| Comatose war criminal Ariel Sharon vegetates further!

Ariel Sharon’s ‘life in danger’ as condition deteriorates – doctor ~  in Jerusalem and agencies, theguardian.com.

Former Israeli PM – who has been in a coma since 2006 – in critical condition as vital organs suffer ‘critical malfunction.’

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, was in critical condition on Thursday, clinging to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs, his doctors said.

Dr Zeev Rotstein, director of Tel Hashomer hospital, said Sharon’s condition had deteriorated over the past two days and that a number of vital organs, including his kidneys, were suffering from “critical malfunction”.

“He is in critical condition and his life is definitely in danger,” Rotstein told reporters. “The feeling of the doctors treating him and also that of the family with him is that there is a turn for the worse.”

He said Sharon’s family is at his bedside.

Sharon, 85, suffered a devastating stroke on 4 January 2006, five years after being elected prime minister. He spent months in hospital in Jerusalem before being transferred to a long-term care facility at Sheba medical centre near Tel Aviv.

Last January, doctors said the former prime minister had exhibited “robust activity” in his brain during tests. Scans showed Sharon responding to pictures of his family and recordings of his son’s voice. However, doctors said the chances of him regaining consciousness were almost zero.

Four months ago, Sharon underwent surgery to insert a new feeding tube, through which he receives fluids.

A former military general, Sharon was a hardline rightwinger in political office. But in 2005 he ordered the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, a move many considered a dramatic change in his political strategy. Within weeks of his stroke, Hamas won Palestinian elections.

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| Deconstructing Netanyahu’s tribute to Mandela!

Deconstructing Netanyahu’s tribute to Mandela ~ , Mondoweiss.

Netanyahu couldn’t attend Mandela’s memorial. It was too expensive. I mean, with the cost of the Prawer Plan and dealing with those pesky Palestinians who just won’t shut up and die already, the Jewish state is strapped for cash. So, Israel’s prime minister sent a 37 second video. You can watch it here, then read the actual words behind his words.

Nelson Mandela was one of the stellar figures of our age.

We tried hard to help our brethren in South Africa squash his legacy before it was too late, but they were too soft and now look what happened.

He was the father of his nation, a man of vision, a freedom fighter who rejected any violence.

I know that’s not true, but in order to be a legitimate freedom fighter, you have to reject all forms of violence, including against those who are savagely beating you over the head. This applies only to brown people. White people like me are always freedom fighters, no matter what we do or how we do it.

He gave a personal example for his people in the long years he spent in prison.

Because accepting any and all punishment we give you is the best example you can set for your people. Always be patient. Take it on the chin. We have your best interest at heart. Love us for it.

He never became proud or haughty.

This is important because we cannot accept this kind of uppity behavior from black men.

He acted to heal the wounds within South African society.

He forgave whites for hundreds of years of unspeakable and still untold crimes and, more importantly, didn’t punish them or make them pay back anything of what they had stolen.

And with the force of his unique personality, he was able to prevent the eruption of racial hatred.

You know, over 300 years of robbing and destroying native South African lives cannot be called ‘racial hatred’.

He will be remembered as the father of modern South Africa and as a moral leader of the highest order.

Because of the stuff I just outlined in the previous 70 seconds. All the other stuff he did does not come under the banner of ‘moral leader’.

Susan Abulhawa has a new book of poetry out, My Voice Sought the Wind

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| Israel’s Mileikowski too STINGY to go to Mandela memorial!

Some will dispute the Israeli prime minister’s excuse of ‘cost’ issues.

Given the inspiring example of the man whose memorial service was attended by almost every leader or deputy leader of the world’s more significant powers, it is surely time for Jerry Dammers and the rest of The Special AKA to bury the hatchet. The author of “Free Nelson Mandela” and his bandmates fell out many years ago. But if they would undergo a peace and reconciliation process and reform, you have to imagine that Coventry’s finest would wish to rework Dammers’s gloriously upbeat protest song in the cause of arguably the most glaring, and certainly the most heart-rending, Soccer City absentee of yesterday.

Well, something must be done to liberate Benjamin Netanyahu – who cancelled his trip to South Africa on cost-cutting grounds – from the poverty that imprisoned him at home. The profits from a worldwide hit record would, at the very least, be a useful first step.

