Israel Set to Block Palestinian Unity

As the Palestinians seek unity between their two rival factions, Israel stands ready to obstruct the process and thus maintain its complaint that the Palestinians remain divided, notes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

The latest attempt at reconciliation between the competing Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas has produced a preliminary agreement that Egypt brokered and was announced earlier this month. The reasons for movement on this subject at this time involve motivations of the Egyptians, who want to use improved relations with authorities in the Gaza Strip to help defeat extremists who are active in the Sinai Peninsula.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making opening remarks at a joint White House press conference with President Donald Trump on Feb. 15, 2017. (Screenshot from White House video)

Egypt, which has taken the side of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in their dispute with Qatar, also hopes to reduce Qatari and Turkish influence among the Palestinians.  The evolving motivations of Hamas also are pertinent. The group has come to realize how thankless a task is the governing of the Gaza Strip, which is beset by an Israeli semi-blockade and unrepaired damage from Israel’s military assaults.

The preliminary agreement is little more than a joint statement of aspirations and a timetable for resolving outstanding issues. The main substantive advance has been Hamas’s declared willingness to turn over administration of the Strip to the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (P.A.). Laborious negotiations lie ahead to resolve questions such as how to integrate two separate cadres of civil servants.

Historically based ill will and mistrust also must be overcome. Palestinians, just like other nations, have politics characterized by ideological and generational divides, some of which can be sharp. Anyone familiar with U.S. politics, with its considerable ill will and sharp divides, ought to find this easy to understand.

An additional complicating factor of late is the ambition of Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah security chief in Gaza who has been leveraging his friendship with the UAE (where he has lived in exile) to re-insert himself in Palestinian politics and whom P.A. president Mahmoud Abbas considers a rival for power. Complete Palestinian reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas would be uncertain even if the matter were left entirely to the Palestinians themselves.

Israel’s Obstruction

But reconciliation will not be left to the Palestinians themselves, just as it has not been left to them in the past. Israel has actively and repeatedly thwarted reconciliation. In addition to everything Israel has done to undermine the authority and credibility of the P.A. and to sustain dire extremism-breeding conditions in Gaza, it has taken more direct action to derail previous efforts at reconciliation whenever they showed any promise of success. Israel has employed one of its favorite ways of punishing the P.A., withholding taxes that it is supposed to pass on to the P.A., to pressure the P.A. into dropping previous efforts to reconcile with Hamas.

Palestinian boys prepare to welcome Women’s Boat to Gaza, which was intercepted by the Israeli naval blockade on Oct. 5, 2016.

For the right-wing government of Israel, derailing intra-Palestinian reconciliation helps to sustain the theme that Israel “doesn’t have a negotiating partner for peace.” If that government really wanted such a partner, then it would be supporting rather than derailing steps toward developing a unified Palestinian leadership that could speak most credibly for all Palestinians and to negotiate on their behalf.

But the government of Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want such a partner. It instead wants rationales for indefinitely kicking the prospect of meaningful peace negotiations into the future, while Israel’s colonization project cements its hold on the West Bank. The “no negotiating partner” meme has become sufficiently entrenched in Israeli public perceptions to make the government’s strategy politically sustainable.

For now, Netanyahu’s government appears to have concluded that there are enough obstacles in the way of full Fatah-Hamas reconciliation that active derailment measures such as use of the tax weapon can be kept in reserve. Meanwhile, Israel is voicing old familiar demands (along with some new ones), which are highly unlikely to be met, as preconditions for negotiating with any unified Palestinian leadership that results from reconciliation.

One of those demands is an explicit Hamas recognition of Israel. This has always been an odd demand in that recognition of states is something that comes from other states, not from parties or movements. And if parties and movements were to be considered part of the recognition business, why shouldn’t recognition be reciprocal? Where is the Israeli declaration affirming a right to exist for Hamas?

In any event, the leadership of Hamas has long made it evident that it aspires to political power in a Palestinian state that would live side-by-side, and in an indefinite truce, with Israel. Earlier this year Hamas issued a new political statement making clear that it accepts a Palestinian state limited to the 1967 boundaries.

Repeating Old Arguments

The Israeli government likes to point to more extreme hortatory language in Hamas’s earlier charter, but this is really no different from charter-related matters that everyone went through a quarter century ago with the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which had a similar-sounding charter. As the Oslo process in the 1990s demonstrated, such hortatory documents are no barrier when there is a will to negotiate on both sides. Besides, if we are to worry about charters, then there is at least as much of a problem with the charter of Netanyahu’s Likud party, which categorically rules out any right to exist for any Palestinian state, no matter who leads it.

An Israeli soldier prepares for a night attack inside Gaza as part of Operation Protective Edge, which killed more than 2,000 Gazans in 2014. (Israel Defense Forces photo)

Israel also demands that Hamas completely disarm. This is coming from a government that has used its far superior military might to inflict highly asymmetric damage in repeated assaults on the Gaza Strip. In the last such foray, Operation Protective Edge in 2014, more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, two-thirds of whom were civilians, against 73 Israeli deaths, all but six of whom were soldiers.

Of course Hamas is not going to disarm unilaterally in response to Israeli demands, and certainly not in the absence of any reciprocal pledge by Israel to forswear violence against Palestinians. If it did, it would lose further support from citizens of Gaza, who see the rubble from Protective Edge still surrounding them. And it is not as if Hamas is now using what military means it has to inflict harm on Israel.

As David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy notes, “Israeli officials admit that Hamas has not fired a shot against their country since the 2014 war.”

The Trump administration’s two-faced posture toward all this is reflected in the headlines in the print editions of the New York Times and Washington Post, on the same day and reporting on the same Egyptian-mediated preliminary agreement between Fatah and Hamas. “Seeing Opening for Wider Peace, U.S. Aids Palestinian Talks” reads the Times. The Post’s headline is “U.S., Israel balk at Palestinian reconciliation, insisting Hamas must disarm”.

The U.S. policy that flummoxed the headline-writers is ostensibly one of working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but in fact is one of signing on to the Netanyahu government’s postures, except for the mildest bit of tut-tutting over that government’s accelerated construction of Israeli settlements in occupied territory. As with Israel’s policy, the U.S. policy supposedly bemoans weakness and division on the Palestinian side but in practice sustains it. And also as with Israel’s policy, the longer-term outcome is not the deal of the century but instead an indefinite kicking of the peace can down the road.

Makovsky aptly observes that “the United States will not be putting forward any peace plans or engaging in high-stakes Middle East diplomacy until the Gaza situation is clarified.” And as long as Israel stands ready to throw sand in the gears of Palestinian reconciliation, the Gaza situation will never be clarified. Makovsky further accurately observes that “no publicly discernable progress has emerged” from the talks Trump’s envoys have had this year in Jerusalem and Ramallah, and that Trump made no mention of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his speech last month at the United Nations General Assembly.

