Monday, February 28, 2011

Israel worried with New Arab system

by Khaled Khalefe

 Israeli leadership is watching the latest developments in the Arab world with great concern and anxiety, and it's not clear whether the emerging Arab regimes and a new Arab world will enhance the Israeli security or not, according to analysts.

Israeli officials are worried about the loss of those leaders who created the environment for the historic reconciliation with the Israeli state, such as former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, said analysts.
Israel enjoys total calm on its borders with Jordan and Egypt in recent years. The peace has enabled the Israeli state to reduce defense spending from about 25 percent of GDP in the end of 1970s to 10 percent by the end of the 1990s, and finally to only 7 or 8 percent in 2009, said the analysts, adding this kind of peace also made it possible for Israel to concentrate on other threats.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

ARAB UPRISINGS — Time-Out For Israel Is Over

History is taking a new turn in the Middle East and so is the Arab-Israeli conflict.

 

by: Dr. Ashraf Ezzat


“I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired … when I do, everything will burn.”

.. Shouted Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, and pounded his fist in a furious speech to the Libyan people.


He referred to the Libyan protesters who called for his stepping down from office as stray dogs, rats and drugged youth, he even went so far as to follow the American vogue trend and amusingly alleged that this uprising was orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

For anyone who’s not familiar with Gaddafi or haven’t seen or heard him talk, this might come as a total shock for what came in that speech and the rude and threatening tone in which it was delivered represented the ultimate paranoia and detachment from reality any dictator could reach. Even the Arabs and Libyans familiar with Gaddafi have also been stunned by his outrageous and humiliating words.

Haunted by the successful ousting of the leaders of two neighboring countries of Egypt and Tunisia, Gaddafi has already set up his mind not to follow in the footsteps of Zine Elabedine or Mubarak. Contemplating the scenarios of the two uprisings, He reached one conclusion and one conclusion only; he would not make any concessions nor start a dialogue with the protesters.

The Libyan leader has decided to show no leniency in dealing with this uprising – which he never saw it coming his way- he relentlessly began to crack down on protesters allowing his paramilitary and mercenary forces to use live ammunition in a desperate attempt to crush the revolt leaving thousands wounded and dead so far.

Historical changes

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Under the Spell of Israel

As Israel carries out their illegal US funded attacks on civilian populations in Gaza, we look back at the origin of Israel, which is rooted in violence and racism; and the video, Who Were the First Terrorists in the Middle East?

Irgun, the army of Rahm Emanuel's father, is short for Irgun Zvai Leumi- "National Military Organization" in Hebrew, was a terrorist Zionist group that operated in Palestine, killing innocent Palestinians and British soldiers; blowing up buildings

 

The west has been under a spell for decades, dismissing the real history, meaning and implications of Israel; blindly accepting and funding and protecting what truly is a rogue government without question or delay.

Israel, most unfortunately, is guided by a philosophy that they are more entitled. Israel’s approach to resolving real and perceived problems, as I have written before, is similar to gangland mentality where the biggest guns and sharpest knives, are used to decide the outcome of a situation.

Fortunately, everyone in Israel doesn’t believe in ‘Zionism’; the concept that Jewish people are allowed to take land from other human beings because ‘God gave it to them’.
This philosophy burdens not just Muslim and Christian people who live in occupied Palestine, but also Israeli citizens who speak out against the politicized, violent version of Judaism that Israel represents.

Today Israel is defined by its acts of state sponsored terrorism. As this video reveals, the story dates back to Israel’s very first days.







We revealed in a recent report; Rahm Emanuel’s Father Specialized in Bus Bombings in Palestine Wayne Madsen Special to Salem-News.com, that Benjamin Emanuel, father of Chicago’s newly elected mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was a Jewish terrorist who specialized in the bombings of buses carrying British troops and policemen during the British Mandate in Palestine.

Things are often not how they seem, and as Egypt’s quest for Revolutionary freedom glows, we receive word that an Israeli bomb has just injured 15 people in Gaza.
Israel is such a terrible player in the world political arena; they are deadly and murderous and prejudice and they cross national borders to conduct military action with impudence; as if beyond reproach.
This is the same group that has been killing the people of Palestine in a cold blooded manner for over sixty years. They must be stopped.
We do wonder if the Israelis are targeting our friends in Gaza who are in the ground putting the news out in real time; people like Ken O’Keefe, our writer who Israel branded a ‘terrorist’ after the deadly incident involving the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara which was attacked by Israel in the dark with murderous intent.
Nine men were killed, one was American, they were all unarmed.

Ken O’Keefe and others overpowered Israeli commandos and disarmed them, taking them captive. To what end? Ken and the other unarmed peace activists protected the captured Israeli soldiers and gave them medical attention. Then they were released.
If only Israel played the same way. I am so sick and tired of hearing Muslim people referred to as terrorists when no place in modern history can even slightly compete with Israel’s record number of terrorism events.
This video shows how from the beginning, Israel has only represented death and violence to the world. Nobody denies the fact that Jewish people suffered during the Holocaust, but anyone who accepts their current behavior certainly should equally agree with Hitler’s quest, at least in concept.
There is no race or culture that is entitled to more than another. The world should not be governed by religious concepts or hate.


video








Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com’s Executive News Editor. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 76 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com

Interview: The Arab Turmoil and Palestinians

Interviewee: 
Rashid I. Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies, Columbia University
Interviewer:
 Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor, CFR.org


The turmoil in the Arab world, particularly the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, has "excited" most Palestinians, says Rashid Khalidi, co-director of Columbia's Center for Palestine Studies. But the U.S.-led negotiations for a two-state solution between Palestinians and Israel has foundered, which was underscored by the U.S. veto in the Security Council against a resolution to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank. He says the veto--the only one among Council members--will "intensify a sense in the Arab world generally and among Palestinians as well that a resolution to this conflict does not lie through this bankrupt, failed negotiation process." He says a rethink of U.S. policy in the region is necessary. "[Obama] has to make a decision on whether he wants to act on the basis of what most people would agree are American interests: a rapid resolution of this conflict and removing the impression that most people in the world have of the United States being on the wrong side of this."

