A few weeks ago, on April 14th, George Bush decided to void the Palestinians' right to return to their homeland. The President also took the occasion to make illegal Jewish settlements a permanent "fact on the ground." In a single press conference with Ariel Sharon, he managed to truncate the size of a Palestinian state and assault the fundamental human rights of refugees around the world. One has to assume that Bush has now assumed the right to decide which other group of refugees can forget about ever returning to their native lands.
Before unilaterally making this radical departure from the policies of every American administration since 1948, Bush dispatched Elliott Abrams to negotiate terms with Sharon. Abrams, the radical Likudnik activist of Iran/Contra fame, has a history of beating the drums of the Netenyahu wing of the Likud party. His mission was to convince Netenyahu to accept the terms of the "moderate" Sharon who had declared his intention to withdraw from Gaza.
Abrams convinced Netenyahu to agree to stop lobbying against Sharon's plan, which was scheduled to come up for a vote in the Likud party. But his agreement came with a stiff price. Netenyahu's "generous offer" was contingent on getting American assurances that the Palestinians right of return would be voided and that the settlements would become legal.
Upon returning to America, Abrams held a meeting in the White House with the leadership of the Christian Zionist movement, a key Bush constituency. He wanted to reassure them that Gaza was not part of biblical Israel and evacuating it would not stall the Second Coming of Jesus or the prospects of a timely advent of the rapture and the end of times. You have to marvel at the marketing skills of this Likudnik fanatic who doesn't even believe in the First Coming of the Messiah.
In any case, Abrams managed to convince Bush that he had cut a great deal. All Bush needed to do was to stiff the Palestinian on a few of their rights and shrink the boundaries of the Palestinian Bantustan to accommodate Israeli expansionist fantasies. In return, Netenyahu would not actively obstruct a critical vote in the Likud. The president accepted Netenyahu's "generous offer." By the time Sharon landed in Washington, Bush had prepared a letter officially committing to Netenyahu's terms. For the Palestinians, it was the Second Coming of the Balfour Declaration.
Abrams didn't go to Israel to negotiate American terms with Sharon. He was there to settle an internal Likud party squabble. As a confirmed member of the Netenyahu wing of the Likud, he wanted to draw a line in the sand for the "moderate" Sharon. In effect, Bush had dispatched one Likudnik fox to negotiate with another Likudnik fox on how best to cook the chicken.
As promised, the reluctant Netenyahu did not publicly campaign against Sharon's plan. But he wasn't about to endorse it either. When the vote took place, the Likud faithful turned down the "compromise". So, the Israelis pocketed George's concession of Palestinian rights and Palestinian real estate and laughed all the way to the West Bank.
After the Likud turned down the idea to withdrawing from Gaza, the Israelis came back and got a green light from the Bush administration to batter the Palestinians. Sharon explained that he needed to torment the refugees in Gaza to shore up his standing in the Likud after failing to get approval for his plan. Bush understood. After a few weeks of demolishing homes and killing dozens of Palestinians, the people of Gaza staged acts of resistance that resulted in the death of thirteen Israeli soldiers.
As usual, Sharon lost his temper and Bush agreed that Israel had the right to defend its soldiers from the "terrorists" who had the audacity to resist Sharon's efforts to demonstrate his toughness in front of the Netenyahu wing of the Likud. The president of the free world had an AIPAC engagement coming up and that's never a good time to bring up the issue of Palestinian rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So once again, Bush expressed sympathy and gave a green light to "Operation Rainbow." The rape of Rafah was on.
In an effort to resolve a feud within the Likud, Elliott Abrams had set in motion a major Israeli killing spree.
Abram's Likudnik antics are typical of the standard operating procedure in the Bush administration. In reviewing the resume of the folks Bush appointed as architects a "Greater Middle East," one runs into a who's who list of professional Jewish activists with a long record of supporting the most extreme right wing factions in Israel.
