Trump’s Amateur Hour on Israel

Despite President Trump’s professed optimism, prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace remain dismal, partly because Trump shows no sign of deviating from Israel’s hard-line stance, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

By Paul R. Pillar

President Trump’s expressed desire to resolve, somehow, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is welcome, but the grounds for skepticism about this outweigh the reasons for hope. The principal reason for skepticism is the lack of evidence that Trump has distanced himself politically from the position, embodied in the right-wing Israeli government and its most ardent American supporters, that favors perpetual Israel control of the occupied territories and, despite occasional lip service to the contrary, sees no room for Palestinian self-determination or a Palestinian state.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016. (Photo credit: AIPAC)

As a presidential candidate, Trump assumed this position after coming to terms with Sheldon Adelson and adopting AIPAC’s talking points as his own. As president, this position was manifested in his appointing as ambassador to Israel his bankruptcy lawyer, a hard-right supporter of the Israeli settlement project in the occupied territories.

This week, in a joint appearance at the White House with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, Trump talked in general terms about working together to reach an agreement to live in peace, and in more specific terms about defeating ISIS and security cooperation with Israel, but said nothing at all about Palestinian self-determination or a Palestinian state.

One might also wonder whether this issue will be another one that gets the amateur-hour treatment, in which the President comes to admit that, gee, this task is harder than he expected it to be. With his bankruptcy lawyer having been sent off as ambassador, Trump has turned the Israeli-Palestinian policy portfolio over to his son-in-law and his real estate lawyer.

Of course, given the many years of meager results on this subject when in the hands of supposedly experienced professionals, it might not hurt to see what the amateurs and some fresh eyes might accomplish. The real estate lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, received favorable marks from both the Israeli and Palestinian sides during a recent listening tour he made to the region.

Learning Curve

But with the learning process for this President and this administration starting almost from scratch, Trump’s effort may already be behind the times. The ground has changed, and changed unfavorably, during all those years of unsuccessful peace processing. A substantial body of opinion, including opinions of many knowledgeable observers, holds that a two-state solution may already be out of reach.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walks with Army Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend; Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Donald J. Trump; and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Douglas A. Silliman after arriving in Baghdad, April 3, 2017. (DoD photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Other observers hold a different opinion. It is, of course, the unilateral creation of facts on the ground, in the form of Israeli colonization through settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — something else that Trump did not mention in his appearance this week with Abbas — that may have put a two-state solution out of reach.

The meeting with Abbas had, for similar reasons, an obsolete quality. Yes, the U.S. president must talk with Abbas in any serious attempt to make progress in resolving this conflict. But Abbas is well past his “best if used by” date. Events have been passing his part of the Palestinian leadership by, just as they have been passing by any would-be peacemakers whose understanding of the problem is based on where things stood a couple of decades ago.

Abbas has been in his position for several years beyond what was supposed to be his term of office, and in that regard his continued hanging around without benefit of re-election is an affront to the idea of democratic rule for Palestinians. He has lost much support from the Palestinian populace, a reflection of his failure to make any progress in removing from his people the yoke of Israeli occupation.

Saying this is not to cast aspersion on the character, objectives, or good will of Abbas. Rather, it is a consequence of the awkward situation thrust upon the strange entity known as the Palestinian Authority, which was supposed to be only a temporary transitional device when established in the early 1990s under the Oslo Accords. Transition to Palestinian sovereignty never occurred, and many Palestinians subsequently came to see the P.A., with good reason, as mainly an auxiliary administrator of the Israeli occupation.

A Brighter Future?

If the Palestinian people are to have a brighter future, it might need to be reached through taking another direction. We may be seeing a hint of that direction in the current hunger strike among Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. This protest is led by Marwan Barghouti, whom many have long seen as a more credible and charismatic leader than Abbas or anyone else in the P.A.

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at joint press conference on Feb. 15. 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

Barghouti has been described as the Palestinian Mandela; but because there does not seem to be an Israeli de Klerk among those in power in Israel, Barghouti’s stature as the most credible leader of a future Palestinian state is all the more reason for Israelis opposed to creating any such state to keep him securely locked up.

The hunger strike is about conditions in prison, but it sets an example for peaceful, nonviolent protest against debilitating conditions that Israeli control imposes on all Palestinians. That raises the possibility of a major alternative to a push for a two-state solution: a struggle for equal rights for all in a single state embracing all the territory from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

Hamas’ Declaration

On the subject of alternative leadership to the P.A., one also has to mention Hamas, which tries to administer affairs in the Gaza Strip just as the P.A. tries to do so in portions of the West Bank. Israel refuses to have any dealings with Hamas (except for negotiations about prisoner swaps), while affixing the terrorist label on Hamas and complaining about its lack of explicit recognition of Israel. 

Maintaining the miserable status of Gaza as an open air prison, including a substantial proportion of the Palestinian population while keeping it separate from the rest of Palestine, helps the Israeli government overcome the problem of how to cling to all the other territory that it wants to keep between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River without facing, at least for a while, the prospect of a Jewish minority in a state with an Arab majority.

Hamas’s recent release of a document softening some of its formal positions did not really tell us much new, because the group’s leadership had already made clear that it seeks political power in a Palestinian state on the territory Israel seized in 1967 and that it is quite willing to live alongside, and have an indefinite hudna or peace with, the State of Israel.

If founding charters and lack of explicit recognition really matter, then Hamas’s positions ought not to cause any more problem than the platform of Likud, the dominant party in the ruling Israeli coalition, which explicitly rejects the very concept of a Palestinian state, strongly declares the intention to hang onto all of “Eretz Israel”, and dismisses the PLO — the Palestinian negotiating party at Oslo — as an ”organization of assassins”. And if one is to take the “once a terrorist, always a terrorist” approach, then we should never have had anything to do with former terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir even after they became prime ministers of Israel.