Regrettably, if predictably, some will dispute the Israeli prime minister’s explanation, divining other reasons for the 11th-hour refusal to attend. They think that $2m – the alleged price of chartering an El Al jet to Johannesburg and deploying a military plane for his security detail – is not, in these unique circumstances, a huge outlay. In real terms, in fact, factoring in any moral obligation to pay respects to Mandela on behalf of the Israeli people, they calculate that it equates to a little less than thruppence ha’penny.

Such sceptics would further point out that this devotion to penny-pinching represents a startling change of heart. Bibi had become well known for his taste for Cuban cigars – who knows, he might have snaffled a box of Cohibas in the VIP zone from Raul Castro – and venerable French cognacs. Long, long ago, in the April of 2013, under a less punishing financial climate in which he felt entitled to go to such events, he authorised the diversion of £127,000 from public funds to equip a plane with a bespoke sleeping cabin for the marathon five-hour flight to London for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Meanwhile, he has lately dipped into the public coffers to find $1,700 for scented candles, $22,000 for a water bill at his holiday home, and $3,000 for ice cream at his favourite gelateria.

Taking such expenditure into account, and unconvinced by his conversion on the runway to Jo’burg, the cynics and sneerers suspect that Bibi, to borrow from Mrs Thatcher’s Lincolnshire dialect, was frit. That he was scared of being booed in the stadium by those who remember that Israel was the apartheid regime’s last and doughtiest friend in the developed world, and by those who detect similarities, however vague, between the maltreatment of black South Africans and the subjugation of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Others may wonder if he took fright at the prospect of bumping into Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, of whose bona fides on the nuclear issue he remains mildly unpersuaded.

Are they so deaf that they cannot hear, in his insistence that the only thing keeping him away was the cost, the authentic ring of plain truth? He is not so blind, after all, that he cannot see the metaphorical message his self-imposed isolation from his leadership brethren sends to the world about Israel’s growing isolationism and quickening journey towards pariah statehood under his muscular stewardship. And even if he is, what brand of maniac would waste possibly the hottest ticket in human history if a feasible way might have been found to raise the cash?

I like to think that he did not waste it entirely, and sold it on e-Bay (it would have raised enough to keep him in vanilla scoops and Monte Cristos for a while). That, or he generously gave it away, perhaps to some lucky tobacconist, ice cream vendor or aircraft carpenter who played the Tommy Cooper role at the Royal Variety show, when he asked the Queen if she was going to the FA Cup final. She said that she had no such plans. “In that case, Ma’am,” said Cooper, “can I have your ticket?”

Anyway, spare a thought for the anti-FW de Klerk of Israel as he stoically endures his church (or synagogue) mouse existence at the head of the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the region. And  now  sing along as we anticipate the Dammers’s reworking of that protest classic, looking ahead to the day he completes his long walk to freedom  from unflinching monetary shackles,  and feels able once again to honour departed figures of planetary importance with his presence.

Free (free) Bibi Nethanyahu,

Free (free) Bibi Nethanyahu

He’s so poor, you would  not believe

He’s so broke that he could not leave

Penniless, stuck in Tel Aviv

Free-eeeeee Bibi  Nethan-yahuuuuu

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| P5 +1 Iran: Daylight between Israel and the West!

The daylight between Israel and the West ~ JAMAL KANJ, Gulf Daily News.

THIS week the 5+1 are back negotiating the easing of economic sanctions against Iran and new unprecedented rigid inspection regimen including daily reactor checks to certify compliance.

According to US State Department reports the agreement calls for a six-month “reversible” $10 billion relief reducing the cost of sanction against Iran from approximately $100bn to $90bn.

Leaked excerpts from the draft accord compel Iran to limit its enrichment to less than 20 per cent (19.75) purity and convert its 20pc stockpile-enriched uranium into fuel rods, “rendering it unusable for the higher level enrichment necessary for nuclear weapons”.

Following the breakthrough, the US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs flew to Tel Aviv to brief Israeli officials on the impending agreement.

Fearing an accord with Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius urging him to delay the signing giving him an opportunity to leach his US lobbyists to force the US government to back off.

Fabius, the son of a wealthy Jewish art dealer who converted to Catholicism, was a staunch Israeli advocate serving French Prime Minister during Francois Mitterrand’s administration between 1984 and 1986. This combined with an 11th hour cajoling from long time Israeli Likud party subordinate Meyer Habib, a member of the French parliament, who warned Fabius that Netanyahu will attack Iran “if you don’t toughen your position”.

