Obama puts his head in the lion’s mouth


The American public have been so brainwashed by AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) members and by the most aggressive PR and lobbying campaign the world has ever known, that they have been convinced that to be anti-Israel is to be anti-American. If that wasn’t alarming enough, the Israel lobby in Washington is so powerful that it has Congress eating out of its hand…its leverage? Money. Money that is showered on compliant Congressmen and women in huge quantities – particularly at election time.
The success of the Israeli lobby in America has made any progress in the Israel / Palestinian peace process impossible. Couple this with a right wing Israeli government that is intent on colonising the whole of the Occupied Territories, and the chances of there ever being a Palestinian state is close to nil. Successive American Presidents have given into the pressure. None have been brave enough to risk their presidency floundering on the rocks of the ‘peace process’…until now.
Last week, and repeated in his speech to AIPAC yesterday, President Obama has put his head in the lion’s mouth. He’s mentioned the unmentionable – the 1967 border with Israel. This has to be where negotiations start. ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu couldn’t believe his ears. He was incandescent with rage: affronted that the President didn’t understand ‘the reality’. Obama went on… “no more procrastination…we cannot afford to wait another decade or three”. No American president since Lyndon Johnson has been so candid …or so brave.
The reality President Obama recognises is that he has an opportunity: an opportunity to make change happen because of what he can now say. He’s grabbed that opportunity and he’s rattling Bibi’s cage hard – and there’s nothing Bibi can do about it. Changing times have changed the dynamic. Obama’s had the courage to seize the moment.
So what’s Bibi going to do? If he doesn’t start talking he’ll be overtaken by events. Unfortunately, that’s very likely to happen. Now that Fatah and Hamas are speaking as one, it’s their stated intention to declare Palestine an independent state in September. They see no point in getting involved in more peace talks with Israel. Why should they? The only potential fly in the ointment is that the Palestinian proposal has to go before the UN, and of course the US can use its veto.
Obama would like Israel to come to its senses before September, which is why he’s putting on the pressure. It won’t – and it’s actually too late anyway. So what ‘s he going to do? If he vetoes the Palestinian declaration the US will suffer irreparable damage in the ‘new Middle East’. If the US abstains, then it’ll be a whole new ball game – and a very uncertain one. Israel is going to pay a very heavy price for years of bullying, procrastination, obfuscation and mind-blowing stupidity.

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