U.S. $38-Billion Israeli Military Aid Package Props Up Occupation

I’m waiting to hear from all those Israelis and pro-Israelists who thumb their noses at the U.S., dismiss our disagreements with them, and even boast that they don’t need our dollars or weapons.  So where are these folks now?  Will our hasbara commentariat rise as one and denounce this aid deal?  Or will they slink back into the darkness, licking their lips as they contemplate all those new Iron Dome batteries, F-16s and 35s, and cyberwar capabilities which $38-billion can buy?

What I really wanted to focus on tonight was Pres. Obama’s absolutely bankrupt statement that U.S. largess should open the hearts of Israelis to finally negotiate a two-state solution:

But in a nod to his differences with Mr. Netanyahu…Mr. Obama also stressed the importance of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an imperative he said was as vital to Israel’s security as the aid package itself.

“It is because of this same commitment to Israel and its long-term security that we will also continue to press for a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal,” Mr. Obama said. “As I have emphasized previously, the only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine.”

There comes a time when repeating the same useless rhetoric ad nauseam becomes worse than boring and lapses into insult or worse.  Obama is like the man who adopts a cute lion cub and let’s it have the run of his home.  A year later when it weighs hundreds of pounds and threatens to devour him, he wonders where the cute little baby went.  Israel is no longer that cute cub, it is a man-eater, a Palestinian-eater.  Stop thinking of it as what it long ago stopped being.  Israel will never, of its own volition, accept a two-state solution.  Get that into your thick skull, Mr. President.

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that Obama, who is certainly a smart man, already knows this.  But instead of admitting the truth, he continues a charade because this is what he believes is necessary to keep the Israel Lobby quiet and content.  Of course, if that is his thinking it’s cowardly and cynical.  Though this sort of playing-it-safe approach to confronting political opposition is something we’ve grown used to–and wearied of–regarding Obama.

Giving Israel $38-billion is like giving a crack addict a key to the medicine cabinet.  Do you think Israel will be any more compliant or open to negotiating a peace agreement after you’ve plied it with military goodies and hardware?  This agreement is a birthday cake.  It’s a Good Housekeeping seal of approval as far as Israel is concerned.  It will not move it a single centimeter off the dime toward a peace deal.

Of course, there’s the distinct possibility that Obama sees this deal as the sweetening of the pot that was required to silence pro-Israel critics of the Iran nuclear deal.  Republicans are complaining about the $400-million “ransom” Obama paid to get our hostages back from the Iranians.  This aid package puts the ransom to shame.  We just bought ourselves Israeli acquiescence to a nuclear deal against which they screamed bloody murder.  Except it didn’t.  Bibi never toned down his opposition.  He continued to bellyache about it to anyone who would listen, including the entire U.S. Congress to which he whined in a GOP-orchestrated insult to the president.

Which is to say that I’m not sure what this $38-billion in buying.  But I do know one thing: it’s unnecessary and destructive of the possibilities for real peace in the region.

Susan Rice added insult to injury in her own spin, er–take, on the agreement:

“We don’t have any plans to do anything particularly dramatic at this point,” she said. “We continue to want to see a two-state solution remain a live option. It’s vitally important.”

When the word “dramatic” is used as a substitute for a concrete U.S. policy you know you’re in trouble.  Further, she says she wants the two-state solution to remain a live option when it is DOA, and has been for years.  How can it be ‘vitally important’ when it’s hopeless and you know it?  This even insults the English language it’ss so patently transparent.

The thought crosses my mind that all these people are smart enough to know what they’re saying is ridiculous.  They know that the only way to achieve a real peace given Israel’s political intractability is something far more radical than a two-state solution.  But they know they don’t have the political will or capital to bring this to pass.  So they require a placeholder permitting them to say they have a policy, even though they don’t.  So two-states becomes this empty suit, a Potemkin village hiding the fact that there is nothing behind it.  Two-states is a sham and a cruel one at that.

Let’s not leave this miasma without noting the “wisdom” of Aaron David Miller, one of the NY Times’ “go-to” commentators on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  His liberal Zionist/Israel Lobby credentials make him a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Someone who ratifies to the discredited status quo while appearing to be an independent liberal voice.  Here he is opining on what Pres. Obama might do before his term ends:

“…It [Obama’s statement] reflects the strong possibility that sometime by year’s end, President Obama will put out some sort of virtual peace process plan.”

Can anyone tell me what-the-hell a “virtual peace process plan” is?  Is it any more tangible than the non-existent peace process that currently exists?  And don’t you just love the word “virtual” in that sentence, which confirms that U.S. policy is little more than a few bytes existing in some virtual reality.

The article suggests the possibility that before he leaves office Obama will make some sort of definitive speech which lays out the parameters of a final resolution to the conflict.  I doubt he will do this.  But even if he does, it will mean nothing since he will not be president nor have any power to bring it about.  Instead, the Israel Lobby’s favorite Democrat, Hillary Clinton, buttressed by Haim Saban’s millions, will retain the status quo.

Even Colin Powell, in his hacked e-mails had the foresight to appreciate Hillary’s “unbridled ambition,” accompanied by her total lack of innovation (“not transformational”).  We will see more of the same over the next four or eight years.  Think how many Israelis and Palestinians will die during this interval.  Don’t, the thought is too depressing.