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Obama Protects Pro-Israel Right Flank, Beating Iran War Drums

barack obama aipac

Obama: this one's got Aipac's name written all over it

Pres. Obama is attempting to steal a march on Bibi Netanyahu, who will be arriving in Washington in four days, by giving pro-Israel journalist, Jeffrey Goldberg, an interview heavy with martial overtones:

President Obama…stiffened his pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, even as he warned Israel of the negative consequences of a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Seeking to reassure a close American ally that contends it has reached a moment of reckoning with Iran, Mr. Obama rejected suggestions that the United States was willing to try to contain a nuclear-armed Iran.

The other half of Obama’s message, and the one that I hope is operative and that Bibi hopes is window-dressing, is Obama’s warning that an Israel attack is a helluva bad idea:

The president also said he would try to convince Mr. Netanyahu, whom he is meeting here on Monday at a time of heightened fears of a conflict, that a premature military strike could help Iran by allowing it to portray itself as a victim of aggression. And he said such military action would only delay, not prevent, Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

But this leaves his argument fatally flawed. An Israeli attack would not prevent an Iranian bomb, but somehow an American attack at a later unspecified date would. Of course, it’s true that the U.S. could inflict a great deal more damage on Iran’s nuclear program than an Israeli attack. But even the U.S. military likely could not entirely destroy an Iranian program. We heard a week ago or so that Leon Panetta does not believe that America’s most potent bunker buster can penetrate the Fordow facility.

And listen to what would be involved if we attacked Iran:

The United States could open a broad, sustained attack with long-range B2 stealth bombers, F-18 fighter jets based on aircraft carriers and hundreds of cruise missiles launched from submarines in the Arabian Sea. The United States has plentiful refueling capability, and drone aircraft to assess damage to help direct further strikes.

Given that we did not do this to Pakistan, India or North Korea when they created their own nuclear weapons, do we really think the world will sit back and say nothing as we proceed to pulverize Iran to little pieces? Given the bad blood that our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have generated not just in the Arab/Muslim world, but internationally, do we really believe the world will welcome such new forms of mayhem?

Obama even said it himself:

Mr. Obama said that any military action could deflect attention from other factors in the region that were eroding Iran’s influence.

“At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally is on the ropes,” the president said, referring to Syria, “do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim, and deflect attention from what has to be the core issue, which is their potential pursuit of nuclear weapons?”

An excellent question that Obama shouldn’t just be asking Bibi Netanyahu, but himself and his own Iran war planners.

An alarming element of Obama’s interview was his renunciation of the policy of containment:

Administration officials have signaled that they are not open to a “containment” strategy toward Iran…Such a strategy…would run “completely contrary” to his nuclear nonproliferation policies, and raise a host of dangers the United States could do little to control.

The president [said] Iran’s acquisition of a weapon would set off an arms race in the Middle East, offering a robust case for why the West could not contain Iran the way it did the Soviet Union during the cold war.

There is a “profound” danger that an Iranian nuclear weapon could end up in the hands of a terrorist organization, Mr. Obama said. Other nations in the region would feel compelled to push for nuclear weapons to shield themselves from a nuclear Iran.

So a policy that worked reasonably well for four decades in maintaining a balance of power between Soviet Russia and the U.S. and kept the world safe and peaceful, won’t work in the case of Iran.

As for an “arms race,” does Obama mean a race other than the one that’s brought nuclear weapons to Israel and Pakistan (in the region) and North Korea and India (outside it)? Who else will join the race? Saudi Arabia? But they’re one of our allies, aren’t they? Egypt? Given the upheaval to which it’s been subject over the past year, not to mention the financial emergency it faces, I doubt it will be seeking to spend billions on a nuclear program.

Why does Obama believe Iran would be any more likely to promote nuclear proliferation than, say Pakistan, whose leading nuclear scientist single-handedly helped two nations get nuclear weapons? In fact, Iran exercises far more controls over its program than Pakistan or North Korea (which is also rumored to have contracted with other countries to export its nuclear know-how). Why do we only hear about imagined Iranian vulnerabilities, but not about actual floodgates of nuclear technology released by these countries?

In short, this is once again another pathetic performance by the Obama administration. It turns its back on decades of successful foreign policy in return for dickering with Israel over how many Iranians we’ll kill and when we’ll do it. Sure, our target will be the nuclear program alone. But do we think we won’t kill thousands, if not tens of thousands of others? Not to mention what will happen after Iran counter-attacks and kills some of ours, and the pressure for massive retaliation rises. This isn’t laser-based brain surgery we’re talking about. It’s dropping 30,000 pound bombs and firing 2,000 mile-an-hour missiles.

Meanwhile, back in the Hall of Mirrors that is Israeli strategic thinking, Bibi today said the world would understand if Israel attacked Iran:

“…Israel, like any sovereign country…reserve[s] the right to defend [itself] against a country that calls and works for our destruction.”

Well, er, not quite, Mr. Prime Minister.  Iran never called for Israel’s destruction.  You only claim it did.  As for “defending itself,” usually nations defend themselves after they directly attacked.  If Israel attacks, it might be the first time in history one country struck another for saying bad things about it.  It might be the first time in history that one country (with nuclear weapons) has attacked another (without them) because the victim nation might be developing them.

