Israel is Just Like Saudi Arabia

On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies and indeed, they have never had diplomatic relations. After all, the Saudis have championed the cause of the Palestinians, who are oppressed by the Israelis. Israelis say they are besieged by Muslim extremists, and many of these extremists are motivated by the intolerant, Wahhabi ideology born and bred in Saudi Arabia.

But beneath the surface, these two old adversaries actually have a lot in common and have become the strangest of bedfellows.

Rumors about the budding relationship have been circulating for the past few years, with gossip that the two countries have been holding secret meetings and exchanging intelligence. In 2015, former Saudi and Israeli officials confirmed that they had, indeed, held a series of high-level meetings to discuss shared concerns such as the growing influence of Iran in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, as well as Iran’s nuclear program. Shimon Shapira, an Israeli representative who participated in secret meetings with the Saudis, said: “We discovered we have the same problems and same challenges and some of the same answers.”

On May 5, Prince Turki bin Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief and one-time ambassador to Washington, and retired Israeli Major General Yaakov Amidror, former national security advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, spoke together in Washington DC at an event hosted by the policy wing of the Israel lobby AIPAC. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, The event, broadcast live online, showed that Saudi Arabia and Israel have finally come out of the closet –– together.

Here are some traits Saudi Arabia and Israel have in common.

Both oppress the non-dominant groups living in their borders. Israel oppresses Palestinians, building settlements on their land and surrounding their villages with apartheid walls and heavily-armed soldiers. Saudi Arabia has set up a political and judicial system that oppresses everyone who is not Sunni (like Shia and non-Muslims), as well as women and millions of migrant workers. Both nations respond to political dissidents in similar ways, using excessive force, arbitrary and indefinite detention, impunity, intimidation, and torture.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have invaded neighboring lands, killing thousands of civilians. Israel has been invading and bombing Gaza since 2008; in 2014 alone the Israeli military killed 2,104 people, mostly civilians, destroyed 17,200 homes and left 475,000 living in emergency conditions. The Saudis have interfered in the internal affairs of neighboring Yemen. In March 2015, they launched a vicious bombing campaign, killing over 6,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, hitting markets, schools, hospitals, residences and wedding parties, and displacing over 2.5 million people. Both use weapons that have been internationally banned: Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza; Saudis used cluster bombs in Yemen.

Religion plays a key role in the politics of both nations. Israel is considered the homeland for the Jewish people and the Basic Laws of Israel that serve in place of a constitution define the country as a Jewish State. Jews get preferential treatment, such as the right for Jews anywhere to immigrate to Israel and automatically become citizens while Muslims face daily discrimination and are treated as second-class citizens. In Saudi Arabia, Mecca is the holiest city for Muslims and the Saudi kingdom considers itself the global center of Islam. Only Muslims can become Saudi citizens and the non-Muslims are treated like second-class citizens.

Both export “products” that promote violence. Israel is a major exporter of weapons and trains police in other countries (including the US) in repressive techniques. The Saudis export the extremist Sunni ideology called Wahhabism all over the Middle East and North Africa. Wahhabism is the ideological basis of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

If the enemy of my enemy is indeed my friend, than it is the hatred of Iran that is bringing these adversaries together. Both view Iran as an existential threat and fear Iran’s growing influence in the region. They both opposed the Iran nuclear deal that was such a great win for diplomacy over war, and they are determined to stop the United States from getting any closer to Iran.

Both nations supported the military coup in Egypt, led by General Adbul Fattah el Sisi, that overthrew a democratically elected government and led to a brutal wave of repression that put 40,000 dissidents in prison. The Saudis have stepped in with billions of dollars to fill the Sisi regime’s coffers, and Egypt has collaborated with Israel in Israel’s continued siege on Gaza.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have been supporting extremist groups in Syria like Al Nusra, which is an al-Qaeda affiliate, as they both are more concerned with overthrowing Assad (who is aligned with Iran) than defeating the Islamic State. The Saudis have sent weapons and money to Al Nusra; Israel has been treating wounded Al Nusra fighters in Israeli hospitals and then sending them back to battle the Syrian army. Israel also killed Lebanese-Iranian advisers who were assisting Assad’s government in fighting against Al Nusra.

