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Sunday, May 22, 2011

AIPAC’s Manchurian Candidate opposes UN, international law

Re-reported, compiled and edited by Carolyn Bennett

U.S.’s unconscionably lawless allegiance in Middle East


“I … believe that the notion that you can solve this problem [of the Occupied Territories] in the United Nations is simply unrealistic,” President Barack Obama said in BBC interview aired today.

Kill or capture? — “What would [Osama bin Laden] have had to do to be captured? Andrew Marr asked in that interview with President Barack Obama. The president ducked and chanted, “Our job is to secure the United States.” Marr pushed gently: “It would have been very difficult to have to have put this man [bin Laden] on trial? The president answers: “That wasn’t our number one consideration.” He goes on to brag: “I’ve made no secret; I said this when running for office: if I got a shot at bin Laden, I’d take it.”

In that interview with Marr, Mr. Obama also offered that he knows better what is best for Pakistan than the Pakistanis know what best for their country. “Pakistan obsessed with India,” he said, but the “biggest threat to Pakistan is homegrown.”

The president had not finished his weekend. Before flying off to England, and in the fallout of his Thursday Middle East performance, he addressed the annual policy meeting of the main pro-Israel lobby in the United States, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC. Again, the U.S. president attacked Palestinian plans to seek statehood at the United Nations and declared his/U.S. allegiance, an “‘ironclad’ Washington commitment, to Israel.”

Driving the nail in the coffin, news came today that “Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the construction of 294 new illegal Jewish settler units in the occupied Palestinian land,” according to a Reuters report sourcing AFP. “The settlements are to go up in the Beitar Ilit settlement in the occupied West Bank…

“The Israeli regime occupied the West Bank alongside the other Palestinian territory of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967 and later annexed both.

“The international community has refused to recognize either the capture or the annexation. The United Nations and the European Union call the settlements illegal as they are constructed on the occupied territories. The UN also considers the settlement expansion to be illegal under the international law.”

 Last word will not be written by 
United States or Britain

Palestinian human rights activist Merna Alazzeh remembers, in a May 19 article, “The young will never forget, will one day return.”  

“… Having lived in al-Azzeh refugee camp for most of my life,” Alazzeh says, “there has always been, as far as I know, much space, even in the narrow alleys of the camp, for the collective memory of Israeli massacres, systematic displacement and ethnic cleansing. These images [imprint] in the minds of Palestinian refugees both young and old.”

Spring 2003 return

“… My grandmother and I ‘went back’ to our destroyed village, Beit Jibrin. We managed to get there despite the checkpoints and the high level of Israeli security; it wasn’t easy even though the actual distance that separates my refugee camp from the village is less than an hour’s drive.…

“I walked behind her climbing up a hill in the village. She seemed much stronger and able to walk faster than I remembered. She knew where exactly we were going, as if she [had been] there yesterday.

“Her memories dated back to 1948” and despite her young age at the time, “she remembered. She remembered her school, the lovely summer evenings she spent with her family in the village. She remembered the harvest time and traveling to Haifa and Yaffa (Jaffa) with her dad to sell their produce. 
“She also remembered the nights when the peaceful village was first attacked. ‘We never saw a fighter jet before,’ she said. … This was the same year [1948] that witnessed the expulsion of approximately 750,000 of the native Palestinian population from their homes and villages. To this day, they have never been able to return.
 “Sixty-three years on and despite the numerous United Nations resolutions and world condemnations, Israel’s impunity prevails.”

No justice

“…Palestinian refugees are yet to see implementation of UN Resolution 242, which clearly affirms ‘a just settlement of the refugee problem’; and Resolution 194, which states that ‘refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.’ These resolutions have been alive in my grandmother’s memory [and] imprint in the consciousness of refugees whether they are acquainted with international law or not.

“Every Palestinian refugee resolutely believes in the right to live in the town or village from where they originate — indeed, from which they and their families have been uprooted by force.”

Never forget

“My grandmother passed away last year in March in the refugee camp but her dream of returning to Beit Jibrin is alive… Her dreams of return are alive. I will never forget her nor will I forget her passion when talking about the village. I will always make sure I pass her dreams and aspirations to the coming generations. I believe this is a promise that each refugee has made consciously or unconsciously until the return and the full realization of our rights.”