Much of the attention in the Middle East in recent years has been over Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have proceeded without achieving any breakthrough. And now, suddenly there is turmoil in the Arab world that has diverted attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian issues. How do you see this, as a Palestinian?

I think most Palestinians are very excited about what's happening because they felt that the old Arab order helped to keep them down [and] was complicit with the United States and Israel. Palestinians were thrilled with what happened in Tunisia and ecstatic about what happened in Egypt. Most Palestinians will be very happy to see [Muammar] Qaddafi bite the dust. The so-called "peace process" has not been something that most Palestinians believed in since late in the 1990's. Most Palestinians believed that this was not a process that had anything to do with peace or conflict resolution. It had to do with conflict management and expansion of occupied Israeli settlements. It was clear that these talks were not leading to self-determination or statehood. It was clear it was not leading to an end of the occupation. Most Palestinians were very disenchanted with the whole process.

Now, in the midst of the upheavals in the Arab world, the Palestinians tried to get a UN Security Council resolution (AP) passed last Friday, which would have condemned the Israeli settlements. It was approved by every member of the Security Council except the United States, which by voting no, vetoed the resolution. What's been the reaction?

The myth of Jewish refugees from the Arab world


By Khalid Amayreh

In a desperate effort aimed at obliterating and liquidating the Palestinian refugees' plight, which is actually the heart and essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Israeli and Zionist propagandist have been speaking of a paralleled Jewish refugee problem.

The mouthpieces of lie shamelessly speak of hundreds of thousands of Jewish "refugees" who we are told were forced to leave the Arab world after the creation of the evil entity called Israel.

Obviously, the logic behind the dissemination of these brash lies is to create an impression that the Palestinian refugee problem had an equivalent and symmetrical Jewish refugee problem. Eventually, the Zionist liars would want to convince us that the Jewish refugee problem invalidates any special legitimacy attached to the enduring Palestinian refugee cause.

These claims, of course, are nothing but contemptible lies and distortion of history.

After all, the arrival of the "Arab Jews" in Israel was meticulously planned, plotted, induced, expedited and carried out by Zionist circles, including the Israeli intelligence services.

In some cases, hefty bribes were paid to certain Arab government officials to agree to allow their Jews to leave for Israel. In other countries, like in Iraq, Zionist agents employed terrorism to foster an atmosphere of fear among Jews in order to force them into leaving.

Synagogues were bombed and threats were made in order to communicate the message to Jews, that "your safety is at stake and that you have to leave before it is too late."

"I am not saying that relations between Jews in Arab countries and their Arab compatriots were exemplary, especially after the creation of the racist entity." However, it is historically established that many if not most of the rumors about "impending pogroms" and other acts of discrimination against Jews were purposeful propaganda originating in Israeli intelligence circles.

Naeim Giladi, an elderly Iraqi Jew living in New York, described rather vividly how Israeli agents orchestrated a deliberate campaign of intimidation aimed at forcing Iraqi Jews to leave their ancestral country. He also described in meticulous details the humiliating and sub-human treatment Jews from the Middle East received at the hands of the Ashkenazi authorities once they were brought into Israel.

In addition, the "ingathering" of Jews from all over the world was and still is the ultimate goal of Zionism. In other words, the ingathering of Jews was more than just a desired goal of Zionism; it was a monomaniacal obsession that nothing was allowed to stand in its way. If so, how can these paragons of lie speak of hundreds of thousands of poor Jewish refugees uprooted from their homes in the Arab world? That is more than just a scandalous distortion of historical facts; this is tantamount to fornicating with the facts of history.

In the final analysis, there can be no equation between a deliberate, premeditated ethnic cleansing of an entire people from their historical homeland, in which wide-scale massacres, such as Dir Yasin, were committed, and the planned and nearly orderly evacuation of Arab Jews to Israel in order to fulfill Zionism?

Of course, we are dealing with sick and depraved people who are not prone to logic or reason since they are bereft of honesty, a word that doesn't exist in the lexicon of Zionism.

It is this depravity and sickness of the mind that make Zionist circles instruct some Jews in some Western countries, such as France, US, Britain, and Canada, to scrawl anti-Semitic graffiti in places with Jewish concentrations in order to intimidate Jews and get them to emigrate to  Israel  in order to steal Palestinian homes and land.

For them, everything, including truth, must be sacrificed for the sake of Zionism and Israel. This is why, their depravity is limitless and mendacity knows no bounds.

Indeed, trying to equate the violent extirpation of the bulk of the Palestinian people from their ancestral land on the one hand, and the carefully-planned evacuation of Arab Jews in order to effect and fulfill Zionism, on the other, is very much tantamount to trying to equate marriage and rape, or between willful emigration and expulsion.

Hence, Zionist efforts to concoct a Jewish refugee problem to counter the Palestinian refugee plight should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

More to the point, the so-called Jewish refugees were eventually transformed into willing or unwilling thieves. They were housed in houses whose proprietors still carried their keys, hoping to return home sooner than later.

They were made to "possess" gardens, fields, orchards and plots of land that belonged to another people. Even petty possessions, such as furniture and livestock, which had belonged to Palestinian refugees, were arrogated by these so-called Jewish refugees.

The fact that these Jews maintained and sought to perpetuate this state of theft in no way implies that legitimacy has been gained. A theft remains a theft even after the passage of 62 years.

"I don't deny that Jews left homes and businesses and other property back in the Arab world. However, emigrants who have left property in their former countries have no right whatsoever to compensate for their abandoned or lost property by stealing or arrogating another people's property in their new adopted country. That is both illegal and immoral. It is also criminal, pure and simple."

None the less, complete justice ought to be given to both Palestinian refugees and Jews who had left possessions and property back in their countries of origin.

The Palestinians must be allowed to return home and be compensated and Jews, if they so wish, should likewise be allowed repatriation and compensation.

In fact, repatriation and indemnification are both established by the UN General Assembly in the famous resolution 194. So there should be no argument about other legal factors inhibiting the implementation of the Palestinian right of return.

As to Arab Jews and their descendants, they should have the courage to demand repatriation and compensation instead of perpetuating the theft of land and property that belong not to them.