There are those who point to Iran’s alleged support of Hezbollah and Hamas, as justification for attacking Iran.  To them I’d ask, Iran has presumably supported these groups for years.  If Iran’s so-called support of terror against Israel is so damaging, why didn’t Israel attack Iran directly earlier?  For example, if Hezbollah received those 20,000 missiles from Iran with which it attacked Israel in 2006, why not attack Iran to punish it?  You didn’t then, why now?

Bibi has the chutzpah to demand that Iran stop its uranium enrichment program, something Iran is entitled to under the Non Proliferation Treaty it signed, and which Israel hasn’t.  If Iran ends its uranium enrichment, why not Israel ending its own?  Why is Israel entitled to the bomb, but not Iran?  Israel has enemies?  Iran doesn’t?  You claim Iran only has enemies because it’s earned them?  Many say precisely the same about Israel.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

If Israel attacks Iran, and even more so if the U.S. supports such aggression in any significant way, this will be the triumph of delusional thinking and psychopathology in Middle East relations.  If we want to explore the sorts of conflicts that could lead to the end of the human race through mass violence, you have only to watch the gathering storm unfold.

What is almost as sad about this is that if Iran wants a nuclear weapon, it will get one.  After it gets one, Obama and Bibi, for all their fulminating, will look very small and insignificant in the eyes of the world.  There is no way that Obama can physically prevent Iran from getting a bomb short of invading the country and toppling the regime.

Most analysts who view this subject pragmatically, believe that Iran will not create a nuclear bomb.  Rather, it will assemble the various components of such a program so that if it needed one it would put one together for preventive.  So far, Obama has not stated that this would cross a red line, while Israel has.  But if the U.S. approves of attacking Iran for anything short of putting together a bomb, it will have to explain why Japan’s nuclear program, which is based on precisely the same principle, is safe, while Iran’s poses a mortal danger.

NOTE: I’m “delighted” to see that Aipac, proving true to form, has ejected, Mitchell Plitnick, a Zionist journalist from covering its national conference.  Mitchell’s sin?  He used to work for Jewish Voice for Peace and B’Tselem.  Aipac also put Phil Weiss is herem, which is less surprising considering that Phil is anti-Zionist (though he has covered three previous Aipac conferences without incident).  JTA says that “barring coverage” is a rarity in Washington political circles.  Unfortunately, the reporter (likely Ron Kampeas) doesn’t realize that Aipac routinely bans journos it doesn’t like.  In fact, I reported here that it frog-marched the Guardian’s Chris McGreal out of the 2009 national conference, despite the fact that he had registered for the conference and been accredited to cover it.

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{ 59 comments… add one }

  • sass March 3, 2012, 1:08 AM

    Bibi in 1992 said that Iran would have a nuke by 1999. Peres said in 1996 that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. I’ve been listening to Israels existenial threats for over 30 years and its the same old story. First it was a scruffy freedom fighter/terrorist/peacemaker/terrorist wearing a keffiyeh in Lebanon, then it was a looney colonel in North Africa, a moustached dictator who used to be our friend ,as long as he was killing Iranians, and now its the yoghurt eating mullas of Persia.
    I think the whole thing is a diversion to distract from the occupation, the usurping and destruction of Palestinian society. Its always the same line the hasbara merchants use, “now is not the time to be pressuring Israel ”
    The merry-go-round continues.

    • Denis March 3, 2012, 2:11 PM

      Well said, and at times I agree.

      It’s all diversionary babble. There is no way Israel is going to spend months and years warning an enemy that it is going to be attacked. There would be no advantage to such posturing because no public threat Israel could make would effect Iran’s plans by one iota, except to encourage them to dig deeper into the mountains.

      I remember being in the NY theater district one night in 1968. Some clown was on a soapbox blowing off about something or other, creating a diversion for his buddy who was picking the pockets of people as they stopped momentarily to listen. Bibi’s blowing off about attacking Iran is the same thing on an international level.

      And yet, you have to ask yourself, if this is all puffery and a put-on, why has Obama stationed 3 carrier groups off of Iran’s coast? That’s almost 10,000 sailors. What’s the daily cost of that to the taxpayer? If Bibi’s babble is diversionary, Obama would be smart enough to know that. Why would he be reacting?

  • John Shreffler March 3, 2012, 3:03 AM

    Col. Lang at SST puts it best:

    “The truth about Israeli hysteria over Iran is that Israel wants Iran crippled so that it will not have a competitor for geo-political power in the ME. The rest is nonsense. The Iranians know that the aftermath of an Iranian nuclear strike on Israel would be an Iran that resembled a parking lot.”

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2012/03/obama-playing-nice-with-israel.html

  • Bob Mann March 3, 2012, 3:32 AM

    You make many very good points in this article.

    I do, however, have to take issue with your claim that Iran has not called for Israel’s destruction.

    As recently as last month, the leader of Iran said that Israel was “a cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”

    He used the phrase “Zionist Regime” in place of Israel, but he never uses the name Israel since he does not recognize it as such. The Iranian state press puts Israel in parenthesis whenever an Iranian leader says Zionist regime.

    I am not sure how you can argue that this statement does not constitute calling for Israel’s destruction.