Succumbing to Israeli Prime Minister’s blackmail, Fabius took the unusual step of using the French-Inter radio to criticise the very draft agreement he helped negotiate.

Mind you that this comes from a leader of the same Socialist party that introduced nuclear weapons to the Middle East in the mid-1950s sending French engineers to build Israel’s first nuclear reactor. Israeli prime minister Ben-Gurion claimed then the project was a colossal pumping station to desalinate seawater.

Israel is run by amoral political leaders who will do and say anything to get what they want. Recent resurfaced reports have revealed that Tzipi Livni– current chief peace negotiator and Israel’s Justice Minister- secured rabbinical edict permitting her to “prostitute” during her service with the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency in Europe.

Israel is not interested in verifiable measures to end Iran’s military nuclear ambitions, not even in the physical dismantlement of its nuclear programme. Israel would not stop short of eliminating the technological knowhow as they did assassinating Iraqi scientists before and during the American occupation of Iraq.

Discussing the impending agreement with Iran, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz declared “We want an outcome more like Libya ….”

Responding indirectly to Israeli concerns US Secretary of State told the NBC Meet the Press news programme last Sunday “we are not blind, and I don’t think we are stupid”.

It is, however, apparent Netanyahu believes otherwise. He was caught on video in 2001 telling Israeli settlers “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily.”

They “moved” America in 2003 invading a country to destroy its false “weapon of mass destruction,” a war that was paved with the blood of more than 4,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis before sending the US economy south.

Fearing a repeat of the Iraq blunder, two prominent policy experts from two different administrations, Democratic Zbigniew Brzezinski and Republican Brent Scowcroft issued a joint statement early last week urging the US to seize the “historic opportunity … to achieve our non-proliferation goal” or increase “the probability of war”.

Brazened by the recent dismantling of Syria’s chemical stockpile, Israel will not rest until it drags the US into another Middle Eastern quagmire.

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| Insulting humanity’s intelligence: Netanyahu’s nauseating parody of himself!

Netanyahu’s nauseating parody of himself ~ Redress Information & Analysis.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his warmongering compatriots are incensed at the prospect of a deal between Iran and the Western powers that would ease some sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran scaling back its nuclear programme.

In fact, it’s fair to say that Netanyahu is turning into a parody of his already ridiculous and nauseating self.

Speaking after a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry at Ben-Gurion airport on 8 November, Netanyahu said:

“I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal, a very, very bad deal… it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.”

According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu told Kerry that Israel was not bound by any nuclear deal the West makes with Iran. “This is a very bad deal. Israel utterly rejects it… Israel is not obliged by this agreement,” he said.

Netanyahu nuclear parody

Binyamin Netanyahu’s faux and hypocritical outrage is turning him into a parody of his already ridiculous and nauseating self

A day earlier, on 7 November, Netanyahu told a conference of so-called “diaspora” leaders: “I believe that adopting [these proposals] would be a mistake of historic proportions. They must be rejected outright.”

Writing on his blog, Middle East historian Juan Cole gives seven reasons for Netanyahu’s and the Israeli right’s faux and hypocritical outrage – “Iran has no nuclear weapons programme, but Israel has hundreds of nuclear warheads” – at the prospect of a deal between Iran and the West:

1. Since they broke their word to President John F. Kennedy and went for broke to produce their own bomb, the Israeli leadership can’t imagine that Iran won’t cheat on any deal. This is an example of mirror thinking. But Iran is being inspected, unlike Israel, and no country under active UN inspection has ever developed a bomb.

 

2. A US-Iran deal that involves the UN Security Council would make it impossible for Israel unilaterally to attack Iran. It would therefore reduce Israel’s range of options and detract from its position as Middle East regional hegemon.

 

3. A remaining Iranian nuclear programme would always imply a “break-out” capacity for Tehran. Being known to be able to make a nuclear weapon has some of the same deterrent effects as actually having one, increasing Iranian clout in the region. (This is on analogy to Japan in East Asia).

 

4. Israel’s Likud Party still has designs on annexing southern Lebanon, deeply regretting Ehud Barak’s 2000 withdrawal, but is blocked by Hezbollah backed by Iran. An Iran with a break-out capacity would permanently end Israeli expansionist ambitions to the north and permanently deny Israel the waters of the Litani River, which its leaders covet.

