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Netanyahu’s Hysterical Rhetoric on Iran Is Just Diversion from West Bank
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave Theresa May a frightening account during their meeting of the threat posed by Iranian aggression to Israel and everybody else. In Mr Netanyahu’s eyes, Iran is a much more dangerous enemy than Isis or al-Qaeda, seeking “to annihilate Israel, it seeks to conquer the Middle East, it threatens Europe, it threatens the West, it threatens the world.”

Even by Mr Netanyahu’s standards the rhetoric sounds excessive and is probably motivated by a wish to divert attention from Israeli settlement building on the West Bank. Within a few days of Donald Trump’s inauguration as President, Israel announced the construction of a further 2,500 housing units on the West Bank. Though the Trump administration expressed mild discontent, Israel will probably be spared more vigorous protests by Washington.

Mr Netanyahu knows that senior members of the new administration have themselves been denouncing Iran in similarly apocalyptic terms as himself. On Saturday, the US Defence Secretary James Mattis called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world”, though he added that it was not necessary for the US to deploy more military forces to counter Iran. On the previous day, the US had imposed new though limited sanctions over an Iranian ballistic missile test.

Fresh Israeli settlement building on the West Bank usually provokes cries internationally that the prospect of a “two-state solution” to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians is being eroded or destroyed. But in reality such a solution has long been dead and buried because of the disparity in political, diplomatic and military strength between the two sides. Israel has no reason to compromise and the Palestinian Authority leadership, decrepit and authoritarian, has virtually no leverage or alternative options because of its long-standing dependence on Israeli security backing.

Israel and the Sunni Arab states of the Gulf led by Saudi Arabia are relieved to have a more sympathetic president in the White House and glad that Mr Obama has gone. The administration has adopted a much more belligerent anti-Iranian tone, but is evidently not going to tear up the deal on Iran’s nuclear programme agreed by President Obama. US policy in Iraq and Syria is directed primarily towards eliminating Isis and al-Qaeda-type groups using US and allied air power in support of local allies on the ground, notably the Iraqi armed forces in Iraq and the Syrian Kurds in Syria.

Iranian influence in the region is increasing simply because it leads what is essentially a Shia coalition of states and movements – Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon – that is winning the war in Syria in alliance with Russia. In Iraq, the US and Iran have long had a strange relationship which is a mixture of cooperation and rivalry. The assent of Washington and Tehran is in practice required before there is a new Iraqi prime minister.


Both Mr Netanyahu and Ms May are somewhat isolated internationally and want to take advantage of a more fluid situation in Washington under Mr Trump, but they do not know quite what direction it will take. The most important US policy decisions in Iraq and Syria are unlikely to be unstitched because they are working well and Isis is under strong pressure.

More Israeli settlement building around Jerusalem and on the West Bank undermines the idea that a “two-state solution” is feasible, but it has long been nothing more than a convenient fig leaf. A more sympathetic administration in Washington will increase pressure from the far-right inside Israel to move towards annexation of all or part of the West Bank, but real change is unlikely.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Israel/Palestine 
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  1. Anyone crying “wolf” for as long as Netanyahu has is clearly deranged. But most folks already know that.

    Netanyahu is on record as early as 1992 claiming that Iran was “close” to having a nuke.

    Scott Peterson at the Christian Science Monitor did a useful timeline for dire Israeli and US predictions of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, beginning ~38 years ago.

    A timeline of warnings since 1979. Breathless warnings that the Islamic Republic will soon be at the brink of nuclear capability have been made for decades. Here is a chronicle of predictions.

    And speaking of threats, why had the NUMEC scandal been buried? and why isn’t Netanyahu held accountable for his probable role in the theft od US nuclear triggers?

    It seems that Arnon Milchan is not only a big Hollywood producer but he also traded nuclear triggers with Israel and did a deal with Murdoch for $200 million.

    “The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith’s revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s.”

    • Replies: @SPQR70AD
  2. Mark Green says: • Website

    Trump knows that Jewish oligarchs in America and elsewhere can undermine his Presidency. Some of their tricks include panic-negative reporting (opposition news), legalistic obstructionism, and glorified anti-democratic activism that has been funded, staged and orchestrated since Trump’s inauguration.

    Trump’s unpredictability (and independence) has the big bosses worried. His flavor of populism is simply too white. He’s being taught a lesson.

    Is it time for regime change in Washington? Maybe. But any coup against Trump must have a democratic veneer.

    Step one: roll out the protesters and don’t let up. And keep the talking heads on TV in fever pitch, anti-Trump hate mode. Create a crisis of confidence.

    The black magic is working.

    In a new effort to please the big bosses, Trump is channelling Bush, Hillary and Obama.

    Who to hit next?

    Answer: Iran.

    Messages are being sent–and received. Trump must act more ‘centrist’ which is code for ‘crush all Muslim resistance’, from Syria to ISIS to Iran. Zio-America’s chaotic makeover of the Middle East remains unfinished.

    And don’t say a word about conditions in Gaza, the West Bank or anything about a Palestinian state. That’s anti-Israel propaganda. Hate-speech. Anti-Semitism.