Peaceful Transition?

As for that question of whether a two-state solution is still feasible, perhaps we should not think of one-state and two-states as entirely separate options. Acting on the former might be what is needed to rescue the latter, and here’s why. If the prisoners’ hunger strike really were to foreshadow a much broader, and continuing, peaceful campaign on behalf of political and civil rights for all Palestinian Arabs under Israeli control, this would be a deeply discomfiting development for members of the Israeli right wing, and not only because most of them do not want to live in such a fully mixed state (with or without Gaza).

The campaign itself would throw them off balance. Peaceful protest could not plausibly be dismissed as terrorism. All the allegedly destabilizing and threatening attributes of a Palestinian state would be irrelevant arguments because a separate Palestinian state would not be what was ostensibly sought.

The appropriate role for Abbas and the Palestinian Authority would be to announce the P.A.’s dissolution, hand the keys to Area A of the West Bank back to Israel, and state the obvious: that nothing is being accomplished by the P.A. continuing to be a handmaiden to the occupation. Israel would be confronted, before its own citizens and before the world community, more squarely than ever before with the question of whether it wants democracy or wants apartheid.

This prospect might be disturbing enough for even land-craving Israeli rightists to adjust their ambitions about land and to get serious about negotiating a two-state solution — before the Israeli settlement project gets to a point at which all objective observers would agree that it has put a two-state solution beyond reach.

At least, that’s an optimistic scenario. A more pessimistic scenario, even if a large peaceful civil rights campaign were to get rolling, is that the Israeli leadership would fall back on its live-by-the-sword instincts and would find ways to use its instruments of violence to upset the peaceful bandwagon. Because the stoicism of no people is infinite, there would be violence in response on the other side, and we would be back to another round of the same deadly cycle that has gone on for decades.

Probably the pessimistic scenario is the more likely one as long as power in Israel is in hands similar to those that hold power now, and as long as U.S. policy continues to provide cover for Israeli behavior that evades the tough questions about democracy and apartheid. Confronting that aspect of U.S. policy, and not just relying on inflated views of one’s deal-making ability, is required if the new would-be peacemakers are to have any chance of success.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.) 

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65 comments for “Trump’s Amateur Hour on Israel

  1. Sally Snyder
    May 5, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Here is a very interesting look at how Israel feels that the Islamic State should be handled:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2016/10/using-islamic-state-to-counter-iran.html

    Apparently terrorism is fine as long as it serves Israel’s geopolitical agenda in the region.

    • Abe
      May 6, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Amateur Hour:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpQdg4D78Jc

      2002: Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on September 12 about hundreds of nuclear “washing machines” in Iraq.

      2013-2017: Israel and its Saudi-backed Al Qaeda allies have Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta of Bellingcat to the blow smoke about “chemical attacks”

    • Peter Loeb
      May 8, 2017 at 7:36 am

      THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN IS THE ZIONIST’S BURDEN….

      Many of the comments below rely on a basic anti-Zionist position.
      In other words, there is a basic acceptance of the positions of
      Thomas Suarez in his landmark book STATE OF TERROR (2017).

      Let us not argue over crumbs: Israel may be “legitimate” but only
      in the sense that it does, in fact, exist. It is however a criminal state and
      it always has been.

      It is precisely and shamefully this fact that so-called Israeli
      “supporters” are so passionately intent on denying.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Bill Bodden
      May 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      From the JPost article: “Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE stand united today” With friends like these, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, it is no wonder Israel is so universally despised. Fortunately for Israel the lobby has most of Congress groveling at its door.

  2. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Israel exists as a criminal state with a long and continuing record of really horrible crimes. They are not going to suddenly give up all they have stolen, or reverse their plans for racist genocide of the Palestinians. They are in too deep now to back out. You can only expect more and greater crimes from Israel. There is only one solution to this problem, and that is the disappearance of the Israeli state. I do not mean genocide of all Israelis, I simply mean that everything this state has been founded on and grown to be needs to be discarded, and a totally new start made. The chances of this happening? Your guess…..one in a trillion?

    • May 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      mike k
      That is an accurate assessment, the zionist is in too deep to back out now.
      IMO if the zionist ever loses the sympathy it gained from the alleged nazi gas chambers, it will burn the globe down.
      If they do not, the backlash will be devastating for anyone who adheres to the Jewish faith across the globe.
      There are those Jewish people who oppose the zionist agenda, but no one sees that.
      In fact it will be their staunchest supporters who swing the sword, and those who defend the Palestinian will be left advocating for the Jewish community.
      Those who are committed to respect for human dignity care not Who is being repressed, only that someone is being repressed.
      Those who go along to get along, only care for their own skin.
      Until recently, I defended Israel whenever someone spoke ill of their methods for “self defence.” Now that I see things differently, I am almost sure that I would not care if The Question was answered for good … I would not join in, but I would not risk myself to stop it.

      • Paul Easton
        May 8, 2017 at 12:17 am

        Common you certainly are.

    • Paranam Kid
      May 6, 2017 at 9:42 am

      You hit the nail on the head. Zio-fascist israel has absolutely no legitimacy since it is based on a racist ideaology (zionism), and practices Apartheid (proven by none less than the UN) as well as cultural (proven by UNESCO with numerous resolutions) & physical extermination (proven by israel itself ever since Deir Yasin, Al Dawayima (1948) till today including land theft, water resources theft, concentration camp, shoot 1st ask questions later, etc.

