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Uncritical Support from the US Will Do Israel More Damage Than Good
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The Palestinian issue is back on the international agenda more than at any time over the last 15 years. If the move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was intended to demonstrate that the Palestinians were powerless and there was nothing they could do about it, then it has failed.

The embassy move, signalling that the US has abandoned even its previous modest restraint on Israeli actions, had exactly the opposite effect to the one intended. The protesting Palestinians and not the celebrating Israelis and Americans became the central feature of the event. Television split screens showed what looked like a Trump campaign rally in Jerusalem side by side with Israeli soldiers shooting dead 62 Palestinians and wounding a further 1,360 in Gaza.

Israeli claims that they were defending the fence that surrounds Gaza from an attack by Hamas activists armed with stones and kites were contradicted both by the television pictures and the lack of any Israeli casualties.

But such international outrage will dissipate, as it has in the past in Gaza when Israeli forces killed Palestinians in large numbers. The most important question now is how far the “Great March of Return” of Palestinian refugees from 1948, which has just ended, was a one-off event or the beginning of a campaign of Palestinian civil disobedience. If it is the latter, then we are at the start of what an Israeli paper described as “the first act of the Trump Intifada”.

Israel, the US and Egypt have an interest in containing the aftermath of the killings on 14 May. Minor concessions easing the blockade of Gaza, which is similar to a medieval siege, were reportedly offered to Hamas by Israel, if the Islamic group would call off the protest. Egypt has announced that it will open its crossing with Gaza for Ramadan, which has just begun.

Other gains for the Palestinians, aside from temporarily putting their fate back on the political and media map, include focusing attention on the miserable conditions of the 1.9 million people living in Gaza, who are “caged in a toxic slum” according to the UN Human Rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein.

But greater visibility of their miseries does not mean that much will be done to improve matters. The balance of forces is too skewed away from the Palestinians and towards the Israelis for the latter not to feel that they can act with impunity.

The Israeli government may not like the bad publicity it has been getting, but it can cope with it so long as it does not go on too long. Daniel Levy, a former Israeli diplomat, peace negotiator and president of the US/Middle East Project, says that if Palestinian protests are not “sustained over time, which means ongoing casualties, and broadened geographically beyond Gaza to include the West Bank, Jerusalem and Israel, then the Israeli government can ride this out”. He adds that even then, if the demonstrators are to have an effect, they would have to remain unarmed and non-violent.

In the past civil disobedience has produced some benefits for the Palestinians: the First Intifada in 1987 led to the Oslo Accords and the much more violent Second Intifada in 2000 led to the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza three years later.

But it is doubtful if Palestinian leaders are capable of pursuing such a course themselves or allowing civil activists to do so. The leadership is divided between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, long locked in rancorous rivalry. The PA, in particular, is a moribund political organisation, frightened that protesters might turn against it or provoke Israeli retaliation.

Palestinian leadership has always resembled that of the Arab dictators and has always been incapable of mobilising their people. Israel may have done everything to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state, but, even without Israeli repression, this was hobbled by corrupt and incompetent elites, monopolising power and suppressing dissent.

Israel is apparently at the height of its power with carte blanche from the White House to do what it wants. The US blamed Hamas for the Palestinian casualties in Gaza without a word of criticism for Israel. Arab states like Saudi Arabia and the UAE give priority to allying themselves to the US against Iran and are dismissive of the Palestinians’ plight.

But such total endorsement of Israel by the US may not be in the long-term interests of Israel. The embrace of Israel by Trump, the Republicans and Christian Evangelicals alienates Democrats, though this may not count for much. Perhaps more important, American Jews were shocked to see pastors whom they identified as antisemitic bigots playing a leading role in the opening of the US embassy.

Lack of any US restraint is attractive to Israel’s right-wing government, but it will not necessarily do Israelis a lot of good. Israeli governments tend to be overconfident and are prone to overplaying their hand. Their invasion of Lebanon in 1982 turned into an unsuccessful 18-year-long war. A US government purporting to act as mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, though wholly in Israel’s corner, was arguably more useful to Israel than the US when it makes no such pretence. Arab states may today say positive things about Israel, but their previous opposition was largely rhetorical.

For Israel, there are two dangers stemming from Trump: Israel has always wanted to be close to US leaders, but it has never dealt with one as arbitrary, ill-advised and self-willed as this president. Netanyahu has traditionally been cautious when it comes to fighting real wars, though he is always happy to threaten to do so unless he gets what he wants. With Trump in the White House, he may feel that Israel will never be so well placed again and this is the moment to establish facts on the map.

