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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
The American-Palestinian conflict: Obama interferes in Paris again
January 16, 2017
If the Paris Mideast conference on Sunday was a dud, it is because the United $tates made it so.
The united $tates’ influence in the conference joint declaration is as obvious as it was predictable. The declaration(1) pretends the u.$. isn’t a party to the conflict, mentions the u.$. by name only to refer to John Kerry’s recent Middle East speech favorably, and treats “both sides” equally by suggesting they are equally responsible for “negative trends on the ground.” “Acts of violence” (which like “terror” involve I$raeli perpetrators in reality but could be perceived as criticizing Palestinians) and “settlement activity” each appear twice. “Satisfy Israel’s security needs” appears in the same sentence as “fully end the occupation that began in 1967.” The sole two “parties” named repeatedly are Israel and the oppressed Palestinian nation experiencing colonialism and occupation. Otherwise, there is the “Arab-Israeli conflict,” besides the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
As usual, Jews and Arabs or Muslims are to blame and just them who are the problem, not amerikans. The communiqué doesn’t mention the amerikans’ Obama-approved $38 billion I$rael “military” aid package (which in various ways facilitates settlement activity and has very much to do with conditions on the ground) or the amerikans’ possible embassy move from Tel Aviv to occupied al-Quds.
Neither Israel nor Palestine was invited to participate. So neither had to decline while the other might have accepted. Clearly, the amerikans shouldn’t have been invited to participate if the conference would have been considered a failure without the u.$. signature. The standard for success should not be so low as to produce a statement that could have been even more watered-down and flattering to the amerikans. If France wants to demonstrate good faith, it should recognize the State of Palestine. It shouldn’t delay. The French presidential election is only a few months away.
Perhaps Britain expressed the amerikans’ true feelings, though, by sitting on the sidelines.(2) Britain didn’t sign the statement, which referred to UNSC Resolution 2334 (critical of settlement activity), the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative favorably, though Britain voted on the draft resolution that the Security Council adopted. Britain is preparing to follow the united $tates. The u.$. abstained from the Resolution 2334 vote (partly to shore up Democrats’ reputation and u.$. long-term credibility on the Israeli-Palestinian issue before Trump takes office) and may be in the process of abandoning its pretense of supporting Palestinian statehood. In the middle of considering how Britain can leave the European Union and still prosper, Britain may have also had a problem with the joint communiqué’s mention of “a European special privileged partnership” as a peace incentive. Indicating the continuing relevance of u.$. hegemony, which the world is struggling with, the UK Foreign Office said “the U.S. will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement.”
Apparently, Russia, the UN and the EU are all still playing second fiddle. The u.$. – international exploiter #1 – has the highest GDP per capita, and the highest labor so-called productivity, of any country larger than 20 million people, and has the largest GDP of any OECD economy with the possible exception of the EU as a whole; yet, after eight years of Obama the u.$. still hasn’t offered anything that advanced the two-state solution. This is because a relatively stable two-state outcome in Palestine with more Palestinian sovereignty isn’t in amerikans’ exploiter and oppressor interests.
Just as predictable as the amerikans’ interference are commentaries after the conference about how the two-state solution is still dead supposedly. Britons had a particular need to say the conference was pointless.(3)
Israel is similar to the united $tates in that both are imperialist settler formations. They are illegitimate though most countries in the world have diplomatic relations with both. Hopefully the day will come when most of the world has ended such recognition of those entities. Before then, there will be a long and sometimes complicated struggle, with a large diplomatic component opposing the u.$. entity on more than one front.
A demoralizing statement about how intractable the problem is, or a statement amounting to little more than “fuck the two-state solution and free Palestine,” isn’t a strategy. It isn’t a plan or an approach. It doesn’t tell people outside Palestine what they should be doing to assist with reaching any goal. It is vague even as a goal, because many (wrongly) consider a single state including both Palestinians and the entire Israeli population to be Palestinian liberation. There is a huge difference between such a one-state outcome, and Palestinian national liberation with a sovereign independent state alongside the Israeli entity or not.