In any case, such a decision would require a high degree of rectitude and moral commitment. This is why it is unlikely that it will ever see the light of the day willingly.

But that decision would have to be taken Willy nilly, even under duress. History is a great leveler.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Toward Palestine's 'Mubarak moment'

The Palestinian Authority should dissolve itself, as it is acting in Israel's interest, writer says. 


The slow collapse of Palestinian collective leadership institutions in recent years has reached a crisis amid the ongoing Arab revolutions, the revelations in the Palestine Papers, and the absence of any credible peace process.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled by Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction has attempted to respond to this crisis by calling elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the PA presidency.
Abbas hopes that elections could restore legitimacy to his leadership. Hamas has rejected such elections in the absence of a reconciliation agreement ending the division that resulted from Fatah's refusal (along with Israel and the PA's western sponsors, especially the United States) to accept the result of the last election in 2006, which Hamas decisively won.

But even if such an election were held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it does not resolve the crisis of collective leadership faced by the entire Palestinian people, some ten million distributed between those living in the occupied Gaza Strip and West Bank, inside Israel, and the worldwide diaspora.

A house divided
There are numerous reasons to oppose new PA elections, even if Hamas and Fatah were to sort out their differences. The experience since 2006 demonstrates that democracy, governance and normal politics are impossible under Israel's brutal military occupation.
The Palestinian body politic was divided not into two broad political streams offering competing visions, as in other electoral democracies, but one stream that is aligned with, supported by and dependent on the occupation and its foreign sponsors, and another that remains committed, at least nominally, to resistance. These are contradictions that cannot be resolved through elections.
The Ramallah PA under Abbas today functions as an arm of the Israeli occupation, while Hamas, its cadres jailed, tortured and repressed in the West Bank by Israel and Abbas' forces, is besieged in Gaza where it tries to govern. Meanwhile, Hamas has offered no coherent political vision to get Palestinians out of their impasse and its rule in Gaza has increasingly begun to resemble that of its Fatah counterparts in the West Bank.

The PA was created by agreement between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel under the Oslo Accords. The September 13, 1993 "Declaration of Principles" signed by the parties states that:
"The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the "Council"), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338."

Under the agreement, PA elections would "constitute a significant interim preparatory step toward the realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and their just requirements".

Small mandate
Thus, the PA was only ever intended to be temporary, transitional, and its mandate limited to a mere fraction of the Palestinian people, those in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords specifically limited the PA's powers to functions delegated to it by Israel under the agreement.

Therefore, elections for the PLC will not resolve the issue of representation, for the Palestinian people as a whole. Most would not have a vote. As in previous elections, Israel would likely intervene, particularly in East Jerusalem to attempt to prevent even some Palestinians under occupation from voting.
Given all these conditions, a newly elected PLC would only serve to further entrench divisions among Palestinians while also creating the illusion that Palestinian self-governance exists -- and can thrive -- under Israeli occupation.

A decade and a half after its creation, the Palestinian Authority has proved not to be a step toward the "legitimate rights of the Palestinian people," but rather a significant obstacle in the way of achieving them.
The PA offers no genuine self-government or protection for Palestinians under occupation, who continue to be victimized, killed, maimed and besieged by Israel with impunity while Israel confiscates and colonizes their land.

The PA never was and cannot be a stand-in for real collective leadership for the Palestinian people as a whole, and PA elections are not a substitute for self-determination.

Dissolving the PA

With the complete collapse of the "peace process" -- the final push given by the Palestine Papers -- it is time for the PA to have its Mubarak moment. When the Egyptian tyrant finally left office on February 11, he handed power over to the armed forces.
The PA should dissolve itself in a similar manner by announcing that the responsibilities delegated to it by Israel are being handed back to the occupying power, which must fulfill its duties under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

This would not be a surrender. Rather, it would be a recognition of reality and an act of resistance on the part of Palestinians who would collectively refuse to continue to assist the occupier in occupying them. By removing the fig leaf of "self-governance" masking and protecting from scrutiny Israel's colonial and military tyranny, the end of the PA would expose Israeli apartheid for all the world to see.

The same message would also go to the European Union and the United States who have been directly subsidizing Israel's occupation and colonization through the ruse of "aid" to the Palestinians and training for security forces that act as Israeli proxies. If the European Union wishes to continue funding Israel's occupation, it ought to have the integrity to do it openly and not use Palestinians or the peace process as a front.

Dissolving the PA may cause some hardship and uncertainty for the tens of thousands of Palestinians and their dependents, who rely on salaries paid by the European Union via the PA. But the Palestinian people as a whole -- the millions who have been victimised and marginalised by Oslo -- would stand to benefit much more.

Handing the PA's delegated powers back to the occupier would free Palestinians to focus on reconstituting their collective body politic and implementing strategies to really liberate themselves from Israeli colonial rule.

New leadership

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Irish Journalist Tries to Arrest Foreign Minister Lieberman

video

The press conference given by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman  in Brussels on Tuesday took a dramatic turn when an Irish journalist began heckling him by shouting 'Free Palestine, 'Israel apartheid state' and 'Apartheid is a crime' at the start of  Lieberman's press conference with EU officials.

David Cronin, author and self-described campaigning journalist roared at the minister: "Mr Lieberman this is citizen’s arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid. Please come with me to the nearest police station.”

Cronin, who writes for several broadsheet newspapers including The Guardian, The Irish Times and the European Voice was confronted by security and removed from the EU Council press room .

Lieberman was attending the tenth meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council, the body governing the relations between the two sides.

Following his attempted citizen's arrest Cronin said "I was about to say something further when I felt two guards grabbing my arms. I shouted ‘Free Palestine’ two times; I shouted ‘Apartheid is a crime’ once.”

Israeli Army Will Cash In on Egyptian Revolution

By JONATHAN COOK

Israel has been indulging in a sustained bout of fear-mongering since the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled earlier this month. The ostensible aim has been to warn the international community that the lengthy "cold peace" between the two countries is on the verge of collapse.
 
In reality, the peace treaty signed three decades ago is in no danger for the forseeable future. The Egyptian and Israeli armies have too much of a vested interest in its continuation, whatever political reforms occur in Egypt.
 