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A more serious weakness in Israel’s strategic position in the Middle East is likely to be worsened by uncritical support from Washington. There are 6.5 million Israeli Jews and a similar number of Palestinians between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. All the Palestinians living in Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel are under some form of Israeli control.

It is a situation that guarantees permanent crisis. Israel has the choice of expelling the Palestinians, subjugating them permanently or trying to find some means of coexisting with them. Mass expulsion is not feasible at this time and a deal on coexistence is unlikely, which leaves permanent repression as the only option.

It may be that the protests in Gaza that led to so many people being killed will not turn into a more widespread, non-violent civil disobedience.

But neither can Israel turn its superiority of force – and even its close alliance with Trump – into a permanent victory, because, whatever it does, the Palestinians will still be there.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Israel, Israel/Palestine 
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  1. I listened to a talk by Norman Finkelstein on the massacre, and he believed that the non-violent approach by Palestinians did far more good (except for the slaughter of Palestinians of course) for their cause than violent resistance to the Israeli oppression. He believed this was so because of the reaction by much of the rest of the world, other than the US, who saw that the murder of so many Palestinians in what was largely a peaceful protest put Israel in a much worse light than otherwise.

    He pointed out that far more Palestinians were killed in Operation Cast Lead, but the recent massacre ironically garnered more support for the Palestinian plight becasue the protest by Palestinians was mostly non-violent. Perhaps Finkelstein is overly optimistic yet he was pretty persuasive in his arguments.

    Unfortunately here in the US the news media continues, for the most part, to give Israel a free pass no matter what atrocities they commit and slanting the news in Israel’s favor accordingly. So the US and Israel along with Saudi Arabia continues to spread discord and chaos throughout the Middle East so it’s difficult to see any end to Israeli brutality towards the Palestinian people.

  2. virgile says:

    The Palestinians are there and their number is growing faster that the Isrealis jews. Israel is bound to dissappear as a Jewish state, it is just a matter of time.. The Israelis can rejoice in the illusion of winning. The reality is that they are losing. It is a country living in the fallacy of modern colonialism while it is doomed.

  3. i hope the Palestinians continue protesting like this.

  4. Gsjackson says:

    “Israel has always wanted to be close to US leaders.” How very ………delicately ….. stated.

  5. The embrace of Israel by Trump, the Republicans and Christian Evangelicals alienates Democrats ..

    Except the Democrats with all the money, like Haim Saban.

    Israeli governments tend to be overconfident and are prone to overplaying their hand.

    This is definitely true–not only of the Zionists, but of the Jews generally.

  6. renfro says:

    I am more then tired of seeing the Palestine occupation and the billions we give to Israel always headlined with how bad it is for poor Israel.
    Is it by design?……probably…..I consider it gatekeeping for the Jews and Israel.

  7. Renoman says:

    Well the full on violence is not working for the Pals, I have a suggestion: why not go full Gandhi, no violence whatsoever? Make Gaza a safe tourist destination, duty free shopping, camel rides whatever they can offer. Make a large high quality choir say 300 voices and twice a week or whatever seems doable set up an outdoor theater 300 feet from the Fence and sing songs of “give us pity” protest in the native languages of the west. This way they would look very much put upon and make people feel sorry for them. Hey the shooting certainly isn’t working and they will never have enough money to fight on that level but if they can make people see them as having been badly treated they may have a better shot. In the off season the choir could go on tour. It won’t be fast but I feel it would be effective and they would give up burying their Sons.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
    , @David
  8. David says:

    Must watch short video!!
    Very informative.

    Canada’s CBC commentator, Wendy Mesley, interviews New York Times reporter, Ken Vogel, regarding Sheldon Adelson and Stephen Harper, former prime minister of Canada, et al, about their support for Israel.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/theweekly/the-weekly-with-wendy-mesley-may-20-2018-1.4671369

    After the three commercials, go to the 6:08 mark.

