VHeadline.com commentarist Stephen Lendman writes: James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He’s a noted academic figure on the US Left and a well-respected Latin American expert and longtime chronicler of the region’s popular struggles. He’s also an advisor to the landless workers in Brazil and the unemployed workers movement in Argentina.
Along the way, he managed to find time to write many hundreds of articles and 62 books published in 29 languages including his latest one in which he discusses another vital world region he has extensive knowledge of and has written frequently about — the Middle East and specifically the state of Israel and its relations with its neighbors, the Palestinians and, most importantly and the subject of this book, the US.
Petras’ powerful new book is titled ‘The Power of Israel in the United States.’
It’s a work of epic writing and essential reading documenting the enormous influence of the Jewish Lobby on US policy in the Middle East. It focuses like a laser to assure that policy conforms with Israel’s long-term goal for regional hegemony. The Lobby’s influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media. Petras shows how together they’re able to assure the full and unconditional US support for all elements of Israel’s agenda going back decades even when that agenda harms our interests such as the unwinnable war in Iraq, any future one against Iran if it’s undertaken, and the appalling and brutal subjugation and colonization of the Palestinian people that serves no US interest whatever. In spite of it, the Lobby is able to get the US to go along with Israel unconditionally with no serious opposition to it tolerated.
The book is divided into four parts. This review will cover each one in detail, and what’s discussed will likely surprise any reader unfamiliar with the thoroughly documented account presented in it so compellingly. Petras sets the table in his introduction for what’s to come in the later chapters. He notes what author JJ Goldberg reported in his book Jewish Power: Inside the Jewish Establishment. Goldberg wrote in the early 1990s that 45% of the Democrat Party’s fundraising and 25% of that for the Republicans came from Jewish-funded Political Action Committees (PACS). Petras then updates the numbers using the ones Richard Cohen published in the Washington Post showing them now at 60% and 35% respectively, and that this funding relates to a single core issue — unconditional US support for Israel’s agenda including those parts of it human rights activists and observers of conscience judge most egregious and illegal. Petras stresses that no other single US lobby including Big Pharma, Big Oil, agribusiness, or any other one has this kind of dominant influence over the political process here. He refers to “Zioncon” ideologues and policymakers whose main goal is to make the Middle East into a “US-Israeli Co-Prosperity Sphere” under the fraudulent cover of promoting democracy in the region – but doing it through the barrel of a gun.
Petras explains the root of the Lobby’s power lies in the high proportion of Jewish families who are among the wealthiest and most influential ones in the country. He cites Forbes magazine that reported 25-30% of the wealthiest families here are Jewish despite the small percentage of Jews in the population overall. They include billionaires with enormous influence, and along with all others comprising the Jewish Lobby, have created a “tyranny of Israel over the US” with consequences grave enough to threaten world peace and stability, the global economy, and the very future of democracy in this country.
That democracy and our constitutionally protected rights now hang by a thread after the recent passage of the Military Commissions Act (aka the “torture authorization act” or more accurately the “US Constitutional annulment act”) that makes everyone everywhere an “enemy combatant” subject to arrest and detention out of sight anywhere in the world without regard for our (no longer) constitutionally guaranteed rights. The new law also applies to US citizens as the Jose Padilla case showed. We’ve effectively lost our habeas and due process rights even though technically we still have them.
Because of the Lobby’s power, Petras reports, the US has unconditionally supported Israel’s wars of aggression since 1967. It’s influence also led to the US Gulf war in 1991 and the second Iraq war begun in 2003, now raging out of control and seen by some noted analysts as unwinnable and causing potential irreparable economic and political harm to the nation. Nonetheless, it persists with no plan agreed on to end it. The Lobby also guaranteed this country’s unconditional support for Israel’s illegal wars of aggression against Lebanon and Palestine with all the devastation they caused and the horrendous consequences from them unresolved. The Palestinian conflict still rages under the radar, and the status in Lebanon hangs by a hair trigger ready to erupt again any time Israel decides to resume hostilities. But inflaming the Middle East powder keg to a near boiling point is the strong possibility the US and/or Israel will attack Iran because Israel wants it and the Jewish Lobby put its powerful support behind it. More on this, Palestine and Lebanon below.
