matter of U.S. ties to Israel are amazing, just as they were in the Cheney Regency and in the Bill Clinton Administration. Indeed, this has been a simmering national political scandal for decades.

The current fracas is a tempest in a teapot, to coin a phrase, manufactured by the White House. It is a show of phony outrage, mostly for the benefit of the Arabs and the bemused Europeans. Who is being fooled? A lot of people.


Netanyahu regrets settler homes ‘incident’

By Vita Bekker in Tel Aviv // The Financial Times (London)

Published: March 14, 201

The Israeli prime minister expressed regret on Sunday for the announcement last week during a visit by the US vice-president of a plan to build Jewish settler homes in mostly Arab East Jerusalem.

But, in his first public remarks since the proposal was unveiled last Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu gave no indication of cancelling the construction. He also played down the growing confrontation with Washington that the proposal and the timing of its disclosure – made while Joe Biden was in Israel – have triggered.

Mr Netanyahu told his cabinet: “There was a regrettable incident here, which occurred innocently. It was hurtful and certainly it should not have happened.”

The announcement to build 1,600 houses in the Jewish neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians view as the capital of their future state, appears to have spurred the biggest crisis between Israel and the US, its closest ally, in years.

Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, on Friday used unusually harsh words by blasting the Israeli disclosure as “insulting” because it took place during a visit by Mr Biden that was aimed at boosting a new round of US-mediated Middle East peace talks.

The same day, Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, was summoned to an unscheduled meeting with James Steinberg, US deputy secretary of state, according to Israeli media.

Mr Netanyahu has said he did not know of the approval of the construction plan by the interior ministry, which is controlled by the ultra-orthodox, pro-settler Shas party that is a key member of his governing coalition.

He tried to deflect media reports of a growing confrontation between his predominantly pro-settler government and the Obama administration. “I suggest not to get carried away and to calm down,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added that he has appointed a group of senior officials to probe into the events that led to the announcement “to ensure procedures will be in place to prevent those kinds of incidents in the future”.

A US envoy is due in the region later in the week to try to restart peace talks that have been suspended since December 2008. The Palestinians have resisted restarting negotiations without a total Israeli settlement freeze.

The settlement plan has prompted a torrent of condemnation of Mr Netanyahu by influential Israeli media commentators.

In a front-page editorial titled Time to Panic in the mass-selling Maariv newspaper, Ben Caspit, a veteran political correspondent, wrote on Sunday: “The crisis is still in full force and is reaching new heights. It seems to be much worse than anything we have known in the past decade.”

Yaron Ezrahi, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, said the US might try to take advantage of the situation.

He added: “The people in the White House are thinking of how to exploit this crisis to extract more concessions from Israel for the peace negotiations.”

Such concessions, he added, might be a cancellation of last week’s approval of the building plan or an extension of the 10-month partial freeze on construction in the occupied West Bank, which expires in September.

David Axelrod, a senior aide to Barack Obama, US president, yesterday told NBC’s Meet the Press programme that Mr Netanyahu’s comments in response to US criticism showed “the message was received”, Reuters reported from Jerusalem.

© Copyright The Financial Times Ltd 2010.