Expect Israel to start throwing sand if the reconciliation gears acquire some momentum. Expect also that the Trump administration will acquiesce in Israel’s actions.

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.)

61 comments for “Israel Set to Block Palestinian Unity

  1. Abe
    November 7, 2017 at 14:02

    With the rollback of ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorist proxy forces in Syria, the failure of Kurdish separatist efforts in Iraq, and general disorder in the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis of Evil, Israel plans to launch military attacks against southern Lebanon and Syria.

    South Front has presented a cogent and fairly detailed analysis of Israel’s upcoming war in southern Lebanon.

    Conspicuously absent from the South Front analysis is any discussion of the Israeli planned assault on Syria, or possible responses to the conflict from the United States or Russia.

    Israeli propaganda preparations for attack are already in high gear. Unfortunately, sober heads are in perilously short supply in Israel and the U.S., so the prognosis can hardly be optimistic.

    “Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

    Over time, IDF’s military effectiveness had declined. […] In the Second Lebanon War of 2006 due to the overwhelming numerical superiority in men and equipment the IDF managed to occupy key strong points but failed to inflict a decisive defeat on Hezbollah. The frequency of attacks in Israeli territory was not reduced; the units of the IDF became bogged down in the fighting in the settlements and suffered significant losses. There now exists considerable political pressure to reassert IDF’s lost military dominance and, despite the complexity and unpredictability of the situation we may assume the future conflict will feature only two sides, IDF and Hezbollah. Based on the bellicose statements of the leadership of the Jewish state, the fighting will be initiated by Israel.

    “The operation will begin with a massive evacuation of residents from the settlements in the north and centre of Israel. Since Hezbollah has agents within the IDF, it will not be possible to keep secret the concentration of troops on the border and a mass evacuation of civilians. Hezbollah units will will be ordered to occupy a prepared defensive position and simultaneously open fire on places were IDF units are concentrated. The civilian population of southern Lebanon will most likely be evacuated. IDF will launch massive bombing causing great damage to the social infrastructure and some damage to Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, but without destroying the carefully protected and camouflaged rocket launchers and launch sites.

    “Hezbollah control and communications systems have elements of redundancy. Consequently, regardless of the use of specialized precision-guided munitions, the command posts and electronic warfare systems will not be paralysed, maintaining communications including through the use of fibre-optic communications means. IDF discovered that the movement has such equipment during the 2006 war. Smaller units will operate independently, working with open communication channels, using the pre-defined call signs and codes.

    “Israeli troops will then cross the border of Lebanon, despite the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, beginning a ground operation with the involvement of a greater number of units than in the 2006 war. The IDF troops will occupy commanding heights and begin to prepare for assaults on settlements and actions in the tunnels. The Israelis do not score a quick victory as they suffer heavy losses in built-up areas. The need to secure occupied territory with patrols and checkpoints will cause further losses.

    “The fact that Israel itself started the war and caused damage to the civilian infrastructure, allows the leadership of the movement to use its missile arsenal on Israeli cities. While Israel’s missile defence systems can successfully intercept the launched missiles, there are not enough of them to blunt the bombardment. The civilian evacuation paralyzes life in the country. As soon IDF’s Iron Dome and other medium-range systems are spent on short-range Hezbollah rockets, the bombardment of Israel with long-range missiles may commence. Hezbollah’s Iranian solid-fuel rockets do not require much time to prepare for launch and may target the entire territory of Israel, causing further losses.

    “It is difficult to assess the duration of actions of this war. One thing that seems certain is that Israel shouldn’t count on its rapid conclusion, similar to last September’s exercises. Hezbollah units are stronger and more capable than during the 2006 war, despite the fact that they are fighting in Syria and suffered losses there.


    “The combination of large-scale exercises and bellicose rhetoric is intended to muster Israeli public support for the aggression against Hezbollah by convincing the public the victory would be swift and bloodless. Instead of restraint based on a sober assessment of relative capabilities, Israeli leaders appear to be in a state of blood lust. In contrast, the Hezbollah has thus far demonstrated restraint and diplomacy.

    “Underestimating the adversary is always the first step towards a defeat. Such mistakes are paid for with soldiers’ blood and commanders’ careers. The latest IDF exercises suggest Israeli leaders underestimate the opponent and, more importantly, consider them to be quite dumb. In reality, Hezbollah units will not cross the border. There is no need to provoke the already too nervous neighbor and to suffer losses solely to plant a flag and photograph it for their leader. For Hezbollah, it is easier and safer when the Israeli soldiers come to them. According to the IDF soldiers who served in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is easier to operate on the plains of Gaza than the mountainous terrain of southern Lebanon. This is a problem for armoured vehicles fighting for control of heights, tunnels, and settlements, where they are exposed to anti-armor weapons.

    “While the Israeli establishment is in a state of patriotic frenzy, it would be a good time for them to turn to the wisdom of their ancestors. After all, as the old Jewish proverb says: ‘War is a big swamp, easy to go into but hard to get out’.”

    Israeli Defense Forces: Military Capabilities, Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

  2. Zachary Smith
    November 7, 2017 at 13:32

    The Troll Army may have been given some fresh marching orders, for Lebanon appears to be the next target of the murderous and thieving apartheid nation state.

    “Explosive” Leaked Secret Israeli Cable Confirms Israeli-Saudi Coordination To Provoke War

    The Fabian propagandist might be foolish enough to try to identify Saudi Arabia as the “Arab” nation brimming with weapons from China, Russia, and the US, but that would be mighty stupid. After all, Saudi Arabia is Israel’s best local ally, and that dreadful nation is greasing the skids for the next Israel Land Grab.

    * On Sunday, just after Lebanese PM Hariri’s shocking resignation, Israel sent a cable to all of its embassies with the request that its diplomats do everything possible to ramp up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran.

    * The cable urged support for Saudi Arabia’s war against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

    * The cable stressed that Iran was engaged in “regional subversion”.

    * Israeli diplomats were urged to appeal to the “highest officials” within their host countries to attempt to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics.

    Anybody want to bet that the likes of D.H. Fabian weren’t sent the same urgent notes?


    • Abe
      November 7, 2017 at 15:06

      The Israeli war drums are pounding now and the Hasbara Troll Army is fast on the march

      Hesbara stalwarts Rachel Maddow, David Gregory, and all the rest stand and salute, ready for their verbatim reading of the same urgent notes.

  3. Abe
    November 7, 2017 at 12:34


    “D.H. Fabian” offers up yet another rapid-fire barrage of Hasbara (pro-Israel) propaganda canards.