      For this behaviour Nazi Germany & former imperial Japan were bombed into submission with the Dresden/Hiroshima/Nagasaki treatment. And israel gets ….. a pat on the back, preferential commercial treatment, tailor-made legislation in other countries to accommodate israel’s wishes, and, to crown it all, a stranglehold by its zio-fascist surrogates in the US. So yes, chances for a new start are virtually nil.

    • Paul Easton
      May 8, 2017 at 12:15 am

      The situation is unstable. If no better solution is found, Israel will be annihilated in a regional nuclear exchange. Unless of course the US wipes out everyone first.

  3. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Friends have said that I am too pessimistic. I feel that I am being realistic. And that sometimes hurts, but standing with the truth is not always easy or comfortable.

  4. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I want a better world more than anyone I know. But that world will only come to be if we face the painful realities that are staring us in the face. No new world based on half-truths and illusions will be worth having; that’s the kind of failing world we have now. That’s why the kind of sometimes pretty bitter truths that CN unveils are important building blocks for a better world.

    • Bob Van Noy
      May 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

      Thank you mike k. Referring to the exchange we had yesterday with Sam F, we know that in the avoidance of war, there is a sort of extended level of communication that is possible but it requires a kind of suspension of individual preferences, or prejudices, so that communication can proceed. Years ago, I thought that that was what the UN was all about but, as we have seen, the UN has become as dysfunctional as our tattered democracy. It will be up to us to find a way through this mess that we find ourselves in. CN has reported honestly, now we need to continue to communicate honestly.

      Note: I don’t want to disrupt this important thread with this comment…

  5. Bill Bodden
    May 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    There were many negative hypocritical comments made about President Duterte of the Philippines visiting the White House, but when it comes to human rights Binyamin Netanyahu is many times worse. That there is “no daylight between” the United States and Israel is more evidence of the moral decadence of our national leadership and their supporters.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 5, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      That’s it in a nutshell Bill. Duterte gets bad press as his being a monster, while Bibi gets appreciation for his statesman like abilities. Please don’t take my words here as an endorsement for Duterte, as much as I would like you to read what I wrote as an appeal to accept Netanyahu for the brutal Zionist he has proven to be.

  6. Joe Tedesky
    May 5, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    From where I sit in the U.S. I see the Palestinian as in need of their own version of them having a Sheldon Adelson to finance American politicians, and a news media eager to broadcast the Palestinian plight. Granted I’m writing this strictly from my own American viewpoint, but I think that by appealing to the American public as the Zionist have done so well, and for so long, that doing this would benefit the Palestinian people most greatly. The struggle is clearly shown in our American media’s negative or no response to the BDS movement, which when mentioned in our media the BDS movement is almost always slanted towards it being anti Semitic. It’s here where the Palestinian could use the most help, because the Palestinian needs to crush the American Zionist benefactors that support their demise in their own homeland.

    Other than that I agree with Paul Pillar on the rest of what he said.

    • May 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

      The zionist had been working on taking that land for 50 years by the time WWII began. A Confucius saying states, “if you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for 10 years, plant trees. If you plan for 100 years, educate your children.” The Palestinian does not stand a chance unless Americans pull the zionist tapeworm out of their butts.
      It is incredible that anyone can function after spending their childhood in Gaza, or the West Bank.
      The Palestinian needs a Champion, but it can not be left to them alone to produce that Champion.

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 6, 2017 at 1:29 am

        You make a good point, and allow me to add that again from my viewpoint Americans must become more aware of what we as a nation are supporting.

        • May 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm

          For the sake of all life on the planet, Americans have to give up the “left-right” paradigm for at minimum 12 years. Acting within the current constitutional model, to elect officials at every level, who are outside the GOP, or Democrat institutions. The sole purpose would be to remove the zionist tapeworm.
          It is a tall order, but that is what is required.

  7. elmerfudzie
    May 5, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Trump cannot stop or change the direction of a strong political and economic undertow that began on 911 and Palestinians can only hope for some partial resolution of UN resolutions 224 and 338. It is difficult to imagine that these seemingly disparate issues have indeed a strong connection. I’ll endeavor to explain; during the months prior to 911, the Saudis (House of Saud) were approached by our “deep state actors”, deal was made. It went something like this, before the Saudis would involve the financing to overtake and reorganize middle east governments, the King required proof, sincerity, that both the US military and it’s citizenry would follow through, no matter what future US administration came into being, thus the world wide reaction to 911 sealed this deal, even tho, the Saudi’s had no direct connection to the world trade center attacks, their participation assumed the shape of buying up Lebanese news print and media and to initiate insurrections in Syria. This long range strategy relied on continuing the European “Gladio” style CIA program(s) in Lebanon via the Mossad. Take notice, CONSORTIUMNEWS readers the events within Lebanon over the last decade or more, MANY internal political assassinations, news media takeovers, ditto Saudi money to corrupt Lebanese politicians and so on. My point is this, when the Zionists realized that raw military force could not over come the guerilla’s (Hezbollah) recall the two failed IDF incursions, the aforementioned alternate plan emerged. All in the hope of enhancing a likelihood of Israeli hegemony in the region. Oddly, only the wealth of the Saudi King could finance this strategy, with of course, a back room “treaty” among the warring sides guarantying the continuation of the House of Saud, and it’s fiefdom. In my opinion, the Palestinians are, within the Saudi mindset that is, what black’s were during the American civil rights movement, inferiors and ne’er-do-wells who failed, time and again against the Zionist conquistadors. However in this political climate, their peoples do serve as a Saudi “bargaining chip”, to weaken or completely halt Israeli control over the Golan Heights (used for benefits such as logistical positioning, water and oil sources, perhaps gold mining?), the continued Israeli gleaning of waters from Lebanon’s Litani River and the fate of five million Palestinian refugees scattered through out the contiguous countries surrounding Israel, particularly in Jordan.. So in conclusion what can a Trump or his administration really do?, in short nothing, the FIX IS IN.