And if the Egyptian political system really does open up, which is still far from sure, the Israeli military may actually be a beneficiary -- if for all the wrong reasons.
 
The main value of the 1979 Camp David treaty to the Israeli leadership has been three decades of calm on Israel's south-western flank. That, in turn, has freed the army to concentrate on more pressing goals, such as its intermittent forays north to sow sectarian discord in Lebanon, its belligerent posturing towards first Iraq and now Iran in the east, and its campaign to contain and dispossess the Palestinians under its rule.
 
But since Mubarak's ousting on February 11, Israeli politicians and generals have warned that democracy for Egypt is bound to empower the country's Islamists, supposedly bent on Israel's destruction.
 
Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, compared a post-Mubarak Egypt with Iran, saying Israel was "preparing for the worst". Likewise, Gabi Ashkenazi, the departing chief of staff, stated that Israel was braced for the peace treaty's cancellation as the "moderate camp" weakened.
 

Murder of Palestinian highlights Israeli judicial discrimination

According to the Israeli law system, if you’re an Arab and you beat a Jew to death, you’re a murderer. But if you’re Jewish and you stab an Arab, that’s manslaughter

Settlers walking down Shuhada St. in Hebron (Credit: ISM Palestine, Flickr)
An Arab who kills a Jew is a murderer. But a Jew who kills an Arab has committed manslaughter.

By: Yossi Gurvitz

Some 18 months ago, the country was outraged when Leonid Arik Carp, a resident of Ramat Aviv, was attacked by a gang of youth, while he was trying to protest his daughter from their molestation. Carp was savagely beaten, and later dies of his wounds. Three of his assailants were charged with murder (Hebrew); in a highly unusual move, four others were charged with failing to provide Carp with aid. The whole affair had a clear racist tinge, with the media – and the poisonous replies – focusing on the fact that the attackers were a group of Israeli Arabs, accompanied by two Jewish girls, one of whom was an IDF soldier; the story quickly became that of violation of Jewish blood. Many people claimed Carp’s murder was a nationalistic lynch. Carp, it should be remembered, was attacked by blows, slaps and kicks (Hebrew).

About two weeks ago, a gang of four Orthodox Jews, two of them settlers, attacked (Hebrew) Hussam Rwidi, and one of them slashed him to death with a razor. That, at least, is what the police suspects them of; we should keep in mind that the Carp murder suspects have yet to be convicted, and should be suspicious when the police claims it has a confession, in a country where interrogators are prosecuted for torture and where cops caught lying on the witness stand routinely return to duty, unpunished. According to the police, the murder of Rwidi was, at least in part, nationalistically-motivated: Rwidi was chosen as victim since he spoke Arabic, hence identifying himself as a member of the lower race. Palestinians claim – those claims should also be viewed with caution – that the assault began with the cries of “death to Arabs”. Later, says the police, two of the attackers were arrested while trying to dispose of the murder weapon, at the request of the murderer.

AIPAC Vetos U.N. Resolution on Israeli Settlements — U.S. Casts the Actual Ballot

The 1600 Pound Gorilla

For those who have been asleep a la Rip van Winkle for the past twenty years, let us recap what has been going on in this country.

By Philip Giraldi


Last Friday’s American veto of the United Nations Security Council resolution that would have called Israeli settlement activity on the West Bank illegal was not only shameful, it was possibly the low point of the already foundering Obama presidency.  To be sure, United States UN Ambassador Susan Rice accompanied the veto with a stirring rendition of “I’ll cry tomorrow” as she described how the Obama White House really is opposed to the settlements.

Really.

It’s just that supporting or even abstaining on a resolution criticizing Israel, however mildly framed, might setback the peace process, which, as Rice well knows, died completely over six months ago.  But let’s not get hung up on the details.  Rice should have said instead that her boss in the White House is so afraid of the Israel Lobby that he has to ask permission when he goes to the bathroom.  At least that would have been completely credible, something you can believe in from an Administration that has otherwise delivered squat to the many voters who supported Obama in hopes that he might actually be interested in peace in our times.

And Obama has a lot to be afraid of, mostly from the old knife in the back trick from the Israel boosters in his own party.  “This is too clever by half,” said Representative Anthony Weiner.  “Instead of doing the correct and principled thing and vetoing an inappropriate and wrong resolution, they now have opened the door to more and more anti-Israeli efforts coming to the floor of the UN.”  Representative Nita Lowey agreed, “Compromising our support for Israel at the UN is not an option.”

And over at the GOP side of the House, shortly before the veto, the new Chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen criticized the resolution: “Support for this anti-Israel statement is a major concession to enemies of the Jewish State and other free democracies.  Offering to criticize our closest ally at the UN isn’t leadership, it’s unacceptable.”  Last Wednesday sixty-seven freshmen Republican House members sent a letter to their party’s leadership supporting full funding of aid to Israel.  The letter cited the lawmakers’ “recognition that the national security of the United States is directly tied to the strength and security of the State of Israel.”

Nice one, Anthony, Nita, Ileana and all those new congressmen who were elected because they promised to do some budget cutting, but I don’t detect anything about what the American national interest might be, just a bit of nonsense about “support for Israel,” “our closest ally” and even more ridiculous bleating about how arming Israel makes America safer.  In fact, none of you even mentioned the United States.
Excuse me, I thought you dudes were serving in the US Congress, not the Knesset, but I might be wrong about that.

And lest anyone go wobbly on support of Israel there was the usual media claque screaming outrage because Rice had dared to criticize the settlements policy even though she was casting the veto.  Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post put it nicely “The US representative, while reluctantly casting a veto, joined the pack of jackals that seek to make Israel the culprit for all that ills (sic) the Middle East.”

The 1600 Pound Gorilla

For those who have been asleep a la Rip van Winkle for the past twenty years, let us recap what has been going on in this country.

There is an extremely dangerous domestic enemy out there, and it isn’t the naturalized Muslims that the redoubtable Congressman Peter King is investigating.  It is an organization that calls itself the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC.
AIPAC is the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington, by far.  It was founded in the 1950s with the support of the Israeli Foreign Ministry to create an organization that would lobby for sustained American financial, diplomatic, and military support of Israel, but, curiously, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act or FARA, which would require full public disclosure of finances – details of income and expenditures – as well as periodic reports on the nature of the relationship between the organization and the foreign government in question.