Both nations lock up thousands of political prisoners, including minors. In February 2016, Israel had 6,204 Palestinians in prison, 438 of them minors. Many of the minors are imprisoned for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Saudis have beheaded minors, and presently have three prisoners facing execution who were arrested as juveniles for nonviolent protests.

They both spend many millions of dollars to influence US policy. The Israeli government is aligned with the U.S. lobby AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), which is the most influential foreign policy lobby group in the United States. The Saudis have just started their own version called SAPRAC (Saudi American Public Relations Affairs Committee). For years they have been buying influence by contracting influential public relations and law firms like the Podesta Group, and donating to the Clinton Foundation, the Carter Foundation and dozens of think tanks and Ivy League universities.

They are both long-time allies of the United States. US administrations have supported Israel since its founding in 1948; they have also supported an array of Saudi kings since the founding of that nation in 1932. The US has helped guarantee the security of both nations. US taxpayers give over $3 billion a year to support the Israeli military; the US military guards the Persian Gulf for the Saudi royalty, and Saudi Arabia is the number one purchaser of US weapons.

Some say it is good for Israel and Saudi Arabia to bury the hatchet and find common ground. But peace in the Middle East will not be furthered by Israeli-Saudi collaboration. Israel has to make peace with the Palestinians; Saudi Arabia has to come to terms with Iran. Otherwise, Saudi-Israeli collusion will only be a fatal embrace that causes more heartbreak for the region.

— source commondreams.org By Medea Benjamin

Amnesty Condemns Israel’s Persecution of ‘Palestinian Gandhi’

As the trial of renowned Hebron-based Palestinian activist Issa Amro – dubbed by some the “Palestinian Gandhi” for his non-violent resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation – begins on Wednesday, Amnesty International called on the Israeli government to drop “the baseless and politically motivated charges.”

In a statement, Magdalena Mughrabi, deputy regional director for the international human rights organization, said, “The deluge of charges against Issa Amro does not stand up to any scrutiny. If he is convicted we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience.”

Amnesty went further saying that not only should the charges against Amro be dropped, but that the government of Israel must open an investigation into Amro’s allegations of abuse at the hands of the army and police while in custody.

— source telesurtv.net, amnesty.org

Women’s Boat to Gaza

A flotilla bound for Gaza carrying food, medicine and other humanitarian aid was intercepted and seized last week by the Israeli Navy. The Women’s Boat to Gaza had set sail from the Spanish port city of Barcelona in mid-September in an effort to break the ongoing Israeli blockade. Organizers say the Israeli military seized the boat and detained the 13 human rights activists aboard it in international waters about 40 miles away from Gaza’s shore. The Israeli military towed the boat to the port of Ashdod and detained the women for up to four days before deporting them.

Ann Wright talking:

the mission of the Women’s Boat to Gaza, of course, was to bring international attention to the continuing Israeli blockade, naval and land blockade, of Gaza, this 25-mile-long tiny strip, five miles wide, with 1.9 million people living in it, a brutal blockade which controls all the electricity, the food, the—everything to come into Gaza has to come through Israeli hands now. It used to—Egypt was a part of it, but they’ve really blocked their southern border. So, our flotilla was to bring international attention to this continuing blockade.

it was actually a confrontation 34 miles off the coast of Gaza. The Israelis have kind of learned a different lesson from having—after they’ve murdered nine people, and subsequently a 10th person died from the 2010 flotilla with the Mavi Marmara, and 50 other people wounded. They knew that this was a boat of women, of unarmed civilian women, trained in nonviolent action, led by a Nobel Peace laureate and two members of Parliament, one from Algeria, one from New Zealand. And over the course of the three legs of this trip, which was 1,715 miles—it was a long trip, let me tell you—almost three weeks of educational activities, though, in Barcelona, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France, and then down in Messina, Sicily, Italy. So, we were doing an educational thing as we were heading toward Gaza.

The Israelis boarded the boat. It was very interesting. There were 30 people on the Zodiac boat that came up next to us. And when they came up, it was—the front part of it, the bow of it, had women sailors on it. Women sailors were the first ones to board our boat.

The Israeli sailors. They were not in combat gear. They had baseball caps. They had long-sleeved jerseys on, GoPros. So, the Israeli military has kind of learned a lesson. I wish they would learn the same in their treatment of Palestinians, though, because the treatment of us internationals was very different from what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians.