As the memory remains in the heart and soul of all Palestinians, “we will never forget my village and all the ethnically-cleansed Palestinian villages. For us, the old may well die, but the young will never forget.”

Tragic failure of foreign policy 

In an opinion piece this weekend on Al Jazeera, political science professor John J. Mearsheimer wrote, “The remarkably powerful Israel lobby makes it virtually impossible for [President Obama] to put meaningful pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is committed to creating a Greater Israel in which the Palestinians are restricted to a handful of disconnected and impoverished enclaves.” With the 2012 presidential election looming larger every day, “Obama is certainly not going to buck the lobby.

“In addition to his problems with Israel and the lobby, Obama has little influence over events in the broader Middle East. The Arab Spring… happened in spite of U.S. foreign policy, not because of it.

“…Washington has played a key role for decades in keeping friendly dictators such as Hosni Mubarak in power; and, not surprisingly, the Obama administration has remained quiet while Saudi and Bahrain's security forces have been crushing the protesters in Bahrain… The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and [the U.S. has] excellent relations with its authoritarian leaders.” Topping off a foreign policy in inevitable free fall, is, Mearsheimer says, the U.S. quagmire in Afghanistan [also Pakistan], Iraq and Libya. “The administration’s hard-nosed policy for dealing with Iran’s nuclear enrichment program [also] is not working but the president seems unwilling — or unable because of pressure from Israel and its lobbyists — to countenance a new approach for dealing with Tehran.

“The bottom line is that the U.S. is in deep trouble in the Middle East and needs new policies for that region. Regrettably there is little prospect of that happening anytime soon.…”

Not the last word

“[President] Obama’s State Department speech should be understood as merely the latest in a long series of disguised confessions of geopolitical impotence; [and] of one thing we can be sure, it will not be the last.…”

International Law expert and UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights Richard Falk was also writing in the post-Middle East speech weekend. “In their long and tormented journey to realize a just and sustainable destiny for themselves,’ he wrote, “Palestinians should not look to sovereign states, or even the United Nations, and certainly not the United States.…

“Their future will depend on the outcome of their struggle increasingly assuming the character of a nonviolent legitimacy [and] abetted and supported by people of good will around the world.…It is Palestinian populism — not great power diplomacy — that offers the best current hope of achieving a sustainable and just peace on behalf of the Palestinian people.”

Other U.S. Theaters of War

Casualty sites reporting May 22, 2011
(Accurate totals unknown)
Anti-war dot com Casualties in Iraq since March 19, 2003
[U.S. war dead since the Obama inauguration January 20,
2009: 224]
Wounded 33,041-100,000
U.S. veterans with brain injuries 320,000
Suicides estimated: 18 a day
Latest update on this site: May 1, 2011
Iraq Body Count
The worldwide update on civilians killed in the Iraq war and occupation
Documented civilian deaths from violence
100,971 – 110,279 
Full analysis of the WikiLeaks’ Iraq War Logs may add 15,000 civilian deaths.
ICasualties figures:
1,582 United States
2,463 Coalition
4,452 United States
4,770 Coalition

Perhaps this was the week of Palestine, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but other U.S. wars, Aden to Iraq, continued.


European, U.S. and Arab ambassadors “pressing Saleh to sign the accord were trapped for hours in an embassy surrounded by armed government supporters.” They stayed there until “Yemeni army helicopters ferried the diplomats out to the palace.”

Tens of thousands of people in the past few months have demonstrated in the streets of the Yemini capital. Taiz and the port city of Aden have also been scenes of mass protests — demanding the immediate end of the 32-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. However, the president seems to agree to step down then moves the post, thus thwarting Gulf efforts to resolve the country’s political crisis.

Today’s press reports say President Saleh “laid down new conditions for signing a power transition deal”  resulting in secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif al-Zayani’s leaving “without getting the signature of the president.”

Protesters have taken the position that the Gulf-brokered deal falls short of their demands for Saleh’s immediate departure and the dismantling of his regime. They reject any immunity for Saleh and say that the opposition parties do not speak for their demands.


Four people died today and many suffered wounds when an armed group of 15 to 20 people attacked a military base in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Pakistani Express TV reported five explosions preceded the attack.

Apparent sectarian/anti-police attacks continued in U.S.-occupied Iraq.

Sixteen people died Sunday and dozens suffered wounds in “a wave of apparently coordinated bombings.” Areas taking most damage were central Iraq’s Shiite areas.