    The online Hasbara troll army tries desperately to deceive, distract, divert and disrupt discussion of the workings of the Israel Lobby and Israeli influence on American foreign policy, Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, and Israeli collusion with terrorist forces operating in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

    The Israeli government, major pro-Israel media organizations, Hasbara troll army “commenters” online weave a dense fabric of deceit.

    In 2009, Israel’s foreign ministry organized volunteers to add pro-Israeli commentary on news websites. In July 2009, it was announced that the Israeli Foreign Ministry would conduct “internet warfare” to spread a pro-Israel message on various websites.

    The program has expanded to a real Hasbara troll army that promotes pro-Israel policies in the press and online media.

    US/Israel-backed al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria advance key geopolitical goals of Israel, including permanent annexation of Syria’s resource-rich Golan Heights area.

    The illusion of a “threat” to Israel guarantees an ever greater cascade of military and economic aid supplied by slavishly pro-Israel politicians in the United States.

    Hasbara propaganda additionally aims at promoting fake news and conspiracy theories to divert attention from an actual and very public conspiracy: the efforts of the Israel lobby to manipulate politics in the United States.


    The basics of Hasbara propaganda are easy to identify: simplistic phrases, repeated over and over, designed to engage emotions rather than produce rational arguments, all shaped to fit into a narrative of good (Western-oriented Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy) versus evil (Arab/Muslim terrorists who seek not only to destroy the Jewish state but kill all Jews).

    To persuade Americans to accept this impoverished account of the conflict, Hasbara propaganda rewrites history, rejects international law and ignores the struggle over land and resources that is at the heart of the conflict.

    Hasbara propaganda relies on public ignorance of basic facts about international law, the history of Zionist land grab efforts in Palestine, and Israel’s wars of aggression in the Middle East.

    Conventional Hasbara (pro-Israel) propagandists works in tandem with Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” and fake “anti-Zionist”) propagandists.


    Back in 2009, a propaganda organization known as “The Israel Project” published a manual titled “Global Language Dictionary”

    Written by Republican pollster and political strategist Frank Luntz, the Hasbara handbook of “The Israel Project” was labeled “Not for distribution or publication”.

    The manual published by “The Israel Project” is a treasure trove of scripted propaganda canards. For example, page 96 of the manual recommends: “‘Defensive’ and ‘preventative’ are the words that best describe Israeli military action.”

    “The Israel Project” is managed by an American-born Israeli, David Hazony, whose brother is an advisor and speech writer for Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Registered as an NGO, “The Israel Project” does not report any details of the origins of its funding.

    In addition to managing “The Israel Project”, Hazony is editor for the online propaganda site “The Tower” and a frequent contributor to major pro-Israel media and neoconservative organs like the New Republic, The Forward, Commentary Magazine, Moment, the Jerusalem Post, the Jewish Chronicle, the New York Sun, and Jewish Ideas Daily.

    In 2004-2007, Hazony served as editor in chief of the Israeli Zionist journal Azure. He has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

    Hasbara outlets like “The Tower” produce scripted articles, while “staff” from the “The Israel Project” write op-eds and make television appearances to disseminate pro-Israel propaganda.

    The comment sections of internet sites that post articles critical of Israel and Zionism are infested by pro-Israel Hasbara propaganda trolls.

    Hasbara propaganda has two forms:

    – Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) propaganda

    – Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Zionist” / “anti-Israel” / “anti-Jewish or “anti-Semitic”) propaganda

    In the face of a sustained intellectual critique of Conventional Hasbara propaganda claims of a “new anti-Semitism”, the Inverted Hasbara propaganda activity was developed.

    Inverted Hasbara operates based on false arguments advanced by individuals who masquerade as “harsh critics of Zionism and Israel” while spewing “anti-Semitic” epithets and abusive rants about “the Jews”.

    The internet is a playground for both conventional Hasbara and inverted Hasbara trolls.

  4. Zachary Smith
    November 7, 2017 at 12:04

    “Palestinians” is the name given to Israeli Arabs who work toward ending the Jewish nation, establishing a “100% pure” Moslem Mideast.

    The propagandists of the Zionist swine are getting more and more bold and blatant about identifying the Israeli Arabs as “Palestinians”. Never mind that they’re supposedly full citizens of the shithole nation-state.

    I expect that’s because they’re scheduled to be part of the next death march to some neighboring desert by God’s Favorite Land Grabbers.

    The rest of this is ordinary Hasbara Bull****.

    Lebanon has 3 Hawker Hunter fighters which first flew in 1951. It has 180 T-54 tanks introduced in 1946. Don’t forget the 60 M48 Pattons introduced in 1952. Or the potential 20 M60 tanks introduced in 1959. Obviously “armed to the teeth” by China, Russia, and the US!

    Syria torn apart by the assault of the Zionists, Turks, and Saudis, yet “armed to the teeth” by China, Russia, and the US!

    Jordan has an interesting collection of antique tanks as well as less than four dozen F-16s. But they’re “armed to the teeth” by China, Russia, and the US!

    This person has been trying to establish credibility by posting like a normal person on routine US political issues, but when the subject turns to Holy Israel, it’s time to get open the lie spillways.

  5. November 4, 2017 at 00:45

    “Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts.” This is not a good thing. No will tell me that it is. The CIA is such an incredibly evil organization.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 4, 2017 at 13:00

      No will tell me that it is.

      Somebody is now telling you it isn’t that simple. There are indeed incredibly evil people within the CIA, but without the intelligence agencies we’d be dog meat to everybody in the world.

      The outfit needs drastic reform, but abolition? Definitely not.

      I don’t know whether Mr. Pillar is/was an evil man or not. All I can do is read his work, and make judgments about that.

  6. Abe
    November 3, 2017 at 15:23

    While the pro-Israel Lobby attempts to criminalize the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement working to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law, the pro-Israel Lobby actively promotes the imposition of U.S. sanctions aimed to provoke unrest in Lebanon:

    “Western-backed militants are in retreat, Bashar al-Assad remains president, Hezbollah has stretched its wings regionally, Israeli power is in decline, and Iran is on the rise. Not a pretty result for Washington’s multi-billion dollar investment in the Syrian conflict, especially if it was intended to change the map of the region to favor U.S. interests.

    “The Trump administration is therefore moving to hit its regional adversaries on alternative, non-military fronts—mainly, employing the sanctions tool that can cripple economies, besiege communities, and stir up public discontent.

    “The first step was to decertify the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), which would open up a pathway to further U.S. sanctions against Iran.

    “The second step is to resuscitate the Hezbollah “threat” and isolate the organization using legal maneuvers and financial sanctions […]

    “For Lebanon, Hezbollah is more than just the first Arab force to militarily expel the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from its territory permanently. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is a political party too, with members of parliament and seats in the cabinet. The group runs a remarkable array of social services across the country, from subsidized schools, hospitals and clinics, to agricultural centers and environmental programs. […]

    “Furthermore, Hezbollah’s appeal is not limited to Lebanon’s Shia community. Since 2006, Hezbollah has been in a political alliance with the country’s largest Christian-based political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), whose leader, General Michel Aoun, is currently president of Lebanon. […]

    “The Lebanese resistance was formed in reaction to Israel’s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon.”

    Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America
    By Sharmine Narwani

    • Zachary Smith
      November 3, 2017 at 22:55

      That was a good essay. The Lebanese are screwed no matter what happens. I’m sure they’d prefer to live peaceful lives, but Israel covets their land and water, and without Hezbollah the crappy little nation would already be turning the Lebanese into Northern Palestinians.

      Unfortunately, Israel is preparing for Round 3. My own link is also to a conservative site, and I get the impression the author is concerned about the outcome of this one. Unless Israel uses nuclear weapons, it is going to get badly burned if it strikes the match this time. As I’ve said before, if I were a Hezbollah strategist, I’d not target civilians until the Israelis did. There are plenty of other targets, including those of the huge invasion force.

      Hezbollah has fought ISIS for several years, and may have picked up some good military techniques from those despicable head choppers and liver eaters. Whatever happens, this one is unlikely to match the 1967 Land Grab war.

      On a final note, I do hope Trump takes good care of himself. Though I dislike the man intensely, the alternative of Pence shakes me to the core. I’m afraid that President Pence would take the opportunity to try to put a hammerlock on God and force Armageddon.

      • Abe
        November 4, 2017 at 00:48

        Thomas Donnelly is a “resident fellow” at a leading organ of the pro-Israel Lobby, the American Enterprise Institute neoconservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

        Donnelly served as Deputy Executive Director of the Project for the New American Century from 1999 to 2002. After stepping down from this position, Donnelly remained at PNAC as a military analyst.

        Several PNAC principals, including Donnelly, Gary Schmitt, Reuel Marc Gerecht, and Bruce Jackson, moved from PNAC to AEI.

        A frequent op-ed contributor for national media outlets, Donnelly is a vocal proponent of long-term U.S. military engagement abroad. Although not as outspoken as some of his neocon colleagues, Donnelly has nevertheless vigorously advocated confrontation with Iran.

        In 2016, Donnelly praised Israel’s “Clausewitzian ability” in the face of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna in July 2015 between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.

        On 20 March 2017, the Trump administration formally certified that Iran that Iran had upheld its end of the agreement. The International Atomic Energy Agency, EU, Russia and China have all affirmed that Iran is respecting the limitations on its nuclear program.

        The IAEA, the foremost authority on the matter, has repeatedly deemed Iran in compliance with the nuclear deal. The U.S. State Department has also certified that Iran is holding up its end of the bargain, and a host of experts affirmed these findings. IAEA Director General Amano said that “Iran is subject to the world’s most robust nuclear verification regime.”

        On October 13, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would not make the certification required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

        Israel is ready to do what it always does in the face of pressure to comply with international law: launch another war.

        The Israeli planned large-scale ground assault in southern Lebanon and Syria is designe to inflict maximum civilian casualties and draw in the United States.

        Donnelly is now busy selling Israel’s upcoming war as some sort of wonderful “strategic opportunity for the United States”.

      • Zachary Smith
        November 4, 2017 at 12:54

        I didn’t think to research Thomas Donnelly, mostly because of the concern/caution I saw in his essay. Taking another look, I can see that he is indeed a hack who agitates for the US doing Israel’s dirty work. But then how to explain that essay ending?

        Despite the gloomy view of the past and the foreboding about the future, it is also the case that since 2006 Israel’s northern border has been remarkably quiet. That’s even more remarkable considering the chaos that’s ripped Iraq and Syria apart and catapulted Iran to the fore. This is a ceasefire worth preserving.

        I actually did look around this time, and found this Donnelly headline from June 12:

        Retreat from Reliability
        America’s allies are worried and unsettled. So what else is new?


        There is no doubt at all Israel is itching to do a smash-and-grab in Lebanon. Given how much both Hezbollah and Iran have grown in strength since 2006, and how Israeli military skills have atrophied from fighting nobody except unarmed civilians, I think Mr. Donnelly is extremely concerned that Trump might not be willing to Fight Another War For Israel. Personally, I think he’s got good reason for that concern. Trump is a big blowhard, and will do cheap and easy things, but the situation in North Korea as well as the way the US is stretched to the limit everywhere else, an Israeli attack might mean he’d hang them out to dry. At that point Israel would have the choice of using nukes – with totally unforeseeable consequences – or accepting a humiliating and devastating loss.

        IMO Mr. Donnelly wants some really ironclad assurances about Trump’s reaction to an Israeli attack, for whatever they’ve got on the man now might not be enougth when push comes to shove.

  7. Abe
    November 3, 2017 at 11:45

    The Israeli-Saudi-US Axis of Evil organizes the supply of arms to terrorist forces in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

    Israel and the United States are signatories but not parties to the Arms Trade Treaty. Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the ATT.

    Article Six of the ATT boldly declares that a state should not transfer conventional arms if it has knowledge “that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party.”

    The United States provides massive military support directly to both Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Meanwhile, Israeli and Saudi human rights abuses and war crimes, including Israeli military attacks on civilians in Gaza, and the Saudi-led destruction of Yemen, continue to be ignored by the United States.

    The Israeli-Saudi-US Axis pattern of arms supplies to terrorists has recently come under scrutiny:

    “The recent revelations by Edward Snowden the former national security agency whistle-blower about the role of Saudi Arabia in the ongoing war in Syria has raised fresh questions about role of Saudi Arabia and others in arming the various terrorist factions in Syria.

    “According to the documents released by Snowden the Saudis were arming their terrorist proxies in Syria is early as March 2013. The documents also disclose that the National Security Agency of United States was fully aware of the actions of the Saudis and the terrorist proxies, and raised no objections because the United States and Saudi Arabia had a common goal of regime change in Syria. Saudi Arabia and other supporters of the terrorist proxies have continued to provide vast financial and military aid to the terrorist groups. […]

    “the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty of 2014 […] came into force on 24 December 2014. Article 6 of the Arms Trade Treaty prohibits the supply of arms by a country where they were aware or should normally have been aware that those arms would be used in attacks against civilians or in the commission of war crimes.

    “Article 11 of the treaty covers the situation where arms are sent to one location and diverted to a third party. Member countries to the treaty are required to take steps to prevent this from happening. This is clearly not being done.

    “Among the countries that have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty are Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, and the United Kingdom. All these countries have been complicit in the supply of arms and ammunition to, among others, Saudi Arabia and Israel. This is especially problematic because the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel are not parties to the treaty. All three countries have been significant suppliers of arguments to terrorist groups operating in Syria and elsewhere. The latest revelations from Mr Snowden confirm what had been widely known or suspected for a considerable period of time.