 

5. Much of the Israeli public isn’t that wedded to being in Israel, a big problem for hawks like PM Binyamin Netanyahu. Probably a million or so first and second generation Israeli immigrants live in Europe and North America; it is not even clear that some of them aren’t being counted in the 5.5 million Israeli Jews claimed by Israel. Around 20,000 Israelis now live in Berlin!Nearly a third of Jewish Israelis have said in polling that they would consider emigrating if Iran developed a nuclear weapon. Keeping Iran weak is key to winning the hardliners’ psychological war in the Middle East.

 

6. Netanyahu uses the supposed threat of Iran, a poor weak global South country with a military budget somewhere between that of Norway and Singapore, to distract attention from Israeli colonization of Palestinian territory. A Western deal with Iran would throw the spotlight on the Palestinian West Bank, where Netanyahu is engaged in grand larceny on a cosmic scale.

 

7. If Iran is widely viewed by the international community to have stepped back from nuclear ambitions, Israel’s own nuclear arsenal will come to the fore as a focus, since it is the only Middle Eastern country with an arsenal of warheads, and that arsenal clearly drives a regional arms race (starting with Iraq in the 1980s).

 

One could only hope that Netanyahu’s faux and hypocritical outrage has now reached such a preposterous crescendo that it can be ignored even by the spineless, Zionist-lobby-prone Western politicians.

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| Usurping Victimhood: Netanyahu [unilaterally] announces four conditions for Iran!

Netanyahu announces four conditions for Iran ~ MEMO.

We expect Obama to deliver four conditions to Iran …

The first is a total halt of Iran’s uranium enrichment project. The second is to remove all enriched uranium from Iran. The third is to shut down the enrichment facilities. The fourth is to stop Iran’s enrichment project

Several Israeli news sites have reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insisting that Iran must comply with four conditions before the international community can deal with its nuclear issue. Netanyahu is demanding toughness in dealing with Iran, in light of what appears to be an improvement in US-Iranian relations. The Israeli prime minister and US President Barack Obama are scheduled to meet within two weeks.

 

According to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Netanyahu said, “We expect Obama to deliver four conditions to Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. The first is a total halt of Iran’s uranium enrichment project. The second is to remove all enriched uranium from Iran. The third is to shut down the enrichment facilities. The fourth is to stop Iran’s enrichment project.” The fulfilment of these four conditions is the only path to ensure stopping Iran’s atomic project altogether, he added. “Until these conditions are met, the pressure on Iran must be increased and not mitigated.”

The events of recent weeks, claims Netanyahu, have “proven the accuracy” of Israeli claims that any “tyrannical” country which acquires weapons of mass destruction might use them. “Only a military threat allows for diplomacy to stop acquiring such arms and Israel must enhance its strength to be able to defend itself against every threat.”

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| EU calls on Israel to ‘recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel!’

In ‘earthquake’ diplomatic move, EU calls on Israel to ‘recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel’ ~ Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss.

 

Update: Haaretz is reporting a “hasty and urgent” meeting took place at the Israeli Prime Minister‘s office today, and a statement was released “blasting the European Union over its decision to condition future agreements with Israel on the latter’s recognition of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights as occupied territories. ”

“We will not accept any external edicts on our borders,” Netanyahu said in a scathing response.
…..

“As the prime minister of Israel, I will not let anyone harm the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights, or in Jerusalem – our united capital,” he said. “The issue of borders will be determined only in direct negotiations between the sides.”

And this certainly has hit a nerve with Danny Dayan. Dimi Reider’s  +972 has been following Dayan’s twitter feed and look what’s popped up : Dani Dayan compares EU move to death camp selection !

(End of update)

Huge news out of Europe. Effective Friday, a new European Union directive with a “territorial clause” bans all EU funding of projects in territories occupied by Israel since the ’67 war: the West Bank including East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The new directive, which covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, culture, academia, sports, economics and science, requires the Israeli government to “recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.”

Harriet Sherwood reporting for the Guardian: EU takes tougher stance on Israeli settlements

Future agreements between the European Union and Israel must include the explicit exclusion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank or East Jerusalem, according to a new EU directive described by an Israeli official as an “earthquake”.

The EU guidelines, adopted on 30 June, will prohibit the issuing of grants, funding, prizes or scholarships unless a settlement exclusion clause is included. Israeli institutions and bodies situated across the pre-1967 Green Line will be automatically ineligible.

The Israeli government will be required to state in any future agreements with the EU that settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are outside the state of Israel.