    • Gregory Herr
      May 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      The Saudi direct connection to the world trade center attacks is Bandar, facilitator of the patsy setup.

  8. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    If we pretend some sort of acceptable solution is going to happen with the Palestinian problem, we are kidding ourselves and others. The state of Israel thrives on dominating the Palestinians and stealing their land, and starving them, with the eventual goal of driving them from their land entirely. Beyond that the Israelis want to expand their territory to include the present neighboring states, and is using American power to accomplish that in Syria. They would also be very happy to see us destroy Iran, as we have done to Iraq. Does anyone really believe these folks want some kind of peace process??

  9. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    There is a deep strain of white racism underlying the dynamics of middle eastern conflict. Ironically the Jews want to be co-equal with the white ubermenchen spearheaded by the Americans. The darker skinned groups including Arabs are treated as of lesser value than the lighter skinned Israelis. It is not only religious memes that are central to these wars; the eventual rulership of the white western peoples over the world is at stake here also.

  10. backwardsevolution
    May 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    The psychopathic Zionists have been stalling for time all these years, busy stealing more and more land, never intending to solve anything. It’s all been a pretense. They know that possession is nine-tenths of the law. “Come and take it back,” they dare us, smug in their nuclear capability. Who the hell gave them that?

    It’s simple: Israel willingly reverts back to the lands they were once given, or face being blown off the face of the map.

    Trump knows the answer, just as we all do. Give back the Golan Heights and the land you stole from the Palestinians.

    I hope Trump is using this to draw more attention to this travesty (because we all know the media aren’t going to do it). If the average guy starts to question and understand what’s really going on, perhaps more pressure will be brought to bear.

    If that happens and the heat gets turned up on Israel, expect more false flags (like the Israeli-American fellow who was found responsible for most of the bomb threats a few months ago). He was an actual Israeli! Then expect more cries of “anti-semitism” until these are eventually ignored, as is happening now.

    This is nothing but “stalling” by a bully nation. Not one state, but two. All lands given back.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 5, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      “We are troubled to learn that the individual suspected of making these threats against Jewish Community Centers, which play a central role in the Jewish community, as well as serve as inclusive and welcoming places for all – is reportedly Jewish,” JCC Association of North America President and CEO Doron Krakow reacted.

      “Today’s arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions responded.”

      http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/03/23/israeli-man-arrested-in-us-jewish-community-center-bomb-threats.html

      Trump initially questioned whether these were real anti-semitic attacks, for which he took much heat. Turns out he was right.

  11. mike k
    May 5, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    The idea that Trump is going to do something to make the Israel problem better is laughable. People still hope against hope that Trump will yet pull a rabbit out of his hat and make something better. How long will it take the last of us to realize that everything this guy touches he makes worse, never better.

    Besides, the Israelis are making sure that their situation will get worse, no matter what anyone tries to do to change it.

    • Skip Scott
      May 6, 2017 at 7:32 am

      I think Trump apologists, just like Hillary apologists, or Obama apologists, are mostly just guilty of wishful thinking. They project their own desires onto these people, and are disappointed when those desires aren’t met. No “hope and change”, just “more of the same”. I don’t think it matters who the President is anymore, revolution is our only hope.

  12. Gregory Herr
    May 5, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    “If founding charters and lack of explicit recognition really matter, then Hamas’s positions ought not to cause any more problem than the platform of Likud, the dominant party in the ruling Israeli coalition, which explicitly rejects the very concept of a Palestinian state, strongly declares the intention to hang onto all of “Eretz Israel”, and dismisses the PLO — the Palestinian negotiating party at Oslo — as an ”organization of assassins”. And if one is to take the “once a terrorist, always a terrorist” approach, then we should never have had anything to do with former terrorists Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir even after they became prime ministers of Israel.”

    I like this strong repudiation of the hypocrisy of often used sticking points. And focusing on nonviolent attention to civil rights issues, along with the dissolution of the P. A. is judicious. And, as Mr. Pillar says, the U.S. role in providing cover for bad behavior has to change. I’m not optimistic that Israel and the U.S. can be shamed into anything positive for the Palestinians, but the world must shame them nevertheless.

  13. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    May 5, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    Israel will get what it deserves when the Muslims clean up their own mess and start acting like real Muslims. In the meantime, Israel will keep getting America deeper and deeper into the Graveyard of Empires otherwise known as The Muslim World. If you take a good look at the History of Islam you will find that it has brought down an empire after empire………….from the Persians to the Soviet Union all went into the garbage bag of history inside The Muslim World…….The current empire will be no different………When the Jewish Neocons succeeded in taking America into Iraq, they reminded me with the Grandson of Genghis Khan when he destroyed Baghdad ONLY to have the Empire itself wiped out at the hands of Egypt which was led at that time by SLAVES brought from Central Asia!!! History keeps going in cycles repeating itself…………….

  14. Zachary Smith
    May 5, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    OK, so Trump is a major disappoint on yet another topic. But at least there was a tiny outside chance.

    But supposing a miracle happens and DT has a “Saul on the Road to Damascus” experience. Given the death grip Holy Israel has on both houses of the US Congress, would it make the least bit of difference?