AIPAC is the focal point of the Israel Lobby in the United States.

Egypt/Turkey-Israel: ‘A clean break

It is not Israel backed by the distant US that inherits the Ottoman mantle of hegemony in the Middle East, but some combination of Turkey and Egypt...
While Egypt’s revolution was very much about domestic matters -- bread and butter, corruption, repression -- its most immediate effects have been international. Not for a long time has Egypt loomed so large in the region, to both friend and foe. At least 13 of the 22 Arab League countries are now affected: Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen.

But just as powerful has been the resonance in Israel. It has no precedent for an assertive, democratic neighbour. Except for Turkey.

As the US was putting the finishing touches on NATO (established in April 1949), Turkey became the first Muslim nation to recognise Israel, in March 1949 (Iran did so a year later). Under the watchful eye of its military, Turkey and Israel had close diplomatic, economic and military relations throughout the Cold War.

The first hint of trouble was Turkey’s denunciation of “Israeli oppression” of the Palestinians in 1987, but it was not until the Justice and Development Party came to power in 2002 that a strong critical voice was heard. In 2004 Turkey denounced the Israeli assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as a “terrorist act” and Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip as “state-sponsored terrorism”.

Saudi acquiescence to US-Israel hegemony is understandable because of the Saudi monarchy’s total reliance on the US dollar income from its oil. As US secretary of state Henry Kissinger told Business Week after Saudi Arabia defied the US with its oil embargo in support of Egypt in the 1973 war against Israel, any more such behaviour would lead to “massive political warfare against countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran to make them risk their political stability and maybe their security if they did not cooperate”.

His words were not idle. King Faisal, who had risked all to help the Egyptians and Palestinians, was assassinated shortly after that, and his act of defiance was the last peep heard from the Saudis. Or Egypt, which went on to make peace with Israel. Even as Turkey’s resistance to Israel has grown hotter, Israel continued to find comfort in the accommodating nature of president Hosni Mubarak’s rule, though it has been a “cold peace” between enemies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

'Israel, a US liability in the Middle East'

video
Former U.S. senator, Mike Gravel says Israel has become a liability for the United States in the Middle East.

In an exclusive interview with Press TV's U.S. Desk, Gravel referred to Washington's recent veto of a UN Security Council resolution, condemning Israel's continued settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

He said while the world was castigating Israel for its settlement activities, the U.S. was the only country to support Tel Aviv; bringing great embarrassment onto itself.

Gravel added that as Arab countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and others reconstitute their governments, it would be interesting to see how Washington's liability will play out now.

FACTS & FIGURES
There are more than 50 U.S.-based lobbying groups that support the Israeli policies in different ways.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the U.S.

Each year, AIPAC is involved in more than 100 legislative and policy initiatives involving Middle East policy or aimed at broadening and deepening the U.S.-Israel bond.

Total U.S. aid paid to Israel since 1948, according to the U.S. government is $82 Billion.

Total Israeli lobbies funds to Congressional candidates from 1978 until 2010 were $ 50,104,285.

Nearly 80% of Jews voted for Democratic candidate Obama during the 2008 presidential election because of his pro-Israeli statements. 

Obama's no different

By George S. Hishmeh

President Barack Obama

Is Barack Obama, who is marking his mid-term as president, any different from his predecessors, except Dwight Eisenhower, as far as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is concerned?

Expectations were high when Obama walked into the White House. After his triumphant trips overseas, especially to Cairo, there was hope that he will usher a new positive era in US relations with the Muslim world and resolve the 63-year-old conflict between Israelis and Arabs.

His intimate acquaintance with prominent Arab-American intellectuals in his hometown, Chicago, and exposure to the other side of the coin raised hopes in the Middle East that  a fair settlement was imminent.
But to date Obama has turned out to be a great disappointment and the likelihood that he can still usher new thinking within his administration borders on wishful thinking, at least there are no signs yet that he may sidestep the pro-Israel lobby.

This latest disappointment came amidst the unprecedented roiling under way in the Arab world where two leaders have just been overthrown, and several others are on the edge of another great precipice.
For the first time, the US was all alone vetoing a draft UN Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli colony expansion in Occupied Territories on the West Bank and, more significantly, occupied east Jerusalem where the Palestinians hope to establish their capital. 

Even Britain, France and Germany, key American allies, did not support the US action. It was the tenth time since the year 2000 that the US exercised its right to veto a UN resolution. Nine of those votes were in defence of Israel.

The three riled allies declared in a joint statement that they had voted for the resolution “because our views on [Israeli colonies] settlements, including [occupied] east Jerusalem, are clear: They are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace, and constitute a threat to a two-state solution.  All settlement [colony] activity, including [occupied] east Jerusalem, should cease immediately.”

Fence-sitting

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country “deeply appreciated” the US use of its veto, entitled to the five permanent members of the UN apparently despite US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, stressing that the US action “should not be misunderstood to mean we support [Israeli colony] settlement activity.”

Along with the widespread Arab denunciation of the American action, there were several Israelis who shared the Arab disaffection.  Gideon Levy, a prominent Israeli commentator, said the US veto “is not friendly to Israel; it supports the settlers [colonists] and the Israeli right, and them alone ... a [colonist] enterprise that is most damaging to Israel.”

Akiva Eldar wrote: “Thanks, Obama, for taking off the mask and showing us your real face. It is high time we took a look at ourselves in the mirror.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

US veto costs Washington its last shred of credibility

Hang you head in shame, O Peace Prize laureate

By Stuar Littlewood


The Nobel award, said Barack Obama at the time, was “an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations” and must be shared with everyone who strives for “justice and dignity”. Where was the justice and dignity in the sad story of America’s UN veto? 

Having blocked the United Nations Security Council draft resolution on Friday, which would have condemned Israeli squatter colonies as illegal, Obama has now written America completely out of the script on Middle East peace.