The directive, part of the 2014-20 financial framework, covers all areas of co-operation between the EU and Israel, including economics, science, culture, sports and academia. It does not cover trade, such as produce and goods originating in settlements.

An EU statement said the guidelines “set out the territorial limitations under which the commission will award EU support to Israeli entities … Concern has been expressed in Europe that Israeli entities in the occupied territories could benefit from EU support. The purpose of these guidelines is to make a distinction between the state of Israel and the occupied territories when it comes to EU support.”

So, the rules do not apply to trade in the private sector, which includes settlement produce. Nonetheless Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi characterized the new rules as “significant“:

“The EU has moved from the level of statements, declarations and denunciations to effective policy decisions and concrete steps which constitute a qualitative shift that will have a positive impact on the chances of peace,” said Ms Ashrawi.

Israeli officials sound stunned. “We are not ready to sign on this clause.”

And: “the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia.”

Barak Ravid reporting for Haaretz:

A senior Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, described the new ruling, which was published on June 30, as an “earthquake.”

….

“This is the first time such an official, explicit guideline has been published by the European Union bodies,” the senior official said. “Until today there were understandings and quiet agreements that the Union does not work beyond the Green Line [the pre-1967-war border]; now this has become a formal, binding policy.”

The official noted that the significance of the regulation is both practical and political: From now on, if the Israeli government wants to sign agreements with the European Union or one of its member states, it will have to recognize in writing that the West Bank settlements are not part of Israel.

In the Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry there is great tension and anxiety over the new regulation and its implications for Israeli-EU relations. The efforts of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin to stop the move have all failed. Senior EU officials say they would like to hold talks with Israel concerning the new guideline, but since it will go into effect by the end of this week, the chance of its being amended is extremely slim.

“We will have to decide what to do from this day forward,” a senior Israeli official said. “We are not ready to sign on this clause in our agreements with the European Union. We can say this to the Europeans, but the result could be a halt to all cooperation in economics, science, culture, sports and academia. This would cause severe damage to Israel.”

In a separate article Ravid also reports, according to US officials, the EU will go further likely requiring the labeling of “settlement goods,” if John Kerry’s efforts to “kick start the peace talks” fail. And that would impact economic trade.

Omar Barghouti, in communication with Mondoweiss, welcomed the new directive while reminding the EU is “obliged, morally and legally, to do much more”:

Given the EU’s profound complicity at all levels in maintaining Israel’s regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid, these guidelines constitute a bare minimal step in the right direction that may open the door to more effective boycotts against Israel in the future. We welcome them, but we also must soberly remind the European establishment that it is obliged, morally and legally, to do much more on the ground to atone for its role in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

Coming on the heels of Israel’s “moment of truth” that we reported yesterday, in which Europe is “exploring” sanctions against companies tied to the occupation, it feels as though the ground is shifting in immeasurable ways.

Will this directive hold? It remains to be seen. But we all know change is inevitable. We’ve known for a long time there would be a breaking point; this could signify the beginnings of a radical departure from business as usual. Europe is leading. Where is the United States?

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| Hypocrisy Alert: Israel’s Nuke Arsenal Off-Limits!

Israel’s Nuke Arsenal Off-Limits ~ Robert ParryConsortiumnews.

Exclusive: It was a typical day in the life of the mainstream U.S. news media. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu went on American TV and threatened war on Iran for its alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, while being spared any inconvenient questions about Israel’s very real – and rogue – nuclear arsenal, notes Robert Parry.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, host Bob Schieffer devoted more than six minutes of a ten-minute interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the topic of Iran’s alleged pursuit of a nuclear weapon, with Netanyahu explicitly threatening to attack Iran if it crossed his personally drawn “red line” on the level of permitted refinement of nuclear fuel.

No where during that interview – or in the major news articles that I read about it – was there any reference to Israel’s own rogue nuclear arsenal or how destabilizing it is for one religious state possessing nukes to threaten to attack another religious state lacking a single nuke. The imbalance in this nuclear equation is so breathtaking that you might have thought it would be at the center of a testy Q-and-A. Instead it was nowhere.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations, drawing his own “red line” on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Netanyahu also was allowed to denounce Iran as “apocalyptic” without any question about Netanyahu’s own frequent references to Israel facing “existential” threats. Indeed, Israel’s attitude toward using nuclear weapons is sometimes called the “Samson Option,” recalling the Biblical hero who destroyed himself along with his enemies. So, again, you might have thought Schieffer would pounce on Netanyahu’s self-serving remark. But, nah!