    • Deïr Yassin March 3, 2012, 4:06 AM

      Reminds me of Baroness Jenny Tonge (the wonderful “If-I- were-a-Palestinian-I-might-as-well-have-become-a-suicide-bomber-myself” English Lady) who withdraw from the Liberal Democrats this week after Clegg asked her to excuse for her commentary on “Israel is not going to stay around forever”. The people who’ve been hunting her for years and prevented her from various posts because of her well-known “pro-Palestinian” stance, just forgot the last part of her comment:
      “Israel is not going to stay around forever IN ITS PRESENT FORM”.

      Hasan Mehdi at the New Statesman compared her comments with Ehud Olmert who’s said more or less the same thing.

      • overlook March 3, 2012, 11:52 AM

        “Hasan Mehdi at the New Statesman compared her comments with Ehud Olmert who’s said more or less the same thing.”

        When Iranian leaders call Israel a “cancerous tumor that should be removed”, on a platform during a military parade – that is a clear threat to annihilate Israel. To deny that, regardless of your position on the IP conflict, is to indulge in extreme self-denial.

        • alexno March 3, 2012, 12:37 PM

          Funny thing – I’ve never seen the original Persian of the ‘cancerous tumour’ remark, so we have no idea whether it was correctly translated or not (always a big problem with Israeli translations).

          Even if it were correctly translated, it is not a call for the annihilation of Israel, rather a reference to Israel’s aggressive policies, which no-one can deny.

          I note that Iran’s Jewish community continues apparently happily, without complaint. If the Iranian Jewish community was anxious as a result of this remark, we would have heard about it. Israel would be very happy, if the Jewish community were forced to flee Iran.

          But we haven’t heard any of that. So it wasn’t a serious issue.

          • overlook March 4, 2012, 2:37 AM

            “it is not a call for the annihilation of Israel, rather a reference to Israel’s aggressive policies, which no-one can deny”

            You clearly don’t seem to understand what constitutes a “reference to aggressive policies”, so I’ll illustrate:

            A reference to aggressive policies:
            Hillary Clinton: “I expressed our strong condemnation of the Syrian government’s brutal repression of demonstrators, in particular the violence and killing of civilians in the hands of security forces,”

            And on the other hand, a threat to annihilate a county:
            “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut”

            One statement is a controlled critique of the Syrian goverment’s policies, and the other refers to an entire country as a “cancer” that needs to be purged.

        • Deïr Yassin March 3, 2012, 2:12 PM

          Why do you reproduce my sentence on Mehdi Hasan’s analysis of Jenny Tonge’s commentary when you don’t address it at all ?
          Talking about ‘Platform’. Maybe you should look up the Likud Platform on the Knesset website. You’ll see what the Likudniks have in mind for the Palestinians after having whiped 80% of them off 78% of their ancestral homeland, and what kind of goyimitude they plan for a future Bantustan.
          Fortunately, you guys have Ahmedinejad or you’d have to invent him ! You just love the guy, he’s giving you the alibi you’re looking for.

          • overlook March 4, 2012, 2:33 AM

            “You just love the guy, he’s giving you the alibi you’re looking for.”

            Absolute nonsense. Does the US “love” Al-Qaeda?

            Abdullah, the Jordanian king, in an interview to a Turkish magazine, said something that is very true:
            “Reviving the peace process is key to defusing any present or future standoff with Iran. We need to shift the focus back on resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This unresolved conflict offers a rallying point for any entity wishing to gain the emotional support of over one billion Muslims around the world. ”

            Iran is a clear and present threat to Israel and the west, and it is completely orthogonal to the Palestinian issue. Reviving the peace-process is indeed the only way to diffuse, at least partially, the bigots of the world who are clamoring for Israel’s destruction.

          • Richard Silverstein March 4, 2012, 12:37 PM

            You can’t revive a peace process when Israel refuses to offer anything acceptable to the Palestinians. That means it’s dead.

            As for the I-P conflict, skip the obscure geometric lingo & get down to brass tacks: it is at the heart of every conflict, animosity and hostility Israel faces in the region whether relating the Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iran, Turkey, Egypt. Though of course each of them have their own national grievances with Israel. But the single theme that unifies them all is the conflict with the Palestinians.

            Iran is not a past, present or even future danger to anyone. If anything, Israel is a far more lethal danger to itself, its neighbors & its enemies.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 1:38 AM

            “You can’t revive a peace process when Israel refuses to offer anything acceptable to the Palestinians.”

            According to Saeb Erekat himself, Olmert offered Abu-Mazen 100% of the territories as well as East-Jerusalem, but Abu-Mazen turned down the offer. Is it possible that things are not black and white as you portray them?

            http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2074.htm

            “it is at the heart of every conflict, animosity and hostility Israel faces in the region whether relating the Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iran, Turkey, Egypt. ”

            It isn’t. This is rhetoric used by Arab rulers to divert attention from their own issues to a common enemy, Israel.

            “Iran is not a past, present or even future danger to anyone.”

            The US, Europe and Israel seem to disagree with you. So do the thousands of casualties of Iranian terror in the region.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 3:24 AM

            That’s a lie. Neither Saeb Erakat nor any other Palestinian every claimed Olmert offered 100% of the Territories since if he had Olmert would’ve been drummed out of office in a heartbeat. The number was closely to the low 90s. Please, this isn’t even close to being credible.

