Audrey Farber, 29 November 2010
In the WikiLeaked cables, the Israeli government constantly highlights three threats: “Iran’s nuclear program, the build-up of rockets and missiles in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, and the Goldstone Report.” (#09TELAVIV2777) In defense against each of these threats, and in other arenas, the Israelis seem adept at coercing the US into doing their bidding.
Israel’s criticisms of the Goldstone Report are verging on delusional. Its only defense – repeated time and time and time again – is that “during Cast Lead the IDF send thousands and flyers, text messages and phone calls to civilians, warning them to get out of the way.” The population of Gaza is over 1.5 million, and I don’t think over 1 million of those are Hamas militants. “The deaths of several hundred civilians in Gaza was ‘tragic,’ Netanyahu said, but there was no deliberate targeting of civilians by Israel. Deliberate targeting of civilians is a war crime, but what should Israel do when terrorists deliberately target Israeli civilians and then hide within their civilian population?” (#09TELAVIV2777) Netanyahu’s statement is contradictory and a blatant admission of criminal behavior, but this was Israel’s only defense despite Goldstone’s numerous accusations. “NSC Director for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Prem Kumar noted continued UNSC interest in the Goldstone Report, and asked Israel to inform the United States on any additional efforts or investigations the GOI was taking to help deflect any further damage from the report.” (#09TELAVIV2502) The Israeli government sees the Goldstone report as a threat – what it really is is a threat to Israel’s constant immunity. That the US, too, is keeping an eye out for “further damage” is indicative of our willingness to protect our neediest ally against any and all, especially legitimate, criticism.
Iran, and the rest of the world
Israel, perhaps rightly, perceives Iran as a threat. They seem to believe that everything from the Lebanese Armed Forces to Gaza tunnel smuggling to Turkey’s relationship with Syria represents Iranian infiltration and a constant threat. The idea that Iran is puppeteering the entire Middle East is reflected in Israel’s perception of its neighbors as part of a world-wide anti-Israel conspiracy. “Netanyahu warned…that if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, the peace process would be ‘washed away.’ Even Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan would come under enormous pressure.” (#09TELAVIV2777) This, despite all evidence that neither Cairo nor Amman are too keen on a nuclear Iran. “The relative calm on all Israel’s borders does not obscure the fact that Israeli intelligence is seeing significant activity and planning by Iranian surrogates.” (#09TELAVIV2482) “Gilad addressed threats posed by ‘Hizballahstan’ and ‘Hamastan,’ noting that Hizballah/Hamas-Syria-Iran cooperation has strengthened. …IDF J5 Col Shimon Arad noted…Lebanon’s susceptibility to outside influences, including Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. He recommended improved US.-Israel coordination, and called for an exchange of views. Arad also recommended creating Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) deconfliction measures, demanding improved LAF performance, and exerting greater pressure on Syria and smuggling.” (#09TELAVIV2502) Further, the Israelis believe US aid to Lebanon through the LAF will, in the end, go to support Iran.
Regarding the laughable peace talks, Netanyahu and his cronies continue to throw blame, accusing Palestinians of being the ones standing in the way of peace.
Israel is adept at slyly keeping the PA exactly where they want them: under de facto Israeli control. Indeed, Netanyahu’s generosity towards the Palestinians is heartwarming, it’s no wonder we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes:
Further, the Israelis “also expressed skepticism about Palestinian President Abbas’s future, given his weakened position as a result of … his inability to get the full settlement freeze he had pushed for; they questioned his ability to restart peace negotiations.” (#09TELAVIV2482)
As always, Israel is the innocent lamb being sent to slaughter. No mention, naturally, of Israel’s responsibility in stalling negotiations; for the failure to continue the settlement freeze, no responsibility for the ambivalence towards drawing a map, no responsibility for the fact that settlers and settler violence are financially and politically supported by the Israeli government.
“Netanyahu stressed that he was not pushing for the Palestinians to hold elections, but was instead focused on promoting the expansion of the West Bank economy by removing both physical and bureaucratic obstacles.” (#09TELAVIV2777) Translation: Netanyahu rejects Palestinian statehood and any realistic potential for peace, but will do anything to make himself and his occupation look good. Israeli culpability seems to be lost on the Americans, deftly – if transparently – manipulated by Bibi. “Netanyahu said his meeting with the President was the best meeting that they have had. He stressed that he had told the President that he is ready to negotiate with Abu Mazen now, and contrasted Israel’s position with the PA’s setting of preconditions for negotiations.”
Arguably of the most financial significance is our military support for Israel. (Ironic, I think, considering their own largest economic sector is defense-based.) No matter what Israel is intending to use these weapons for – and more likely than not, against Iran or its so-called “surrogates,” we continue to give give give. These next two excerpts don’t need explanation – we are all well-acquainted with the prolific arms trade, or rather gifting, between the US and Israel. And the US and everyone else, for that matter. But read this inside the mentality of the Cold War (which I would argue is not over in the Middle East, only its players have changed), and its becomes almost hilarious.
Even if it runs contrary to our own interests, we seem to be more interested in preventing – or possibly creating – a mineshaft gap between Israel and her multitudinous enemies, we are willing to throw caution to the wind.
A piece of old news, Obama and Congress are solidly in Netanyahu’s pocket, and that is worrisome. “Netanyahu said only the U.S. and Israel are currently working on missile defense. This cooperation sends a powerful message to Israel’s enemies he noted, and thanked the CODEL and the Congress for their support.” (#09TELAVIV2777) American diplomats cannot escape the hypnotic trance of the lures of cooperation. “Tauscher reiterated that the United States will not take any action to compromise Israel’s security and would consult closely with Israel — which GOI officials greatly appreciated. … Gilad … argued against creating the impression that Israel was the problem.” (#09TELAVIV2757) Alas, it seems our only role in Middle East politics is to be arms dealer and Israel’s workhorse, extraordinaire.
If the American government is really listening to this kind of paranoid propagandic drivel, and all signs point to the affirmative, then we live in sad days indeed. The Israelis ask, and the US gives. Anything, anything, for our little darlings. Israel is never wrong, the finger is always pointed away.