In other words, it was a typical day in the life of mainstream U.S. journalism, a profession which purports to be “objective” – meaning it should treat all parties to a dispute equally – but, of course, isn’t.

An “objective” interview or article would have included at least some reference to Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the question of whether Israel has the unilateral right to wage war (or even threaten war) against another country, with the particular irony that Israel is accusing Iran of pursuing a course that Israel has already taken.

But it is expected now that “objective” U.S. journalists will avert their eyes from a reality that Israel would prefer not to mention. In the real world of U.S. journalism, “objectivity” means following the bias of the powers-that-be and framing issues within the conventional wisdom.

In the CBS interview, Netanyahu also was allowed to take a free shot at Iran and its president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, who was disparaged by Netanyahu as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” whose strategy is to “smile and build a bomb.”

Netanyahu was given free rein, too, to demand that President Barack Obama demonstrate “by action” that he stands with Israel in its military threat against Iran. Those demands “should be backed up with ratcheted sanctions,” Netanyahu said. “They have to know you’ll be prepared to take military action; that’s the only thing that will get their attention.”

(It might be noted here that the United States has lots and lots of nuclear weapons and indeed is the only nation to have actually used them in warfare against other human beings. Meanwhile, Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.)

Netanyahu seemed perturbed that the Obama administration is hoping to reach an accommodation with President-elect Rowhani that would involve Iran accepting new safeguards on its nuclear program in exchange for relaxed economic sanctions.

The New York Times reported that “a senior [Obama] administration official” told reporters on Friday that Rowhani’s more moderate tone suggested he was “going in a different direction” from his predecessors and might be interested in reaching a broad settlement with the West.

In the CBS interview, Netanyahu was signaling that any accommodation with Iran – beyond one that would demand Iran’s total capitulation on its right to process uranium at all – is unacceptable to him. The U.S. press corps then repeated Netanyahu’s hard-line remarks without any of that troublesome context regarding Israel’s possession of an undeclared nuclear arsenal, considered one of the world’s most sophisticated.

That the U.S. press corps routinely fails to provide that sort of context is clear evidence that the principle of “objectivity” is one that is selectively applied, which would seem to negate the very notion of “objectivity.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s.

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ALSO SEE:

Israeli PM threatens to strike Iran ~ Al Jazeera.

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel may have to act against Tehran unilaterally to curb it from achieving its nuclear goal.

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| How Obama could stop those Israeli Settlements!

How Obama Could Stop Those Israeli Settlements ~ Robert Wright, The Atlantic.

 According to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bibi Netanyahu has delivered “the worst possible slap in the face” to President Obama. Olmert was referring, of course, to Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel will proceed with a settlement project that, the New York Times reported, “has long been condemned by Washington as effectively dooming any prospect of a two-state solution.” (An article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz seconds Washington’s assessment–see headline above.)

Olmert may be overstating things, but not by much. Certainly Netanyahu’s settlement surprise isn’t the show of gratitude Obama had reason to expect after the US voted with Israel against Palestine’s bid for nonmember observer status at the UN–a bid so reasonable and innocuous that Israel and the US, in opposing it, were in a minority of 9 out of 147 voting nations. And some of those 9 were on our side only because of American arm twisting. (Olmert himself thought it was a mistake for Israel to oppose the resolution.)

In a way this was more than a slap at Obama. It was a slap at the United States. Terrorism is one of America’s main national security threats, and the hatred of America by some Arabs and Muslims is the most valuable asset terrorist recruiters have. So stoking that hatred by voting to thwart the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians makes America less secure. To put a finer point on it: Stoking that hatred makes our children more likely to die a violent death 5, 10, 15 years from now.

I’m not saying this UN vote alone increased the chances of terrorism by much. In fact, it increased them by only a very tiny bit. But that’s more than zero, and every increment matters. And, however tiny the increment, it was only increased when Netanyahu then turned around and announced an epically indefensible settlement project; America, especially after its display of loyalty to Israel at the UN, is naturally seen as complicit in things like that. (And, no, toothless diplomatic protests by the US don’t do much to change that perception.)

So Obama needs to stop this settlement project–not just to save face, but to protect Americans. He needs to show Arabs and Muslims–and everybody else–that no nation, including Israel, can take America’s support completely for granted; that America won’t stand by impotently as Israel embarks on a project that shows contempt for the Palestinian peopleand for world opinion.