Those who want to unite with right-wing Zionists on settlement and annexation questions to achieve “Greater Israel” should embrace that openly. Revealingly, some who have, or used to have, oh-so-radical rhetoric against Israel, Zionism in general, and the two-state solution, and failed to find any Palestinian, Arab or Muslim leader they could say anything positive about, are now clearly supporting the one-state so-called solution. They engage in contortions to make their anti-Israel rhetoric seem consistent with capitulating to right-wing Israelis. Others should follow suit. All of the waffling on alternatives while pissing on non-amerikans’ peace efforts must stop.
That said, it should be understood clearly that the Greater Israel or “Isratin” one-state outcome, whether regarded as Zionist or not, is just another variety of settlerism similar to the u.$. situation with most Chican@s and New Afrikans (u.$. black nation people) being inside u.$. borders. Some desperate Palestinians may perceive it as better than their current situation, but it is no more or less than what it is. Although, even if the one-state solution were realistic, the amerikans might still favor the status quo and oppose both the two-state solution and the one-state solution.
Right now the Palestinians are seeking for more and fuller international recognition of the State of Palestine. Non-Palestinians either support that, stand out of the way, or get in the way. On the question of recognizing Palestine, right now even the Holy See (the Catholic Church government) is to the left of the amerikans, and the European Union as a whole at the moment, despite the Catholics’ being vulnerable to u.$. blackmail. Full status in the UN would give the Palestinians a stronger position diplomatically from which to seek international support for various possible moves, including armed struggle if it becomes necessary to have additional pressure for a two-state outcome.
This writer expects there to be disagreement with some of the points here. Palestinians internally debate how much resources to spend on doing things in New York and maintaining embassies. Activists outside Palestine have their own decisions to make and should take Palestinians’ externally expressed wishes into consideration if they are serious about Palestinian sovereignty. However, criticizing others’ proposals and actions without offering anything concrete to replace them just perpetuates the status quo.
In other news, Iran’s official IRNA news agency has quoted Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani as claiming Iran “is trying to stop attempts aimed at overthrowing the Saudi government.”(4) Some Iranians have occasionally (and mistakenly) regarded Saudi Arabia as a greater threat than Israel so such a statement may be relevant to the Middle East situation in general. At least some Iranians and Palestinians seem to accept that the two-state solution can be just a temporary step. And there are different ways to achieve a two-state outcome better than what currently exists. Some of them involve a level of militancy, consistent with international law, without seeking to disrupt non-amerikan influence leading to a temporary peace and a weaker u.$. position.
On the Israeli side, there needs to be division between those Israelis who support a relatively stable two-state outcome, and those who don’t. There are non-Zionist, secular Israelis who don’t care about Jewishness, but still support one-state settlerism, so this isn’t just about Zionism. By contrast, there are both conservative and liberal Zionists who see the folly of pursuing the current course, from the point of view of having a Jewish-majority state. Depending on the amerikans to this extent is madness. Certainly the amerikans are an idol for many I$raelis – including some of the atheist secular ones – but amerika is not the G-d of Israel.
Opposing left-wing Zionism from a supposedly “Left” perspective just to support some amerikan-style one-state outcome, “socialist” or not, represents the success of right-wing influence operations. Here, “right wing” is defined in terms of opposing equality for Palestine as a state and in terms of support for settlement activity/ethnic cleansing and annexation. Israelis don’t need to be flattered, but more people need to be drawing greater attention to the amerikan role in Mideast conflict. Both the u.$. entity and the Israeli entity will be gone one day, but right now much of the anti-Israel or anti-Zionist rhetoric from people who criticize the amerikans minimally is a cover for smuggling in a pro-amerikan message, whether there is awareness of this or not.
After what happened in Paris, this writer wouldn’t blame Palestinians for wanting to reject amerikan aid money and other so-called assistance. Nothing should get in the way of ending that relationship with the amerikans.