            MEMRI is neither a credible nor acceptable source. READ the comment rules.

            The leaders of the EU, Israel & U.S. think Iran is a danger. But their citizens don’t. Just read the polls I’ve offered here.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 2:17 AM

            @ “overlook” with his head in the sand !
            Not only do you present a cut-and-paste interview of Sa’eb Erekat by MEMRI, notorious manipulators of the “Arab voices”, but you’re also youself dishonnest !

            You write: “According to Erekat himself, Olmert offered Abu Mazen 100% of the territories as well as East Jerusalem”.

            This is simply a lie ! Erekat says – and the English subtitles say the same thing: “a proposal that talked about al-Quds and ALMOST 100% of the West Bank”.
            Erekat then continues insisting on the fact that the Palestinians want a total withdrawal to the ’67-borders (that YOU claim Olmert offered).

            You simply can’t miss that, and you’ve just shown that you’re another dishonnest propagandist !

            We have the Olmert Peace Plan here (in a link):
            http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/haaretz-exclusive-olmert-s-plan-for-peace-with-the-palestinians.1.1970
            We know that Olmert would annex settlements around East Jerusalem that he had no intentions of giving up, that Abu Dis was supposed to be the the Palestinian capital.
            And we also know that Olmert didn’t even have a majority for his plan !
            The Palestine Papers, probably leaked by French-Palestinian Ziyad Clot and not Erekat as rumors say, tell more us about the “generous offer”. Ziyad Clot left the Palestinian team of negociators and wrote a book on the parodi: “Il n’y aura pas un Etat palestinien” (There’s not going to be a Palestinian State) and he’s now endorsing the One State, but then he’s not a member of the collaborators in the PA who make a living out of the “peace process”.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 2:24 AM

            Sorry. Mistake in the link:
            http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/haaretz-exclusive-olmert-s-plan-for-peace-with-the-palestinians-1.1970
            And once again: I really wonder why the hasbara is so eager to lie about the Israeli “peace plans” …..

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 3:17 AM

            “(that YOU claim Olmert offered).”
            I don’t make that claim, Saeb Erekat does.

            “that Abu Dis was supposed to be the the Palestinian capital.”
            That’s not what Saeb Erekat says.

            Bottom line – According to Saeb Erekat, Olmert offered basically all that has to be offered. Certainly you’d agree that’s a good baseline for peace negotiations.

            P.S.:
            “Abu Dis was supposed to be the the Palestinian capital.”
            This is not mentioned in the Haaretz link or Saeb Erekat.

            “We know that Olmert would annex settlements around East Jerusalem ”
            Yes. Every peace plan would involve annexation of existing Israeli settlements in exchange to giving back land in the 48′ territories. No peace plan talks about returning to the exact 67′ borders.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 3:32 AM

            “Almost 100%” is not 100% as you claimed. Very, very sloppy. You simply can’t make egregious errors like that & be taken seriously by anyone. “Almost 100%” is not “almost all that has to be offered.” There is a huge difference between 90% (which is about what previous failed Israeli offers entailed) & 100%, which no Israeli has offered. And no, 90% is not “a good baseline” for peace negotiations.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 4:07 AM

            “And no, 90% is not “a good baseline” for peace negotiations.”

            You’re right, but Erekat isn’t talking about 90%. You just made that number up. He’s talking about 100%.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:03 PM

            You’ve lied once again even after it was pointed out to you. I don’t have the energy to point it out again, but my comment rules demand accuracy & facts. If you insist on lies then you run the risk of having your privileges here restricted or eliminated. Follow the rules.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 4:18 AM

            Another admission of Palestinian officials of Olmert’s 100% offer: http://www.haaretz.com/news/abbas-olmert-offered-pa-land-equaling-100-of-west-bank-1.1747

            “Abbas: Olmert offered PA land equaling 100% of West Bank”

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:06 PM

            Ah I see what they’re talking about. A nifty trick too. The key word is “equal to.”. He didn’t offer 100% of the West Bank. He offered 90% of the West Bank & Negev land swaps that would equal 100% of the West Bank territory. Not the same by a long shot.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 4:39 AM

            “The number was closely to the low 90s.”
            92% was the number in Camp-David. 100% was the number in Annapolis, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

            “MEMRI is neither a credible nor acceptable source. READ the comment rules.”
            Does the video I provided contain an inaccurate translation?

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:08 PM

            I’m not interested in debating about MEMRI. It is an ideological, error prone propaganda outfit and not acceptable as a source. Period.

          • Haver March 5, 2012, 6:22 AM

            Overlook the Olmert proposal did not represent an offer to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines. So no, he most certainly did not offer 100 percent of the occupied territories. Olmert proposed annexing nearly 7 percent of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. http://www.haaretz.com/hasite/images/iht_daily/D171209/olmertmap.pdf

            The land Olmert offered in the Judean Desert and adjacent to the Gaza Strip are hardly comparable to the land situated on the water aquifer at Ariel or the land occupied by Ma’ale Adumim in East Jerusalem. In any event the negotiations ended when Olmert launched Operation Cast Lead, which amply demonstrated Israel’s bad faith.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 7:34 AM

            “Overlook the Olmert proposal did not represent an offer to withdraw to the pre-1967 lines.”