  9. David says:

    Evidence that a major pro-Palestinian shift is in the making:

    1. Must watch!!

    https://www.cbsnews.com/video/how-are-palestinians-reacting-to-the-u-s-embassy-in-jerusalem-and-violence-in-gaza/

    Must watch video, Noura Erakat: “How are Palestinians reacting to the US embassy in Jerusalem & violence in Gaza?” CBS news May 16/18

    2. Must read!!:

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-as-mass-killings-horrify-the-world-netanyahus-circle-dwindles/

    “As mass killings horrify the world, Netanyahu’s circle dwindles”
    By columnist, Doug Saunders, Canada’s Globe and Mail, May 16/18

    3. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-to-arabs-jerusalem-represents-the-symbolic-denial-of-freedom/
    “To Arabs, Jerusalem represents the symbolic denial of freedom”
    By H.A. Hellyer, Canada’s Globe and Mail, May 16/18

  10. David says:
    @Renoman

    Renoman
    Ah yes, a sickly facetious comment from Hasbara Central.

    BTW, you should really be concerned about the fact that Palestinians already outnumber Jews between the River and the Sea. No surprise, given the fact that Palestinians have the world’s largest fertility rate.

    Meanwhile, Jewish immigration to Israel is in free fall and emigration is soaring.
    To wit:

    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.806869

    EXCERPT:
    “More Israelis Left Israel Than Moved Back in Six Year Record. 16,700 left and 8,500 came back in 2015, in first year since 2009 that more Israelis exited than returned.” By Lior Dattel. Aug 15, 2017, Haaretz.

    Also, support for Israel is in decline in the U.S., especially among all important youth. No surprise!!
    “Support for Israel on Campus Drops by ‘Devastating’ 27%: Study” – The Forward, June 21/17
    “The Brand Israel Group, a coalition of volunteer advertising and marketing specialists, has released a survey that shows a significant decrease in Israel’s approval rating among Americans.
    “’The future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values. This is huge! Devastating,’ Fern Oppenheim, a co-founder of BIG, told The Times of Israel. While approval of Israel among American college students dropped 27% between the group’s 2010 and 2016 surveys, Israel’s approval rating among all Americans dropped 14 points, from 76% to 62%.”

    Furthermore, regarding the USA: http://forward.com/news/ national/376097/study-israel- losing-support-among- democrats-minorities- millennials/ The Forward July 2, 2017
    ”Study: Israel Losing Support Among Democrats, Minorities, Millennials ‘It appears that the more Americans learn about Israel, the less they like it.’”

    Also, very significantly, support for Israel among American Jewish college students and young American Jews in general is in decline:
    Times of Israel, June 21/17:

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/devastating-survey-shows-huge-loss-of-israel-support-among-jewish-college-students/

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel -news/.premium-jewish-agency- chief-warns-young-u-s-jews- more-turned-off-to-israel-1. 5751616

    Haaretz – Jan 22, 2018, by Judy Maltz
    “Young American Jews Increasingly Turning Away From Israel, Jewish Agency Leader Warns”
    “The Jewish Agency’s CEO and director-general called the trend ‘extremely worrisome,’ and said that a new strategy must be undertaken to engage young American Jews with Israel.”

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=20982′%20style=’color:#000;

    The Real News, Jan. 25/18
    “US Bipartisan Support for Israel over Palestinians Is Breaking Down, New Study Shows”
    “The bipartisan consensus of support for Israel over the Palestinians is breaking down in the United States.
    “A new study by the leading polling agency the Pew Research Center has found that the partisan divide in Americans’ sympathies for Israel or the Palestinians is the largest it has been in 40 years.

    https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-vast-numbers-of-california-jews-disengaging-from-israel-survey-finds-1.5821675

    Haaretz, Feb. 14/18
    “Vast Numbers of Progressive California Jews Are Disengaging From Israel, Survey Finds.” By Judy Maltz.
    EXCERPT: “Only a minority of young Jews in San Francisco’s Bay Area believe a Jewish state is important and only a third sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-progressives-welcome-aipac-is-all-just-gaslighting-1.5871623?utm_campaign=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_source=smartfocus&utm_content=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.haaretz.com%2Fopinion%2F.premium-progressives-welcome-aipac-is-all-just-gaslighting-1.5871623

    “Why Young Jews and Democrats Are Waving Goodbye to AIPAC”
    “My generation has only known Israel as an occupier. We won’t back anyone who supports that injustice – including the powerful lobby that is AIPAC”
    By Emily Mayer, March 6, 2018 – Haaretz

    https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/ncr-today/support-israel-continues-see-widening-partisan-divide