One of the ships had engine problems leaving Barcelona. And we had women from all over the world that had come in, and they were great people who continue to speak about the tragedy of Gaza. As we approached the coastline of Gaza, it was unbelievable. To the left, you could see all of the lights of Israel. To the right, a very distinct line, was darkness, all the way to the south, and that’s Gaza.

And that exemplifies what’s going on there, that the lack of electricity, usually less than four hours a day, the lack of medical supplies. Dr. Fauziah Hasan, who was our medical doctor from Malaysia, she said her organization, MyCARE Malaysia, is trying to reduce the time for operations, which—in Gaza, which now go on to 2025, there are people lined up. And they’re trying to reduce the time that people who need life-saving operations have it. The issue of food, of water, of sewage—all of these things make for the United Nations now saying, by the year 2020, Gaza will be uninhabitable.

– the Obama administration, while continuing to increase its criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, does nothing about the situation.

No, in fact, they give them $38 billion in military and other type of aid, which will be used to hammer the Palestinians both in Gaza and in the West Bank. This $38 billion, the largest military funding package the U.S. has given any nation. And it will be used in the training fields of the Israeli military, which are in Gaza. Gaza is the place where military experiments are done, using U.S. military weaponry and done by the—by the IDF.

I’m a colonel, 29 years in the U.S. military. And I say the U.S. military and our government are complicit in the crimes against the people of Gaza and the West Bank by the use of our military hardware and by the training that the Israelis give us and we give them.

the aid on the boat was really minor. I mean, it was us coming as representatives of the international community. We only had a little 50-foot boat. We really weren’t carrying substantial amounts of anything other than goodwill from the international community.

I got deported. Now I have a 20-year deportation, 10 years from 2010.
_____

Ann Wright
retired Army colonel and former U.S. diplomat. She was one of the 13 passengers on the Zaytouna-Oliva, the Women’s Boat to Gaza attempting to break Israel’s nine-year naval blockade of the territory. Wright’s recent article is titled “Women’s Boat to Gaza Participants See the Israeli Imposed Perpetual Darkness on Gaza.” She is also the co-author of the book Dissent: Voices of Conscience.

— source democracynow.org

How truth slips down the memory hole

25 July 2007

One of the leaders of demonstrations in Gaza calling for the release of the BBC reporter Alan Johnston was a Palestinian news cameraman, Imad Ghanem. On 5 July, he was shot by Israeli soldiers as he filmed them invading Gaza. A Reuters video shows bullets hitting his body as he lay on the ground. An ambulance trying to reach him was also attacked. The Israelis described him as a “legitimate target”. The International Federation of Journalists called the shooting “a vicious and brutal example of deliberate targeting of a journalist”. At the age of 21, he has had both legs amputated.

Dr David Halpin, a British trauma surgeon who works with Palestinian children, emailed the BBC’s Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen. “The BBC should report the alleged details about the shooting,” he wrote. “It should honour Alan [Johnston] as a journalist by reporting the facts, uncomfortable as they might be to Israel.”

He received no reply.

The atrocity was reported in two sentences on the BBC online. Along with 11 Palestinian civilians killed by the Israelis on the same day, Alan Johnston’s now legless champion slipped into what George Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four called the memory hole. (It was Winston Smith’s job at the Ministry of Truth to make disappear all facts embarrassing to Big Brother.)

While Alan Johnston was being held, I was asked by the BBC World Service if I would say a few words of support for him. I readily agreed, and suggested I also mention the thousands of Palestinians abducted and held hostage. The answer was a polite no; and all the other hostages remained in the memory hole. Or, as Harold Pinter wrote of such unmentionables: “It never happened. Nothing ever happened… It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”

The media wailing over the BBC’s royal photo-shoot fiasco and assorted misdemeanours provide the perfect straw man. They complement a self-serving BBC internal inquiry into news bias, which dutifully supplied the right-wing Daily Mail with hoary grist that the corporation is a left-wing plot. Such shenanigans would be funny were it not for the true story behind the facade of elite propaganda that presents humanity as useful or expendable, worthy or unworthy, and the Middle East as the Anglo-American crime that never happened, didn’t matter, was of no interest.

The other day, I turned on the BBC’s Radio 4 and heard a cut-glass voice announce a programme about Iraqi interpreters working for “the British coalition forces” and warning that “listeners might find certain descriptions of violence disturbing”. Not a word referred to those of “us” directly and ultimately responsible for the violence. The programme was called Face the Facts. Is satire that dead? Not yet. The Murdoch columnist David Aaronovitch, a warmonger, is to interview Blair in the BBC’s “major retrospective” of the sociopath’s rule.

Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four lexicon of opposites pervades almost everything we see, hear and read now. The invaders and destroyers are “the British coalition forces”, surely as benign as that British institution, St John Ambulance, who are “bringing democracy” to Iraq. BBC television describes Israel as having “two hostile Palestinian entities on its borders”, neatly inverting the truth that Israel is actually inside Palestinian borders. A study by Glasgow University says that young British viewers of TV news believe Israelis illegally colonising Palestinian land are Palestinians: the victims are the invaders.

“The great crimes against most of humanity”, wrote the American cultural critic James Petras, “are justified by a corrosive debasement of language and thought… [that] have fabricated a linguistic world of terror, of demons and saviours, of axes of good and evil, of euphemisms” designed to disguise a state terror that is “a gross perversion” of democracy, liberation, reform, justice. In his reinauguration speech, George Bush mentioned all these words, whose meaning, for him, is the dictionary opposite.

It is 80 years since Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, predicted a pervasive “invisible government” of corporate spin, suppression and silence as the true ruling power in the United States. That is true today on both sides of the Atlantic. How else could America and Britain go on such a spree of death and mayhem on the basis of stupendous lies about non-existent weapons of mass destruction, even a “mushroom cloud over New York”? When the BBC radio reporter Andrew Gilligan reported the truth, he was pilloried and sacked along with the BBC’s director general, while Blair, the proven liar, was protected by the liberal wing of the media and given a standing ovation in parliament.

The same is happening again over Iran, distracted, it is hoped, by spin that the new Foreign Secretary David Miliband is a “sceptic” about the crime in Iraq when, in fact, he has been an accomplice, and by unctuous Kennedy-quoting Foreign Office propaganda about Miliband’s “new world order”.

“What do you think of Iran’s complicity in attacks on British soldiers in Basra?” Miliband was asked by the Financial Times.

Miliband: “Well, I think that any evidence of Iranian engagement there is to be deplored. I think that we need regional players to be supporting stability, not fomenting discord, never mind death…”

FT: “Just to be clear, there is evidence?”

Miliband: “Well no, I chose my words carefully…”

The coming war on Iran, including the possibility of a nuclear attack, has already begun as a war by journalism. Count the number of times “nuclear weapons programme” and “nuclear threat” are spoken and written, yet neither exists, says the International Atomic Energy Agency. On 21 June, the New York Times went further and advertised an “urgent” poll, headed: “Should we bomb Iran?” The questions beneath referred to Iran being “a greater threat than Saddam Hussein” and asked: “Who should undertake military action against Iran first… ?” The choice was “US. Israel. Neither country”.

So tick your favourite bombers.

The last British war to be fought without censorship and “embedded” journalists was the Crimea a century and a half ago. The bloodbath of the First World War and the Cold War might never have happened without their unpaid (and paid) propagandists. Today’s invisible government is no less served, especially by those who censor by omission. The craven liberal campaign against the first real hope for the poor of Venezuela is a striking example.

However, there are major differences. Official disinformation now is often aimed at a critical public intelligence, a growing awareness in spite of the media. This “threat” from a public often held in contempt has been met by the insidious transfer of much of journalism to public relations. Some years ago, PR Week estimated that the amount of “PR-generated material” in the media is “50 per cent in a broadsheet newspaper in every section apart from sport. In the local press and the mid-market and tabloid nationals, the figure would undoubtedly be higher. Music and fashion journalists and PRs work hand in hand in the editorial process… PRs provide fodder, but the clever high-powered ones do a lot of the journalists’ thinking for them.”

This is known today as “perception management”. The most powerful are not the Max Cliffords but huge corporations such as Hill & Knowlton, which “sold” the slaughter known as the first Gulf war, and the Sawyer Miller Group, which sold hated, pro-Washington regimes in Colombia and Bolivia and whose operatives included Mark Malloch Brown, the new Foreign Office minister, currently being spun as anti-Washington. Hundreds of millions of dollars go to corporations spinning the carnage in Iraq as a sectarian war and covering up the truth: that an atrocious invasion is pinned down by a successful resistance while the oil is looted.