Al Jazeera gave this tally of the Sunday incidents:

Taji: Suicide bomber strikes Iraqi police responding to car comb on U.S. convoy — seven police killed, 10 others injured.

Sadr City: One car bomb (targeting colonel in Interior Ministry), one roadside bomb hidden in pile of garbage, one bomb in parking lot near a market — two people killed, 19 injured at least 19

Amal/Bayaa, west Baghdad: Five roadside bombs and one parked car bomb (police patrol and busy intersection among targets) — two people killed, 15 injured

West Baghdad (Saidiyya and Wathiq Square): bomb in each place — one person killed, 16 injured (among the injured six security troops)

East Baghdad (Beirut Square and area of Canal Street): bomb in each place — complete number of injuries (above the six in one location) unknown

A double bombing on Thursday reportedly left 27 police officers dead in the northern city of Kirkuk. Another eight officers suffered wounds when a roadside bomb hit their convoy as they responded to the scene of the first incident.

“Two U.S. soldiers died in central Iraq today, according to Press TV, “capping a day of violence that left more than a dozen Iraqis dead and more than 80 others wounded in and around Baghdad.”

An Iraqi interior ministry official reportedly said two more U.S. soldiers died and three suffered injuries “when the convoy they were in was struck by a roadside bomb in Baghdad’s western outskirts.”

Shortages furthering unrest

Reuters reported on Saturday, “Libyans armed with guns and a knife stormed a bus carrying foreign journalists and a soldier fired volleys of gunfire into the air to disperse the crowd.”

“The attack reflected Libyan anger at severe petrol shortages, a two-month-old NATO bombing campaign against President Muammar Qaddafi’s government, and state media reports that foreign journalists misrepresent the news.”

Sources and notes

“Barack Obama: No Palestinian state via UN” (Politico staff) May 22, 2011, http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55429.html

“President Obama, in a far-ranging interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, made it clear that he couldn’t and wouldn’t back the efforts of Palestinians to get ‘formal recognition of statehood’ from the United Nations. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0511/55429.html

Ahead of Barack Obama's state visit, Andrew Marr [talked] to the president in an exclusive interview inside the White House. They discussed the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Arab Spring and the killing of Bin Laden; plus the Queen, the monarchy and the royal wedding.  Broadcast on BBC One, May 22, 2011; available until Sunday May 29, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b011kn34/The_Andrew_Marr_Show_22_05_2011/

“Obama: US support for Israel ‘ironclad’ — U.S. president rejects Palestinian moves to seek statehood through United Nations in speech to American pro-Israel lobby,” May 22, 2011,

“Israel approves nearly 300 settlements,” May 22, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/181178.html

“The young will never forget, and will one day return (Merna Alazzeh, The Electronic Intifada May 19, 2011, http://electronicintifada.net/content/young-will-never-forget-and-will-one-day-return/9989
Merna Alazzeh is a Palestinian human rights activist, community and international development professional living in London. Alazzeh holds academic credentials in human rights from the London School of Economics

“Obama: Doomed to disappoint  — In his speech on the Middle East, the U.S. president failed to break the chains of the status quo and set a new path” (John J. Mearsheimer) May 21, 2011,

John J. Mearsheimer is R.Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.

“Israel and Palestine: Obama’s flawed approach — U.S. president’s speech showed a lack of will and capacity to pressure Israel into striking compromise with Palestinians” (Richard Falk), May 21, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/201152191452474596.html

Richard Falk is Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He has authored and edited numerous publications spanning a period of five decades. His most recent book is Achieving Human Rights (2009). Falk is currently serving his fourth year of a six-year term as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

“Yemen’s Saleh refuses to sign exit deal  — Mediator leaves empty-handed as president says opposition must be present if he is to sign power transition deal,” May 22, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/201152216373928689.html

“Gunmen attack Pakistani naval base  — Four reported dead and Pakistani special forces deployed following assault on key military facility in Karachi,” May 22, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/05/201152218582675282.html

“Wave of bombings strike across Iraq — More than a dozen blasts across mostly Shia areas in Baghdad target government and police, leaving at least 16 dead,” May 22, 2011, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/05/20115227927371346.html

“Two US soldiers killed in Iraq,” May 22, 2011, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/181236.html

“Libya crowd attacks bus carrying foreign journalists,” May 22, 2011, http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE74L05M20110522


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