According to a Pew Research Center January 4-9 survey report (2.9% margin of error), there may have been an increase from April 2016 in the percentage of amerikans who would say they thought a way could “be found for Israel and an independent Palestinian state to exist peacefuly.”(5) A slight majority thought that. Part of this is probably due to the u.$. government’s recent misleading appearances vis-à-vis West Bank settlement activity. However, people in the u.$. (the survey was done in English and Spanish) typically sympathize with Israelis more than they sympathize with Palestinians. 51% sympathized with “Israel” more. 19% sympathized with “the Palestinians” more.
More than twice as many Republicans (5.8% margin of error) as Democrats (5.3% margin of error) sympathized more with Israel. The Republicans are now going to control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency – which could be significant in terms of Republican opinion on Palestine and needing to not be deluded that the u.$. under Trump will be better than it was under Obama – and the Pew report speaks of “partisan differences,” but equal numbers of Democrats said they sympathized with Israelis or Palestinians more. And there are indications Democrats would prioritize China, Russia or Korea issues more than the Palestine issue, or would support a supposedly anti-ISIS action that might undermine progress in the Palestine issue.
Thanks to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, far more Democrats and Democratic leaners than Republicans/leaners thought Russia’s “power and influence” was a major threat “to the well-being of the United States.” Slightly less than a majority of Republicans/leaners and even fewer Democrats/leaners thought “the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians” was a threat to the well-being of the united $tates. That could be a good thing and a bad thing. Even when amerikans are more active on the Palestine issue, they cause problems, but the Pew survey seems to make clear that Russia as well as “global climate change” are more likely to be strong partisan issues in the u.$. than Palestine is. Although, even Democrats have shown they care more about health care and economic issues than about climate change.(6) Even if Democrats were to gain control of the House or Senate in 2018, or the presidency in 2020, there wouldn’t be much difference. The amerikans would continue to stand in the way of peace, progress and prosperity in the Middle East. ◊
• “Boycott the United Snakes: Amerika standing in the way of the two-state solution,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-15-news-Boycott-United-States.md
• “Two states on Palestinian turf: soccer games and economic-political realities,” 2016 July. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-07-27-news-two-state-solution-Iran.md
• “U.S. favorability needs to go lower: Kaepernick, nationhood, and rethinking the intersection of New Afrikan and Palestinian struggles,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-08-news-Kaepernick-New-Afrikan-nationhood.md
• “Bias caused by American influence is undermining Palestinian national liberation,” 2016 September. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-09-15-news-Palestine-Sweden-diplomacy-public-opinion.md
• “Same old real news: Obama does nothing for the two-state solution,” 2016 December. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-12-16-news-JSFP-left-wing-Zionism.md
• “Obama uses UN abstention to bolster reputation while the longstanding American-Palestinian conflict comes into focus for some,” 2016 December. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-12-31-news-American-Palestinian-conflict.md
• “The American-Palestinian conflict: Paris conference approaches as various clocks tick down to heightened crisis,” 2017 January. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-01-12-news-American-Palestinian-conflict-Paris-conference-approaches.md
• “The AmeriKKKan-Palestinian conflict: Middle East looking to Vatican for influence,” 2017 January. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2017-01-17-news-Vatican-Palestinian-embassy-Iran.md
2. “Britain has ‘reservations’ about Paris Middle East peace talks,” 2017 January 15. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israeli-palestinians-britain-idUSKBN14Z0VL
3. Example: “The Paris peace conference was beyond useless – everyone knows a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine is impossible now,” 2017 January 16. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/paris-peace-conference-israel-palestine-settlements-two-state-solution-middle-east-impossible-a7529141.html
4. “Iran not after overthrowing Saudi regime: SNSC secretary,” 2017 January 16. http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82389027/
5. “The world facing Trump: public sees ISIS, cyberattacks, North Korea as top threats,” 2017 January. http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/01/12134513/01-12-17-FP-release.pdf
6. “Climate for anti-Americanism versus anti-fascism: Only 2% of Americans named environment as most important issue, right before election,” 2016 November. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-11-21-news-climate-change-Saudi-Arabia.md