Many will see it as a blessing that the US has so spectacularly disqualified itself from serious discussion, and that Obama has finally lifted the scales from the eyes of all those who unwisely invested high hopes in him.

Netanyahu’s office was cock-a-hoop and said Israel was “deeply grateful” to be let off the hook and as a reward the delinquent promises to be a good boy and “pursue negotiations vigorously” with the Palestinians. The US veto made it clear that “the only path to such a peace will come through direct negotiations and not through the decisions of international bodies”.

Some people will do anything to stop the United Nations getting a grip on the crisis. It would be more than a tad inconvenient to the crazed Greater Israel project. No doubt the champagne corks were popping in the US-Israeli Combined Ops headquarters as the Zionist luvvies danced late into the night to celebrate their victory.

The resolution, besides condemning the continuation of settlement activities and other measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Territory, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions, demanded that Israel ceased forthwith and fully respected all of its legal obligations in that regard.

The US argued that although it opposes Israeli settlements, taking the issue to the UN would only complicate efforts to resume stalled negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a two-state solution. Why that should be the case wasn’t explained. Nor was the reason why negotiations should be re-started in the teeth of Israel’s uncompromising territorial objectives and clear dislike of peace.

It seems, from what US ambassador Susan Rice says, that craven Washington cannot bring itself to call Israel’s settlements on stolen Palestinian land what they really are – illegal – and is only prepared to label them “illegitimate”, presumably in case the correct term ruffles too many Israel lobby feathers.

Falling back onto the administration’s familiar double-speak, Rice explained that the veto “should not be misunderstood to mean we support settlement activity” but the US thinks it “unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians”.

Monday, February 21, 2011

No room for western hypocrisy

The West will be surprised by the will, determination and ability of Arab people to change their future and steer it away from those who forced occupation and humiliation on them

By Bouthaina Shaaban

No room for western hypocrisy

The wave of liberation revolutions sweeping the Arab world has shown the world that the Arabs are alive and deserve freedom and are prepared to fight and die for it. But the strangest thing about it is that the neo-conservatives are popping up their heads, which have been crowned by the shame of wars and torture, to claim that they "have been right" all along.

The occupation and despotism guru Elliott Abrams wrote more than once claiming that "democratic transformation started in Iraq", which was left devastated with millions of its people carrying the scars of civil strife, division and massacres.

In focus: Unrest in the Middle East

Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice also wrote and claimed that she was vindicated, not in terms of what she said, but in terms of what she did, including support of Israeli occupation, the war on Iraq and Lebanon, torture in Abu Ghraib and paying lip service to the rulers who supported Israel's war against Lebanon and Gaza.

Rice took part in making decisions which perpetuate Israeli oppression of millions of Palestinians. She took part in destroying Palestinian democracy. Today, she and the creators of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, the symbols of war on Iraq and Afghanistan, the supporters of despotism and corruption, shamelessly claim that they supported "the spread of democracy in the Arab world".

These people don't want to understand that the democratic revolution in the Arab world is, at heart, a response to American suppression of Arab freedom in Palestine and Iraq and the unlimited support they have been giving to the ugliest form of racist occupation in human history.

Only days ago, Hillary Clinton, Rice's successor in the fight against Arab liberation from Israeli oppression, said that "Security Council resolutions are not the right way to make progress towards the two state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict".

The next day Clinton discovered that the "solution" she is promoting lies in "vetoing" a resolution, a mere unbinding resolution at the Security Council to denounce colony building.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Now We Are Bullying The Palestinians

It appears that U.S. dealings with the Palestinians have entered a new phase: bullying.

MJ Rosenberg 

On Thursday, President Obama telephoned Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to urge him to block a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning settlements. Obama pressed very hard during the 50-minute call, so hard that Abbas felt compelled to agree to take Obama's request to the PLO executive committee (which, not surprisingly, agreed that Abbas should not accede to Obama's request).

But what a request it is!

For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, it is the gobbling up of the land by settlements that is likely to prevent a Palestinian state from ever coming into being.

Asking the Palestinian leader to oppose a resolution condemning them is like asking the Israeli prime minister to drop Israel's claim to the Israeli parts of Jerusalem.

In fact, the U.S. request for a mere 90-day settlement freeze (a request sweetened with an offer of $3.5 billion in extra aid) outraged the Netanyahu government. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu couldn't even bring himself to respond (probably figuring that he'll get the extra money whenever he wants it anyway). The administration then acted as if it never made the request at all, so eager is it to not offend Netanyahu in any way.

But it's a different story with Palestinians, for obvious reasons (they have no political clout in Washington). Even when they ask the U.N. to support them on settlements, the administration applies heavy pressure.

But why so much pressure? After all, it's a big deal when the president calls a foreign leader and, to be honest, the head of the Palestinian Authority is not exactly the president of France or prime minister of Canada.

The reason Obama made that call is that he was almost desperate to avoid vetoing the United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements. And it's not hard to see why.

American Zionism against the Egyptian Pro-Democracy Movement

by Prof James Petras

One of the least analyzed aspects of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement and US policy toward it, is the role of the influential Zionist power configuration (ZPC) including the leading umbrella organization – the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) – Congressional Middle East committee members, officials occupying strategic positions in the Obama Administration’s Middle East bureaus, as well as prominent editors, publicists and journalists who play a major role in the prestigious newspapers and popular weekly magazines. This essay is based on a survey of every issue of the Daily Alert (propaganda bulletin of the CPMAJO), the NY Times and the Washington Post between January 25 – February 17, 2011.

From the very beginning of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement, the ZPC, called into question the legitimacy of the anti-dictatorial demands by focusing on the “Islamic threat”. In particular the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Alert harped on the “threat” of a “Islamic takeover” by the Muslim Brotherhood even as the overwhelming number of non-Zionist experts and reporters in Egypt demonstrated that the vast majority of protestors were not members of any Islamic political movement, but largely advocates of a secular democratic republic (see the Financial Times 1/26/11-2/17/11).