            No Palestinian or Israeli leader has ever asked to return to the exact layout of the 67′ borders. It widely known that any peace treaty would result in some degree of land swaps.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:15 PM

            You lied in claiming Olmert offered 100% of the West Bank & now have the chutzpah to claim that no Israeli leader ever offered the deal which you specifically claimed Olmert offered.

            BTW, all Palestinian leaders want a return to 67 borders with no land swaps & have said so numerous times. But unlike Israeli leaders, they’re willing to compromise significantly on behalf of getting a peace deal.

            So you lied again. This is getting old very fast. I warn you to be accurate and precise in yr claims.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 10:03 AM

            @ overlook
            You’re not the first hasbarista around, and if there’s something I’ve learned about Zionist propagandists, it’s that they are ALL liars without any exception !

            “I didn’t make that claim, Saeb Erekat did”
            NO, HE DIDN’T !! This is simply incredible ! You’ve been cut pants down lying and you continue ! In that interview he says “a proposal that talked about al-Quds and almost 100% of the West Bank”
            The important is the ALMOST, and the 3,5% that Israel would keep according to the Olmert Peace Plan is around Jerusalem which is not included in the plan.

            Erekat didn’t talk about Abu Dis. I did ! I didn’t wait for a cut-and-paste interview from MEMRI to know about the Olmert Peace Plan.

            Why don’t you look at it in the link I posted ? Maybe you should look into what was leaked in the Palestine Papers on the socalled “negotiations”. We all know that the Olmert Peace Plan didn’t offer 100% of the West Bank so it’s not another Haaretz-article that’s going to convince anyone. Olmert wanted to keep the settlements around Jerusalem thus preventing a geographical continuum for a Palestinian state.
            Irhal !

            How can you claim that no peace plan involves returning to the exact ’67-borders when you just claimed that Olmert offered Aby Mazen 100% of the territories as well as East Jerusalem. At least stick to the same lie instead of contradicting yourself !

          • Haver March 5, 2012, 10:12 AM

            No Palestinian or Israeli leader has ever asked to return to the exact layout of the 67′ borders.

            That’s nonsense. The Palestinians have requested recognition of their statehood within the 1967 frontiers. They have endorsed the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land-for-peace principle, and Israel’s acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.
            http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm

            They also accepted the so-called Mitchell report, which is cited in the Quartet Road Map terms of reference. It noted that resolution 242 requires Israel to first withdraw its armed forces from the territory it occupied in 1967 before the Palestinians can be asked to terminate all states of belligerency. It also stressed the illegality of Israel’s unilateral annexation of Jerusalem and its settlement policy. Those have been imposed by the threat or use of force. See the findings under the heading “Fourth Geneva Convention” on pdf page 65. link to consilium.europa.eu

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 10:27 AM

            “Olmert wanted to keep the settlements around Jerusalem thus preventing a geographical continuum for a Palestinian state.”

            Correct. These settlements are likely to be annexed into Israel in exchange to territories inside current Israel.

            “How can you claim that no peace plan involves returning to the exact ’67-borders when you just claimed that Olmert offered Aby Mazen 100% of the territories as well as East Jerusalem”

            Perhaps you were confused by my phrasing. The future Palestinian state will have the size of the 67′ territories, but not on the exact 67′ borders. Why are you so displeased with that compromise?

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:20 PM

            No she wasn’t “confused by yr phrasing.” She & I & every other reader understood yr phrasing very well. But it was a lie. Now you claim we were confused. You have a lot of friggin’ nerve.

            Palestinians along with any other self respecting nation want contiguous territory and not a bunch of disparate bantustans surrounded by Israeli territory.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 10:28 AM

            Erratum: ‘you’ve been caught pants down’ and not ‘cut’.

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 10:34 AM

            UN Resolution 242, on which these initiatives rely upon, does not require Israel to retreat to the exact same borders as in 67′, but rather from “territories” occupied in 67′.

            U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, who represented the US in discussions, later stated: “The notable omissions in regard to withdrawal are the word ‘the’ or ‘all’ and ‘the June 5, 1967 lines’ the resolution speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories, without defining the extent of withdrawal”.[78]

            In any event, you’re making a moot point. The Palestinian moderates have already agreed on a satisfactory territorial solution that includes land swaps. Argue with Abu-Mazen and Saeb-Erekat, not me.

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:25 PM

            The Palestinians have “agreed to” nothing since no peace agreement has ever been signed. What they did agree to in the Olmert negotiations was so roundly criticized by the Al Jazeera Palestine Papers expose that Erakat resigned his position in disgrace. Somehow like a bad penny he’s returned. But without any mention of that “agreement” you so cherish.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 10:43 AM

            “Maybe you were confused by my phrasing”
            Maybe you were deliberately lying !
            1) You were distorting what Erekat said and you insisted on the same lie in another comment though I quoted his exact words !
            2) When someone claims “100% of the territories” this is always understood as 100% of the West Bank, and not some territory next to Gaza or the “Judean Desert”.
            3) There’s nothing about ‘offering’ East Jerusalem in the Olmert Peace Plan. Another lie of yours !
            Why don’t you look up the plan and see why I’m displeased.
            By the way, I don’t care about your “peace plans”. I don’t trust Israelis on this, and I never had ! I’m a One Stater, always have been, and that’s what we’re heading towards, and the ROR will bee implemented too. bi-sumûd.
            See you in a century or two – or maybe 10 years, who knows – in a democratic One State !

