RETURN OF THE OTTOMANS - More...
MER EDITORIAL:THE MIDDLE EAST "STING"
STINGING THE ARABS AND SCREWING THE PALESTINIANS
MER - WASHINGTON - 15 Oct:
Arafat and company have been given an ultimatum by the Americans --agree to another
elaborate White House signing ceremony by Monday or the huge flow of money, guns,
CIA-help, etc, will reduce to a trickle and the Americans will demote the Arafat crowd to
a much lesser priority.
In short, do what we tell you or stew alone in the crazy-quilt situation you got
yourself into since Oslo. Now this is not just an American ultimatum. It's a joint
U.S.-Israeli ultimatum no matter how much public theatrics the American and Israeli p.r.
machines bring to all this. For all practical purposes think of the U.S. and Israel using
the "Good Cops/Bad Cops" paradigm, for they are practically interchangeably at
this point in history when dealing with the misnomered "Peace Process".
Nearly the entire American "negotiating team" is composed of Jewish graduates
of the powerful Israeli lobby in Washington. In fact, the Israeli lobby's think-tank --
started by the man who is today Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East -- was
itself scheduled to be meeting at the WYE Conference Center this week but eagerly adjusted
If only Sadat had had the guts to walk away from Camp David in 1978...A much better and
sounder deal could have followed down the road. If only the Palestinians were properly
represented today...rather than so terribly by Arafat and company. The following was first
published by MER in May forseeing where we are today:
MER EDITORIAL - (12 May):
Bottom Line: The Israelis could now agree to every word the Americans are proposing in
the "negotiations" and they would be the big winners, the Palestinians the big
losers. It's just the Middle East diplomacy version of the old "Sting". And if
you don't know what this is all about, head on over to Blockbuster's and get Robert
Redford's classic movie of the same name.
Politics in America is a most convoluted thing these days; and MiddleEast diplomacy is
indeed the hall of distorted mirrors as we haverepeatedly pointed out.
The notion, propagated widely these days for transparently self-servingreasons, that
Washington is now on the side of the Palestinians -- after half a century of severe
anti-Palestinian policies and at a time when more Israeli/Jewish lobby officials are in
leading positions in the U.S. government than in all previous American governments
combined -- is simply preposterous.
But just pick up the main newspapers and switch on the regular TV programs and one
would be inclined toward believing this ludicrous notion. The major media have transformed
Middle East affairs into a kind of fairy tale disneyland -- something more fit for
children's consumption than for serious people who know history and want to understand
Lesson #1 these days: Always remember that imagery has replaced reality, posturing has
replaced substance, expediency has replaced principles.
Lesson #2 these days: The everyday media is much more an appendage ofgovernments and
associated interests groups than an independent source of information, not to mention
critical analysis. Especially when it comes to foreign policy, and especially when the
foreign policy relates to matters Middle Eastern, much of the press has become a
complicitous agent working in tandem with think-tanks, lobbying groups, and on-board
"experts" and "scholars", nearly all of whom are associated with
governments or their funded associations in one way or another.
Though these lessons apply nearly universally in our modern world, thesituation in the
U.S. regarding matters Middle Eastern is the worst ofall. For even a glimpse at reality,
rather than hype and deception, one has to at least turn to the foreign media (especially
the English-language U.K. press), better yet to the major academics (such as Chomsky and
Said) who rarely (and never consistently) are allowed to appear in the daily media on
Bottom Line: The very notion that the U.S. is an "honest broker" and that the
Americans are pushing hard for a real "peace" is patently ridiculous. The
historical facts are so much otherwise that the whole discussion about these matters has
become rhetorically surrealistic.
Bottom Line: Both the President and the Secretary of State are in bed with and yet
politically afraid of the Israeli/Jewish lobby at the same time; and Al Gore is downright
petrified. This is the case even though Bill Clinton has appointed more Israeli/Jewish
lobby officials to his Administration than all other Presidents combined; despite the fact
that Madeleine Albright appointed a leading official of the Israeli/Israeli lobby to be
the Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East; and despite the fact that quite
literally all the major persons in Dennis Ross's negotiating team are religious Jews all
with past close past ties to this same lobby!