    National Catholic Reporter
    “Support for Israel continues to see a widening, partisan divide”
    Mar 23, 2018 by Ra’fat Al-Dajani

    http://www.newsweek.com/2018/0 5/18/israel-brain-drain-techno logy-startup-nation-religion- palestinians-economy-919477. html
    NEWSWEEK – 5/10/18
    “More Israelis are moving to the U.S.—and staying for good”
    “Spurred by the high cost of living, low salaries, and political and demographic trends, Israelis are leaving the country in droves.” By Yardena Schwartz

  11. Why are they allowed in?

  12. “there are 6.5 million Israeli Jews….”

    no, there are not. At any given time, Israhell carries as citizens c. 2-3 million Jews who have over the years reverse aliyah’d elsewhere. Most currently live in NYC, Miami Beach. Broward County, Chicago, and LA/Hollywood. The actual Jewish population of Zionist-occupied Palestine is currently c. 4.5 million.

    and do not doubt for a moment that the Zionists will, when circumstances are propitious, do a Deir Yassin on the entire Palestinian population.

  13. anon[419] • Disclaimer says:

    He adds that even then, if the demonstrators are to have an effect, they would have to remain unarmed and non-violent.

    Sunni Arabs are a horrible people, so this will be impossible for them to pull off. I wonder if most of the world’s ethnicities were put in the same spot as the Palestinians would there be some kind of peace now?

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    , @anon
    , @anon
  14. @anon

    I wonder if most of the world’s ethnicities were put in the same spot as the Palestinians would there be some kind of peace now?

    They are, and there isn’t.

  15. anon[107] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    I wonder if most of the world’s ethnicities were put in the same spot as the Palestinians would there be some kind of peace now?

    1. Peace involves two parties.

    2. The quoted statement names Party A, Palestinians. Party B is the Jewish state, Israel

    3. Rotate the question:
    In the past, when most of the world’s ethnicities were put in a “spot” with Jews, did peace result?

    4. Take another approach: The spot Palestinians are in is that of being victims of an oppressive their and occupier.

    5. If another ethnicity were in that same spot — being the victim of theft and murder, would they surrender or demand justice?

    6. What does civilization demand/guarantee, capitulation or justice?

  16. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @anon

    very odious comment

    Just saw a GOP lawmaker being quoted by CNN ” Muller is protecting Islamic radicalism”

    The price of the racism that permeates you and GOP and everybody in between will prove very costly for this country.

    Yes we know the Zionist are providing the padding between 2 set of lies all the times but one doesn’t have to cave in like the GOP lawmaker has done – he doesn’t have to make his hate for Muller palatable to other by subscribing to racism and conspiracy theory promoted by Jewish Islamophobe industry.

  17. Martin says:

    I am embarrassed to have my President GROVELING to Israel like a whipped dog.
    Treasonous Trump has money for Making ISRAEL Great Again …..
    That POS has money (many many MILLIONS) to move the Embassy —-
    But the WALL, where oh where IS that wall ???
    Do a search on “lubavitch chabad trump putin” Treasonous Trump is betraying America.and Christianity ………….
    “America had nothing to gain by moving the embassy to Jerusalem…”
    But, the mob boss and his sucklings have much to gain. Follow the money. Kushner’s real estate sinkhole empire in Jew York is in deep shit. Kushner tried to emulate Trump with his RE deals. He way, way overpaid for 666 Fifth Avenue and just one example…way underwater. He has tried desperately to get financing…voila Treasonous Trump makes him the de facto ambassador to Greater Israel, move the embassy, and appoint him and his convert to represent America for the grand opening.
    There is a myth that Trump is a “loyal” person. Loyal TO WHOM !!?? Find ANYONE who Trump has NOT betrayed? Trump betrays/ cheats on his wife(s) Trump betrays his Creditors everytime he declares another bankruptcy . Trump betrays employees constantly by backstabbing and cowardly “tweet firings” …… Trump betrays his God by groveling to Israel … Trump betrays his “base” through his actions.
    Trump’s idiot daughter marries into a scummy Jewish crime family and Betrays Jesus by converting just another Judas Iscariot, so much for the “famous Trump “loyalty”….
    Trump is beholden to the Jews & is butt-buddies with Netanyahu …. U.S. intelligence sources report that the one Israeli who is considered an extreme threat to U.S. national security is Binyamin Netanyahu. Not only did Netanyahu visit convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard in his North Carolina prison cell and advocated strenuously for his release, he was once overheard by an ex-CIA agent as saying to a group of his supporters, “Once we squeeze all we can out of the United States, it can dry up and blow away.”
    Big Brave Trump has declared a war on welfare …. not on the $4+BILLION welfare check Israel gets every year for 65 years ….. oh no, this is on the 1 out of 4 American Children that go to bed hungry every day.
    “The ART of the Deal’ ?! REALLY? What is America getting for Trump’s treason? Trump gives Israel Our Embassy in Jerusalem against 70 years of previous presidents and international convention. Trump shames America by breaking Our word as given in the Iran deal. Trump stations American troops inside Israel so they can entangle America in Israel’s HATE. Trump borrows money from Communist China to GIVE to Israel as American Children go hungry and cold. Meanwhile Israel continues to SPY on us and sell Our secrets to Our enemies. Israel has bomb shelters & supplies for ALL it’s Jewish citizens , paid for by YOU. Where is YOUR Family’s bomb shelter?
    Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump’s SOUL MATE —- Stormy sells her body for money. Trump sells his soul and Our NATION for money — The Trump campaign, remember how Trump was “SELF FUNDING” and Beholden to NO ONE, was given $35 million by billionaire oligarch Sheldon Adelson (the largest campaign donation made by anyone to any candidate), who provided a further $5 million for Trump’s inauguration. Adelson is a sociopathic pro-Israel hawk who once called on the US to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran. He was present at the opening of the Jerusalem embassy, getting what he paid for. https://lobelog.com/is-gop-mideast-policy-bought-and-paid-for-by-likudist-republican-group/