          • overlook March 5, 2012, 11:16 AM

            “I’m a One Stater, always have been, and that’s what we’re heading towards, and the ROR will bee implemented too.”

            That would explain your evident hostility towards the peace process.
            I am a two-stater, as I believe it is the only solution that can bring true peace and self determination to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

            “See you in a century or two – or maybe 10 years, who knows – in a democratic One State !”

            Good luck with that. :)

          • Richard Silverstein March 5, 2012, 1:30 PM

            You’re not a 2 stater. You’re really a 1 stater who has a PM so skillful at a staving off the historically inevitable that you’ll never have to actually recognize a Palestinian state.

            If you were a 2 stater you’d demand yr PM share Jerusalem, end the Gaza siege, recognize a Palestinian state & end the Occupation. Now. Until you do that you’re no 2 stater. You’re a hypocrite.

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 11:39 AM

            My personal opinon, however, does not make me lie about the “Peace Process” and the different plans. You do ! And we all know this is a Zionist procedure to gain time. The “discussing-how-to-share-the-pizza-while-eating-it” as Ali Abunimah stated. Or as Yankel wrote on another thread: “Time is real estate” (I hope he’s made a copyright).

          • Haver March 5, 2012, 12:41 PM

            U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg, who represented the US in discussions

            Goldberg’s opinion is irrelevant, since he was only tasked with implementing the policies of the President and Secretary of State. Neither viewed unilateral Israeli annexation as legal and neither agreed that Israel could retain territory without obtaining the Arab’s consent. Richard doesn’t like cross-posting material from other websites, but all of the English speaking Cabinet officials responsible for negotiating resolution 242 agreed that the French version of the withdrawal clause, with the definite article intact, is equally authentic in its intended meaning. You can read more about that here:
            http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/the-settlements-are-illegal-regardless-of-whether-israel-is-recognized-as-a-jewish-state.html#comment-239964

            You keep shreying that Arafat and Abbas turned down the territorial proposals, while pretending they’ve agreed to a different territorial settlement than the one outlined in the Arab Peace Initiative or Mitchell report.

            In fact the Armistice lines were adopted by the Security Council as an interim measure under the auspices of Article 40, Chapter VII, of the UN Charter (UNSC resolutions 62 & 73).

            During the Security Council’s 433rd meeting, the Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban, stated that the armistices were “a provisional settlement which can only be replaced by a peace agreement” and:

            The armistice lines do not merely separate armed forces. They mark the clearly defined areas of full civil jurisdiction. The Government, the courts, the legislatures, the security authorities of each respective State operate smoothly and unchallenged up to the appropriate armistice line. These lines thus have the normal characteristics of provisional frontiers until such time as a new process of negotiation and agreement determines the final territorial settlement. They are also stabilized by the mutual undertakings of the parties and by the fullest international sanction for as long as the Armistice Agreements are valid.

            The Armistice Agreements are not peace treaties. They do not prejudice the final territorial settlements. On the other hand, the provisional settlement established by the Armistice Agreements is unchallengeable until a new process of negotiation and agreement has been successfully consummated.

            link to un.org

          • Deïr Yassin March 5, 2012, 1:24 PM

            @ Haver
            God bless you and your knowledge on this subject :-D
            The hasbara trick concerning “territories” in the resolution 242 is just amazing.
            I mostly comment on French-speaking blogs, and all the Zionist propagandists actually refer to the English text because they know that the French text with “des territoires” (de+les=des) is clear, that is “the territories”.

    • rfjk March 3, 2012, 5:00 AM

      Bombastic personal opinions & unofficial statements is brainless pomposity and bluster no matter from where such fools hail, whether from America, Israel or Iran.

      The entire field of republican candidates running for the US presidency, with the lone exception of Ron Paul are on record supporting regime change and/or bombing Iran. And this is only the tip of the iceberg of far right commentary regarding Iran.

      None of it of course defines or describes current US policy regarding Iran, any more than similar jingoism from Iranians reflects that countries national policies regarding Israel or the US.

    • Haver March 3, 2012, 1:33 PM

      He used the phrase “Zionist Regime” in place of Israel

      Exactly. The rest of the world has no more obligation to guarantee the existence of a Jewish state in Palestine, than a German one in the Sudetenland. The existence of the German people and Jewish people don’t depend upon it either.

  • rfjk March 3, 2012, 5:42 AM

    The buzz from “White House sources” say Obama is going to tell Bibi to shove his redlines for war this coming Tuesday when they meet.

    Reportedly Netanyahu is incensed by the parade of W/H principles who have traveled to Israel, and the war of words between his and Obama’s officials warning Israel against a unilateral, unprovoked attack against Iran.

    Obama’s redline is Iranian possession of nuclear weapons, which in the absence of means continued diplomacy and ultimately negotiation. Bibi wants a US ultimatum to Iran that leads to war and the US to wage it.

    My suspicions are that Bibi is in the process of learning the true nature and character of the President of the US of A, a man he has massively underestimated and had stupidly embarrassed on the domestic and international stage.

