*****The ‘Palestine Papers’ and the US’s crumbling position in the Middle East*****

Newsocialist.org reports about falling Arab dictatorships and Israeli government panic.

(emphasis mine) [my comment]

Tuesday, 01 February 2011 19:26
Falling Arab dictatorships and Israeli government panic
By Mordecai Briemberg
FEBRUARY 1, 2011

… which brings us to the second new dynamic,
"THE PALESTINE PAPERS."

This is the heading Al Jazeera has given to "
nearly 1,700 files, thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence detailing the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process... memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations - dat[ing] from 1999 to 2010." Al Jazeera says it has had "unhindered access" to the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Confirmed in vivid detail, beyond supposition and speculation, are this: (a) In this game called the "peace process" IT IS ISRAEL WHICH REJECTS REACHING ANY AGREEMENT, despite the most extensive concessions by the "Palestine Authority" negotiators, obviously preferring to complete unhindered its independent plans for the further colonization of the territories conquered in June 1967; (b) The "Palestine Authority" concessions are so extensive that they amount to betrayal of the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people, ranging from abandoning the right of return of Palestinian refugees to abandoning the right to administer Muslim religious sites in Jerusalem. And beyond this abandonment, COLLABORATION WITH ISRAEL IN KILLING PALESTINIANS. More than concessions, even more than betrayal, MANY PALESTINIANS ARE CALLING THEM TREASON; (c) The U.S. acts as Israel's lawyer, applying pressure -- both bribes and threats -- ONLY ON THE PALESTINIANS.

Revelations about PNA collusion against its own people

Gulf News reports that Palestinians were betrayed by their leaders.

Betrayed by their leaders, Palestinians have to start their struggle again in a spirit of national reconciliation and unity
By Abdel Bari Atwan, Special to Gulf News
Published: 00:00 January 30, 2011


The Palestine Papers reveal a gut-wrenching level of PNA collusionAGAINST ITS OWN PEOPLE with Israel, the US and Britain. It is also clear that for PNA leaders the enemy is Hamas, not Israel.

Infamous for human rights abuses and imprisoning its rivals without trial, the PNA's security apparatus — we now discover — was founded on a blueprint commissioned by Tony Blair and developed by the British secret service, MI6, in 2004. Israel is close at hand to help: in a 2006 conversation with America's Keith Dayton, Erekat celebrated the PNA's 'security liaison with Israel'.

At its most sinister,
this unpalatable collaboration includes A CASUAL APPROACH TO THE MURDER OF FELLOW PALESTINIANS: documents from 2005 detail a discussion between Israeli defence minister, Shaul Mofaz and PNA interior minister, Nasser Yousuf about Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades leader Hassan Al Madhoun. "WE KNOW HIS ADDRESS ... WHY DON'T YOU KILL HIM?" Mofaz asked.

Yousuf replied that 'instructions' had been given but complains 'you haven't offered anything'. In the event
Madhoun was murdered by Israeli forces. In September 2009, Erekat told a US official that "we have killed our own people to ... establish one authority, one gun and the rule of law".

The documents reveal
an incomprehensible attitude to Israel's winter 2008-09 onslaught (code-named Operation Cast Lead) in which 1,400 Palestinians — nearly half of them women and children — lost their lives.

Clandestine meeting

First we discover that
Israeli intelligence chief, Amos Gilad, alerted Abbas prior to the attack and met with no resistance. Then from WikiLeaks, we learn that on December 29, 2008, PNA security chiefs held a clandestine meeting with top Israeli military and intelligence officials: not, as we would have hoped, to angrily berate their bloodthirsty enemy, but to discuss the best way to handle anti-Israel protests in the West Bank. According to the US Embassy cable, "the two sides agreed to expedite coordination and exchange information on disturbances".


The papers consistently portray
a PNA more concerned with remaining in power than the welfare of fellow Palestinians. In 2008, it blocked the release of 450 Arab prisoners in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Qorei bluntly informed Livni that such a move would "make Hamas appear as a hero before the public and that Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] gives speeches only".


Yet
the Israeli and US negotiators showed little respect for the PNA group. In 2008, the Israelis presented a map of proposed land swaps, but wouldn't let the Palestinians keep a copy. The sight of the then 73-year-old Abbas copying the map on to a paper napkin is truly painful.

The end of the Palestine Papers' depressing saga sees
an increasingly desperate Palestinian team surrendering one key national position after another: it offers Israel nearly all of occupied east Jerusalem (Erekat cringe-makingly refers to it by its Hebrew name, Yerushalayim); it agrees to Israel annexing its illegal colonies and it limits the right of return to just 10,000 refugees. THE ISRAELIS SCORN EVERY OFFER AND COLD-BLOODEDLY ASK FOR MORE. Then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice expertly extinguishes the last flickerings of Palestinian pride WITH THE SUGGESTION THAT ITS REFUGEES COULD BE TRANSFERRED TO LATIN AMERICA.

Revelations about the US's role in the Middle East

Veteranstoday.com reports about Failed US policies in Middle East.

