Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blockage of Gaza unsustainable, says Obama

US president Barack Obama [BHO] is not going to win any popularity contest in Israel. He's already on a most hated US presidents' list as it is. Posters plastered in Jerusalem and particularly in East Jerusalem which Israel illegally claims and is on a land grab binge by expelling its Arab population, show a picture of BHO with an overhead legend in bold faced Hebrew type saying 'an al Qaeda terrorist in the White House'!
BHO latest pronouncement during a visit of the Palestine Authorities Mahmoud Abbas that Israel's blockade of Gaza is unsustainable should knock the pins out from under the right wing 'Bib' Netenyahu standpoint. It won't but BHO is hammering another nail in a policy in which the centre won't hold, and in spite of Israel's kicking and screaming that it does and shall. Israel's supporters in the US--be they in the Houses of Congres, among the diaspora or in the pews of Christian evangelicals, say--will raise a sand storm of violent protest. They won't previal because Israel's latest attack on a peace flotilla steaming towards Gaza with much need basic supplies which Israel has been denying the Gazans it has held hostage for the last few years, and most certainly since the blitz krieg short war dubbed 'cast lead', and which wanted to break the blockade. Israel responded with its usual stock 'em in the face overkill, and kill it did.
The worldwide outrage has put Israel on the defence although like any bully it is trying to strut around with a brave face. Luckily it has the much despised Obama in its corner to parry any thrust and protect it like a good mother hen from condemnation from the larger world.
Now it's protector the US has sent out word saying that the blockade has to go. But BHO is known for his rhetoric and pulling his punches. Still, the word is out, and Israel through its own arrogance and exaggerated self assurance will have to give in in the longer run.
Washington is its protector, its paymaster, among other things. And historically speaking, Israel needs a big power for protection. Saying this, do not get the idea that Netenyahu & co floats that Israel is some David in sheepskin with only a sling shot to face an Arab Goliath. That is biblical cinema. Israel is a tough, armed to the teeth nation who does not shy away from proemptive wars and sending out assassination teams to kill its enemies, and even it does not hold its hand from killing its friends as in the attack of the USS Liberty which ended in a pile of dead US sailors or spying on Washington as in the case of the Pollards.
So like it or not, Israel will have to dance to the US' tune.
An interesting aside. The right wing wet behind the ears weekly op ed columnist in the 'New York Times' used an unfortunate phrase in talking of Israel as an 'outremer' state. Translation as a 'crusader state'. Ross Douthat may have not intended to infer that Israel as a state has a short shelf live, but his slip of the pen is worthy noting. Israel as an irritant in the eye of the Middle East is telling.
Israel has to shape up or ship out. If it doesn't settle for peace with its neighbours and do right by the claims of the Palestinians, like Ozymandias, it won't stand the test of time.

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