Monday, October 12, 2009

Netanyahu Ups The Ante.

The government of Benjamin Netanyahu is upping the stakes considerably in it's fight to have the charges of war crimes dismissed over it's invasion of Gaza.

The British ambassador to the UN, John Sawers, told Israeli radio that the report contained “some very serious details which need to be investigated by both the Palestinian authorities and the Israeli authorities.”

The reaction from the Israelis has been one of fury:

Israeli officials warned in response that any British support for the report would boomerang. If a precedent is set of Israelis being prosecuted for acts during the Gaza war, Britons could also be placed in the dock for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they said. “London, which is also in the midst of a war against terror, could find itself in handcuffs if it supports the document,” they said.

That's quite a threat. And it's also an indication of how determined Netanyahu is to portray what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank as part of the war on terror. The problem for Netanyahu is that most of us recognise the difference between a group of Islamic extremists determined to destroy the west and an occupied people fighting against their occupation.

And, unlike the west's position with al Qaeda, a peace deal is on offer if only Netanyahu will take it. But Netanyahu is determined to steal more and more of the Palestinians land rather than sit down and come to a deal.

And the person offering Netanyahu the chance to negotiate peace is the latest Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barack Obama.

But Netanyahu has so far resisted all attempts to get him to the negotiating table and is now threatening other nations with prosecution should they dare to support the UN report into suspected Israeli war crimes.

It's hard at this stage, as US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, leaves Israel having yet again failed to make any headway with Netanyahu, to see any way to deal with Israel's current Prime Minister reasonably.

Indeed, only last week, Israel's Foreign Minister, the controversial Avigdor Lieberman, stated that anyone who expects peace in the Middle East is delusional.
“Anyone who says that within the next few years an agreement can be reached ending the conflict simply doesn’t understand the situation and spreads delusions,” Lieberman declared.
So, the Israeli position has not moved at all over the past few months and the Israelis are now threatening other countries with prosecution should this recent UN report against them be acted upon.

It has long been my conclusion that the Israelis are not interested in peace, and the harder Obama pushes them to make peace, the more difficult it is not to come to the same conclusion.

Obama has tried the softly, softly approach and has been resoundingly rejected. Netanyahu is not playing ball. Indeed, he is raising the stakes at every opportunity.

With Israel's relations with other previously friendly Muslim nations now appearing to come apart - a US air-defence exercise had to be cancelled when Turkey refused to allow Israel's participation - it is surely time for Obama to realise that a little hardball is needed here.

The Israelis aren't suddenly going to turn around and play ball. They are making it abundantly clear that they are simply not interested. The threat to prosecute other nations shows how backed into a corner Netanyahu feels. It is time to back him into that corner even further.

Netanyahu has upped the ante, Obama should up it even further by threatening to cut off Israel's aid. Netanyahu is trying to play poker when everyone knows that he doesn't hold the best set of cards.

Obama, the recent recipient of the Noble Peace prize, should push forward aggressively to pursue peace. With this recent award, he has the backing of the world wrapped protectively around his shoulders, now is the time to use it. And he should use it to force Netanyahu to come to the table.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

The latest edition of the London, Jewish News begs its readers to petition the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to reject the United Nations, Goldstone Report on the grounds that if the ‘report is accepted and Israel is taken to the ICC, it will be a setback for the peace which we all wish to see’.

This is the same as saying that if the official police report on a man accused of rape, is accepted by the court, then this will be bad for prostitution.

It is assumed that the (British) government will accept the recommendations of the Goldstone Report when it comes before the UN Human Rights Council.

Any other decision would be an endorsement of the alleged war crimes, in Gaza, in January, in which over three hundred innocent children were deliberately killed.

Blue said...

I have no comment to make regarding the Nobel Peace Prize, but I do have an opinion about the now inevitable attack on Iran by the arrogant, self-serving Israeli government.

Barak, their Defense Minister, already stands accused of perpetrating war crimes in Gaza. His cohort in the alleged crime was Olmert, former prime minister, now awaiting trial for corruption. The warmongering Barak, who was strutting about London, a few days ago, was protected from arrest only because of diplomatic immunity.

Meanwhile PM Netanyahu is banking on the fact that the all powerful AIPAC lobby will not allow the Obama White House to cut-off the huge, annual, American aid to his country.