ABUNIMAH — IF US CAN'T BE 'HONEST BROKER' IN MIDDLE EAST, GET OUT OF THE WAY
January 30, 2011
posted by Debbie Menon


At first,
State Department officials variously tried to cast doubt on The Palestine Papers, THEN ADMITTED THEY WOULD "COMPLICATE" US DIPLOMACY, and eventually VOWED TO CARRY ON WITH FAILED POLICIES AS IF NOTHING HAD HAPPENED. That won't work.

Failed US policies, role in Middle East

The initial picture that emerges from the documents is of unbridgeable gaps between an increasingly intransigent, ultranationalist, land-grabbing Israel, and a Palestinian leadership that has offered all it can in concessions and capitulations, despite its utter lack of legitimacy among the people it purports to represent. "The only thing I cannot do is convert to Zionism," said Mr. Erekat in 2008 after a Palestinian team presented plans and maps to then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni conceding virtually all the Israeli settlements in and around Jerusalem, the rights of refugees, and the right to a state with full sovereignty.

Far from sitting between the parties as an "honest broker,"
the United States has continued to play its role as "Israel's lawyer." Even worse, instead of supporting Palestinians to end the Israeli occupation and achieve their "legitimate aspirations," THE UNITED STATES HAS HELPED ISRAEL ENTRENCH THE OCCUPATION AND SABOTAGED PALESTINIAN DEMOCRACY.

In Oct. 2009, Erekat informed US Middle East envoy George Mitchell that
Mahmoud Abbas intended to step down as Palestinian Authority leader because he saw no way forward in the peace process. Mr. Mitchell immediately went to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who promised that she and President Obama would personally persuade Abbas to change his mind. Clinton added, according to the minutes, that MR. ABBAS "NOT RUNNING IN THE ELECTION IS NOT AN OPTION — there is no alternative to him." That Palestinian election still has not been held in large part because THE UNITED STATES REFUSES TO CONTEMPLATE A SITUATION WHERE THE CHOICE OF VOTERS MIGHT TRUMP ITS OWN.

This top-down usurpation of the right of the Palestinian people to freely choose their own leaders was matched by
a bottom-up effort led by US Army Lt. General Keith Dayton to build Palestinian security services that DAYTON KNEW ENGAGED IN TORTURE. In fact, Mr. Dayton told Erekat how pleased the Israelis were with Palestinian intelligence services: "They say they are giving as much as they are taking from them — but they are causing some problems for international donors BECAUSE THEY ARE TORTURING PEOPLE."

The irony here is that
US EFFORTS AMOUNTED TO HELPING THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY BUILD EXACTLY THE KIND OF DESPISED POLICE STATE APPARATUS THAT THE TUNISIAN PEOPLE OVERTHREW, with the admiration — and perhaps the emulation — of hundreds of millions of Arabs who live under similar regimes. It has not enhanced US credibility that THE US ONLY EXPRESSED ITS SUPPORT FOR THE DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS OF TUNISIANS AFTER THEY HAD OVERTHROWN THEIR DICTATOR. But as the United States showed when it supported the Shah of Iran to the end, it is loyal to its "friends."

The U.S. and Mideast democracy

CNN asks Is U.S. on the side of Mideast democracy?

Is U.S. on the side of Mideast democracy?
January 31, 2011
By Khaled Elgindy, Special to CNN

http://articles.cnn.com/images/pixel.gif
In his famous Cairo speech of June 2009,
President Barack Obama's pledge to support governments "that reflect the will of the people" and to personally pursue Arab-Israeli peace "with all the patience and dedication that the task requires" inspired millions of Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East and beyond. Two years into his term, however, the administration has little to show for its grandiose rhetoric.

For all its talk of new beginnings,
the Obama administration has remained remarkably faithful to the largely outdated policy formulas and flawed political assumptions that prevailed under his predecessors -- and with predictable results. …

Among other things, the documents
[the Palestine Papers] show how the Palestinians' repeated pleadings for an end to Israeli settlement expansion were typically met with either indifference or exasperation by U.S. officials.

In contrast to
the almost limitless deference shown to Israeli demands and internal politics, U.S. officials, whether under Obama or George W. Bush, show remarkably little patience for the political needs and internal pressures of the Palestinians -- who, after all, have already endured a civil war and a debilitating political schism.



Ordinary Arabs have not failed to take note of
Washington's rather measured tone on behalf of demonstrators in Egypt and Tunisia against their leaders, both stalwart U.S. allies, particularly when compared with its far more vociferous support for Iranian protesters in the latter half of 2009 against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


Rightly or wrongly,
a majority of Arabs across the region, both Muslims and Christians alike, have come to view the United States as an obstacle to, rather than a champion of, THEIR ASPIRATIONS.

Not only has the Obama administration failed to make good on its promises to promote peace and democracy,
the ever-widening gap between the principles to which it said it would adhere and its actual conduct on the ground has eroded its credibility throughout the region at an alarming rate.


http://articles.cnn.com/images/pixel.gifWithout a serious rethink of U.S. policy in the Middle East, … the United States risks permanently damaging its long-term interests in the Arab and Muslim worlds and ending up on the wrong side of history.