Once their initial propaganda ploy failed, the ZPC developed several new propaganda lines: the most prominent of which was a sustained defense of the Mubarak dictatorship as a bulwark of Israel’s ‘security’ and guardian of the so-called “Peace Accord” of 1979. In other words the ZPC pressured the US administration, via Congressional hearings, the press and AIPAC to support Mubarak as a key guarantor and collaborator of Israel’s supremacy in the Middle East; although it meant that the Obama regime would have to openly oppose the million-member Egyptian freedom movement. Israeli journalists, officials and their US Zionist counterparts willingly admitted that although the Mubarak regime was a bloody, corrupt tyranny, he should be supported because a democratic government in Cairo might end Egypt’s decades-old collaboration with the brutal Israeli colonization of Palestine.

How Honest is the Honest Broker?

The United States Stands Alone with Israel in the UN Security Council

 

By Richard Falk

In what appears to be as close to a consensus as the world community can ever hope to achieve, the United States reluctantly stood its ground on behalf of Israel and on February 18, 2011 vetoed a resolution on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that was supported by all 14 of the other members of the UN Security Council. The resolution was also sponsored by 130 member countries before being presented to the Council.

In the face of such near unanimity the United States might have been expected to some respect for the views of every leading government in the world, including all of its closest European allies, to have had the good grace to at least abstain from the vote. Indeed, such an obstructive use of the veto builds a case for its elimination, or at least the placement of restrictions on its use.

Why should an overwhelming majority of member countries be held hostage to the geopolitical whims of Washington, or in some other situation, an outlier member trying to shield itself or its ally from a Security Council decision enjoying overwhelming support. Of course this American veto is not some idiosyncratic whim, but is an expression of the sorry pro-Israeli realities of domestic politics, suggesting that it is Israel that is the real holder of the veto in this situation, and the U.S. Congress and the Israeli Lobby are merely designated as the enforcers.


Susan Rice, the American chief representative in the Security Council, appeared to admit as much when she lamely explained that the casting the veto on this text “should not be misunderstood to mean support for settlement construction,” adding that, on the contrary, the United States “rejects in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.” Why then? The formal answer given is that the United States, agreeing with Israel, believes that only in the context of direct negotiations can the issue of settlements be addressed alongside other unresolved matters such as refugees, borders, and the status of Jerusalem. This seems absurdly arrogant, and geopolitically humiliating.

If the 14 other members of the Security Council believe that Israeli should be censured for continuing to build unlawful settlements, and that no negotiations can proceed until it ceases, then it would seem that a united front would be the most effective posture to resumed negotiations. This is especially so here as it is a no brainer to realize that every additional settlement unit authorized and constructed makes it less likely that a truly independent and viable Palestinian state can ever be brought into being, and that there exists the slightest intention on the Israeli side to do so
In view of this feverish Israeli effort to create still more facts on the ground, for the Israelis to contend that negotiations should resume without preconditions, is to hope that the Palestinian Authority will play the fool forever.
After all for more than 43 years the Israelis have been whittling away at the substance of the two state consensus embodied in unanimous Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), contending at every phase of the faux peace process that an agreement must incorporate ‘subsequent developments,’ that is, unlawful settlements, ethnic cleansing. In the end, the Israelis may turn out to have been more clever by half, creating an irresistible momentum toward the establishment of a single secular democratic state of Palestine that upholds human rights for both peoples and brings to an end the Zionist project of an exclusive ‘Jewish state.’ With great historic irony, such an outcome would seem to complete the circle of fire ignited by Lord Balfour’s secret 1917 promise to the Zionist movement of ‘a Jewish homeland’ in historic Palestine, a process that caused a Palestinian catastrophe along the way and brought war and bloodshed to the region.

With settlement resolution veto, Obama has joined Likud

An America that understands that the settlements are the obstacle should have joined in condemning them.

 
This weekend, a new member enrolled in Likud - and not just in the ruling party, but in its most hawkish wing. Located somewhere between Tzipi Hotovely and Danny Danon, U.S. President Barack Obama bypassed Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan on the right and weakened their position.

The first veto cast by the United States during Obama's term, a veto he promised in vain not to use as his predecessors did, was a veto against the chance and promise of change, a veto against hope. This is a veto that is not friendly to Israel; it supports the settlers and the Israeli right, and them alone.

The excuses of the American ambassador to the UN won't help, and neither will the words of thanks from the Prime Minister's Office: This is a step that is nothing less than hostile to Israel. America, which Israel depends on more than ever, said yes to settlements. That is the one and only meaning of its decision, and in so doing, it supported the enterprise most damaging to Israel.

Moreover, it did so at a time when winds of change are blowing in the Middle East. A promise of change was heard from America, but instead, it continued with its automatic responses and its blind support of Israel's settlement building. This is not an America that will be able to change its standing among the peoples of the region. And Israel, an international pariah, once again found itself supported only by America.
This should have disturbed every Israeli. Is that what we are? Alone and condemned? And all for the continuation of that worthless enterprise? Is it really worth the price? To hell with the UN and the whole world is against us?

Israeli education: Molding fascists, one student at a time

The call to oppose the visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a blatant expression of the public's frustration with the galloping takeover by racist and fascist ideas, thought up by right-wing politicians. 

 By Zvi Bar'el

Dread of the Tomb of the Patriarchs has come over us. Innocent and pure Israeli students will fall victim to a cunning ploy by the education minister. They will be "forced" to see the Tomb of the Patriarchs with their own eyes. That's it. The days are over when students were introduced to the tomb only via naive, heartwarming drawings from the 19th century that added Arab peasants and maybe a palm tree.

The students' fresh innocence will be crushed violently when they see Jews praying near the tombs of the patriarchs and the matriarchs. They will not know how the tomb was conquered by these Jews, and God forbid they may think that the tomb is an Israeli asset, part of the imaginary sovereignty that Israel has imposed on the occupied territories.

Let them go and see the tomb, and then Hebron's Beit Hadassah compound, its Avraham Avinu neighborhood, and then on to Kiryat Arba. These aren't pornographic sites children should be warned about. Because what are we thinking - that if they don't see them, nationalism will be eradicated? That fascism will dissolve? Let them go and see. Because next to the Tomb of the Patriarchs they will also pass - there is no way to avoid it - the separation fence that surrounds Bethlehem on your way to Hebron. And near the lines at the checkpoints, they will see the shops in the Hebron market that were closed down because the settlers demanded it.