Today the situation in the Middle East is so dire, Petras reports a large majority of Europeans and a growing number of Americans believe Israel is the greatest of all threats to world peace and stability. Nonetheless, the Bush administration, in acquiescence to the Lobby, has “bludgeoned” its European partners to go along with its uncompromising support for the Jewish state despite all the obvious perils from it. In this country, open debate is stifled, public figures and academics daring to air one truthfully are pilloried, ridiculed, called anti-semitic and even threatened, and no serious dissent is ever tolerated in the corporate-run media or their funded and controlled so-called public radio or PBS parts of it.
No publication is more servile to, supportive of, or more influential than the nation’s so-called “paper of record” publishing “All the News That’s Fit to Print” – the New York Times. It’s important because the stories it features prominently resonate around the country and the world. This dominant newspaper pledges unconditional support and fealty to the state of Israel whatever it does. The rest of the major media go along unquestioningly putting out regular one-sided pro-Israel uber alles propaganda with no opposition voices allowed to represent other points of view. We call that a free press — but only for those who own one. The state of the corporate-controlled media in this country is now so pathetic that Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders — for press freedom) just ranked the US 53rd in the world in press freedom behind countries like Benin, Namibia, Jamaica, France and Bolivia.
James Petras is a courageous independent voice who bucks this disturbing trend and refuses to go along. He proves it in his powerful and carefully documented new book that gives no quarter countering the mendacity, deceit and danger of the Lobby, its acolytes and hangers-on, and the corrupted major media. In his introduction, he calls for a “counter-hegemonic movement” to free us from our destructive “Israeli entanglements.” It’s needed to begin rebuilding our democracy and freedoms that are somewhere between life support and the crematorium. This book, he says, is his modest effort toward that goal. Because of the important information in it, it’s considerably more than that. It needs widespread exposure so people will know about it. Hopefully this review will help arouse some of them to want to find out in more detail.
Petras begins with a discussion of who fabricated the lies about Iraq’s threat to our security and why. He mentions two competing channels of policy makers and advisors – the long-in-place formal structure of career military and civilian professionals in the Pentagon and State Department and a parallel one Bush administration neocons set up for this one purpose in the Pentagon, staffed by political appointees, and called the Office of Special Plans (OSP). It was the OSP’s job to cook the books, come up with the idea of weapons of mass destruction while ignoring the clear evidence to the contrary and contrive a fraudulent case for war against Iraq. The people in it were those in Donald Rumsfeld’s and Paul Wolfowitz’s chain of command and were closely connected to a number of influential neoconservative and pro-Israel organizations.
They planned a war agenda based on lies because Israel wanted it for its security and hegemony in the region — beginning with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein followed by regime change in Syria, Lebanon, Iran and even Saudi Arabia.
Petras points out, contrary to popular belief, this war happened largely due to the efforts of the Jewish Lobby representing the interests of Israel. Big Oil opposed the idea because it feared attacking Iraq would jeopardize its business prospects with other oil-producing states in the region. Still, Israel and the Jewish Lobby got their war, and aside from the gain from high oil prices, Big Oil may end up a longer-term loser from it. US oil interests always prefer stability and normal relationships with countries where they operate or wish to and were quite comfortable dealing with Saddam Hussein without wanting to risk a war that might upset an otherwise profitable arrangement. Their fears proved justified as the war they feared created such unresolved turbulence in Iraq, it’s become too dangerous and unprofitable to undertake new ventures there except perhaps in parts of the Kurdish-controlled north. Big Oil also chafes at not being allowed to deal with the Iranians for contracts now let to its European and other competitors because US sanctions prevent them from doing business there. It’s hard to imagine those interests would ever go along with US-Israeli belligerence in the Middle East, but they dare not oppose it publicly.