  18. Martin says:

    I did not think it possible for there to be a worse government than Obama or W-rong Bush, but I do believe Trump is going to surpass them ……………… God Save America.
    Donald Trump and his christian.zionist CULT members are actually making Kim Jun Ill look honest, rational and reasonable.
    Bolton, Pence, Haley, Pompeo, the Huckabees, Ivanka & Donald Trump, Betrayers of CHRIST, Traitors of America. Get them out of Our government. Not only are they metal cases, they are STUPID.
    They think precipitating a war that kills Billions of humans will bring about the return of the PRINCE of PEACE ! “christian.zionism” is really just islamic.jihadism in different clothes.
    “christian.zionism” is a Death Cult and a Mental Illness, period. No one can worship a War god and a Peace God at the same time. Low self-esteem. Feelings of inferiority causing them to grovel to the past.
    How can anyone claim to believe in Jesus and the ANTI-Jesus both at the same time?
    ANTI: a prefix meaning “against,” “opposite of,” “opposing,” “antiparticle of,” antibody; antifreeze; antiknock, antidemocratic …….. ANTICHRIST).
    What is more ANTI-Christ than:
    (1) to crucify Him …. Under Roman Law the Jews could not impose a death sentence so TWICE they dragged Christ before Pilate demanding His crucifixion until Pilate grudgingly “Washed his hands” . Jesus was crucified by the Romans AT THE INSISTANCE of the Temple Priests who threatened “NO Crucifixion, NO Peace” Sound familiar?
    Jesus was a HEREM (excommunicated) Jew … the Priests could not push for a death sentence on a “Jew in good standing”.
    JUDAS ISCARIOT was a Jew ….. in good standing with the Tribe.
    (2) Immediately send many agents of the Priests (SAULof Tarsus was ONE) to kill His followers.
    (3) Inspire such fear of being murdered by the Priests that the first Christian church was hidden in a cave
    (4) Instigate pogroms against His followers throughout the Roman world,
    (5) spit evertime you see a cross for 2,000 years,
    (6) under the cloak of Communist Bolseviks they HOLOCAUST 66MILLION Christians Here is a breakdown http://www.rense.com/general85/holodo.htm and a listing of the Jew Bolsheviks http://www.heretical.com/miscellx/bolshies.html
    TODAY ISIS(rael) is behind the genocidal invasion of Christian Europe.
    (7) Today they use “front groups” like the ACLU, ADL, SPLC, to attack Nativities and any other symbol of Christ they can.
    The essence of Judaism is vengeance, the essence of Christianity is forgiveness. They are Polar OPPOSITES.
    Jews ARE the ANTI-Christ
    ‘Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Messiah.He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” 1John2:22.
    “christian.zionism” is a mental illness. You cannot worship a Peace god and a War god at the same time.

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