    “100 senators throw their bodies down to end UN ‘bias’ against Israel”

    Last week, all 100 US senators signed a letter to the UN Secretary General, demanding ‘equal treatment’ for Israel.

    The letter, sponsored by Florida Republican Marco Rubio and Delaware Democrat Christopher Coons, was an ostensible display of bipartisan unanimity about UN ‘anti-Israel bias’.

    While bias should definitely be examined, the blind cannot lead the blind. This letter is an exhibition of bipartisan bias – on behalf of Israel.

    The murderous and thieving little shithole of an apartheid nation state has every single one of them eating out of its hand.

    Ignorant and indifferent and lazy POTUS + completely bought-and-paid-for US Congress is NOT a recipe for anything except possibly Israel getting its allowance of US taxpayer dollars increased.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/senators-bodies-against/

    • Bill Bodden
      May 5, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Last week, all 100 US senators signed a letter to the UN Secretary General, demanding ‘equal treatment’ for Israel.

      If Israel got equal treatment at the United Nations it would be in trouble by being downgraded from its privileged position.

    • mike k
      May 5, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      You can expect the same thing from the US government as you will get from Israel: nada, zip, zero, no go. The whole pretense about seeking peace for the Palestinians is a farce, a lie, a propaganda puppet show.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      “And who signed on to this?

      Everyone. All 100 Senators. Including Bernie Sanders. Recently Al-Jazeera interviewed him on that, and he said “Look, I didn’t write that letter, I signed on to the letter. It’s not a letter that I would have written”.

      What does that mean exactly? You sign a letter, you stand by it, right?

      On BDS, Sanders ends his run saying “no, I’m not a supporter of that”. On the question of a one-state solution he rejects it as “the end of the State of Israel” saying that he supports Israel’s “right to exist”.

      What a cop-out: “I didn’t write that letter.” But Bernie = good, and Trump = bad? What?

  15. Marwan Halabi
    May 5, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    What you said is absolutely true, both the Isreali and Palestinian leadership has to change. Your idea for the Palestinian Authority to surrender the authority back to the occupier will shake things up and it might lead to a forward move. Knowing the Pastenian Authority they will never do it. I agree with you, Marwan Barghouti is a better fit and capable leader than all the persons in power now.

  16. Bill Bodden
    May 5, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    Given this history:

    1. The betrayal of the crew of the USS Liberty by the LBJ administration and the top navy brass after Israeli forces tried to sink the ship and kill its crew**, and

    2. Support from the Obama administration and Congress for Israel’s slaughter of hundreds of Palestinians, including hundreds of children, during Operation Cast Lead, and

    3. Ditto for Operation Protective Edge,

    the United States government is pathologically incapable of being an honest broker.

    ** June 8th, 2017 will be the 50th anniversary of this barbarous and treasonous event.

  17. Miranda Keefe
    May 5, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I’m despairing of either a two state solution or a one state solution. I think it is time, maybe, to really think outside the box.

    Perhaps a new homeland for Palestinians? All the refugees and all the Palestinians in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank could be given some high financial compensation and given new land in a new homeland. Let Israel have their one state solution without any Palestinians?

    The world moved Jews from Europe to Palestine to give them a homeland. Why can’t we do the same thing right now for the Palestinians?

    Let’s give them Michigan. It can be New Palestine. Any Palestinian in the world would automatically be a citizen (and anyone who wants to convert can become a Palestinian, the easy solution for those Muslims already in Michigan.) I know, I know. There are a lot of non-Palestinians living in Michigan right now. But they aren’t really Michiganers- they are Americans and Americans already have 49 other states they can move to. Or we can just partition Michigan- the Upper Peninsula can be for the non-Palestinians happening to reside in Michigan right now and it can remain part of the US (or be annexed by Wisconsin and/or Minnesota.)

    • mike k
      May 5, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Miranda, your imagination is fantastic. It’s way outside any box we could ever construct to contain it!

    • Bill Bodden
      May 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      More likely, most Palestinians adhere to a version of Sir Walter Scott’s words: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said this is my own, my native land

      Move the Palestinians out of their native land and the world commits the final ignominy surrendering to an evil force. Who would be next? Greater Israel in the minds of the more rabid Zionists extends well beyond Palestine.

      • Miranda Keefe
        May 8, 2017 at 5:56 pm

        Bill, it’s called Satire.

        The idea of taking other’s land to make a homeland or a persecuted people is obviously absurd when I suggest we do it for Palestinians.

        Well, that’s the entire basis for Israel.

        It’s like Swift saying the solution to starving children in Ireland due to British imperialism in the early 18th Century is to have the Irish eat their children. People thought he was serious too.

        I expected a least a few here would see my point.

        Oh well.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 5, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      More likely, most Palestinians adhere to a version of Sir Walter Scott’s words: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead who never to himself hath said this is my own, my native land

      Move the Palestinians out of their native land and the world commits the final ignominy surrendering to an evil force. Who would be next? Greater Israel in the minds of the more rabid Zionists extends well beyond Palestine.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 6, 2017 at 1:04 am

      Miranda – “Perhaps a new homeland for Palestinians?” How about a new homeland for the people of Israel. Move Israel.

      The British had first advocated some empty land in Kenya before Palestine was settled upon. With the $38 billion that the Israelis are going to be getting from the U.S. government over the next 10 years, they’ll have lots of money in order to buy some empty land in Africa. The Africans could probably make good use of the money.

      “In 1905, a Zionist commission arrived in Kenya to investigate the possibility of a Jewish homeland in the Uasin Gishu Plateau. This plan is often misnamed ”The Uganda Plan” as the designated area had recently been removed from the Uganda Protectorate and incorporated into Kenya.

