By Stuart Littlewood – London
It has been an unsettling week watching Obama’s unholy alliance with Israel take the world a step nearer the edge of the abyss.
First I read Mark Glenn’s scary piece, “Exodus of Jewish Advisors from Obama White House Likely Not an Omen of Good Things to Come”, in which he suggests the unexpected departure of Rahm Emmanuel, David Axelrod and Larry Summers from the top echelons of the White House might indicate that some sinister and possibly cataclysmic event is imminent.
Then I saw reports in Haaretz and elsewhere about a leaked letter from Obama to Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, showering him with gifts if he, Netanyahu, would only save Obama’s political bacon and see him through next month’s primaries by extending Israel’s freeze on settlement building for just a few months.
Obama’s letter, we’re told, grants a list of reckless American favours. He agrees not to ask for any more construction freezes and to veto any anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution in the year ahead. He also agrees that the future fate of the illegal settlements will be dealt with only as part of a final status agreement with the Palestinians.
In short, he gives a green light to Israel’s various criminal schemes.
As if that wasn’t enough Obama, in his desperation, also offers to increase the $3 billion security aid Israel receives annually from America’s hard-pressed taxpayers and to supply advanced weapons and early warning systems, including satellites. In addition the US president guarantees to prevent the smuggling of weapons and missiles into a future Palestinian state, and he OK’s a lengthy period of interim security measures in the Jordan Valley (read permanent occupation) and a regional anti-Iran defence pact (read war plan).
Most little boys are overjoyed to receive a bike or computer game. But spoilt brat Bibi Netanyahu must have the biggest and most dangerous toys on the planet so that he can continue to terrorise all the other boys on the block. And indeed all the weak-kneed adults around the globe.
Although the White House is prepared to deliver most of what’s on his wish-list, and doesn’t ask much in return, it seems little Bibi has rejected America’s extravagant gesture. Israel-watchers say he fears being tipped out of his pram by the psychopaths and extremists who push it if he doesn’t drive an even harder bargain with big softy Obama.
Settlements ‘Have No Legal Validity’
It’s obvious lawyer Obama needs a refresher course in United Nations rulings and codes of conduct before this pathetic relationship gets hopelessly out of hand.
Resolution 242 (1967) by the Security Council (and therefore fully binding) requires the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the conflict and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.
242 also requires freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area, a just settlement of the refugee problem and the guaranteeing of territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area.
And Security Council Resolution 338 (1973) calls on the parties concerned to get on with implementing 242 immediately.
Security Council Resolution 446 (1979) determines that Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967 “have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East… “
It calls once more on Israel, as the occupying Power, “to abide scrupulously by the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories".
Got that, Mr Obama?
The reason why none of it has been implemented is that US presidents up to and including Obama didn’t give a toss about international law or peace in the Holy Land, preferring to let themselves be emasculated and led by the nose by the Israel lobby.
We are all in trouble if the US president takes leave of his senses and jettisons integrity. The most powerful man in the world then becomes the most dangerous. I’m sure someone (though obviously not Emmanuel, Axelrod or Summers) has reminded Mr Obama that Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention makes it crystal clear that the occupying power is forbidden to transfer parts of its own civilian population – Israel’s half-million squatters – into the territory it occupies. What’s more, in 2001 the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention unanimously reaffirmed its applicability to the Palestinian Occupied Territories including East Jerusalem.
But he still rides roughshod and seems to think he can re-write international law and the Geneva Conventions to suit his Israeli friends.
Cuddling the Quislings
The Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), which saw more than half the Palestinian population expelled and more than 530 of their villages depopulated and completely destroyed, took place 13 years before Obama was born. And it’s still going on… on Obama’s watch. Every day more Palestinians are forced to look on while Israeli bulldozers demolish their homes, rip up their orchards and olive groves, barricade them from their farmlands and annexe their water supplies.
Obama wasn’t even born when Resolution 242 and the Geneva Conventions were solemnly signed. He fails in his obligation to uphold the precious principles they enshrine and snaps a contemptuous finger at the work of those men and women who thought they had brought universal fairness and justice to the community of nations.
Nevertheless the US House of Representatives felt obliged to endorse, by 390 votes to 5, Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza in the winter of 2008/9, an atrocity that killed over 1,400 (mostly Palestinian civilians including a large number of women and children), wounded and maimed thousands more and left tens of thousands homeless. It was an act of utter barbarism coming immediately after Israel blatantly broke the ceasefire with Hamas. It horrified and disgusted the rest of the world but not, it seems, America’s politicians.
And how is Obama’s compromised democracy, or Netanyahu’s fake democracy (it’s actually an ethnocracy with a deeply offensive racist structure), superior to Palestine’s fledgling democracy which produced a Hamas government in fair and proper elections?
Perversely Obama, ‘king’ of the free democratic world and self-proclaimed honest peace broker, refuses to recognise Palestinian democracy and rejects the people’s choice – even to the point of denying Hamas a place in peace talks. Instead, Obama props up and arms ruthless Fatah, the sore losers, and their leader, Abbas, whose term as Palestinian president expired long ago but who clings to power like a nasty blot that’s resistant to stain remover. Obama sets one faction against the other, cruelly undermining the Holy Land’s democratic processes and sabotaging the Palestinians’ right to self-determination – the sort of grubby act no respectable politician should ever contemplate.
The laugh is on Obama, however. Hamas are increasingly likened to the Maquis, or French Resistance, who struggled heroically against the Nazi occupation in World War 2, while Fatah are seen as the hated Vichy ‘government’ who actively collaborated with the Nazi occupier.
When liberation finally came the vengeful French rounded up and executed many of the Vichy quislings.
Abbas and his henchmen would do well to reflect on that, and so should their backers – including our own dear government here in London.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.