The US's crumbling position in the Middle East

Walt.foreignpolicy.com reports on the 'palestine papers'.

On the 'Palestine Papers'
Posted By Stephen M. Walt
Thursday, January 27, 2011

these releases can also be read as
the final obituary for the Oslo peace process. Lord knows it had been on life support for years, and most analysts have already understood it was going nowhere… But what I've argued before is now abundantly clear: The Palestinians aren't going to accept anything less than a viable state (plus at least symbolic acknowledgement of a "right of return"), and Israel isn't going to offer them anything remotely close to that. (See Jeremy Pressman here for further details on the difficulties.) It's equally clear that the United States is incapable of acting like an honest broker on this issue, despite its importance to our broader security position. That means no "two states for two peoples," which in turn means that some future U.S. president is going to face some really awkward choices.

And if we step back and take a larger and longer view, it begins to look like
THE U.S. POSITION IN THE MIDDLE EAST, which seemed so dominant after the fall of the USSR and the first Gulf War, IS NOW CRUMBLING. Hezbollah just formed a government in Lebanon, possibly after the United States convinced former PM Saad Hariri to go back on a compromise deal over the U.N. tribunal investigating the murder of his father. Iraq is now governed by a Shiite government with extensive links to Iran and is denying the U.S. any future military role there. A democratic government in Turkey, while not anti-American, is charting an independent course. The Mubarak government in Egypt, long a close U.S. client, has been shaken…

The problem is this:
The United States has no idea how to deal with a Middle East where the voice of the people might actually be heard, rather than being subject to the writ of various aging potentates. And having followed policies for decades that are unpopular with most of those same people, we may be about to reap the whirlwind.

My reaction: I have always stayed await from writing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on this blog (because I viewed it as controversial and unproduced), but the Palestine Papers and their implications are worth noting.

About The Palestine Papers

1) The Palestine Papers refers to "nearly 1,700 files, thousands of pages of diplomatic correspondence detailing the inner workings of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process... memos, e-mails, maps, minutes from private meetings, accounts of high level exchanges, strategy papers and even power point presentations - dat[ing] from 1999 to 2010."

2) It represents the largest-ever leak of confidential documents related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Revelations about Israel and the peace process

1) It is israel which rejects reaching any agreement.

2) The Oslo peace process is dead because it is clear that:

A) The Palestinians aren't going to accept anything less than a viable state
B) Israel isn't going to offer them anything remotely close to that.
C) The United States is incapable of acting like an honest broker.

Revelations about PNA collusion against its own people

1) The Palestine Papers reveal a gut-wrenching level of PNA collusion (against its own people) - with Israel, the US and Britain.

2) This unpalatable collaboration includes a casual approach to the murder of fellow Palestinians.

3) The "Palestine Authority" concessions during negotiations are so extensive that they amount to betrayal of the internationally recognized rights of the Palestinian people.

4) For PNA leaders the enemy is Hamas, not Israel.

US reaction to The Palestine Papers

1) First, State Department officials variously tried to cast doubt on The Palestine Papers.

2) The State Department then admitted they would "complicate" US diplomacy.

3) Finally, the State Department vowed to carry on with failed policies as if nothing had happened.

Revelations about the US's role in the Middle East

1) The united states has helped israel entrench the occupation and sabotaged palestinian democracy.

2) The US has stifled true Palestinian democracy: it is pressure from the US that has prevented any new Palestinian election from being held. (The United States refuses to contemplate a situation where the choice of voters might trump its own.)

3) A U.S. general (Lt. General Keith Dayton) who, until recently, oversaw the training of Palestinian security forces was aware of torture in West Bank facilities.

4) US efforts amounted to helping the Palestinian authority build exactly the kind of despised police state apparatus that the Tunisian people overthrew.

The U.S. and Mideast democracy

1) A majority of Arabs across the region, both Muslims and Christians alike, have come to view the United States as an obstacle to their aspirations.

2) The ever-widening gap between the principles to which it said it would adhere and its actual conduct on the ground has eroded the US's credibility throughout the region at an alarming rate. (ie: expressing its support for the democratic rights of Tunisians after they had overthrown their dictator)

3) In opposing democratic forces, the United States is ending up on the wrong side of history.


Conclusion: The US's position in the Middle East is crumbling. Supporting dictators and repressive regimes may have short term benefits, but it also has long term costs. Those long term costs are coming due.

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3 Responses to *****The ‘Palestine Papers’ and the US’s crumbling position in the Middle East*****

  1. Jimmy says:

    Read this first before having an opinion about political situation in Egypt

    So you could think, democracy is not possible there if the muslim brotherhood wins the next 'democratic' elections.

    Muhammad Ghanem, one of the muslim brotherhood leaders, said on Al-Alam (Iranian news): If we are at power in Egypt after fall of president Mubarak, we will begin war with Israël...

  2. Jimmy says:

    And Obama could be the second Jimmy Carter...

  3. icliks says:

    Here is the link to the Kremlin.

    The Hidden Hand in Egypt

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