After all, what do they know about Hebron? Anyone who believes that Kiryat Arba and its invasive satellites are part of the State of Israel will not alter his opinion because of the trip. And anyone who does not recognize this deadly infection caused by the Jewish settlement in the heart of an Arab city will not be able to recognize it any better because of what his teachers tell him, because they haven't bothered to tell him about it yet. Students will continue to think that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is the holiest of holies, and only when they grow up will they be able to go there on their own, perhaps with their military unit, and see the site for the first time. And what then? Will they be less nationalist or less nationalist as adults?

Friday, February 18, 2011

US vetoes UN vote on settlements

Washington blocks resolution condemning Israeli buildings on Palestinian land as illegal and calling for quick halt.

video
 
The United States vetoed a UN resolution Friday that would have condemned Israeli settlements as "illegal" and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.
All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution.
British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. "They are illegal under international law," he said.

He added that the European Union's three biggest nations hope that an independent state of Palestine will join the United Nations as a new member state by September 2011.
The Obama administration's veto is certain to anger Arab countries and Palestinian supporters around the world. An abstention would have angered the Israelis, the closest US ally in the region, as well as Democratic and Republican supporters of Israel in the American Congress.


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.


"While we agree with our fellow council members and indeed with the wider world about the folly and illegitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, we think it unwise for this council to attempt to resolve the core issues that divide Israelis and Palestinians," she said.
Palestinians said the veto is counterproductive to the peace process, helps Israel maintain illegal buildings.

"The American veto does not serve the peace process and encourages Israel to continue settlements, and to escape the obligations of the peace process," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a close aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Pressure to drop resolution

Earlier, the Obama administration has exerted pressure on the Palestinian Authority to drop the UN resolution in exchange for other measures.

Abbas has refused Washington's request to withdraw a UN Security Council resolution demanding Israel to freeze settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian land.

The decision was made unanimously by the Palestine Liberation Organisation's executive and the central committee of Abbas's Fatah movement on Friday, at a meeting to discuss US President Barack Obama's appeal to Abbas by telephone a day earlier.

"The Palestinian leadership has decided to proceed to the UN Security Council, to pressure Israel to halt settlement activities. The decision was taken despite American pressure," said Wasel Abu Yousef, a PLO executive member.

Obama, who had said Israeli settlements in territories it captured in a 1967 war are illegal and unhelpful to the peace process, says the resolution could shatter hopes of reviving the stalled talks.
In a 50-minute phone call on Thursday, he asked Abbas to drop the resolution and settle for a non-binding statement condemning settlement expansion, Palestinian officials said. 

'Goldstone 2'

"Caving in to American pressure and withdrawing the resolution will constitute Goldstone 2," said a Palestinian official, speaking on terms of anonymity before the meeting.
He was referring to the wave of protest in October 2009 accusing Abbas of caving in to US pressure by agreeing not to submit for adoption a UN report that accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the invasion of Gaza two years ago.

Abbas maintains he insisted on submitting the report. A second Palestinian official, speaking before the decision was formalised, said it would be "a political catastrophe if we withdraw this resolution".

"People would take to the streets and would topple the president," he said, noting the wave of protest in the Arab world that swept out the Egyptian and Tunisian presidents.
The Palestinians say continued building flouts the internationally-backed peace plan that will permit them to create a viable, contiguous state on the 1967 land, after a treaty with Israel to end its occupation and 62 years of conflict.

Israel says this is an excuse for avoiding peace talks and a precondition never demanded before during 17 years of negotiations, which has so far produced no agreement.
The diplomatic standoff is complicated by the effects of Middle East turmoil on the Arab League, whose members backed the resolution. Egypt, a dominant member, and Tunisia are preoccupied with their transitions from deposed autocracies, and protests are flaring in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain.

Washington is trying to revive peace talks stalled since September over Israel's refusal to extend a moratorium on settlement building and Abbas's refusal to negotiate further until the Israelis freeze the illegal buildings.

'Nothing to lose'

Obama initially pressured Israel to maintain the moratorium only to relent in the run-up to the 2010 US mid-term elections to avoid, some analysts said, alienating key voters.
Instead of the resolution, Obama told Abbas he would back a fact-finding visit by a delegation of the Security Council to the occupied territories.

One PLO official said the leadership was determined not to cave in "even if our decision leads to a diplomatic crisis with the Americans", adding: "Now we have nothing to lose."
Kristin Saloomey, Al Jazeera's correspondent in New York, said that the US has been doing everything it can to stop this vote from happening, including incentives and threats.
"Apparently Obama threatened [on the phone to Abbas] that there would be repercussions if this vote actually came to the floor of the UN Security Council," she said.

"Today secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, called president Abbas [to put on more pressure] but none of this is getting through to the Palestinians.

"Obama is facing intense domestic pressure not to support the vote. The US is in a tough position, they know that a veto is going to make them look very bad in the Arab world ... and also the rest of the world is really in support of this resolution.
"All of the Security Council members are on the record saying they are going to vote for this resolution including US allies".

Since 2000, 14 Security Council resolutions have been vetoed by one or more of the five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. Of those, 10 were US vetoes, nine of them related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Source: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/2011218201653970232.html 
Video Source :

P.S. Two years ago in a massage to the Arab and Muslim world President Obama stood in Egypt and declared a new new era in U.S. policies toward the Arab and Muslim world.
The same president that refused to condemn the Gaza massacre at the hands of the Israelis; The same president that said " all Israeli settlements were illegal" promised to stop them; The same president that did some arm twisting of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to shelve Judge Goldstone's report; The same president that demanded the shelving of U.N. Human Rights council on Gaza War; The same president that was in bed with Hosni Mubarak the dictator; The same president that was directing his cretinism toward Iran for shooting at protesters, yet stayed quiet when allies Bahrain, Yemen, and Libya were killing protesters by the dozen these past few days.
whats the American quote "Same Shit different Asshole"
And you guys wonder why we are suspicious of America.
Sorry if you can't handle the truth .
What a disgrace Obama has become. So much for the "Change" promises that swept him into office. Nothing but lies.