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Breaking News: U.S. Threatens Aid To Israel In Pursuit Of Peace Deal

by on Friday, January 8, 2010 at 11:03 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

In speaking with PBS on the eve of his visit to the Middle East, U.S. special envoy George J. Mitchell delivered an unveiled threat to Israel:

George Mitchell threatened that his country would freeze its aid to Israel if the Jewish state failed to advance peace talks with the Palestinians and a two-state solution.

Mitchell clarified in an interview to the PBS network that the United States would use incentives or sanctions against both sides.

According to American law, Mitchell said, the US can freeze its support for aid to Israel. He added that all options must remain open and that the sides must be convinced about what their important interests are.

The US envoy noted that some progress had been made and that his country would continue its efforts to resume the negotiations.

The American guarantees allow Israel to raise funds at low interest rates and improve the Jewish state’s credit rating. The last time the US threatened to freeze the guarantees was during the term of President George Bush Sr. and former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

Mitchell is reported to be delivering letters to both the Israelis and the Palestinians, outlining U.S. positions, and offering “guarantees” it hopes will relaunch final-status negotiations.

Let’s hope the Obama Administration understands that Israel will never again take them seriously if this turns out to be just another empty threat.  I predict Netanyahu will remain defiant — he’ll call Obama’s bluff on suspending U.S. aid — knowing full well that the U.S. Congress is much more likely to take its marching orders from the Israel Lobby than from a weakened President.

Yes, I’m anticipating another embarrassing display of U.S. impudence (i.e. more Netanyahu intransigence with Obama ultimately cowering away from the threat of suspending U.S. aid) .  Let’s face it, Obama has yet to show a hint of fortitude on any single policy initiative.  Ultimately, he subjugates to entrenched interests — that’s his governing style.  Don’t expect him to finally grow a pair when pitted against the formidable Israel Lobby.


Mondoweisse has transcribed a portion of the transcript of George J. Mitchell telling Charlie Rose, after much prodding on Rose’s part, that the U.S. has the option of withholding aid at its disposal.  Adam Horowitz seems to believe it’s just a hollow threat that never would have been made without Rose pressing him on it.


Here’s the video of Charlie Rose and George J. Mitchell having this discussion.

MJ Rosenberg Sums Up Key Reasons For Mideast Peace Failure: AIPAC & Israeli Firsters

by on Friday, November 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

MJ Rosenberg, a Senior Fellow of Media Matters Action Network (and incidentally a former AIPAC official), writes in the Huffington Post why he believes subsequent U.S. Administrations continue to fail at bringing peace to the Middle East:  namely, The Israel Lobby and well-positioned Israel Firsters.

He points out the key reason the Bush Administration failed miserably:

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was the most popular political figure in the United States when he went to the region to kick-start negotiations during the George W. Bush administration.

He accomplished nothing largely because Israel-firsters back in Washington (Elliot Abrams played the leading role) let the Israelis know that they did not have to pay attention to Powell. He didn’t speak for the administration. Later Abrams said that he viewed his role in the administration as blocking any moves that the Israelis didn’t like.

Rosenberg goes on to say that the primary cause for lack of progress does not lie in the Middle East, but here in Washington:

The reason the United States continues to fail on the Israeli-Palestinian track is because of the power of the lobby in Washington. And by lobby I don’t only mean the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). I mean AIPAC plus its friends throughout Washington who, even without speaking directly to AIPAC or the Israelis, know instinctively what the Israelis want — preserving the status quo, i.e. the occupation.

I would add to Rosenberg’s list of AIPAC’s friends throughout Washington, many prominent voices in the main stream media — household names, like CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (before writing for The Jerusalem Post, Blizter worked for AIPAC where he wrote for their propaganda sheet, The Near East Report), William Kristol, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Charles Krauthammer, just to name a few…  The Lobby is a force that can inflict serious political damage not only by withholding political contributions, or by funding political opponents of those who won’t subjugate themselves to Israel’s interests, but also by determining the kinds of press coverage our politicians get in the main stream media.  If you don’t believe me, ask Jimmy Carter, Charles Freeman, or any other public figure who has outwardly criticized Israeli policies.