The other major difference today is the abdication of cultural forces that once provided dissent outside journalism. Their silence has been devastating. “For almost the first time in two centuries,” wrote the literary and cultural critic Terry Eagleton, “there is no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist prepared to question the foundations of the western way of life.” The lone, honourable exception is Harold Pinter. Eagleton listed writers and playwrights who once promised dissent and satire and instead became rich celebrities, ending the legacy of Shelley and Blake, Carlyle and Ruskin, Morris and Wilde, Wells and Shaw.

He singled out Martin Amis, a writer given tombstones of column inches in which to air his pretensions, along with his attacks on Muslims. The following is from a recent article by Amis:

Tony strolled over [to me] and said, “What have you been up to today?” “I’ve been feeling protective of my prime minister, since you ask.” For some reason our acquaintanceship, at least on my part, is becoming mildly but deplorably flirtatious.

What these elite, embedded voices share is their participation in an essentially class war, the long war of the rich against the poor. That they play their part in a broadcasting studio or in the clubbable pages of the review sections and that they think of themselves as liberals or conservatives is neither here nor there. They belong to the same crusade, waging the same battle for their enduring privilege.

In The Serpent, Marc Karlin’s dreamlike film about Rupert Murdoch, the narrator describes how easily Murdochism came to dominate the media and coerce the industry’s liberal elite. There are clips from a keynote address that Murdoch gave at the Edinburgh Television Festival. The camera pans across the audience of TV executives, who listen in respectful silence as Murdoch flagellates them for suppressing the true voice of the people. They then applaud him. “This is the silence of the democrats,” says the voice-over, “and the Dark Prince could bath in their silence.”

— source johnpilger.com

The “Honest Broker” is Crooked

The Israel-Palestine negotiations currently underway in Jerusalem coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Oslo Accords. A look at the character of the accords and their fate may help explain the prevailing skepticism about the current exercise.

In September 1993, President Clinton presided over a handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat on the White House lawn – the climax of a “day of awe,” as the press described it.

The occasion was the announcement of the Declaration of Principles for political settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which resulted from secret meetings in Oslo that were sponsored by the Norwegian government.

Public negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians had opened in Madrid in November 1991, initiated by Washington in the triumphal glow after the first Iraq war. They were stalemated because the Palestinian delegation, led by the respected nationalist Haidar Abdul Shafi, insisted on ending Israel’s expansion of its illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories.

In the immediate background were formal positions on the basic issues released by the PLO, Israel and the United States. In a November 1988 declaration, the PLO called for two states on the internationally recognized border, a proposal that the United States had vetoed at the Security Council in 1976 and continued to block, defying an overwhelming international consensus.

In May 1989 Israel responded, declaring that there can be no “additional Palestinian state” between Jordan and Israel (Jordan being a Palestinian state by Israeli dictate), and that further negotiations will be “in accordance with the basic guidelines of the [Israeli] Government.” The Bush I administration endorsed this plan without qualifications, then initiated the Madrid negotiations as the “honest broker.”

Then in 1993, the DOP was quite explicit about satisfying Israel’s demands but silent on Palestinian national rights. It conformed to the conception articulated by Dennis Ross, Clinton’s main Middle East Advisor and negotiator at Camp David in 2000, later President Obama’s main advisor as well. As Ross explained, Israel has needs but Palestinians only have wants, obviously of lesser significance.

Article I of the DOP states that the end result of the process is to be “a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338,” which say nothing about Palestinian rights, apart from a vague reference to a “just settlement of the refugee problem.”

If the “peace process” unfolded as the DOP clearly stated, Palestinians could kiss goodbye their hopes for some limited degree of national rights in the Land of Israel.

Other DOP articles stipulate that Palestinian authority extends over “West Bank and Gaza Strip territory, except for issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, military locations and Israelis” – that is, except for every issue of significance.

Furthermore, “Israel will continue to be responsible for external security, and for internal security and public order of settlements and Israelis. Israeli military forces and civilians may continue to use roads freely within the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area,” the two areas from which Israel was pledged to withdraw – eventually.

In short, there would be no meaningful changes. The DOP also did not include a word about the settlement programs at the heart of the conflict: Even before the Oslo process, the settlements were undermining realistic prospects of achieving any meaningful Palestinian self-determination.

Only by succumbing to what is sometimes called “intentional ignorance” could one believe that the Oslo process was a path to peace. Nevertheless, this became virtual dogma among Western commentators.