Obama’s leverage with Netanyahu is limited, because Congress has so much influence over purse strings. But the president has enough leverage to do what needs to be done. Here’s how he should proceed:

[1] Write out a statement that he’s willing to deliver on TV. It should criticize Netanyahu sharply and say something that will shock the Israeli people: If the prime minister is going to behave this outrageously, America can no longer guarantee that it will stand by Israel’s side at the United Nations. It can no longer guarantee that it will veto Security Council resolutions that declare West Bank settlements in violation of international law. Indeed, America may now introduce such a resolution–that’s how outrageous this latest settlement project is.

[2] Call Netanyahu, read him the statement, and tell him that if the settlement plans haven’t been reversed within 48 hours, Obama will deliver the statement on TV.

And Obama has to mean it. He has to be ready to deliver the statement–because then Netanyahu will sense that he means it, in which case Obama won’t have to deliver the statement.

The Israeli people care very much about their relationship with the United States–especially when so much of the world is rejecting their policies toward the Palestinians. So Netanyahu doesn’t want to head into the coming election as the prime minister who has done more to jeopardize that special relationship than any Israeli leader in memory. He’ll cave.

He’ll hate caving, because he’ll look foolish, and the whole episode will have hurt him politically. But it won’t hurt him as much as something approaching an actual breach with the United States.

And if for some reason he doesn’t cave, and Obama has to deliver his statement, I predict that Obama will find–to the surprise of many–that he pays no significant political price (or, at most, a price that a second-term president can easily tolerate). The reason is that pretty much everyone who’s paying attention to this issue realizes how indefensible Netanyahu’s behavior has been. Most people will realize, too, that Obama is acting in Israel’s best interests by trying to strongarm it into limiting its alienation of the world.

Even if Netanyahu doesn’t cave, Obama will have strengthened America’s national security, because he will have shown the world that America will actively and forcefully oppose at least some unjust and illegal encroachments on Palestinian territory. Terrorist recruiters will be very disappointed to hear this.

I’m not suggesting that we should always do whatever minimizes hatred of America. There are principles worth fighting for, and there are principles whose defense will require increasing our exposure to terrorism. But Israel’s freedom to build more settlements on occupied territory–in violation of international law and of the world’s sense of decency–isn’t one of those principles. Obama would be helping both Israel and America by making that clear.

[Postscript: I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying Obama will take this approach; obviously, it would be out of character for him to be so bold. I’m just saying that if he did take this approach it would work. I’m also saying that if he doesn’t dosomething to rein Netanyahu in, he’s not doing his duty as president.]

Robert Wright is a senior editor at The Atlantic and the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, a New York Timesbestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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dogpoo zioB

prozac nutty yahooA SettlementsCRIME

 

| Mad Dog Netanyahu AGAIN saying he’ll go it alone and strike Iran!

Netanyahu Says He’d Go It Alone on Striking Iran ~ , NYT.

Baz Ratner/Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel didn’t need support from Washington to attack the Iranian nuclear program.

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday reiterated his willingness to attack the Iranian nuclear program without support from Washington or the world, returning to an aggressive posture that he had largely abandoned since his United Nations speech in September.

Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister and rival, criticized Mr. Netanyahu for “spitting in the face” of President Obama.

“When David Ben-Gurion declared the foundation of the state of Israel, was it done with American approval?” Mr. Netanyahu asked in an interview broadcast on Israel’s Channel 2 on Monday night. “When Levi Eshkol was forced to act in order to loosen the siege before 1967, was it done with the Americans’ support?

“If someone sits here as the prime minister of Israel and he can’t take action on matters that are cardinal to the existence of this country, its future and its security, and he is totally dependent on receiving approval from others, then he is not worthy of leading,” Mr. Netanyahu added. “I can make these decisions.”

Though American officials, including President Obama, have always acknowledged that Israel ultimately has the right to decide how to defend itself, Mr. Netanyahu’s tough tone and timing — on the eve of the American presidential election — are sure to reignite rifts with Washington over how best to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

As has been the case over the past two years, however, it is impossible to know whether his hawkish words are harbingers of deeds or part of a strategic campaign to scare nations into increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran.

“I am not eager to go to war,” Mr. Netanyahu said in the seven-minute interview. “I have been creating very heavy pressure, and part of this pressure comes from the knowledge some of the most powerful nations in the world have that we are serious. This isn’t a show, this is not false.”