Ironically, their actions have done nothing, but harm both Israeli and U.S. national security interests.

Ha’aretz Journalist, Gideon Levy: “Israel Is Addicted To The Occupation”

by on Monday, November 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Israel’s most prominent journalist, Gideon Levy, follows up on his recent column — one where he blasted the U.S. for continuing to ‘suck up to Israel’ — with an interview on The Real News Network.  Here he describes Israel as a country “addicted to the occupation.”

He pleads with the U.S. to be a friend of Israel’s and save it from itself.  He considers the relationship between U.S. and Israel as “twisted and unprecedented” in the world.  “There is no country in the world that acts like Israel vis a vis the United States — vis a vis dependence on the United States.”

Israel is addicted to the occupation, because it benefits a lot from the occupation — economically, and politically, and above all, because it doesn’t pay any price for the occupation.  Israelis are living wonderfully, especially in the last years.  They are having a wonderful life, even quite secure life most of the times.  There’s no reason to change the status quo from the point of view of Israel.  It is very convenient.  There’s a total separation between Israel and its occupation.  Most of the Israelis have no idea what’s going on there, don’t also care about what’s going on there, have never been there — most of the Israelis.  And so why should they bother?  The occupation will continue…

Levy believes the U.S. Presidents “who were called friendly to Israel were the worst for Israel.”  He singles out George W. Bush as the very worst, “because in his spirit, Israel really had the full liberty to do whatever it wants — settlements, two wars, assassinations …”

Levy comments on the emergence of J Street — the new, left-leaning pro-Israel lobbying group (hoped by many to offer an alternative to the hard-right, extremely powerful AIPAC):

I know there is a change in the Jewish community in the United States, but it is too little, and too late.  Still the conservative Jewish establishment is so powerful, and I don’t see signs that it is losing its power.  J Street is a wonderful initiative, very promising, but still the power of AIPAC, of the Anti-Defamation League, and other organizations is still very very strong.  And I don’t think it’s a question of months or years that this will change dramatically.

Israel is so much not willing to make peace that someone has to push Israel, and the only actor who can push Israel is the United States.  This can only happen with American pressure.  It will never come from inside Israel — no way.  Most Israelis are passive, couldn’t care less, …

The interview is over seven minutes long — definitely worth viewing:



The second part of the interview with Gideon Levy was just released by The Real News Network.

Levy says:

There is no peace process.  It’s a joke.  There is no peace process, there is some games going on — masquerades — but not a real peace process, because no one has the intention of talking to implement major steps.  Israel wants negotiations, because when negotiations are on the pressure on Israel is much smaller, and something is going on, and they are meeting once in two weeks, and then there is a big peace conference, without paying any price.  Why not?  You only gain.  For Israel the negotiations are a win-win situation, because no one intends to implement anything, and we saw it now for 16 years — ever since Oslo.  […]

This is the time to put an end to all negotiations, because there is no room for negotiations, because the solution is very clear to everybody.  This is the terrible mistake that the Obama Administration did — or they fell into this trap.  […]

The alternative to the two-state solution is the one-state solution — which is not a good solution for the Palestinians — mainly for the Palestinians — because there is a big gap between the two societies.  And there will not be equality, and not be justice, and therefore at least in the first stage the Palestinians deserve their own state.  But I agree to what the PA officials say, that maybe we missed the train, maybe it is too late with almost half a million settlers in E. Jerusalem and the West Bank.  […]

Here’s the full second part of the interview:



Goldstone To U.S. Congress: Your Resolution Condemning Gaza Investigation Is Rife With Factual Errors

by on Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 1:41 am EDT in Middle East, Politics, World

Steven Rosen, former director of foreign-policy issues at AIPAC — the right-winged Israel Lobby powerhouse — once told Jeffrey Goldberg: “You see this napkin?” he said. “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.” Well apparently, a ‘dirty napkin’ — of sorts — was passed around this week in […]