    “The Saudi backed terrorist group Jaysh Al-Islam has carried out summary executions of civilians, deployed chemical weapons for attacks upon civilians and has also used civilians as human shields. Again this is well documented but has not stopped the United States and Saudi Arabia from supplying arms to this and similar groups.”

    New Revelations in the Syrian War
    By James ONeill

  8. Watcher
    November 3, 2017 at 02:58

    Yesterday, 2 Nov, was the hundred year anniversary of the day that Lord Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Rothschild letting him know that the Brisitsh government had agreed to give the Zionist movement land in Palestine. Here is a direct quote from that letter:

    “…it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done that may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

    Something to think about, eh? Not one word of it on any news channel I could find.

  9. Annie
    November 3, 2017 at 02:13

    I was reading an article a while back that covered a lot of issues on American policies and in the article they mentioned that anyone who boycotts Israel would be punished by fines or imprisonment, and no one in Texas whose property was damaged or destroyed by hurricane Harvey would get financial help if they didn’t make that pledge. I thought, this just can’t be true. So I referred to another source and it was true. It’s shocking since it totally disregards our first amendment rights. It’s really stunning, and horrifying.

    Thanks for the link.

  10. Abe
    November 2, 2017 at 22:19

    “Israeli footprints are becoming more apparent in the US security apparatus. Such a fact does not bode well for ordinary Americans.

    “US Senate Bill S.720 should have been a wake-up call. The Bill, drafted by the Israel lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as part of its ‘2017 Lobbying Agenda’ is set to punish any individual or company that boycotts Israel for its violation of Palestinian human rights.

    “The severe punishment could reach a million dollars in fines, and up to 20 years in jail. Although political boycott has been sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, the Congress wants to make a boycott of Israel the exception, even it means the subversion of US democracy.

    “Still, protests are largely muted. The mainstream US media is yet to take US lawmakers to task, as hundreds of those elected representatives have already endorsed the unacceptable initiative.

    “Criticizing Israel is still a taboo in the US, where the Congress is beholden to lobby pressures and kickbacks, and where the media’s script on the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestine is even less critical than Israel’s own media.

    “However, the infiltration of the US government is not new. It is only becoming more emboldened, due to the absence of enough critical voices that are capable of creating a semblance of balance or a serious debate on the issue.

    “For years, ordinary US citizens have been far-removed from the entire discussion on Israel and Palestine. The subject felt alien, marred by Hollywood propaganda, religious misconception and the lack of any understanding of history.

    “But in recent years, Israel has become an integral part of American life, even if most people do not spot the Israeli influence.

    “’In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel seized on its decades-long experience as an occupying force to brand itself as a world leader in counter-terrorism,’ reported Alice Speri in the Intercept.

    The successful branding has earned Israeli security firms billions of dollars. The massive payouts are the result of the exploitation of American fear of terrorism, while presenting Israel as a successful model of fighting terror.

    “In the last two decades, hundreds of top federal agents and thousands of police officers have, thus far, received training in Israel or through seminars and workshops organized on Israel’s behalf.

    “Groups like AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs are, to various degrees, involved in turning the US police force into militarized units similar to the structure of the Israeli police. […]

    “Indeed, the US military-like police phenomena has made local cops look more like “an occupying force” than individuals sworn to protect the public.

    “Israel is exporting its occupation tactics to the US, with Israeli military contractors opening subsidiaries across the country, promoting their surveillance technologies, walls, border monitoring equipment and violent tactics.

    “Americans should be worried, but most are oblivious to the disturbing pattern because the media rarely sheds a light on the growing Israeli military influence on American life. […]

    “Israel’s illegal tactics are now the model through which the US plans to police its cities, monitor its borders and define its relationship with its neighbors.

    “But the fact is that Israeli walls are not meant for defense, but rather to annex Palestinian and Arab land, while feeding its own national phobias of threats lurking all around.”

    Walls and Militarized Police: How Israel Is Exporting Its Occupation to the United States
    By Ramzy Baroud

    • Watcher
      November 3, 2017 at 03:07

      A terrific look (or terrifying?) at the control AIPAC had and still holds over Congress is in a book by a congressman Paul Findley titled “They Dare Speak Out”.

      Today Trump nominated Jerome Powell, a non-Jew to head the criminal banking cartel called the Federal Reserve. Watch as AIPAC tries to counter a vote for this gentleman in the senate. Watch for a dirty trick like some aide appearing saying she had her bum pinched by Powell. Certainly their media bull horns will focus on the fact that he doesn’t hold an economics degree.

  11. YoungAmerican
    November 2, 2017 at 18:07

    The ashkinazi-convert-jews calling themselves israelis and illegally occupying Palestine will push the envelope just like a few of their banker and usury-minded ancestors in Germany and the same end will be theirs as well along with the manifold innocent of their farcical religion and terrorisitic-zionist desires. That day is not far off and comes in parallel to the demise of corporate media in the US and elsewhere.

    • Abe
      November 2, 2017 at 19:46

      “YoungAmerican” and his pal “fuster” are Hasbara propaganda trolls. See previous comment above.

      • Zachary Smith
        November 2, 2017 at 20:52

        True, but YoungAmerican needs to be transferred to another section of the hasbara agency. He is the most unbelievable neo-NAZI I’ve ever seen.


      • fuster
        November 4, 2017 at 04:43

        Abe, you poor stupid ashhole, either try to grow up or eat yourself and expire

      • Abe
        November 4, 2017 at 18:37

        Lacking any ethical, moral or rational basis to justify Israeli behavior, Hasbara propaganda trolls devolve into petty mouths

  12. fuster
    November 2, 2017 at 15:59

    it’s not the Israelis who block the attempts at Palestinian unity.

    it’s the utter disinterest of the Palestinian factions themselves.

    Hamas has not an ounce of sincerity in a unified government and only pursues making a cynical agreement bevause Hamas has no money. Hmas WILL NOT really cede power in Gaza and Hamas will not accept Abbas’ condition that any and every Hamas monister in a unity government formally and publicly recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    Abbas has set this condition because he expects Hamas to refuse to agree to it.

    • Abe
      November 2, 2017 at 19:43

      In service to Israeli interests, Hasbara propaganda troll “comments” manifest in two forms:

      – Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) Hasbara propaganda

      – Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Zionist” / “anti-Jewish” or “anti-Semitic”) propaganda

      Hasbara propaganda trolls try to stir up diversions on independent investigative journalism sites like Consortium News.

      Here we have “fuster” and “YoungAmerican” demonstrated Hasbara troll army team tactics of propaganda:

      – First, Conventional Hasbara troll “fuster” spews Israeli propaganda rhetoric and rants about Palestinian people.