    America First? Not so fast.

    Trump is learning. It’s a hard lesson. But he’s learning.

    As always, Israel and its highly-placed operatives are working their persuasive magic from the American street all the way up to Big Media.

    Trump never expected such high-pitched opposition. Did you? It’s unprecedented for an administration that’s only weeks old.

    But once Trump demonstrates clearly that he hears (and obeys) the ever-present Zionist dog-whistles, then the unrelenting opposition to Trump and his administration will ease.

    Trump needs to unite the world. How? Bomb more Muslim targets. He must show less independence and more ‘bi-partisanship’. This means more war.

    One way for Trump to prove his loyalty to the Deep State is to set the stage for America’s next intervention. Trump’s campaign nostrums about “neutrality” in the Middle East were, it turns out, youthful indiscretions. He will not make these errors again.

    Trump gets it. Israel First.

    This means that there will be not only be greater pressure and hardship imposed on Iran, but Russia and Syria, too. Israel wants this axis broken. It’s the final hurdle.

    Yes, there will be blood. And US military and diplomatic forces will do the heavy lifting.

    The blood shall be the hands of America, not Israel. This is how Washington rolls.

    • Replies: @Talha
  3. I, and I hope a few more, are becoming political orphans here in America. We are smart enough to realize that Trump and his policies are too stupid to work; that the regular Republican policies are in total service to the rich; that and the Democrat’s policies are steeped in hypocrisy. The Democrats, are (thanks to the Clintons) into Bill’s too- clever-by-half , triangulation tactics. This “triangulation” works like this – seeing Israel commit actual theft of Palestinian lands, but also wanting the Israeli Lobby’s campaign funds, bounce their “T ball” off of one cushion to hit another political ball (i.e. avoiding a direct shot). So rather than criticizing Israeli land-theft, the Democrats raise a ruckus about a Trump ban on Muslim travel – hoping to simultaneously 1. stand-up for human rights of Muslims, 2. spare any “check-writing” Israeli any embarrassment, and 3. throw another rock at Trump. A lot of “sound and fury, signifying nothing”. Appearing to be defending what is right while selling it out. Surely there must be another political party in America.

    • Replies: @William
  4. SPQR70AD says:
    @jacques sheete

    also put out by deranged inbred jews was the 6 million jews killed before WWI

  5. Israel is now in a corner. It must finally show what it means to do with all those Palestinians it does not want.

    Netanyahu is trying desperately to avoid showing his hand for as long as possible.

    It is obvious now that what he will show will be an outrage, and lead to a lot more trouble.

  6. FrediFish says:

    As long as Noddingyahoo didn’t break out the cartoon pics of bombs we are golden. He didn’t show them the cartoons did he?

  7. William says:
    @richard vajs

    Both the Democratic and the Republican parties are united in supporting Israel financially and militarily. Dems and Reps NEVER agree on anything. Except Israel. Both parties sell their souls and their country in frantic efforts to keep Israel pacified. This means giving billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money each and every year to Israel at the expense of taking care of our own elderly, our wounded veterans, our decaying infrastructure. Both parties will collude to reduce in some fashion social security and veterans benefits, but neither party of cowards and traitors will dare touch a single dime of money for Israel to use to attack Palestinians and steal their land.

    The U.S.congress and executive branch is so reprehensible, so lacking in honor, so indifferent to American values, values of all civilized nations, that they will betray their country while braying about the evils of the other party.

    • Agree: Mark Green
  8. Gabriel M says:

    Let’s be blunt, the entire world is really a distraction from the West Bank, the most pressing moral issue of our, indeed any, time.

  9. It is a sad and bitter irony indeed that perhaps the most dangerous, vicious, evil and vile criminal leader in the Middle East wasn’t from Iraq, or Libya, but in fact from Israel. Clearly so much of the violence and hatred and terrorism is a direct result of the crimes and atrocities committed by Israel. It would have been far better to have removed the nuclear weapons from Israel in 2001 and forced Israel back to the Pre1967 borders as mandated by international law instead of destroying 2/3’s of the entire Middle East killing millions, turning 10’s of millions into refugees, reducing entire cities to rubble, spending more than 7 Trillion dollars. The world in general and America in particular would have become a far better place than it is today.

  10. Talha says:
    @Mark Green

    Thanks Mr. Green – though I do hope this does not come to pass.

    You know, it’s kind of crazy. I looked it up and it seems Iran spends less on its military than Mexico. Could you imagine the absolutely justified worldwide hilarity that would ensue if someone said:

    We must be cautious of Mexico! It seeks to conquer Central America! It threatens South America! It threatens the West! It threatens the world!

    How do these clowns get away with this??!!


  11. and yet, Iran hasn’t attacked another nation in over 200 years.. Israel can’t go a single year without attacking someone.. but it’s iran that is the problem child?? pull my other leg, it’s got bells on it!

  12. […] fight with that country, and in so doing, echoing the hysterical rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has also recklessly insulted the heads of a half dozen countries, even going so far as to […]

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