      The British settlers didn’t view the plan favourably. They were afraid of a mass invasion of poor Jewish immigrants.

      Two years later, the Zionist Congress rejected the Uganda Plan so as not to endanger the chance of acquiring a Jewish homeland in Palestine. But individual Jews continued to make Kenya their home.”

      • Joe Tedesky
        May 6, 2017 at 2:01 am

        Maybe since everyone jokes that Israel is America’s 51st State, so then have the U.S. take Israel into the Union, and then enforce our American Civil Rights laws. Yeah I’m getting absurd, but absurdity in the case of dealing with the racist Zionist may take an outside the box solution.

        I say go back to the Balfour Declaration and tear it apart based upon it’s legality. I’m serious, did Lord Balfour have the right to lay claim? Was Palestine possibly still in the Ottoman Empire? Did Lord Balfour have the authority, and how has his Declaration been interrupted?

        I have been told by lawyers that a not well publicized happening has, and is still occurring whereas Native Americans have won law suits all across America when taking to court the American government over offenses committed against past Colonists & Early American Treaties…if this is so, could not all indigenous people’s through out the past American and European empires have reason for cause, and sue the invading governments who stool their land with that very governments own laws?

        The reason I would not make the Palestinian relocate is because that UN division edict that came down many years ago gave the Palestinian who had the two thirds population one third of the livable land….what kind of deal was that? Israel and the U.S. does what they want, and damn any international body or law, because we are God’s Chosen and Earth’s Exceptional Indispensable people’s who have the right to impose….Backlash is going to be a bitch!

        • backwardsevolution
          May 6, 2017 at 4:00 am

          Joe – “Backlash is going to be a bitch!” It sure is. The solution is simple: Israel gives back all of the land they stole and retains only what they were given.

          Heck, make it solely a Jewish homeland, all others excluded. Nobody would give a damn about the Israelis. They’d let them live in peace. The only reason they don’t is because they’re thieves and they keep stealing more and more land. And then they wonder why people get angry at them. Just stop stealing!

          Of course, they want more and more land because they want to get the upper hand – always – regarding water, minerals, oil, etc. “We’re only going to take 95%. But, look, here’s 5% for you.” Oh, yay, thanks for the crumbs.

          From a book entitled “Damned Good Company”:

          “The resolution awarded Israel only a portion of what became its borders. This troubled Ben-Gurion not at all; his focus was on establishing a government with a powerful military, which could then conquer the remainder of the biblical land of Israel at a future time: ‘After we constitute a large force following the establishment of the state – we will cancel the partition of the country [between Jews and Arabs] and we will expand throughout the land of Israel.'”

          No kidding. l never followed any of this before a few months ago, but the more I read about the history of how Israel came to be (the collusion between Hitler and the Zionists), the more I wonder if we haven’t been told another Sarin gas/Weapons of Mass Destruction/Gulf of Tonkin/Ukraine/MH-17 type story.

          All of this information is beginning to filter out (not through the MSM obviously) through the Internet, through books. None of it adds up. I think when it all comes out, we’re going to scratch our heads and wonder whether we can believe anything.

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

            Since Lord Balfour made reference to Arabs and Jewish living side by side, I would think that by dwelling on Balfours intent would be a good starting point to fight back legally. What would really be a big help, is if the U.S. would quit with protecting these Zionist land robbers, and allow justice to rein over this overly long atrocity.

        • Bob Van Noy
          May 6, 2017 at 9:17 am

          Joe, your point is an excellent one. Here in California some Tribes are using gaming proceeds to purchase land that they consider sovereign. Also, they are sending some members to elite colleges to learn to argue legally for their right to sovereignty. America enters a new phase?

          • Joe Tedesky
            May 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

            Besides there being legal foundations for the Native American to explore, it would seem that by their seeking a legal solution that by going this route would be wise, because it would be hard to refute.

            When it comes to the Balfour Declaration it would seem likely that this piece of paper would be just that, ‘a piece of paper’. Besides that the Balfour Declaration recognized that all parties Jewish and Palestinian should live side by side in peace. Although Israel claims to protect all of it’s citizens both Jewish and Arab, real life evidence would suggest otherwise. Lastly, in my mind no matter where in this world, not matter what nation where diversity of the citizenry is to be in existence, all people’s rights should be observed.

            The U.S. should not stand side by side with these overbearing Zionist. This U.S. alliance to the Zionist mocks the very foundations of what most would consider the U.S. stands for.

      • Miranda Keefe
        May 8, 2017 at 9:12 pm

        How about we work for people to live where they will, without taking other people’s land or property, and all have equal rights and justice?

        If the Israeli Jews don’t think they can have that in a state of Palestine where all people are equal and the refugees are compensated, if they fear that they’ll be targets of vengeance, then they could move to the United States where they would be equal citizens. There is no need to give them their own ‘land’ like in the satire I postulated for Palestine or like the colonial idea of Zionism.

    • Skip Scott
      May 6, 2017 at 7:40 am

      I have a jewish friend who suggested the same for Israel. He suggested Baja, California. It’s the same kind of land, and they wouldn’t be surrounded by people who hate them.

  18. hillary
    May 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Israel a racist , belligerent, war-mongering, supremacist state that controls so many Western countrie’s Middle east policies through its all-powerful Lobbies has “for ever “ been slavering to destroy Iran as it has destroyed Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Libya & Lebanon.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avf2JQEvYcs

    With its Nuclear arsenal Israel is known to have threatened to provoke global Armageddon when threatened by the 1973 war, through attacking the Soviet Union Numerous Israeli elite figures have threatened nuclear obliteration for Arab and European targets, and not a few hardcore Zionists agree with Professor David Perlmutter, who was published in the Los Angeles Times in 2002, saying,
    ‘What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesman and peace activists to join us in the ovens’.

