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April 6, 2015

Kowtowing with Netanyahu – at what price?

If the world leaders are serious about finding genuine peace in the occupied territories, they must treat the state of Israel the way South Africa was treated in the last phase of her apartheid years.

By Dr. Habib Siddiqui

The apartheid state of Israel had her Knesset election last month where the Likud Party of the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu captured 30 seats. From the polls taken just before the election days it seemed that his chances to get reelected were slim.

So, what made the dramatic shift in Israeli public opinion in favor of Netanyahu, a highly polarizing figure in Israel, who had portrayed himself as the only politician capable of confronting Israel’s numerous security challenges and yet, watched his standing plummet in recent weeks? Herzog, on the other hand, had focused on the country’s high cost of living and presented Netanyahu as imperious and out of touch with the common man and vowed to revive peace efforts with the Palestinians, repair ties with the U.S. and reduce the growing gaps between rich and poor, confidently predicted an “upheaval” was imminent.

As Netanyahu’s poll numbers dropped in days leading up to the election day, he appeared increasingly desperate and stepped up his nationalistic/ anti-Palestinian rhetoric in a series of interviews to local media to appeal to his core base, which is made up of hardcore Zionists and settlers of the occupied territories. Netanyahu also complained of an international conspiracy to oust him, funded by wealthy foreigners who disliked him.

During a campaign stop in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa (a Jewish settlement that Netanyahu helped to build during his first term as prime minister in 1997; the sprawling district now houses more than 20,000 settler residents), Netanyahu promised to increase construction there, saying it was “a way of stopping Bethlehem from moving toward Jerusalem.” The strategy was aimed at attracting voters from nationalistic rivals. Speaking to the NRG news website, Netanyahu said that turning over the occupied territory to the Palestinians would clear the way for ‘Islamic extremists’ to take control and attack Israel. “Whoever ignores that is burying his head in the sand. The left is doing that, burying its head in the sand time after time,” he said in the video interview.

Netanyahu criticizes peace talks in 1999

When asked if that meant a Palestinian state would not be established if he was elected, Netanyahu replied, “Indeed.” Netanyahu criticized peace talks in 1999 under then-prime minister Ehud Barak, who announced his endorsement of the Zionist Union party on Monday. Barak was “willing to give everything away,” he said.

It was the latest - and clearest - attempt by Netanyahu to renounce his earlier support for Palestinian independence, which he first laid out in a landmark 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University. At the time, he said, “If we get this guarantee for demilitarization and necessary security arrangements for Israel, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people, we will be willing in a real peace agreement to reach a solution of a demilitarized Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.”

Netanyahu also said that after the election, Israel will face international pressure to pull back to the 1967 lines. “We must establish a strong national government headed by Likud in order to fend off these pressures.” In his speech Netanyahu warned that the Zionist Union would give up the area to make way for a Palestinian capital.

“If Tzipi [Livni] and Boujie [Herzog] set up the next government, Hamastan 2 will be established on these hills here,” he said, pointing to the surrounding landscape. [“Hamastan” is a term used by some Israeli politicians to refer to the Gaza Strip, which has been ruled by the Hamas since 2007, two years after Israel pulled out of the territory.] “We are preventing it (by) developing upscale neighborhoods here for tens of thousands of Israelis,” he said. 

Netanyahu vowed to increase construction in the Occupied East Jerusalem, and said the city would never be divided. “We will continue to build in Jerusalem, we will add thousands of housing units, and in the face of all the (international) pressure, we will persist and continue to develop our eternal capital,” he said. Yes, with the support enjoyed from the ‘Amen Corner’ within the US Congress and the all-powerful Israeli Lobby, he can afford to be bullish and arrogant about such assertions.

Netanyahu is one of the worst mass murderers

As I maintained all along, like other Israeli leaders before him, Netanyahu never accepted the idea of an independent Palestinian state. Hypocrisy has been in their DNA. Like his predecessors, Netanyahu – who is one of the worst mass murderers and lying and deceiving individuals to rule the apartheid state – was no different in such hypocritical assertions that he was a man of peace who believed in the creation of an independent Palestine. Well, until that Monday before election. And don’t be fooled when after winning the election, Netanyahu flip-flopped his position on Palestine to save his government from American ‘reassessment’ of the Israel-US relationship.

For public image and wider acceptability of their position within the international community the Israeli leaders, however, have succeeded in selling the idea that the Palestinian leaders are the ‘real’ problems who are opposed to the two-nation theory – a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel. And thanks to the pro-Israeli news media in the West, the Israeli leaders were portrayed as the good guys!

Facts have been just the opposite of such make-beliefs. Over the last 48 years, since the annexation of the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli actions on the ground were always contradictory to such vocal claims. True to their innate Zionist expansionist roots, the Israeli leaders have been constructing illegal settlements in violations of UN Resolutions non-stop and changing the demography of the Occupied Palestine since the day one. Netanyahu, threatened by the prospect of losing to Herzog, showed his true ugly self when he declared that he would never allow the emergence of the Palestinian state, not in his watch anyway. 

I am glad that after all these years of living behind the mask, and mastering the evil art of hypocrisy, he had the guts to exhibit where he stands on this critical issue. This way, the Palestinian people and the rest of the international community should have no illusions about him. They would be foolish to expect anything positive coming from this war criminal. His cover has been blown away by none but himself. 