Bottom Line: The international version of the Good Cop/Bad Cop game isclearly at work
here. The Americans now pretend to be on the side of the Palestinians, when in fact they
are more than ever on the side of the Israelis who continue to receive billions of dollars
yearly, continue to expand their settlements, continue to swallow Jerusalem and
surrounding areas in gulps, continue to enhance their military technological advantages
along with their weapons of mass destruction. And all this is done while the Americans
keep everyone else in check, veto U.N. resolutions and involvement, pay Israel's bills,
and provide Israel ever greater arms and "strategic alliance". Some
True, the Americans make continual noises to deflect serious scrutiny and to allow for
the pretense that things are other than they are; butWashington is more Kosher today than
at any other time in history, andthis whole "peace process" is very much a joint
Bottom Line: No matter which of the now discussed steps in the "peaceprocess"
are taken, the Israelis are the big winners, the Palestinians the big losers, the Arabs
the big patsies. As usual, the Americans will sooner or later proclaim another
"deal", and as always it will be a deal that tremendously benefits Israel no
matter what is actually said at the time, no matter what kinds of colorful packaging it is
all presented in. After all, if you intend to sell someone something they don't want, and
for a very inflated price, you've got to to trick the buyer into believing they not only
want it but are getting a good deal when they buy it -- even if they really are getting
taken to the cleaners!
Bottom Line: The Israelis could switch public gears and now agree to every word the
Americans are proposing and they would be getting nearly all that they have previously
demanded. Despite Olso they have given up little land; and that which is now
"autonomous" -- the Palestinian population centers -- is completely surrounded
by electrified fences and Israeli army checkpoints. For ordinary Palestinians things were
better, much better in fact, when Israeli directly occupied them and before the Intifada
Bottom Line: Today's "Peace Plan" is little more than the "Allon
Plan" of the late 1960s, the Begin/Sharon "autonomy" plan of the late
1970s, or the Reagan plan of the 1980s. Actually, its considerable worse because there are
far more settlers now, because Jewish Jerusalem has been expanded far more than was the
case then, and because even the notion of territorial contiguity for the Palestinians has
been signed away by Arafat in order to get the considerable guns and money he has been
provided to keep the Palestinians "under control".
Bottom Line: Bibi, and Rabin/Peres before him, has been getting most of what he has
demanded, regardless of how the diplomats have been speaking on TV. "Final Status
Negotiations" are to be pushed forward -- accelerated" says Madeleine -- just as
Bibi has insisted all along, but with the Palestinians having nearly nothing when they
start. At best about 10% of the occupied territories are actually "autonomous"
with another 10% "dually administered". Furthermore, while we're at it, let's
not loose sight of the fact that the "occupied territories" themselves are but
23% of 1948 Palestine, and that 1948 map was already less than 50% of previously Mandate
Furthermore, Israeli settlement constructions has not ended, it hasactually escalated!
Not to mention the greatly expanded Apartheid-Style "by-pass roads" designed to
totally dissect the Palestinian areas from each other while providing
"safe-passage" routes for Israeli settlers. Not to mention the growing and
smothering restrictions Palestinians are everywhere subjected to -- now by what has become
essentially a double-occupation (with Israelis always in control of course even if hidden
behind one-way mirrors). Not to mention the severe forms of intimidation and repression
used by the "Palestinian Authority" -- considerably worse than when the Israelis
directly administered the occupation on their own.
Bottom Bottom Line: The occupation has been colorfully and confusinglyrepackaged, but
inside the box things are actually considerable worse than they were before. What's been
underway for many years now is a kind of international "sting" operation with
the Arab "client regimes", Arafat now among them, being used, manipulated, and
taken for a ride time after time. Actually its even worse as many of these regimes --
especially the Hashemite's in Jordan and the al-Sauds in Saudi Arabia -- are actually
working ever more closely with the Americans, and in many cases with the Israelis,
desperate to pull off this historic charade.
True, it is a charade likely to have dire consequences in the years ahead; but the
politicians of the day are not thinking of history nor of justice, they are only poking
their fingers in the tremoring dikes thinking of the moment and thinking of themselves.
And if anyone doesn't understand all this imagery and illusion -- just head on over to
BlockBusters (or the international equivalent where ever you might be) and rent Robert
Redford's classic "The Sting"!