That Israel will attack Iran is inevitable when one considers the mentality of the Israeli government. These are people who have not the slightest regard for anyone, or any nation, or any community of people - other than themselves. Their security, their welfare, their health, their water supplies, their jobs, their money, their homes and in many cases, their swimming pools filled with the scarce water that is denied to the indigenous Palestinians - are all that matters.

And all this under the cloak, the pretence of Judaism, the bible and the claimed biblical promise from God. But these people, in the main, do not subscribe to any religion, although they fervently welcome the temporary support of maybe 50 million Christian Zionists, with a smirk and a knowing smile - for the Israelis have no intention of converting to Christianity, ever.

Today, the planning proceeds apace for the attack that will likely be the match that ignites the Middle East and leads to WW3 and the first nuclear war. Unfortunately and tragically, there are still many who smile and drink their coffee with cheese blintzes and do not understand the political agenda either of Israel or of anyone in the Middle East, and cannot conceive of a war that will affect them in LA, NY, London, or Paris - because they naively absorb the comforting propaganda they choose to accept.

They are due for a frightening shift in the paradigm that has supported their thinking for so many years. And AIPAC will be unable to help them then.

Kel said...

Anonymous,

I agree that the Israeli stance is simply ludicrous. However, I feel that the final decision on whether or not to proceed has been pushed down the road until March precisely to give Netanyahu a chance to reconsider his position when it comes to negotiations. It's another stick Obama has to hold over his head.

Blue,

After the recent talks between the US and Iran, where Iran have agreed to send their uranium to Russia to be enriched, the Israelis really have no reason to attack Iran. I am not saying that I think they won't continue to act as if Obama has come to no deal with the Iranians and still talk as if Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, but I think they are on thin ice.

Had Iran behaved in a belligerent manner then perhaps I could have foreseen an Israeli attack, but the deal for Russia to enrich their uranium and the fact they are allowing inspection of the facility at Qom removes that possibility from the table.

I don't think even AIPAC could protect them from Obama's fury were they to undermine his diplomacy by attacking Iran once Iran have acceded to his demands.

Remember, Obama is trying to repair the damage Bush wrought in the Middle East, so he's not going to allow Netanyahu to undermine him without a major fight.

Blue said...

KEL

I think that we are in danger of according to Barak, Netanyahu, Olmert (and that distinguished commander of the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps), an importance and credence that is totally misplaced.

Three of the above are alleged war criminals from a tiny state on the edge of the Mediterranean with a population just one tenth that of Britain that has no natural resources and of no geo-political importance.

For the most part they are sometime soldiers, (as I myself was for seven years), who mistakenly believe that they are biblical figures from the pages of the Old Testament who stride about the world to save the poor Jewish communities of the Diaspora, (of which I am a member), from oppression and worse.

In fact, they are self-important, puffed-up men as exemplified by the Defense Minister strutting his slight stuff in London last week and pedalling the usual propaganda.

But the Middle East is full of such ‘twelve month wonders’ who strut and fret their hour upon the stage and then are gone. These figures are no Churchills or Roosevelts.

Tomorrow they will be gone – to be replaced with another loud and threatening voice telling the international community what it should and should not do.

However, as they are not statesmen but supplicants, we need not listen.

Kel said...

Blue,

I agree that the US give the Israelis an importance that they really don't deserve since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, I note that they are trying as hard as they can to define the war on terror as a clash of civilisations, as that once again puts Israel in a unique position deserving of massive American aid.

However, I do think Obama, unlike his predecessor, has caught wind of the Israeli game and is unwilling to pay. For example, I note that Obama has said that peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians is in America's interest. That's the first time I have heard any American president link what's going on in the Middle East with attacks upon the US.

He's not said it outright, but the fact that he has said it all is a sort of threat to Netanyahu, that Obama could one day explain to the American people exactly what he means by that.

Anonymous said...

The essential argument regarding alleged Israeli war crimes is:
should those identified as having allegedly been responsible for authorizing the killing of 320 children and 100 women in Gaza, 12 months ago, be arrested and charged with war crimes?

The contention is that Tziporah Livni, Ehud Bark and Ehud Olmert, were all ministers in the Kadima government that instructed the IDF to kill innocent unarmed civilians.

As we know, the excuse subsequently given by Israel was that the killings were carried out in self-defense. This was categorically disproved by the official Goldstone report.

Therefore, such persons should be liable to arrest anywhere in the world and brought before the International Court.

Kel said...

I would be very happy to see them brought in front of the International Court.