      – Then, Inverted Hasbara troll “YoungAmerican” spews false flag “anti-Jewish” racist epithets like “ashkinazi” and rants about a “farcical religion”.

      In the face of a sustained intellectual critique of Conventional Hasbara false facts and fake news claims of a “new anti-Semitism”, the Inverted Hasbara propaganda activity was developed.

      Inverted Hasbara operates based on false arguments advanced by individuals who masquerade as “harsh” critics of Israel and Zionism, often while spewing “anti-Semitic” epithets and abusive rants about “the Jews”.

      The online Hasbara troll army tries desperately to deceive, distract, divert and disrupt online discussion of the workings of the Israel Lobby and Israeli influence on American foreign policy, Israel’s illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, Israeli collusion with terrorist forces operating in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and Israel’s efforts to persuade the U.S. to attack Iran.

      The internet is a playground for both Conventional Hasbara and Inverted Hasbara trolls.

      In addition to articles concerned with Israeli influence on U.S. foreign policy, Hasbara troll activity has proliferated in articles about Russia and Ukraine.

      For a recent and highly educational example of Hasbara propaganda, see the CN comments here:
      Blaming Russia for the Internet ‘Sewer’ (October 18, 2017)

      • Annie
        November 2, 2017 at 19:55

        Well said Abe! I know he’s a troll, and a mean one at that.

      • fuster
        November 3, 2017 at 18:21

        Abe, you’re a nasshole.

        I’m neither a zionist nor a fan of the lousy Netanyahu administration.

        you are too stupid and jejeune to understand that the piffle and agitprop that you naively spout is not truth and too much of a nasshole to believe that wiser heads sincerely reject your ignorant views and twittish cant

        • Zachary Smith
          November 3, 2017 at 22:22

          The Abusive Commenter continues with no substance, and no evidence.

          I’d suggest to Abe this child is a third style of hasbara person, or at least a subset of one of the others. Trash the site, and be as disruptive as possible in the process.

          • Abe
            November 3, 2017 at 23:02

            Comrade “fuster” is a garden variety Conventional Hasbara (overtly pro-Israel / pro-Zionist) propaganda troll.

            Notwithstanding the denials, “fuster” spews the Conventional Hasbara propaganda line.

            The abusive rants of “fuster” are par for the course for Conventional Hasbara trolls.

            Apartheid is a really tough sell.

        • Abe
          November 3, 2017 at 22:48

          fusterly (adjective)
          1) abusive due to incapacity to formulate a coherent rational argument
          2) pretended “philosophy major”

          Comrade “fuster” is a particularly fusterly Hasbara propaganda troll.

  13. Annie
    November 1, 2017 at 17:06

    The US is totally in complicity with Israel, and neither will accept a 2 state solution, and both refuse to negotiate with Hamas. The US never holds Israel to account for it’s war crimes, but then again we engage in so many ourselves it would be rather hypocritical, and of course the mainstream media is totally in complicity with everything Israel does. A 2 state solution will never happen!

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      November 1, 2017 at 19:13

      I agree with you. What do YOU think will happen?!

    • John P
      November 1, 2017 at 23:44

      Annie, I have sensed for a while now that Zionists are in a panic. Social media and the internet have opened doors around the MSM that didn’t exist before, and BDS and its growing support has hit a nerve. Hopefully reason will come to Zionists and even with a one state solution, equality for all in time will prevail. Will it happen? The odds are small, as many left wing Jews have left Israel because of its civil standings while the right and the rapidly reproducing ultra-orthodox remain. There is tension between them and it’s growing so in time it may perhaps lead to extreme repercussions.
      I have met and worked with Palestinians, I’ve met Palestinian students attending western universities because Israel has made it hard for them to attend their own (even closed them). They are smart and hard working. They even face racism from some Zionist supporting Jewish profs. They deserve better.
      Hopefully through sites like this, Mondoweiss, Jonathan Cook and others, things will change. It would be nice too if a foreign country didn’t have so much clout in the running of our countries. One way would be to stop the flow of influential money into politics. I would like to see political funding come from a central pool divided amongst the contestants in some valid way. As Zionists have this compulsive duty to support a racist program they tend to support the flow of influential money into politics, PBS and other influential areas.
      Perhaps it’s a dream, but I hope that fairness and equality will prevail in due course.

    • fuster
      November 2, 2017 at 16:04

      Annie, you are quite full of s#it.

      it has always been the Palestinian Arabs who have rejected a two-state solution and it is the Palestinian Arabs who resorted to war in hope of ethnically cleansing the area of Jews INSTEAD of accepting that two-state solution.

      spout your lies elsewhere

      • Zachary Smith
        November 2, 2017 at 19:01

        spout your lies elsewhere

        This silly fellow needs to 1) buy a mirror and 2) take his own advice.

        Annie spoke the exact truth, and it seems to hurt. But then, defending the hemorrhoid state of Israel is an impossible job, so bluster is all they’ve got on sites like this.

        • fuster
          November 3, 2017 at 18:16

          Annie is a shithead

          • Zachary Smith
            November 3, 2017 at 22:13

            From the forum fine print.

            From Editor Robert Parry: At Consortiumnews, we welcome substantive comments about our articles, but comments should avoid abusive language toward other commenters ….

            1) fuster avoids substantive comments.
            2) fuster uses abusive language – presumably because of #1.

            He can’t possibly provide evidence for his foolish claims, for there isn’t any which would pass the laugh test. Instead Israel is relying on influence and US-Taxpayer funded bribe money to get its way using techniques like suppressing the US First Amendment. Regarding the latter, my horrible US Senator Donnelly is much more interested in representing Israel than he is Indiana. Of course, he’s also a hack on non-Israel issues, voting for the horrible Gorsuch for the Supreme Court. My problem is that the Republicans are also horror stories, leaving me with no effective representation, and no way of altering the situation.

      • Annie
        November 2, 2017 at 19:13

        Hi, Fuster,

        Lets see, Gaza is blockaded, by air, land and sea, imprisoned so to speak, and periodically Israel drops bombs killing mostly innocent civilians. I think the last attack was Cast Lead, and they dropped drones, even white phosphorous and 80%, or more, killed were civilians. Well, they do that only periodically. Lets see, they built that wall that dips into the West Bank by miles and as a result some 25 thousand, or more, Palestinians are cut off, oh, not so bad. Israeli settlers take over parts of the West Bank to build homes while the Palestinians who resided there have to move elsewhere, well, maybe they were looking to move on. Oh, you’re so right it’s all the fault of Hamas. How clever of you. When you said take your lies elsewhere were you doing an impersonation of Israel?

        • fuster
          November 3, 2017 at 18:18

          Annie, you lie and Gaza is not a prison, but a tiny wasteland ruled by terrorist scum.

