UPDATE: Bibi’s already gotten the idea I was attempting to articulate below.
After speaking with my friend, Sol Salbe, he reminded me that Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Tuesday in Washington with Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu. The meeting has been touted by Bibi, and the American Jewish and Israeli media as what’s known in Hebrew as a sulha, a meeting of reconciliation where differences are forgiven and the parties seek to put their best foot forward and show the world they’re on the same page. This was Rahm Emanuel’s gracious invitation:
“On behalf of the President I am happy to extend an invitation to visit President Obama in the White House for a working meeting to discuss our shared security interests” – meaning Iran’s nuclear program – “as well as our close co-operation in achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors,” Emanuel told the prime minister.
The hell with that. The sulha is toast
I’d advise Rahm Emanuel, who ironically is now in Israel celebrating his son’s Bar Mitzvah, to get on the phone with Bibi and tell him that he’s been summoned home to deal with the grave situation presented by the attack. If either Bibi or Barack think they can go through with this meeting in light of this unmitigated disaster, they should have their heads examined.
My prediction: within 12 hours an announcement from Bibi’s spokesperson that urgent developments at home have forced him to cut short his foreign trip and he will be forced to postpone his visit with the president to a more propitious moment.
Now let’s talk about a few ironies. The day before Joe Biden was to meet with Bibi, the latter’s government announced 1,600 new settlement units in East Jerusalem. After much sturm und drang and a failed meeting with Obama at which there may have been some screaming and kicking, Bibi announced that he would be a good little boy and end the provocations during the four-month period when Mitchell would be attempting to kickstart direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Does anyone in the Israeli government or IDF know what they’re doing? Are they insane? Finally, have they taken complete leave of their senses? This is all Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer could muster:
“The images are certainly not pleasant.
Dimi Reider is reporting that Israeli media notes that Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of Israel’s Islamic movement, has been seriously wounded in the flotilla attack. This single fact, should it lead to the Sheikh’s death, would be enough to plunge Israel into a third Intifada. There will be protests within Israel by Palestinian citizens. There will be protest in Gaza by his supporters in Hamas. The entire Muslim world will join in in solidarity.
Israel made the very grave mistake of murdering people aboard a Turkish ship in international waters. The foreign ministry has released this protest. I predict the recall of Turkey’s ambassador to Israel (the same one Danny Ayalon treated like a retarded midget) and the possible severing of diplomatic relations. In fact, Amos Harel pretty much confirms my hunch. I predict a long hard couple of years of frigid relations with Turkey in which the current Islamist government will make life miserable for Israel in every international forum it can find. You want Goldstone before the Security Council? You got it. You want international arrest warrants against Israeli generals? You got it.
Spain, Greece and Turkey all summoned Israeli ambassadors [home]…
Gaza Freedom March tweets that Sweden has withdrawn its ambassador and that Ireland has declared an emergency (not sure what this means). It’s going to be a long hot couple of weeks for the foreign ministry. EU members don’t take kindly to their members being murdered in cold blood on the high seas. How long will we wait for a similar response from Hillary??
I would invite international human rights lawyers to begin preparing a brief against the navy commander Eliezer Marom. No to impunity. Speaking of which, the IDF has prepared a press release with this nonsense:
During the boarding of the ships, demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally, one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces first employed riot dispersal means, and followed by live fire.
According to initial reports, these events resulted in over ten deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injuries. In addition, more than four naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured parties, Israelis and foreigners, are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.
Reports from IDF forces at the scene indicate that some of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.
Even if any of this turns out to be true–and I warn my readers that when the IDF pulls something boneheaded like this it is more than apt to lie–there is absolutely no justification for a wholesale massacre. One way to judge the merit of the IDF claim is to see if they offer any video of the incident. If they don’t you know they’re lying.
With any luck it will be a long time before Bibi gets another one of these invitations. How many times will Barack let himself get burned by this right-wing bulvan?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.