Tuesday, September 20, 2011

US Maneuvers to Blunt Support for Palestine

As Egyptian masses occupy Israeli embassy

U.S. maneuvers to blunt support for Palestine

By Deirdre Griswold
Published Sep 14, 2011 3:09 PM

Egyptians attacked the Israeli Embassy and burn Israeli flag, Cairo, Sept. 9

U.S. imperialism is once again maneuvering to counter growing world support for the Palestinian struggle. Its primary motive is to protect the interests of U.S. capital in the Middle East, which center around, but are not restricted to, exploitation of the fabulous oil wealth in the area.

Its main military ally in the region is the small but highly armed state of Israel. The Tel Aviv regime has fought many wars against surrounding Arab countries since it seized control of most of Palestine in 1948 with the blessings of U.S. and European imperialism.

It was not a peaceful takeover. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted from their homes by a terror campaign in which armed Zionist groups like the Irgun massacred many civilians. Now, 63 years later, the struggle of the Palestinians for a homeland, including the right to return to the territory controlled by the Israeli state, is stronger than ever.

And so is support for their cause from the masses of people throughout the region. A dramatic example of this made the news on Sept. 9 when a huge crowd in Cairo, after a rally in Tahrir Square, marched to the Israeli Embassy, broke through its walls and pulled down the Israeli flag. The Israeli ambassador fled to the airport with his family and 70 employees, where they scrambled aboard a plane to Tel Aviv.

The angry but unarmed crowd got control of the building and almost reached trapped Israeli spies cowering in a bunker, according to a later British report. “Six intelligence officers, detailed to protect Israel’s embassy in Cairo, had barricaded themselves in the building’s strongroom. A mob of hammer-wielding Egyptians were closing in. The rioters had already broken down two of the strongroom’s doors and were now hammering on the third. Three of the Israelis drew their guns, preparing for a last stand,” wrote Adrian Blomfield in The Telegraph of Sept. 12.

Israeli officials were worried that the dirty secrets held by these men would be discovered, as had happened in Iran in 1979, when revolutionary students broke into and occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The young people spent months inside the embassy, laboriously taping back together secret documents that Washington’s spies had shredded to keep the world from getting first-hand knowledge of the close relationship the U.S. had with the torture regime of the Shah and his hated secret police, the Savak.

What stopped that from happening to Israel this time? Israel, of course, had a close relationship with the now ousted Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. That was well known. Israel had publicly offered Mubarak a safe haven from the Egyptian masses, who want him tried and convicted for his multitude of crimes against the people. But what both Israel and the U.S. want to protect from public scrutiny is the ongoing relationship they still have with high Egyptian officials who talk in the language of revolution but do all they can to subvert it.

So, instead of these “intelligence officers” being captured by the crowd, reported the Telegraph, “This time, the most feared outcome was averted thanks to the intervention of the White House. Facing American threats of dire retribution if any of the Israelis was harmed, Egypt’s military rulers dispatched a team of commandos to rescue the trapped men, a mission completed in the nick of time.”

Other sources reported that the Egyptian police, who tried to disperse the crowd with teargas and rubber bullets, were later reinforced by soldiers with live ammunition. While no shooting deaths were reported, the Egyptian health ministry said 520 people were wounded in clashes around the embassy. (Palestine Chronicle, Sept. 12)

Question of diplomatic recognition

In addition to shoring up Egyptian officials compromised by their relationships to Israel, the White House and State Department have been busy trying to limit any diplomatic recognition of the Palestinian Authority while using the issue as a wedge to divide the Palestinian movement.

Early in September the U.S. sent Special Envoy to the Middle East David Hale and State Department diplomat Dennis Ross to convince the Palestinians not to go to the United Nations for statehood. When this failed, the U.S. threatened to cut off all aid to the PA. (Palestine News Network, Sept. 8)

Some 130 member states of the U.N. General Assembly — an overwhelming majority — are reportedly ready to vote this month for a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state. Not all are progressive, by any means.

The rich, reactionary and repressive kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for example, has warned the U.S. of the problems it will encounter if it blocks such a resolution. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a right-winger from the U.S. puppet state of south Korea, on Sept. 9 said that recognition of a Palestinian state is “long overdue.”

That even these political forces have to speak out for Palestine shows that mass sentiment all over the world is with the Palestinians and against the racist Israeli settler state.

The U.S., however, has consistently voted in the General Assembly and the Security Council against even the mildest criticism of Israel. In the much smaller Security Council, which is dominated by the Western imperialists, it can block any recognition of a Palestinian state by using its veto.

Washington has no veto in the General Assembly, but any resolution that passed there would have far less strength, since the G.A. can only confer observer status, not full U.N. membership.

There are strong differences of opinion within the Palestinian movement on the resolution, the wording of which has not yet been revealed by its author, the Palestinian Authority, which is dominated by the Fatah Party.

It is believed that the resolution will in some way define the borders of a new Palestinian state as those territories governed by Palestinians before the 1967 war. They are scattered and separated, leading to comparison with the Bantustans set up for Africans by the apartheid regime in South Africa.

A cardinal point, raised especially by Palestinians abroad, is the Right of Return to their homeland, which Israel denies them. These groups are asking if U.N. recognition of the 1967 boundaries will mean that Palestinians can only go to those areas and not to all of historic Palestine.

In a statement issued May 16, the Global Coalition for the Palestinian Right of Return warned: “Betting on recognition by the United Nations of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders without coupling it with a guarantee of the right of immediate return of the refugees to their original homes, merely paves the way for a new futile round of international and diplomatic deliberations which do not address the root of the conflict, and give the international community a new opportunity or rather excuse to shirk its responsibilities towards the rights of our people.”

While progressives here certainly must oppose any machinations of the Obama administration to prevent a U.N. vote on the recognition of Palestine, it is up to the Palestinian people themselves to determine if such a resolution will forward or retard their struggle.
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