          • Zachary Smith
            November 3, 2017 at 22:15

            Show us the evidence, Mr. Abusive Commenter.

          • Annie
            November 4, 2017 at 02:35

            Fuster, of course it’s a prison, an open air prison true, but a prison nonetheless. You called it a wasteland and you’re right, and Israel turned it into a wasteland. Before Israel, there was Palestine, a country, mostly occupied by Palestinians. After War II, the US and the UN, bribed and strong armed, mostly by Zionist in this country, took their land and and gave it away. You’re reactions seem personal. Perhaps you would like to share that, so people here might understand your anger better.

  14. Larry Larsen
    November 1, 2017 at 14:38

    Egypt wants Hamas goodwill and help policing terrorists in Sinai?… Open Rafah permanently and continuously. Unilateral solution. Israel not involved. Done. Simple.

  15. November 1, 2017 at 13:36

    The ghettoization of Palestinian land has become a cruel reality. Palestinians can look at Native American reservations in the U.S. and see a dismal future not only for themselves, but for those who have conquered their land. The avarice of the victors has consequences that bring more disruption and war.

  16. Joe Tedesky
    November 1, 2017 at 12:39

    I find Paul Pillar’s arguments for a compatible agreement to be reached in Palestine/Israel to be very note worthy, and his well experienced advice to be worth doing. I also see all of our concerns being a feudal exercise to expect anything different towards us confronting this Israeli Nazism, as it being useless since Washington clearly takes it’s orders from Tel Aviv. Americans don’t make the rules, only well financed lobbyist do.

    So while every rock is lifted in America looking for some unwanted Russian collusion, the lobbyist for AIPAC strut themselves around in DC like the they own the place, and in a financial way they very well do. Nothing will change until the rest of the world makes America and Israel change to do something about this Israeli racism. If this event should ever come to fruition then it can only be hoped and prayed for, that this turn around is a peaceful change….but I kind of seriously doubt that it will end this way.

    • Abe
      November 2, 2017 at 23:11

      Why do Far-Right White Nationalists Support Zionism?

      The state of Israel is a model for the extreme right in the US and in Europe.

      Shir Hever, an economic researcher in the Alternative Information Center, a Palestinian-Israeli organization active in Jerusalem and Beit-Sahour, notes:

      “Populist right-wing parties are on the rise in many European countries in recent years. These parties include the Party of Freedom in the Netherlands headed by Geert Wilders, the National Front in France headed by Marine Le Pen, the Sweden Democrats headed by Jimmie Akesson, and more.

      “Although highly nationalistic in their politics, these right-wing parties are very similar to each other. They share an Islamophobic and xenophobic ideology, and very interestingly, they all share a strong support for Zionism and for the state of Israel. […]

      “White nationalism has its roots in Europe in the 19th century as it developed and took form in order to serve as justification for European colonialism. In those European countries that had smaller and fewer colonies, such as Germany, Italy, and Hungary, white nationalism turned inwards in the form of fascism, implementing the strict, hierarchical, colonial structure on their own citizens. It sought to find its enemies within and turned on minorities.

      “During the Second World War, an unprecedented industrial genocide was perpetrated against Jews, against Sinti and Roma, against homosexuals and lesbians, against people with mental disabilities, and against others who were deemed enemies of the state. Since Jews were targeted above all other groups during this genocide, and since the State of Israel, which was founded three years after the Holocaust, defines itself as a Jewish state, it raises the question of why does the European racist right-wing support the State of Israel? Aren’t they on completely opposite sides?

      “There are two explanations for this. One is that the Zionist movement and the State of Israel seek to convince Jews from all over the world to migrate to the State of Israel. The prospect of European Jews and North American Jews leaving their homes and moving to the Middle East appeals to many racist groups. The second explanation for the alliance between the Western far-right and the State of Israel is that Israeli policies towards immigrants, towards Arabs and towards Muslims, are precisely the kind of policies that the European and North American far-right would like to implement.”

  17. mike k
    November 1, 2017 at 11:50

    Negotiating with the Israeli government is a futile exercise, and nothing just and leading to peace will ever come from it. Like the US, it’s partner in crime, Israel has lost all moral standing and is a rogue state in the most deadly and evil sense of that term. Dealing with these two failed states is dealing with a ruthless Mafia which has only one goal – to rob you of everything you have, or destroy you. The only language they speak is lethal coercion.

    • fuster
      November 2, 2017 at 16:02

      mike, you are spouting idiocy.

      the Israeli govt is not a good one but it is parsecs less corrupt than Fatah and wildly less vile and ethically execrable than terrorist murderers and religious fanatic scum that is Hamas

      • Zachary Smith
        November 2, 2017 at 18:56

        wildly less vile and ethically execrable than terrorist murderers and religious fanatic scum that is Hamas

        I’d bet good money this fellow is either an American Fundamentalist or a Zionist fanatic living on stolen land. Frankly, I doubt if he understands the basic concepts of “ethics” or “morality”, let alone the nature of the fanatical scum which makes up the backbone of the thieving and murderous little shithole nation of Israel.

        • Watcher
          November 3, 2017 at 03:14

          …” the fanatical scum which makes up the backbone of the thieving and murderous little shithole nation of Israel.”

          Zachary, you’re a poet! No better words were ever devised to describe this despicable Zionist movement.

          Kudos mate!

        • fuster
          November 3, 2017 at 18:15

          I live in NYC, am not a zionist and am an agnostic,

          your good money is save, but your empty head does you no credit.

          as a philosophy major in college, I am well tutored in morality and ethics, jerkov

        • Abe
          November 3, 2017 at 23:31

          Ethical action based on the moral principles set out in the Torah is of central importance in Judaism.

          The expression Baruch HaShem literally means “Blessed be the Name”.

          The third book of the Torah, Vayikra (Leviticus) 22:32 contains the injunction, “And ye shall not profane My holy name”

          The study of Torah, and any action or work by a Jew that brings honor, respect, and glory to the Name, is considered to be sanctification of Hashem.

          In contrast, any behavior or action that disgraces or harms Torah, including fraud and corruption, is regarded as a chillul Hashem: desecration of the Name.

          Propaganda in service to a corrupt secular state qualifies as chillul Hashem.

        • Peter Loeb
          November 7, 2017 at 10:04


          “Fluster seems totally unaware of the history of Zionism. He has
          no knowledge of Zionist terrorism (just deaths, rapes, dispossesions,
          murders, assassinations, massacres etc. Nothing “fluster” should
          bother about. Add collaboration and manipulation of fascism,
          the Third Reich, Mussolini,and “anti-semitism” as a beginning.)
          Fluster should read Thomas Suarez’ THE STATE OF TERROR”
          post haste.