Petras observes there’s never a public discussion allowed about that relationship in the mainstream nor will there ever be any, especially any hint the US attacked Iraq in service to Israel. There should be plenty of it though because the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have enraged hundreds of millions of Muslims and all people of conscience worldwide. They’ve caused the US to be seen as a pariah state and George Bush as a dangerous and morally depraved president of a failed administration. He and those closest to him like Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are reviled around the world and increasingly here at home as witnessed by the many thousands who took to the streets on October 5 in over 200 US cities on ‘The World Can’t Wait Day — Drive Out the Bush Regime.’ The cost of Bush’s wars far exceed any possible future benefits from them, our security has been jeopardized, the nation’s status has been compromised, and some analysts believe the total dollar cost of the Iraq adventure may eventually top $2 trillion – an amount extremely harmful to the nation’s economy that’s now worrying key business leaders and responsible people in government.
The only clear beneficiary of the Bush war agenda is Israel. It removed its main adversary in the region and cut off the political and economic support it gave the Palestinians. Petras points out that Iraq along with Iran and Syria comprised the core resistance to Israel’s expansionist plans to crush the Palestinians (one down, two to go), ethnically cleanse them from their homeland and seize their land as one part of a long-term goal for a greater Israel and unchallengeable dominance in the region. Israel is the only country in the world with undeclared borders. It’s kept that status to give itself maximum latitude to annex all the territory it can toward the goal of a greater “Eretz Israel” Zionists want that includes the ancient lands of “Judea” and “Summaria,” the West Bank biblical parts of Israel Palestinians claim as their homeland.
With US help, Israel removed one threat to its plan for regional supremacy, but it still faces determined resistance from the Palestinians in spite of having crushed its democratically elected Hamas government. It also faces a resilient Hezbollah in Lebanon that humiliated the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the summer war there as well as opposition from Iran and Syria. In addition, there’s internal opposition within Israel over its war and colonization agenda because of its enormous cost plus the added insecurity it causes. It’s resulted in a level of out-migration now exceeding new arrivals as well as an erosion of the nation’s social programs because the state needs the resources for its aggression and annexation agenda. It’s much like what’s happening under the Bush administration where the people pay the price for imperial wars abroad and the moral decay and authoritarianism at home.
Obstacles and setbacks aside, Israel has pursued its goal to “democratize” the region through a belligerent policy of neutralizing its enemies in it by force. The plan they crafted is for a series of wars with its US ally taking the lead and the eventual goal of joint US-Israeli control over the entire region. Making it work depends on getting US administrations to go along, which so far hasn’t been a problem and has never been easier with the Bush administration in power and the high-level pro-Zionist officials in it with long-standing ties to Israel. They have the most important policy-making positions in government or are closely associated with the ones who do. These officials have a history of dedication to Israel’s interests even when they conflict with those here at home. They’re in the administration, the Congress as well as in the most influential Jewish organizations and lobbying groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and what some observers believe is the single most powerful lobby in Washington — AIPAC.
Committed support for Israel also comes from the “Jewish Diaspora” that comprises thousands of dedicated activists here — doctors, dentists, philanthropists, key individuals on Wall Street, the major banks and the Federal Reserve and other key segments of business, the major media, the clergy and academics and journalists given special prominence because of their willingness to corrupt their integrity in return for the handsome benefits they get for their unconditional public support and contrived rationalizations for the US -Israeli agenda. This kind of influence and support has made Israel by far the largest recipient in the world of US financial aid that amounts upfront to about $3 billion a year with more forthcoming any time as needed in added funding, weapons transfers and large low or no-interest loans that may never have to be repaid.
Israel also gets the unheard of advantage of receiving the latest and most advanced US arms and technology, unrestricted US market access for its products and services, free entry of its immigrants, unconditional support for its aggressive wars and colonization of the Palestinians and South Lebanese, and guaranteed US vetoes in the Security Council against all UN resolutions unfavorable to its interests. It’s also able to get prominent Washington officials and the dominant corporate-run and funded media to label all criticism of Israel anti-semitic and freely uses this ruse whenever it serves its purpose. Israel is allowed to get away with its intelligence operations here as well including its covert penetration of military bases, the FBI, IRS, INS, EPA and many other government agencies. In addition, it’s believed its agents knew in advance about the 9/11 attack but withheld the information knowing it would serve its interests to let it happen. There’s also considerable evidence high US officials either knew about it themselves or were complicit in carrying it out because they also knew it would allow them the kind of reckless free reign at home and abroad they never could have gotten any other way.
