Unfortunately, the debate is dominated by those who either support the Israeli side in the conflict, or those who support the Palestinian desire for statehood. We rarely seem to hear the view of those who support the U.S. side and U.S. interests. I am on that side. I believe that we can no longer police the world. We can no longer bribe the Israelis and Palestinians to continue an endless “peace process” that goes nowhere. It is not in our interest to hector the Palestinians or the Israelis, or to “export” democracy to the region but reject it when people vote the “wrong” way.
In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, several right-wing factions in the Israeli Knesset argued that Israel should annex West Bank settlements as punishment for the recent Palestinian bid for United Nations membership.
The letter was signed by Likud chairman Ze’ev Elkin, Shas chairman Avraham Michaeli, Habayit Hayehudi chairman Uri Orbach, and the leader of the National Union faction Yaakov Katz.
In an exclusive story to be published Monday on growing military cooperation between the two allies, U.S. and Israeli officials tell Newsweek that the GBU-28 Hard Target Penetrators—potentially useful in any future military strike against Iranian nuclear sites—were delivered to Israel in 2009, just several months after Obama took office.
The military sale was arranged behind the scenes as Obama’s demands for Israel to stop building settlements in disputed territories were fraying political relations between the two countries in public.
What would be the possible blowback from an American veto? John Whitbeck has correctly described the veto by Washington as a “shotgun blast in both of its own feet.” The United States is already perceived negatively in every Arab nation except Kuwait. It is seen as on one hand supporting liberalization and democratization of some Arab governments while at the same time suppressing fundamental rights in places like Palestine. Worse still, if Washington cuts aid to the Palestinians because of their going to the U.N., it will be widely perceived as a de facto partner and enabler of the occupation of the West Bank.
Obama’s speech marked a retreat from his early ambitions to help broker an enduring peace in the Middle East, as well as a step back from his call from the same podium a year ago for the creation of a Palestinian state by this session of the General Assembly. The 35-minute speech was not interrupted even once by applause from the gathered diplomats, a rarity for a president often celebrated abroad.
However, officials in both Israel and in Washington have affirmed that the U.S. was hard at work to prevent itself the possible embarrassment of being forced to use its veto power in order to thwart the Palestinian vote, by attempting to assemble enough council members to either vote against the proposal or abstain as to make the veto unnecessary.
In a sign of concern, the Obama administration has appealed to the Palestinians to cease the effort, according to a secret U.S. cable released by Wikileaks and published recently in the Israeli daily Haaretz. A top Israeli military lawyer, meanwhile, urged the Obama administration to go further by publicly declaring that the International Criminal Court has no legal authority to pursue alleged crimes.
In the past 10 years alone, Americans have given Israel the equivalent of approximately $200,000 per Israeli family of five. In addition, there have been weapons subsidies, loan forgiveness programs, special trade preferences, and other generous gifts from American taxpayers to Israel. In fact, despite being one of the world’ smallest nations, Israel receives more U.S. tax money than any other country.
Syria is, to borrow a phrase from White House advisor Samantha Power, a problem from hell — a brutal state with a fragile ethnosectarian makeup that straddles the region’s most dangerous fault lines, from the Sunni-Shiite divide to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Assad’s a piece of shit. This is pretty uncontroversial. “Problem from hell” is pretty accurate.
But Israel can torch four-to-six times as many people in Gaza in three weeks and they’re manna from heaven?
Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency carried out the assassinations of several Iranian nuclear scientists in recent months, which has led to “the virtual decimation of the Islamic republic’s elite physicists,” according to Germany’s Der Spiegel. The latest victim — 35-year-old physicist Darioush Rezaei — was shot in the throat in front of his daughter’s kindergarten in Tehran on July 23. The attackers fled on motorcycle. Iran said Rezaei was a student, not a nuclear weapons expert, but the Associated Press reported last week that international sources confirmed he was indeed involved with the country’s nuclear weapons program, working specifically on a key component for detonating a nuclear bomb — high-voltage switches.
It makes sense, from a strategic standpoint, that Israel would want to attack Iran before the Palestinian statehood vote. This would provide Israel with a huge distraction and more time to delay the crucial vote. Additionally, there is the whole transition period between Gates and Panetta as Secretary of Defense.
It’s no secret the U.S. media is tilted far in favor of Israel. Just look at how two very similar events are treated in the NYTimes, one about a country deemed “bad guy” by U.S. policy, the other “our greatest friend and ally.”