 A colonial enterprise can never resist the temptation of being a colonizer. And the state of Israel has been a colonial enterprise since the days of Theodor Herzl (father of political Zionism), and its leaders the brain children of Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) – the colonial master who colonized the vast territories of southern Africa in the 19th century. Being opposed to national liberation movements around the world, it was all too natural for Israel to ally herself with other governments and entities that were opposed to liberation - from South Africa’s apartheid regime to the death squads of Central and South America Even the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) – an Iranian exile group of Marxist terrorists – was an ally of Israel in its fight to topple the popular Iranian government. 

9/11 has been a God-send for Israel

9/11 has been a God-send for Israel in every way imaginable. It allowed many American lawmakers who were previously neutral on the Israel-Palestine conflict to chime with the ‘Amen Corner’ - the Israel-firsters within the US Congress - the chorus - “We’re all Israelis now!” If you would recall, Netanyahu did not mind exhibiting his euphoria for the tragedy. He told an audience at Bar Ilan University then, “We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq.” [Many so-called conspiracy theorists still believe that Israeli Mossad had a hand in that tragedy.] Al-Qaeda’s act, he averred, had “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

Interesting comment given the fact that the American lawmakers have always been pro-Israel with very little sympathy for the plight of the uprooted and disadvantaged Palestinians! [Their own colonial enterprise has prepared them well to be supportive of the Israeli enterprise at the exclusion of the indigenous people.] What Netanyahu really meant was that 9/11 had allowed Israel to pushing the US to fight her dirty wars – beginning with its criminal rampage in Iraq, let alone giving Israel carte blanche to commit atrocious war crimes in Gaza. Since 9/11 Israel has benefited enormously from the support it has enjoyed in the USA and the western world.

If you have thought that you have seen enough of Netanyahu’s jugglery - think again. As I have maintained when we feed an unruly donkey with carrots we only feed its ego. Such acts of kindness don’t sober it up. It requires sticks once in a while to put it on the right track.

Netanyahu has been trying to sell his Iran-bomb theory for decades

Netanyahu is opposed to any peaceful deal with Iran. He has been trying to sell his Iran-bomb theory for decades with very little success outside the ‘Amen Corner’ in the US Capitol Hill. While the P5+1 countries were negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue, at an Israeli cabinet meeting Netanyahu reported that his ‘American vassals’ were all lined up to scotch any agreement: “I just came from speaking with the Republican leader in the Senate, Senator [Mitch] McConnell, and over the weekend I spoke with the Democratic leader in the Senate, Senator Harry Reid. I heard from both of them strong and robust bipartisan support for Israel, which is, of course, very important. I expressed to them my deep concern regarding the emerging agreement with Iran in the nuclear talks. This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that.”

“In Yemen,” he averred, “the proxies of Iran are taking over large parts of the country and they are attempting to seize control of the strategic Bab-el-Mandeb strait.” Then he went ballistic: “After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is conducting a pincer movement to the south to conquer the entire Middle East. The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and must be stopped.”

Do you realize what he said: “The “Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis”? Well, you can understand about Iran-Yemen axis, but what about Lausanne? Is it the not the place where world’s major nuclear powers - United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany – the so-called P5+1 countries, were negotiating with Iran to find a peaceful solution?

Now Netanyahu has put the P5+1 as part of that so-called ‘Axis of evil’, used earlier by former US president George W. Bush when he lumped up Iraq-Iran-North Korea in that axis. In Netanyahu’s delusional mind, the P5+1 are now in collusion with Iran to harm the Zionist state. It is the height of sickening paranoia! Everyone is against the apartheid state! Forget the fact that outside Russia and China, the other 4 countries have been funneling billions of dollars every year to the rogue state all these years. The USA alone has poured in 234 billion dollars in the last six decades since the birth of the Zionist state in 1948. And now instead of showing gratitude, Netanyahu lumps all these donor countries, including the USA, as belonging to the axis of evil. What arrogance and how delusional!

As rightly noted by Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com, “After pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into Israel, after granting them unconditional diplomatic and military support for many years, after endless reiterations by US politicians – including Barack Obama – of America’s undying allegiance to Israel’s security – this is what we get. We’re part of the “axis of evil,” along with Iran, Syria, and North Korea! That is where years of kowtowing to Tel Aviv have gotten us.”

Now that the cat is out of the bag, it would be interesting to see how the ‘Israel-firsters’ within the US Congress and government would re-position to Netanyahu’s statements not just about Palestine but also about the USA where he included it as part of the Axis of Evil. Will they be more interested in doing the damage control for their criminal buddy or punishing his government for being opposed to the declared policy of the USA government about the ‘Two-state solution’ since the days of Nixon? Will they cut off aid to the State of Israel?

Fat chance! As the saying goes: hell may freeze but the support for the Israeli state within the ‘Amen Corner’ and by default, the US Congress and government will not taper an inch. That is how complete the Israeli occupation or control of the US Congress has become in recent decades! That is a sad commentary, but it is the harsh fact.

For too long, the USA and our western friends have been kowtowing with Netanyahu who is a war criminal. He needs to be sent to the ICC for his horrendous crimes in Gaza, which are crimes against humanity.

If the world leaders are serious about finding genuine peace in the occupied territories, they must treat the state of Israel the way South Africa was treated in the last phase of her apartheid years. No ifs, ands, or buts!

Dr. Habib Siddiqui has authored 11 books, five of which are now available through Amazon.com. His latest book - Devotional Stories is published by A.S. Noordeen, Malaysia. Dr. Siddiqui is an alumnus of the prestigious University of  Southern California, Los Angeles, where he earned his Ph.D.