This is a story that won’t go away nor should it, and one day we may finally learn all the parts of it we can only speculate about now.
Because of Israel’s unparalleled ties to the centers of power and dominant media, Petras notes it’s able get back $50 in return for every dollar it spends. That’s how it’s able to finance its military and colonial settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) on annexed land. The Jewish networks here support these practices as justifiable compensation allowed victims of the “Holocaust” (the ones noted author John Pilger calls “worthy victims”) and circulate that ideology in the corporate media. They also reinforce anti-Muslim hysteria labelling all Arabs untrustworthy, radical Islamic fundamentalists or Islamo-fascists (“unworthy” victims for John Pilger), claiming the right to arrest, torture and mete out summary justice to them in military tribunals or just attack and kill them in imperial wars of “liberation.”
The result for Israel and its people has been disastrous because the Palestinians have refused for almost six decades to accede to this abuse and have waged two Intifadas to end it. With little more than a fierce determination, their bodies and crude weapons, they’ve fought back with suicide bombings and attacks on public facilities in Israel knowing what harsh retaliation they’ll face afterward. People in the US have also paid a heavy price in the erosion of democracy and freedom. It’s evidenced by the Bush administration’s harsh legislation beginning with the infamous USA Patriot Act passed in short order right after the 9/11 attack, followed by other repressive laws and practices allowed like illegal surveillance and secret renditions of anyone targeted to torture-prisons with court acquiescence or silence about most of them.
Petras points out that none of this deters powerful supporters of Israel who raise billions of dollars to support the country’s war machine and finance its colonization of annexed Palestinian land plus the Golan Heights (with its invaluable water resources) seized and never returned to Syria after the 1967 war. Israel’s economy is not self-sufficient, and without this aid, it would have to make unacceptable cuts in social services, reduce its military budget and curtail its expansionary plans. With it, plus the $3 billion a year direct US contribution and lots more help, US taxpayers (like it or not) have the burden of funding Israel’s belligerence and colonization agenda.
Petras itemizes what it all costs:
– $3 billion annually in direct aid.
– Billions more in loans as needed.
– Millions annually for resettlement help for Soviet (now Russian) and Ethiopian immigrants.
– a $10 billion loan guarantee in 1990 and a further $9 billion one in 2004 plus billions more for the asking and to be forthcoming to pay the costs of the 2006 Lebanon and Palestine wars.
– Since 1981, economic aid made in cash transfers, and since 1985 military aid done the same way.
– $45 billion in repayment waved loans since 1974 and billions more for the asking – free money at US taxpayer expense.
– Since 1982, ESF cash transfers in one early in the fiscal year lump sum with no strings attached while other countries receiving them are paid quarterly with their use monitored. Israel invests the money in US treasuries costing US taxpayers millions more annually and also gets special FMS funding arrangements costing US taxpayers well over $1 billion since 1991.
– Other privileged benefits include financial aid to develop Israel’s defense industry, transfer of state-of-the-art technology and the latest US weapons, US guarantee for Israel’s access to oil, and the likely massive aid still to come to defray the country’s “special costs” for its Gaza “disengagement plan” morphing into the colonization of whatever parts of the OPT Israel wishes to annex for new settlements US taxpayers pay for.
– Add to this some $22 billion Israel got over the past 50 years through the sale of its below-market interest paying bonds that have financed half of its development – meaning the colonization of annexed Palestinian lands and military funding for its predatory imperial wars.