  • TimothyL March 3, 2012, 7:18 AM

    I am so depresssed and tired of reading essays like this – excellently based on reason, history, logic, and basic morality to justify all the reasons not to attack Iran. All this good thinking is irrelevant to the fanatics of Israeli militant nationalism who don’t give a damn about reason, logic, lessons of history, or morality. It’s so discouraging. The Israeli and American proponents of death and destruction are, like all lunatics of high IQ, adept at the persuasive counter-semantics of irrational fear and wielders of power beholden to no-one. Forget about the rational world….. we’re in for a ride into a chamber of horrors.

    • weindeb March 3, 2012, 7:47 AM

      A pessimism I share. I well recall the ending of that marvelous anti-war film, King of Hearts, when Alan Bates, bare-assed naked, marhed himself into to the local insane asylum to join the decent and normal people there.

    • rfjk March 3, 2012, 11:52 AM

      “…we’re in for a ride into a chamber of horrors.”

      Calm yourself TimothyL, your worst fears won’t materialize.

      • weindeb March 3, 2012, 1:30 PM

        I do most sincxerely hope you are as accurate as the noted Nostradamus is reputed to be, but the the Iraq War began when, only nine years ago? And this being history I don’t need the medium of a crystal ball to declare this is so. You do remember the Iraq War I presume.

  • Diane V. McLoughlin March 3, 2012, 10:30 AM

    Bob Mann, your question is valid and deserves an answer. Ahmadinajad, like most ME leaders, lament the oppression and immoral displacement of the Palestinian people. He has in the past advocated for a nation-wide referendum of both Israeli Jews and Palestinians regarding what type of government they want for themselves moving forward. It’s the injustice, toward Syria (Golan Heights); Lebanon (Shabaa Farm I think it’s called not to mention past aggressions and occupations of Lebanon); Gaza; West Bank, etc. that fan the flames. So the fanning has to stop, rather than blowing to smithereens a country that looks on with a jaundiced eye. The geopolitical situation is more complex than a simple Israel/Iran paradigm, however. It is not, in reality, only Israel that threatens Iran.

  • Diane V. McLoughlin March 3, 2012, 10:33 AM

    Sharing this time-sensitive missive from JVP: ‘Starting Monday, March 5, Jewish Voice for Peace has rented a giant truck so that when members of Congress go to the AIPAC Gala, or when their staffers show up for work the same morning they are flooded with thousands of volunteer AIPAC lobbyists, they’ll get our message:

    ‘AIPAC speaks for AIPAC, not for the Jews.
    AIPAC supports war with Iran. American Jews don’t.

    ‘The truck driving around the conference grounds will make it clear that AIPAC doesn’t represent us. Not when they bang the drums of war with Iran, not when they support Israel’s occupation, not when they intimidate members of Congress, and not when they ask for unconditional military aid for Israel.

    ‘I want your name on that truck. We only have 75 hours to gather as many name as possible to leave no doubt that there might be a few thousands AIPAC supporters inside the conference, but there are hundreds of thousands outside of it, in every way. Will you add your name?’

  • alexno March 3, 2012, 12:59 PM

    The first thing that has to be said about Obama’s remarks is that this is politicking, faced with the electoral year. Whatever else you say about them.

    Obama is certainly sufficiently cowed, to give the ‘go’ order. If he doesn’t have enough sense to see the disadvantages for the US in going ahead. But that is a secondary issue. The primary one is the politics of the election.

    It reminds me of the Balfour Declaration. That was done for political reasons. It wouldn’t have been made reality, if it hadn’t been for the tenacious pursuit by the Zionists at the end of WW1.

    • John Welch March 3, 2012, 1:57 PM

      I doubt that President Obama is intimidated to the point where he would let the Prime Minister of Israel decide that the USA should declare war on Iran. We — the US — are painfully untangling ourselves from the occupation of Iraq, a flat country about 1/3 the size of Iran, where the entire US military has been absorbed for most of a decade.

      No matter how loud the NY Times becomes. The Times shouted loudly that Iraq had an advanced nuclear program, and that Saddam Hussein might use poison gas on neighbors, or on the US, at any minute. Then everybody saw…

      • weindeb March 3, 2012, 2:49 PM

        Ah, the sainted New York Times. How well I recall their little drummer girl, Judith Miller, who front-page shilled so well and successfully to get us to wage a criminal war on Iraq. Eventually, after said Times reluctantly dismissed her, she became a fellow – what a joke! – at the right-wing Manhattan Institute. Now I see she’s a member of the vaunted Council on Foreign relations, just like the pardoned criminal Elliot Abrams, once gainfully afloat in Central American blood. I wonder if now they are both happily a-tremble over the possibility of war against Iran, the Council being what it is, faux non-partisan. I do highly recommend, except for gardening and arts articles and such, reading the Times with an advanced degree of protective skepticism.

    • rfjk March 3, 2012, 4:18 PM

      If the politics of reelection carry any weight at all, its a profound and powerful factor motivating Obama against supporting Israeli aggression, and/or starting a war with Iran that can only end badly for the US.

  • lifelong March 3, 2012, 3:47 PM

    The scene’s already been set and the curtains are drawn: there will be no war with Iran.