          When fluster has completed his study of Zionist religious fanaticism.
          perhaps his pontifications about “vile (and) religious fanatic scum”
          in Hamas might seem more credible..

          No! Scratch that! Compared to the religious, fanatic scum represented
          by the Zionist movement and supported by the US, the beliefs
          of a resistance movement clawing for survival can only
          seem heroic.

          —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • mike k
        November 2, 2017 at 21:09


      • DDearborn
        November 6, 2017 at 11:25


        Actions speak louder than words. Everything Israel has done since 1948 with regard to its neighbors in general and the State of Palestine in particular, has been intentionally destructive in one way shape or form or another to those neighbors. And Israel’s goal since 1948, based not on their rhetoric, which the world now knows is meaningless, but their actions demonstrate that the goal is not just regional domination, but a Jewish only empire encompassing nearly half the Middle East. From sea to sea, from the Euphrates River all the way across the canal into what’s left of Libya. Israel’s calls for the destruction of the very countries that the US has invaded and destroyed goals all the way back to Eisenhower’s secret and illegal CIA war to institute regime change in those very same countries. A war which was ultimately stopped by Senator Kennedy.

        To deny Israel’s guilt in the face of such overwhelming evidence flies in the face of logic, rational thought, and plain old common sense. Given that, your knee jerk reaction to legitimate criticism of Israel serves only to further undermine its chance of long term survival. I honestly believe that most people think Israel has every right to exist. They just don’t believe Israel has the right to exist on land stolen by force of arms and threat of nuclear annihilation. In other words, Israel has no legal, moral or ethical claim on any lands beyond those granted to them in 1948

      • David
        November 6, 2017 at 21:18

        In 1988, the PLO recognized Israel as a sovereign state within the borders of the 1947 recommendatory only UNGA Partition Plan, Res. 181 (which, for the record, violated the terms of the British Class A Mandate for Palestine and the Atlantic Charter, was never adopted by the UNSC and was grossly unfair to the indigenous Palestinian Arab inhabitants.)

        By signing the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO accepted UNSC Res. 242 and thereby agreed to recognize a sovereign Israel within the 1949 armistice lines, i.e., as of 4 June 1967 – 78% of mandate Palestine.

        The PLO also agreed to the US/EU/UN supported 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit Peace Initiative, which offers Israel full recognition as a sovereign state (per UNSC Res. 242, i.e., within its June 4/67 boundaries with possible minor and mutually agreed land swaps), exchange of ambassadors, trade, tourism, etc., if Israel complies with international law and its previous commitments. Fully aware of Israel’s demographic concerns, the Beirut initiative does not demand the return of all Palestinian refugees. In accordance with Israel’s pledge given to the UNGA in 1949 and by signing the 1949 Lausanne Peace Conference Protocol to abide by UNGA Res. 194 regarding the then 800,000 Palestinian refugees as a precondition for admittance to the UN (after being rejected twice), the Arab League’s Initiative “calls upon Israel to affirm” that it agrees to help pursue the “achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem…”

        Along with all Arab states and the PLO, Hezbollah and Iran have also accepted the Arab League’s 2002 Beirut Summit Peace Initiative. (In its revised Charter, April, 2017, Hamas agreed to a Palestinian state based on the 4 June 1967 borders. Not surprisingly, Israel promptly rejected the Hamas overture instead of using it to open a dialogue.)

        Regrettably, then Israeli PM Ariel Sharon summarily dismissed the Arab League’s peace overture, as did Israel in 2008 and thereafter.

        For the record, other peace initiatives that Israeli governments have rebuffed include: U.S. Secretary of State William Rogers’ The Rogers Plan (1969); The Scranton Mission on behalf of President Nixon (1970); Egyptian President Sadat’s land for peace and mutual recognition proposal (1971); U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s call for a Geneva international conference (1977); Saudi Arabian King Fahd’s peace offer (1981); U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s Reagan Plan (1982); U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz’s Schultz Plan (1988); U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s Baker Plan (1989); and the previously noted 1993 Oslo accords signed by Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that unravelled following the latter’s assassination and subsequent return to power of the Likud party from 1996-1999 under Benjamin Netanyahu; continuation of the Taba II negotiations (2001); the unofficial Geneva Peace Initiative of November/December 2003; and the 2014 Kerry Initiative.

        As for the much touted 2000 Camp David Summit, working in tandem, Barak and Clinton tried to shove a very bad deal down Arafat’s throat. It could only be rejected. Suffice to quote Shlomo Ben-Ami, then Israel’s foreign minister and lead negotiator at Camp David: “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well.” (National Public Radio, 14 February 2006.)

        The “offer” made in 2008 by then Israeli PM Ehud Olmert was never seen as serious because it lacked cabinet approval, he was under indictment with only a few weeks left in office, had a 6% favorable rating, and, therefore, couldn’t have closed the deal, even if the Palestinians had accepted it. (Olmert was imprisoned.)

        Unfortunately, Israel’s response to every peace overture from the Palestinians and Arab states, has been an escalation of illegal settlement construction in occupied Palestinian and other Arab lands.

    • Abe
      November 2, 2017 at 22:27

      “In Obstacle to Peace: The US Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jeremy R. Hammond, publisher and editor of the online Foreign Policy Journal, makes a convincing case that the American government has routinely collaborated with Israel to block a genuine peace process, avoid compliance with international law and co-opt the mainstream media.

      “Hammond traces the conflict from the rise of Hamas in Gaza in 1987 through the U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood in 2012. His chapters on ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ The Goldstone Report and the Gaza Flotilla Incident (“Murder on the High Seas”) are especially revealing of the U.S.-Israel complicity. […]

      “In its detailed review of America’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obstacle to Peace convincingly exposes USG complicity with Israel in blocking the peace process, undercutting a two-state solution (despite pious words to the contrary), resisting the demands of international law, disregarding war crimes, endorsing the Gaza blockade and opposing Palestinian statehood. The book also offers abundant evidence of pro-Israel bias in the mainstream media, the result of which has kept most Americans in the dark.”

      A Devils’ Alliance: the U.S./Israel Obstacle to Peace
      By L. Michael Hager

    • Abe
      November 3, 2017 at 22:07

      Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) seriously threatens the First Amendment by criminalizing constitutionally protected boycotts and certain speech targeting Israel.

      The bill was drafted in response to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) March 2016 resolution calling for the creation of a database of companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories.

      The bill’s statement of policy declares that Congress opposes the UNHRC resolution and “views such policies as actions to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel.”

      Apart from limiting the right to boycott, the bill prohibits even requests for information about whether a person is doing business in Israel in order to support a boycott of Israel, regardless of whether the requester is actually engaged in a boycott.

      This additional prohibition means people seeking information about companies boycotting Israel or engaged in business dealings in Israel will have reason to fear prosecution under the law.

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