Petras explains the Zionist power structure in the US makes it all possible, but its reach extends well beyond the so-called “Jewish Lobby.” He identifies a “Zionist power configuration (ZPC) that includes AIPAC as one part of a “complex network of interrelated formal and informal groupings, operating at the international, national, regional, and local levels” unconditionally supporting the state of Israel and all its policies including its wars, colonization and oppression. It’s power is like a cancer infecting the highest levels of government and all the other centers of power and influence as already explained. It controls the selection of political candidates and can defeat incumbents or aspirants daring to criticize Israel. It also shapes the reporting on Israel in the mass media suppressing any of it that’s unsupportive or critical. And it’s powerful enough to get “uncooperative” journalists, and even some academics, fired and banished from the mainstream for daring to step out of line.
Petras reports the power of the ZPC was evident in the run-up to the Iraq war and the Gulf war before it in 1991. Going back to the GHW Bush administration, the US wanted regime change in Iraq, but that decision was heavily influenced by the ZPC that considered Saddam a mortal enemy of Israel who had to be removed. He managed to survive through the 1990s despite our efforts to destabilize the country and bring it to its knees. But once the GW Bush administration neocons took over in 2001, the ugly business of war planning and occupation took hold to complete what the Gulf war left unfinished, and powerful Zionists (like Paul Wolfowitz and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman — the senator from AIPAC) in key policy-making positions invented the threat to bring it about in March, 2003 — all based on lies, deceit and subservience to Israel’s imperial agenda.
The US military finally removed Saddam and conducted a scorched-earth campaign to destroy Iraqi society, its infrastructure and historical treasures to “dismantle the secular state (and) turn the country in a desert kingdom — a loose collection of at least three ‘tribal’ client mini-states based on ethnicities, religious-tribal loyalties (and no viable threat against) Israeli expansionism, particularly in Northern Iraq.” The effort to do this is now underway after the Iraq puppet parliament’s passage of its federalism bill to take effect in 18 months that will effectively divide the country into the three US-ordered, designed and supposedly more easily governed parts it wants.
It’s unlikely this can work, but it’s clearer than ever now what the human cost of the war has been for Iraqis.
It caused the violent deaths of about 655,000 of them attributable to the war according to a shocking new study published by the noted Lancet British medical journal which updated their two earlier ones done after March, 2003. The study used the statistically reliable technique known as random households “cluster sampling” with personal interviews conducted across the country that used death certificate verification in the great majority of cases to come up with the total. It’s likely the true number of deaths is even much higher than this appalling number as the interviewers were unable to include in their count the most dangerous and violent parts of the country like Fallujah, Ramadi and other areas of al Anbar province where mass killing still goes on daily as well as families (likely in the thousands) in which all the members were killed.
This new information, just out and covering a period since March, 2003, compares to Human Rights Watch’s estimate of 250,000-290,000 people killed by Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime over its 20 year existence. It amplifies the outrageous crime of this barbarous adventure to achieve a “Greater Middle East US-Israel Co-Prosperity Sphere” and to give Israel access to the extra water, oil, capital and markets it lacks. It was also part of Israel’s greater agenda under the Sharon Likud, and now Olmert Kadima, governments to have free reign to pursue their stated policy of “annexation and separation” in the OPT.
The Zionist influence in the Bush administration is so entrenched, it assured there’d be no opposition to it then or now.
It’s all gone on in spite of mass anti-imperial resistance to what’s seen as an arrogant disregard for the standards and norms of international behavior and laws in the pursuit of an expansionist agenda. Israel and the US today willfully violate the UN Charter, the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions relative to the conduct of war and when it may be legally waged, the treatment of prisoners, the use of torture, destruction of infrastructure and historical sites, and plunder of natural resources to establish client puppet-run regimes exploiting their people in service to the dominant capital and political interests of their imperial conquerors.
Then to quell resistance and tighten security, the US and Israel resort to the most extreme methods including mass arrests and detentions and the free use of torture and targeted assassinations as state policy.