    If only the Jewish community could understand how the Israeli illegal occupation has caused whole Palestinian families to be murdered & children imprisoned etc. etc.
    Instead the Jewish community believes that they are entitled to Palestine & the ppeople who have lived there for centuries are not entitled either to the land or to human decency….
    http://www.viewzone.com/dualcitizen.html
    .

  19. Ranae Hawkins
    May 5, 2017 at 11:50 pm

    Creative post ! Incidentally , if someone needs a DoL OSHA 300 , my business partner filled a fillable document here https://goo.gl/R9IB7s.

  20. Lee Francis
    May 6, 2017 at 3:24 am

    In 2001, Daniel Bernard came to public attention when, as French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, he was quoted as saying: “All the current troubles in the world are because of that shitty little country ( Israel).” The diplomat added, “Why should the world be in danger of World War III because of those people?”

    Why Indeed? That is what must never be said, but that is what seasoned unbiased diplomats actually think. Unfortunately the zionist media machine as well as AIPAC has been able to silence what constitutes one of the crimes of the century.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 6, 2017 at 6:02 am

      Lee – you’re right. The U.S. gives Israel $3.8 billion (or thereabouts) every year. The Israelis buy U.S. weapons with a lot of that money, but a significant amount of it gets ploughed back into U.S. campaign coffers.

      So the U.S. taxpayers not only work hard day in/day out to prop up Israel (along with the U.S. arms manufacturers), but their politicians end up grovelling at the feet of this Israeli money, and then they turn around and vote against the interests of their own citizens.

      It’s one great big circle of fun. The U.S. is owned by Israel and the Jewish lobbies. So is the media, academia, the banks, the Federal Reserve, telecommunications, Hollywood, etc. Soros is running around, causing mayhem wherever he goes. Somebody is obviously directing him, otherwise he’d be dead.

      All money must be taken out of politics. Then if anyone is caught taking bribes, life in prison. Time to take back the country; it’s not too late.

  21. Twitter Banned
    May 6, 2017 at 4:29 am

    When discussing “Israel” in this thread – as some have – a distinction’s made between political parties & forces, as has been done with “Palestinians.” This I think is useful and as it should be.

    And as most of you know, distinctions are likewise helpful when discussing “Washington” (neocons vs non-interventionalists etc) and – as rarely seen in media – with Islam (i.e Wahhabis vs Alawis etc). As you know, this helps distinguish the groups, the operators, their objectives and the potential outcome of their actions.

    I submitt that this distinction should also apply when discussing “Jews.” And not that groups/individuals should just be distinguished ethnically or as Zionist or non-Zionist, but should also be distinguished within their Jewish religious branches/movements, because I believe this also plays a role in these groups and their operator’s objectives and actions.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 7, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I couldn’t agree with you anymore. We should always distinguish between Jewish and Zionist.

  22. mike k
    May 6, 2017 at 7:49 am

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Israel was created unjustly and illegally. In doing so colonial powers sowed the seeds of future wars and chaos. We are living now in the unfolding karma of mankind’s historical mistakes and crimes. The only solutions to this situation involve restorative justice, that fully acknowledges the crimes of the past, and makes full compensation for the harms done. Unfortunately the powers who could do this refuse to admit their guilt, and continue their criminal activity, and justify and expand it. This will not end well. When WWIII unfolds, we will have our criminal actions to thank for our extinction.

  23. mike k
    May 6, 2017 at 10:01 am

    The ripening of karma, the unfolding of consequences stemming from past actions, has a sickening quality of inevitability as one becomes increasingly aware of it’s dark presence infecting everything in daily life. Collapse of human culture and probable extinction is going to happen in the near future, and nothing we can do is going to avoid that. How to deal with the deep psychological impact of that realization is a primary problem facing those of us awakening to this reality.

    Only by finding an inner stance and framework for action can we withstand the force of this tragic nightmare, and move on in our lives in spite of it, and paradoxically, because of it dig deep within ourselves to make this our finest hour. This is the inner work making it possible to navigate the chaos unfolding around us with understanding and compassionate service to all Beings. Finding and remembering a Higher Reality to dedicate our lives to will give us the strength and direction to continue living without falling into meaninglessness and despair. In this way, our darkest hour may prove to be the crucible for awakening the best within us….

    Admission of failure is difficult for us humans. Especially when as is the present case that failure is not just of us as individuals, but is the decisive failure of our entire species leading to its probable near term extinction. A bitter pill to swallow indeed. But to be aware of this reality is to know the truth, and knowing the truth and accepting it might make possible the avoidance of our otherwise guaranteed doom. Salvation in the form of a sustainable future for humankind is highly unlikely, but not impossible. However such an outcome will never arise on the basis of willful ignorance, lies, and phony positive thinking.

    The problem people have difficulty realizing is the extreme seriousness of the human predicament in all it’s dimensions, and the very short time frame we have to deal with it. Our extinction as a species is staring us in the face, and we refuse to look at it. The psychological ways we have for evading this nightmare are numerous and very effective in sparing us from the overwhelming feelings a real confrontation with what is coming on us now very rapidly would evoke. We just have not developed the courage it would take to face the reality of our situation. It is much more comfortable to rest in the popular illusions of business as usual, and our magical invulnerability.