As the Madrid negotiations opened, Danny Rubinstein, one of Israel’s best-informed analysts, predicted that Israel and the United States would agree to some form of Palestinian “autonomy,” but it would be “autonomy as in a POW camp, where the prisoners are ‘autonomous’ to cook their meals without interference and to organize cultural events.” Rubenstein turned out to be correct.

The settlement programs continued after the Oslo Accords, at the same high level they had reached when Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister in 1992, extending well to the east of illegally annexed Greater Jerusalem.

As Rabin explained, Israel should take over “most of the territory of the Land of Israel [the former Palestine], whose capital is Jerusalem.”

Meanwhile the U.S. and Israel moved to separate Gaza from the West Bank by closing access to it, in explicit violation of the terms of the accords, thus ensuring that any potential Palestinian entity would be cut off from the outside world.

The accords were followed by additional Israel-PLO agreements, which spelled out more clearly the terms of the autonomy of the POW camp. After Rabin’s assassination, Shimon Peres became prime minister. As Peres left office in 1995, he assured the press that there would be no Palestinian state.

Norwegian scholar Hilde Henriksen Waage concluded that the “Oslo process could serve as the perfect case study for flaws” of the model of “of third party mediation by a small state in highly asymmetrical conflicts. The question to be asked is whether such a model can ever be appropriate.”

That question is well worth pondering, particularly as educated Western opinion now follows the ludicrous assumption that meaningful Israel-Palestine negotiations can be seriously conducted under the auspices of the United States – not an “honest broker,” but in reality a partner of Israel.

As the current negotiations opened, Israel at once made its attitude clear by expanding the “National Priority List” for special subsidies to settlements scattered in the West Bank and by carrying forward its plans to build a train line to integrate the settlements more closely into Israel.

Obama followed suit by appointing as chief negotiator Martin Indyk, a close associate of Dennis Ross, whose background is as a lobbyist for Israel and who explains that Arabs are unable to comprehend the “idealism” and “generosity of spirit” that infuse all of Washington’s efforts.

The negotiations provide a cover for Israel’s takeover of the territories it wishes to control and should spare the United States some further embarrassment at the United Nations. That is, Palestine may agree to defer initiatives that would enhance its U.N. status – which the U.S. would be compelled to block, joined by Israel and perhaps Palau.

It is, however, unlikely that the negotiations will advance the prospects for a meaningful peace settlement.

— source chomsky.info

U.S. Admits Israel Is Building Permanent Apartheid Regime — Weeks After Giving It $38 Billion

In 2010, Israel’s then-defense minister, Ehud Barak, explicitly warned that Israel would become a permanent “apartheid” state if it failed to reach a peace agreement with Palestinians that creates their own sovereign nation and vests them with full political rights. “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel, it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic,” Barak said. “If this bloc of millions of ­Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

Honest observers on both sides of the conflict have long acknowledged that the prospects for a two-state solution are virtually non-existent: another way of saying that Israel’s status as a permanent apartheid regime is inevitable. Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies as early as 45 years ago explicitly warned that Israeli occupation would become permanent if it did not end quickly.

All relevant evidence makes clear this is what has happened. There has been no progress toward a two-state solution for many years. The composition of Israel’s Jewish population — which has become far more belligerent and right-wing than previous generations — has increasingly moved the country further away from that goal. There are key ministers in Israel’s government, including its genuinely extremist justice minister, who are openly and expressly opposed to a two-state solution. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has himself repeatedly made clear he opposes such an agreement, both in words and in deeds. In sum, Israel intends to continue to rule over and occupy Palestinians and deny them self-governance, political liberties, and voting rights indefinitely.

Whether despite this aggression and oppression, or because of it, the Obama administration has continually protected Israel with unstinting loyalty and lavished it with arms and money. This rewarding of Israeli behavior culminated in the administration’s announcement just three weeks ago that it has signed a “memorandum of understanding” to significantly increase the amount of money the U.S. gives to Israel every year, even though Israel was already by far the biggest recipient of U.S. aid. Under this agreement, the U.S. will give Israel $38 billion over 10 years, by far a new record for U.S. aid commitments, even though Israeli citizens enjoy all sorts of state benefits that Americans (whose money is being given to Israel) are told are too costly for them, including universal health care coverage, and tout superior life expectancy and infant mortality rates.