Amnesty International reports since the passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, the US and Israel are the only two countries in the world to have legalized the use of torture. Petras and others report the top leaders in the Pentagon up to Donald Rumsfeld specifically ordered its use “while the Justice and Defense Departments insisted that the President could override any laws — international or national as well as the US Constitution — in defending the empire.”
These top officials in key areas of government have audaciously given the President “de facto and de jure dictatorial powers” to do whatever he chooses to establish “Imperial Security.” It makes our citizens at home no safer than the victims of US and Israeli imperial aggression in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine or anywhere else in the world.
But Petras reports it’s even worse than that as the expose of torture in Iraq revealed a highly organized network of US and Israeli assassins worldwide.
They operate as international death squads engaged in “killing, kidnapping and torturing ‘suspects’ and sympathizers of resistance movements.” Petras calls this a US-sponsored “Murder Incorporated” that’s composed of Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and a DELTA force operating in a Special Agency Program (SAP). It follows the same practices long engaged in by Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations known as the Mossad, and its aim is to remove all opposition by whatever extralegal methods it chooses while ignoring international law.
It then justifies this activity at the highest levels of government as a matter of policy.
Petras further points to the UN’s International Leadership report on the destruction of civilian and military infrastructure in Iraq (much like what Israel did in the OPT discussed below). It showed “84% of Iraq’s higher learning institutions have been burnt, looted or destroyed.” Archeological museums and historic sites, libraries and archives have also been plundered, and targeted assassinations have been carried out against academics, other teachers, senior military personnel, journalists and other professionals including doctors. In addition, there are random or targeted daily terror killings by US-directed “Salvador option” death squads as well as thousands of kidnappings and other systematic horrors making life intolerable for most everyone in the country outside the four square kilometer fortress-like Green Zone HQ in central Baghdad for “coalition” officials and the puppet “Iraq interim government.”
It’s all part of Washington’s design to destroy the country’s cultural identity as an Arab state, separate its oil resources from any large population base, and divide the nation into more easily governed parts just the way it was done in the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It’s now been reported that longtime Bush family consigliere James Baker, co-chairing an Iraq Study Group, will formerly propose the kind of plan the Iraq puppet government just passed putting a quasi-official US imprimatur on it as part of a US-Israeli divide and conquer strategy that may not be as easy to pull off as as the one in the former Yugoslavia or in the simple north – south divisions of Korea and Vietnam after WW II.
What’s happening today in Iraq and Palestine is so outrageous and chaotic, Petras refers to a “House of Horrors” in both countries with the Zionist militarists at the Pentagon and their Israeli counterparts in charge of their respective “Horror Shows … under the big tent of a ‘Mid-East Democratic Reform Initiative.’ ” This is the modus operandi of empire building and colonization — blast and tear a nation to shreds so it can never again exist as it once did. Then terrorize the people into submission and kill off all the ones who resist. It’s a barbaric thumb in the eye to humanity, but this is the way rogue empires do things, especially when they’re too powerful to challenge.
The US-led killing machine is in full operation in Iraq, and so is the Israeli one in the OPT.
Petras calls the one there “Israel’s Final Solution” or the “Palestinian Holocaust,” and it’s focal point is in Gaza which even unoccupied is the world’s largest open-air prison for its 1.45 million people in the most densely populated space of its size in the world. Today the Strip and the West Bank are Israeli-directed killing fields targeting Palestinian civilians helpless to stop it beyond their courageous acts of desperation with crude weapons and their bodies against tanks, F-16s, helicopter gunships, and illegal and immoral terror weapons like white phosphorus bombs and shells, cluster bombs that never stop killing and maiming, and experimental new weapons that don’t have publicly-known names yet.