    It takes a lot of study and serious thinking to understand the certainty of the collapse of the culture we have created on this planet, and the horrific and terminal nature of that failure. The disaster movies that are so popular these days unfortunately have an opposite effect from helping us wake up to the imminent reality of our collapse. They make us think it is just a bad dream that won’t really happen. “It’s only a movie.” Unfortunately the truth is going to be more ugly than any fiction could convey….

  24. ASF
    May 6, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Barghouti is a sociopathic terrorist. You might as well be glorifying a Nazi. Good work (sarcasm fully intended.) Thank God the “author” of this Israel-hit-piece no longer works for the CIA!

  25. mike k
    May 6, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I guess thieving, murdering Israeli’s are sensitive to criticism? Too bad…..

  26. May 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    No matter who is US President, the US won’t be an honest broker given its favored support for Israel and $3.9bn annual financial aid and control by AIPAC. The US pushing for a peace process has become more like a stage play, meaningless and for show. And the UN has been essentially toothless, while the US is truthless. The signatures of those 100 senators says it all.

    I think only a worldwide movement of people, not politicians, demanding fair treatment of Palestinians by Israel’s government, has a chance, and even that might not work but at least would stand for principles of honesty and human rights. BDS is being supported in various places and by individuals, even though there are attempts to quash it (such as Cuomo in NY). A people’s movement will have to go farther, with a manifesto of demand for change, such as the SDS Port Huron statement authored by Tom Hayden in 1962. Expecting anything to come from politics is useless.

    Because of climate change, Israel is in a fourth year of drought. It may be that ongoing desertification is the agent of change, for Israelis as well as Palestinians. There has been talk of Ukraine as a settling site for Israelis in the future because of its fertility, but ironically the present violence in Ukraine since the US backed coup, has caused Jewish people to flee to Israel.

  27. Abe
    May 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    The “credibility” of Bellingcat, Human Rights Watch, and Forensic Architecture “investigations” of the Khan Shaykhun attack is evaporating as rapidly as Sarin on a hot day.

    Higgins pulled out another “James Foley” style “verification” ploy with a little handjob assist from the Pentagon
    https://twitter.com/EliotHiggins/status/860420709717299200

    The usual Bellingcat Truthers at “First Draft” coalition are applauding loudly on cue.

    • Abe
      May 6, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      “In both Libya and Syria, HRW has played a critical role in propagandizing the western public against the governments of those countries, thereby justifying the imperialist assault on them. More than simply “collecting the facts,” HRW cobbled together a completely distorted, and in many cases utterly dishonest and factually wrong, narrative which has buttressed the case for ‘intervention’ in Syria, as it did in Libya […]

      “As with Libya, HRW has played a prominent role in the ongoing propaganda campaign against Syria – a propaganda campaign that in many ways has as its ultimate goal, regime change. So, just as with Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, and Libya, HRW serves as a nominally ‘independent’ appendage of US foreign policy and the Empire’s media machine […]

      “Human Rights Watch is undeniably an appendage of US foreign policy. It is in many ways part of the ‘soft power’ arm of US power projection, a means of delegitimizing, demonizing, and otherwise destabilizing countries that do not play ball with the US. From Ukraine to Libya, Syria to Palestine and Venezuela, HRW has shown itself to be treacherous, and a willing servant of Empire.”

      HRW: Human Rights Watch or Hypocritical Representatives of Washington? (Part 2)
      By Eric Draitser
      http://journal-neo.org/2014/08/06/hrw-human-rights-watch-or-hypocritical-representatives-of-washington-part-2/

      • backwardsevolution
        May 7, 2017 at 12:47 am

        Abe – good posts. Human Rights Watch and also Amnesty International. Who the heck can you believe these days?

  28. Abe
    May 6, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    “Trump is not really in charge of US foreign policy. In addition to his unconditional support for Israel, a myriad of hawkish war-hungry generals occupy senior posts in the Trump administration […]

    “The Trump administration, and the influential generals in it, are thus likely to follow orders from the Pentagon. Therefore, current US policy might be close to a strategy for partitioning Syria as laid out in a three-part series called A peace plan for Syria published by RAND corporation, a think tank closely aligned to the Pentagon […]

    “In this way, the Sunni-dominated heartland the Gulf countries, Turkey, Israel and NATO had long hoped to carve out of sovereign Syrian territory would come about after all. But crucial to that effort is the exclusion of the Syrian government from the operation to remove ISIS from Raqqa.”

    The Balkanization of Syria & Iraq: The Roadmap to US-Israeli Hegemony in the Middle East
    By Bas Spliet
    https://www.newsbud.com/2017/04/23/newsbud-exclusive-the-balkanization-of-syria-iraq-the-roadmap-to-us-israeli-hegemony-in-the-middle-east/

  29. Mark Thomason
    May 7, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Abbas did not stand for re-election because the US and Israel demanded that he not have another election. They made that demand from fear he would lose to Hamas.

    They use Abbas against the Palestinian interests, and Palestinians know that. No election could produce a winner as much to the liking of Israel, and so no election it is.

  30. Zachary Smith
    May 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I saw a headline this morning which reinforced the title of this essay:

    “Donald Trump hasn’t quite thought through his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican”

    Subitle:

    “Jerusalem will be a great gig because Trump will be able to ask Netanyahu for help against Isis without – presumably – realising that Israel bombs only the Syrian army and the Shia Hezbollah in Syria but has never – ever – bombed Isis in Syria”

    The man doesn’t have a clue, and he also doesn’t even suspect that’s the case.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-middle-east-visit-may-suadi-arabia-israel-vatican-no-luck-a7720391.html

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