Besides the creation of diplomatic tensions if Israel were to act alone against Washington’s wishes, there is a more practical concern: the Israeli military lacks the capacity to penetrate all of Iran’s underground nuclear facilities, and thus could most likely only delay the potential development of a nuclear weapon by a few years. The United States has bunker-busting bombs that could do far more damage.

The interview was broadcast on “Fact,” a program often compared to “60 Minutes,” at the end of an hourlong documentary on Israeli decision making regarding Iran over the past decade. The program highlighted the opposition of Israel’s own security establishment to a unilateral strike, saying that Mr. Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak, ordered the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for an imminent operation in 2010 but were rebuffed by the chiefs of their military and international intelligence service.

Among those interviewed was Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister currentlycontemplating a political comeback. He accused Mr. Netanyahu of “spitting in the face” of Mr. Obama and “doing anything possible to stop him from being elected president of the United States,” a harsh critique in a country that regards safeguarding its special relationship with Washington as a sacred priority.

“What’s all this talk, that we will decide alone on our fate and that we won’t take anybody else into consideration?” said Mr. Olmert, who is expected to make Mr. Netanyahu’s relationship with Mr. Obama a mainstay of his campaign if he runs. “Can someone please explain to me with which airplanes we will attack if we decide to attack alone, against the opinion of others — airplanes that we built here in Israel? With which bombs will we bomb, bombs that we made by ourselves? With which special technologies will we do it, those that we made by ourselves or those that we received from other sources?”

But when shown a video of Mr. Olmert’s retort, Mr. Netanyahu was not cowed. “If what I just heard is that on this matter which threatens our very existence, we should just say, we should just hand the keys over to the Americans and tell them, ‘You decide whether or not to destroy this project, which threatens our very existence,’ well, that’s one possible approach, but it’s not my approach,” he said. “My approach is that if we can have others take care of it, or if we can get to a point where no one has to, that’s fine; but if we have no choice and we find ourselves with our backs against the wall, then we will do what we have to do in order to defend ourselves.”

After years in which Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Barak pursued the Iranian threat in close partnership, the prime minister now seems virtually alone in his defiant stance, as other leaders attempt to distinguish their positions ahead of Israeli elections on Jan. 22. While Mr. Netanyahu said in his Sept. 27 speech at the United Nations that the critical moment for preventing Iran from developing a weapon would most likely come next spring, Mr. Barak last week pushed the timetable back further, and offered a new explanation of Israel’s reduced sense of urgency.

The crux of Mr. Barak’s argument, made in an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph, was based on reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the most recent inAugust, showing that Iran had 189 kilograms, about 416 pounds, of uranium enriched to the 20 percent level — from which it could relatively easily be further enriched to weapons grade. Roughly half of that was diverted to civilian use in a form that could not be easily turned into bomb fuel. But Iran has continued production and by most estimates, at current rates, would have roughly a bomb’s worth by next summer.

That “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by 8 to 10 months,” Mr. Barak said.

But several high-ranking Israeli officials and analysts said that Mr. Barak’s explanation was overly simplistic. While the diversion was clearly a factor, they said, it was not a new development: the nuclear agency had reported a similar transfer of enriched uranium in May, and that had hardly cooled the rhetoric of either Mr. Barak or Mr. Netanyahu through the summer. And both men have long warned of secret centrifuges that could be spinning without outside knowledge, enabling rapid replenishment of the enriched stockpile.

“Netanyahu backed away because he was getting the message that he was going too far and this could do damage, this was not helpful either to Israel or to stopping Iran,” said Emily Landau, an Iran expert at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University. “It might be easier for Barak to now say that it’s because of the technical issue, but it’s not a real issue. Relations with the United States is a much more substantial, real issue, but it’s more difficult to give that as your explanation.”

Graham Allison, a Harvard professor of government who specializes in international security, called Mr. Barak’s statement “kind of a convenient excuse,” adding that “the reason they really blinked” was that the prime minister was unable to convince a majority of his cabinet of the wisdom of acting alone.

“The big phenomenon here is what I’ve called the revolt of the Israeli security barons,” Mr. Allison said. “I can’t think of a prior Israeli government or an analogous case anywhere where there’s such a clear gap between a prime minister on one hand and his security establishment on the other.”

A version of this article appeared in print on November 6, 2012, on page A5 of the New York edition with the headline: Netanyahu Says He’d Go It Alone on Striking Iran.

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