Israel’s war on Palestine has gone on for nearly six decades, and September 28 marked the sixth anniversary of the al-Aqsa Mosque Intifada resistance against it that began with Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to the holy site in 2000. Israel dramatically escalated the conflict after the minor June 25, 2006 incident at an Israeli military post near Kerem Shalom crossing killing two IDF soldiers, injuring several others and capturing a third still held whose name the corporate media made sure everyone knows but won’t ever reveal any of over-10,000 names of Palestinian prisoners held (the fate of “unworthy victims”). The June clash followed a series of bloody earlier in the month Israeli attacks on Gaza including the widely reported beach shelling that killed eight Palestinians and injured 32 others including 13 children. Much as it did in Lebanon (discussed below), Israel’s response was swift, deadly, disproportionate to what happened and planned months in advance as revealed by General Yoav Galant, in charge of Gaza, in a candid interview he gave in Israel’s Maariv daily.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented it all including the devastation of the past six years.
Overall it created a state of mass-immiseration for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank:
– essential infrastructure affecting power, clean water and sanitation destroyed
– mobility restricted or denied
– imposition of an embargo threatening the collapse of an already weak economy creating unemployment up to 80% of the population
– hostile incursions into the OPT, daily killings, and frequent extra-judicial assassinations
– home and property demolitions
– mass arbitrary arrests, administrative detentions of thousands of Palestinians without charge, and the systematic use of torture on those held including against women and children
– the destruction of a viable Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) through imprisonments of its democratically elected members held without charge or on contrived ones against them as well as the destruction of its civil and security facilities
All this and much more has been done (as in Iraq) to destroy the cultural identity and very existence of the Palestinian people to prevent them from ever having a viable independent state of their own as well as force a mass-Palestinian exodus to other Arab states willing to help them escape their intolerable situation in the OPT.
The plan to crush these defenseless people now includes credible evidence that the Bush and Olmert administrations have been arming, training and plotting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah followers to lead a civil uprising against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority (PA) and destroy it by force. It follows the Palestinians failed efforts to form a national unity government because Hamas refused Fatah’s demand to govern as Israel’s enforcer and abandon its own pledge to serve the welfare of its people.
Now in an interview on October 8 in the London Sunday Times, Fatah militia leader Tawfig Tirawi, inflamed matters by accusing Hamas of “accumulating weapons” and that “a full-scale civil war can break out at any moment.” He earlier said “civil war is inevitable.”
The paper also reported President Abbas “notified the US, Jordan and Egypt that he is preparing to take action against Hamas.” These statements defy Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh who firmly said he’ll never allow a civil war to happen, and it’s unimaginable the Palestinian people want one. But Haniyeh and his people may have no choice as this seems to be the current joint US-Israeli strategy to destroy Palestinian resistance and do it with help from Fatah President Abbas. This is the same man who pledged his fealty to Israel as a participant in crafting the Oslo Accords sellout of his people and being a principle in the Arafat-led corrupted and mismanaged Palestinian Authority until Hamas won a majority of the seats in the January, 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) elections. The Bush and Olmert governments wouldn’t tolerate that outcome, and the New York Times reported right after the election US and Israeli officials met at the “highest level” to plan the destruction of Hamas by “starving” the PA and making the people in the OPT pay the greatest price.
For Israel, this is part of its state policy of ethnic cleansing by slow-motion genocide and out-migration all leading to the destruction of the Palestinian identity. It wants to co-opt a corrupted PA leadership of its choice to act as Israel’s enforcer and partner in the destruction of its own people. It’s to fulfill the intent of what former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meier meant by her racist comment that “There are no Palestinians” and what Prime Minister David Ben Gurion earlier said after Israel brutally expelled the Palestinians from their homes and land in the 1948 war establishing the state of Israel: “We have come and we have stolen their country….We must do everything to insure they (the Palestinians) never do return … (and 10 years earlier had written his son) We will expel the Arabs and take their places … with the force at our disposal.” He and his successors planned to include all the land of biblical Eretz Israel (the land of Israel) within the final fixed borders of a greater Israeli state whenever they’re finally declared.
The US unconditionally supports Israel’s plan to do this as well as its policies of plunder and exploitation, but as Petras explains: “No one in their right mind can claim that the Israeli assault on Gaza advances US policies, interests or US imperial power.” It doesn’t matter because the power of the Jewish Lobby got the full support of the Bush administration for it anyway as well as the near unanimity for it in the Congress.
See The Power of Israel in the United States Part II