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Critical Arab-US Moment Betrayed: Obama & Cong. Won’t Do Right Thing Re Jewish Settlements; Fear 2012 AIPAC Election Punishment

So, let’s get this straight. The United States officially -- at least rhetorically -- disapproves of illegal Jewish settlement expansion. Yet to do ANYTHING SERIOUS to support this position would mean substantial political blowback from AIPAC.

We all know to what degree the President and Congress will sell out the welfare of human beings, their own citizens, and, hell, the rest of the world’s, to protect their own jobs and power no matter what the depth of the sell out.

Even with the incredible wave of Arab individualism flooding forth now you would think the American President and Congress would be astute and responsible enough to give a reach out. I mean Cash for Clunkers and a hypocritical Cairo speech were Obama’s golden moments. That speech, in spite of its hypocrisy, probably planted some seeds of empowering hope and may even be in part responsible for the profound Arab movement right now.

WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY for the United States to endorse the spirit of democracy, even though democracy has left the building in terms of the United States, now run by a plutocracy, but still, the Arab world is fighting for the real deal democracy it assumes America still has.

What a shame that according to MJ Rosenberg the US intends to veto this week a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by 122 nations, condemning Israeli settlement expansion.

Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee: "We have made very clear that we do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues."

The UN Security Council is not the right place? What bullshit.


First is the obvious. Opposition to Israeli settlements is perhaps the only issue on which the entire Arab and Muslim world is united. Iraqis and Afghanis, Syrians and Egyptians, Indonesians and Pakistanis don't agree on much, but they do agree on that. They also agree that the US policy on settlements demonstrates flagrant disregard for human rights in the Muslim world (at least when Israel is the human rights violator).

Accordingly, a US decision to support the condemnation of settlements would send a clear message to the Arab and Muslim world that we understand what is happening in the Middle East and that we share at least some of its peoples' concerns.

The settlement issue should be an easy one for the United States. Our official policy is the same as that of the Arab world. We oppose settlements. We consider them illegal.  We have repeatedly demanded that the Israelis stop expanding them (although the Israeli government repeatedly ignores us). The administration feels so strongly about settlements that it recently offered Israel an extra $3.5bn in US aid to freeze settlements for 90 days.

It is impossible, then, for the United States to pretend that we do not agree with the resolution (especially when its language was carefully drafted to comport with the administration's official position). So why will we veto a resolution that expresses our own views?

Steinberg says that "We do not think the Security Council is the right place to engage on these issues."

Why not? It is the Security Council that passed all the major international resolutions (with US support) governing Israel's role in the occupied territories since the first one, UN Resolution 242 in 1967.

So, voting for the resolution would serve US interests in the Middle East, but not serve Israel's interests as Israel sees it, so the President and Congress will ignore the welfare of its own people, the welfare of the Arab world and this golden opportunity to right a wrong it hypocritically maintains it recognizes but won’t support, because of their own narcissistic political ambitions.

The Washington Bubble is immune to the potential of world harmony. Imperial cronyism continues to prevail. The kleptocrats are calling the shots. Would that Obama had one molecule of Martin Luther King-ness, but that ship has sailed, hasn’t it? As for Congress, they are raping the American taxpayers for their corporate pimps. Why would they, too, give a serious damn about the world’s welfare?

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Submitted by lambert on

Lots of good detail, but to me the key point is that Obama couldn't even pressure Abbas to drop the Resolution, meaning that he's really three-for-three in the "Getting dissed by Peace Process Participant Stakes (Bibi, Mubarak, and now Abbas). As I keep saying, an empire that can't make its clients act like clients is on the skids (and a good thing, too).

Submitted by libbyliberal on

More like a backroom of Netanyahu's choosing?

Washington says it opposes settlements in principal, but claims that the UN Security Council is not the appropriate venue for resolving the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told council members that the veto "should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity.


US's golden moment to be a mensch, but of course not.

Oh dear. In the words of Hillary ... this is all very "unhelpful" ... as the bulldozers continue on. And we hand over more billions. What a phenomenal travesty.

AMERICA, the idiot cheese ... stands alone.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

The Obama administration wielded its first veto at the UN security council last night in a move to swipe down a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

The US stood alone among the 15 members of the security council in failing to condemn the resumption of settlement building that has caused a serious rift between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authority and derailed attempts to kick-start the peace process. The Palestinians have made clear that they will not return to the negotiating table until Israel suspends settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The decision placed the US in a controversial position at a time when it is already struggling to define its strategy in a tumultuous Middle East.

The 14 member countries backing the Arab-drafted resolution included Britain and France.

The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the decision to use the veto power – open to the five permanent members of the UN, of which the US is one – "should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity".

She said Washington's view was that the Israeli settlements lacked legitimacy, but added: "Unfortunately, this draft resolution risks hardening the positions of both sides and could encourage the parties to stay out of negotiations."

Submitted by hipparchia on

uh-huh. how does that quote go? something like: i don't think that word means what you think it means.

Submitted by lambert on

... establishment when they tried to make sure Mub stayed in power.

They've made a series of political decisions, starting with the creation of their empire in 1967, that are not likely to turn out well for them. (Like ours, I grant.) Hopefully, they won't pull the rest of the world down with them when they go (like us, I grant).

Submitted by hipparchia on

i went to jewish summer camp as a kid... and had quite a few arab friends [mostly lebanese, but some others too] at school, so the israelis good / palestinians bad divide never did make any sense to me. not from day one.

it wasn't until the clinton years though that i had a job where 1) i traveled a lot, and 2) i made enough money that i could afford to buy books, instead of having to look for them in my local [israelis good / palestinians bad] library.

i'll refrain from sharing the opinions i developed at that point.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

By Haaretz Service

February 18, 2011 "Haaretz" - -Palestinians are planning their own "Day of Rage" to protest the American veto on a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements, Ma'an News Agency reported a top Fatah official as saying on Saturday.

"They are liars who pretend to support democracy and peace. Far from it," Fatah official and former Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfik Tirawi, referring to the U.S., told the news agency.

The U.S. on Friday voted against a draft resolution against Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Their vote prevented the resolution from being adopted, as the U.S. is one of five permanent members on UN Security Council. The [no-glossary][/no-glossary]14 other members of the Security Council voted in favor of the resolution.

Tirawi said the Palestinians have set Friday for the day when they will officially protest the U.S. veto, which he said amounted to "blackmail."