Wolfowitz's sister actually gave up on America and immigrated to Israel. Like his sibling, he has spent his whole adult life working on Likudnik agendas. Douglas Feith's law partner in Israel represents the right wing settler movement. Lewis Libby, the lawyer who convinced Clinton to pardon the tax dodging Mark Rich, has well established ties to Israeli intelligence. Richard Perle sits on the board of the Jerusalem Post and works with Conrad Black, a media mogul and Zionist propagandist. Along with Dick Cheney's wife, all four are affiliated with the neo-con movement that has its imprint all over Bush's Middle East policies.
Before joining the Bush administration, this neo-con cabal agitated against the Oslo agreement and worked on Netenyahu's election campaign. Dick Cheney and his wife actually retained Bernard Lewis to tutor our president of vice on the "Arab mind." Lewis is a vicious anti-Arab racist and a suspect pseudo-academic who was convicted in a French court of denying the Armenian genocide.
One has to be extremely delusional to subscribe to the notion that any of these characters are interested in the freedom of any pedigree of Arabs, be they Iraqi or Palestinian. Quite the contrary. Their real motives are to subjugate and humiliate Arabs into accepting Sharon's dictates.
It should come as no surprise that Douglas Feith was the Pentagon official who signed off on torturing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners. Or that Feith and Libby are the main suspects in leaking the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent. Or that Wolfowitz and Perle virtually created Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress and collaborated with the INC in fabricating false intelligence and feeding it to neo-con media operatives like Judith Miller and Charles Krauthammer. Or that Libby and Feith were the force behind setting up the Office of Special Plans that sabotaged the CIA's and DIA's intelligence gathering operations. Or that Feith was in charge of the now discredited post invasion fantasies. Or that Paul Bremer, the current emperor of Baghdad, is a self-declared neo-con and a protégé of Henry Kissinger. Or that Michael Rubin, a neo-con zealot, was given a major role in administering our Iraqi colony. After his assignment in Baghdad, Rubin went right back to his desk at the American Enterprise Institute.
These are the Bush advisers that prey on the mind of a president who believes he is getting battle plans from God. They write his speeches and condense the news that he can't bother to read. Even Republican Senators are alarmed at the virtual seclusion of this President behind a wall of Praetorian guards recruited from the ranks of the Israeli Lobby.
None of this is a secret. It is just one of those taboo subjects that can get you libeled as an anti-Semite if you so much as hint at who these people are or question their allegiance to a foreign state ruled by a serial war criminal. But some prominent Americans have apparently had enough of their shenanigans. Retired General Anthony Zinni and Senator Hollings and others are finally taking them on. Zinni, in a challenge to the complicit silence of many in Washington, recently appeared on a 60 Minutes program and said, "I know what strategy they promoted. And openly. And for a number of years. And what they have convinced the president and the secretary to do. And I don't believe there is any serious political leader, military leader, diplomat in Washington that doesn't know where it came from."
Zinni is not just any old retired General. During his military career, this distinguished American officer served for four years as the commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command, in charge of American forces in the Middle East.
The Israeli Lobby has always had an extraordinary amount of influence on American foreign policy. With Bush, they have hit the jackpot because they find him so easy to manipulate, especially when they make an appeal to his faith. He is at once the most peculiar and the most transparent of Presidents. If he appears to be cruel, he is just administering the wrath of God on planet earth. For him, Palestinian and Iraqi sufferings are a necessary price to pay to bring on Armageddon. He is not an opportunist preaching to the flock. He is part of the Christian Zionist movement. The designated priests of this Christian heresy are folks like Abrams who must get a huge kick out of messing around with the collective emotions of these holy rollers.
We can only hope that a slumbering America will wake up to the real and present danger of giving this very simple and very dangerous President a mandate of a second term in office. If he gets four more years, we might just find ourselves two years away from Armageddon.
Unfortunately for the Palestinians, John Kerry appears to be recruiting his own brigade of neo-con Praetorian guards to administer Middle East policy. Rafah was just one more sign that the Palestinians are set to lose another American election.
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