This week, with its fresh new $38 billion commitment in hand, the Israeli government announced the approval of an all new settlement in the West Bank, one that is particularly hostile to ostensible U.S. policy, the international consensus, and any prospects for an end to occupation. The new settlement, “one of a string of housing complexes that threaten to bisect the West Bank,” as the New York Times put it this morning, “is designed to house settlers from a nearby illegal outpost, Amona, which an Israeli court has ordered demolished.” This new settlement extends far into the West Bank: closer to Jordan, in fact, than to Israel.

In response to this announcement, the U.S. State Department yesterday issued an unusually harsh denunciation of Israel’s actions. “We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank,” it began. It suggested Netanyahu has been publicly lying, noting that the “approval contradicts previous public statements by the government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements.” The State Department invoked the aid package the U.S. just lavished to describe it as “deeply troubling, in the wake of Israel and the U.S. concluding an unprecedented agreement on military assistance designed to further strengthen Israel’s security, that Israel would take a decision so contrary to its long-term security interest in a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians.”

Much of that, while a bit more rhetorically clear than usual, is par for the course: The U.S. — in vintage Obama fashion — issues pretty, pleasing statements claiming to be upset at Israel’s settlements while taking continuous actions to protect and enable the very policies Obama pretends to oppose. But the State Department denunciation yesterday was actually notable for what amounts to its stark and explicit acknowledgement — long overdue — that Israel is clearly and irreversibly committed to ruling over the Palestinians in perpetuity, becoming the exact “apartheid” state about which Barak warned:

Israelis must ultimately decide between expanding settlements and preserving the possibility of a peaceful two state solution. Since the recent Quartet report called on both sides to take affirmative steps to reverse current trends and advance the two state solution on the ground, we have unfortunately seen just the opposite. Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. Such moves will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from many of its partners, and further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace.

So Israel — in the words of its most loyal benefactor — is moving inexorably “towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation” that is anti-democratic: i.e., the equivalent of apartheid. And the leading protector and enabler of this apartheid regime is the U.S. — just as was true of the apartheid regime of the 1980s in South Africa.

Worse still, the person highly likely to be the next U.S. president, Hillary Clinton, has not only vowed to continue all this but to increase U.S. protection of both Israel generally and Netanyahu specifically; indeed, her only critique of U.S. policy is that it has been insufficiently loyal to Israel. Her leading opponent, Donald Trump, early on spouted a bit of off-the-cuff dissent on Israel policy but since then has snapped fully into line. The utter lack of political dissent about all of this in the U.S. political class is reflected by the fact that the only opposition to the $38 billion aid package came from U.S. senators who — echoing Netanyahu — were angry that it was not even more generous to Israel on the backs of American citizens. In sum, unstinting support for an apartheid Israel is the virtually unbroken consensus among U.S. political elites.

Worst of all is that U.S. political orthodoxy has not only funded, fueled, and protected this apartheid state, but has attempted to render illegitimate all forms of resistance to it. Just as it did with the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela, the U.S. denounces as “terrorism” all groups and individuals that use force against Israel’s occupying armies. It has formally maligned non-violent programs against the occupation — such as the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement — as bigotry and anti-Semitism (a position Clinton has advocated with particular vehemence), and that boycott movement has been increasingly targeted throughout the West with censorship and even criminalization. Under U.S. political orthodoxy, the only acceptable course for Palestinians and supporters of their right to be free of occupation is complete submission.

Even as Western consensus continues to revere the most stalwart supporters of South Africa’s apartheid regime — Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Shimon Peres — it at least now regards apartheid itself in that country as a historic disgrace. History should regard those enabling Israel’s own march to permanent apartheid in exactly the same light. The most aggressive and consistent enablers of this apartheid are found at the top of the U.S. political class.

— source theintercept.com By Glenn Greenwald

Boycott HP

Protest HP Nov 25 – Dec 3!

In Palestine, Hewlett Packard companies provide imaging for Israel’s apartheid checkpoints and ID cards system; enable Israel’s deadly blockade of the Gaza Strip; provide services to illegal Israeli settlements; and manage people for profit in Israeli prisons where torture is systematic. While claiming to uphold values of social responsibility, HP companies are notorious for involvement in oppressive practices worldwide, like providing technology to enable deportations, mass incarceration, and solitary confinement in the United States.