    Whether it’s the $10/gallon fuel, the Sunburns, or the fortified sites, the US has taken several very important steps to making it impossible for it to engage in military conflict.

    Step 1: Leo Panetta – “The Iranians are NOT building nuclear weapons.”

    HUGE turnaround since the official US position had never been to clearly accept the conclusions of the NIE assessments.

    Step 2: Martin Dempsey – “The Iranians are rational actors.”

    Another HUGE turnaround which flies in the face of the Israeli’s claim that Iran is ruled by irrational lunatics.

    Step 3: Humanizing of the Iranian threat – both step 1 and step 2 move away from the relentless onslaught to turn Iranians into less than human barbarians, which they can move on to kill.

    If you state that the Iranians have a thought process, that they are calculating individuals who are only interested in number one (a very relatable quality), and who have no clear intention of seeking the end of humanity, you can’t convince as many people of their worthiness as targets anymore – instead you’re preparing them for the negotiation table, so your people aren’t shocked when Iranians are negotiated with as human beings.

    Putin’s vow to protect Iran from a military onslaught probably took care of the rest…

    • weindeb March 3, 2012, 4:32 PM

      Certainly, lifelong, your statement is logical and difficult, indeed almost impossible, to refute…except that forever and always, it seems, malevolent idiocy too often has a way of reversing both logic and sanity.

      • lifelong March 3, 2012, 5:42 PM

        Absolutely, couldn’t agree more.

        My statement is probably also overly hopeful, since i’m convinced the whole thing is just a monumental bluff by all parties involved.

    • Denis March 3, 2012, 7:17 PM

      A monumental bluff . . . indeed.

      By whom? Bibi or Obama?

      Bibi has not put a single shekel into this bluff — talk is not just cheap; it’s free. And that’s all he’s done. I have yet to find a way to bluff at poker without putting up some of my own money.

      Obama, OTOH, is pouring tens of millions of American taxpayers’ money into the Arabian Sea everyday while 3 aircraft carrier groups sit off shore. An unprecedented naval build up. There are now rumors of a 4th ACC en route. What are they doing? Guarding OBL’s rotting carcass?

      Yes, . . . whatever it is that’s going on, I would call it “monumental.” But I would hesitate to characterize it as a bluff just yet. I can see both sides of this argument.

      • lifelong March 3, 2012, 9:04 PM

        If only American politicians were afraid of their own people this type of ‘unprecedented’ and overtly wasteful use of resources would never be allowed to take place.

        We might not be very far away though from the point where the benefits of appeasing AIPAC and Co. no longer outweigh the domestic repercussions of an angry population. That’s what has me leaning towards the angle that this whole charade is 9 years and one financial meltdown too late.

  • PersianAdvocate March 4, 2012, 8:35 PM

    You’d think that no main stream proponent of speaking out against censorship and these hot issues, specifically naming Israel, exists.

    But then, you’d think wrong: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiqWhbWg6lM
    CHORUS/INTRO: [Skylar Grey]
    It’s so loud Inside my head
    With words that I should have said!
    As I drown in my regrets
    I can’t take back the words I never said
    I can’t take back the words I never said

    [Lupe Fiasco]
    I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullsh*t
    Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets
    How much money does it take to really make a full clip
    9/11 building 7 did they really pull it?
    Uhh, And a bunch of other cover ups
    Your childs future was the first to go with budget cuts
    If you think that hurts then, wait here comes the uppercut
    The school was garbage in the first place, thats on the up and up
    Keep you at the bottom but tease you with the uppercrust
    You get it then they move you so you never keeping up enough
    If you turn on TV all you see’s a bunch of “what the f-cks”
    Dude is dating so and so blabbering bout such and such
    And that aint Jersey Shore, homie thats the news
    And these the same people that supposed to be telling us the truth
    Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
    Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit
    Thats why I aint vote for him, next one either
    I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful
    And I believe in the people.

    [Skylar Grey - Chorus]

    [Lupe Fiasco - Verse 2]
    Now you can say it aint our fault if we never heard it
    But if we know better than we probably deserve it
    Jihad is not a holy war, wheres that in the worship?
    Murdering is not Islam!
    And you are not observant
    And you are not a muslim
    Israel don’t take my side cause look how far you’ve pushed them
    Walk with me into the ghetto, this where all the Kush went
    Complain about the liquor store but what you drinking liquor for?
    Complain about the gloom but when’d you pick a broom up?
    Just listening to Pac aint gone make it stop
    A rebel in your thoughts, aint gon make it halt
    If you don’t become an actor you’ll never be a factor
    Pills with million side effects
    Take em when the pains felt
    Wash them down with Diet soda!
    Killin off your brain cells
    Crooked banks around the World
    Would gladly give a loan today
    So if you ever miss payment
    They can take your home away!

    [Skylar Grey - Chorus]

    [Lupe Fiasco - Verse 3]
    I think that all the silence is worse than all the violence
    Fear is such a weak emotion thats why I despise it
    We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
    So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you
    Sometimes I’m like the only person I feel safe to tell it to
    I’m locked inside a cell in me, I know that there’s a jail in you
    Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath, inhale a few
    My screams is finally getting free, my thoughts is finally yelling through

    I heard Obama is into the edgy hip-hop. C’mon Mr. President, go on, brush those shoulders off.

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