Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has been very active in the last week in deploring the unity deal between Palestine’s two main parties, Hamas and Fatah. Netanyahu has even spoken to US congress for the second time in his political career (in the entire history of the US, only four foreign leaders have addressed joint sessions of Congress more than once).
And it’s no coincidence that Netanyahu’s visit to the US has come at a time when Barack Obama is out of the country. Netanyahu is frantically racing around spreading Israel’s message to the world that they will not negotiate in the Middle East peace process if Hamas is involved.
Relations between the Obama administration and Israel have been fragile in the last year. Israel has continued to evict Palestinians and demolish their properties in order to build settlements in their place in the West Bank.
It’s strange because I want to call this illegal but Israel, as always, has operated under different laws than those that everyone else must adhere to. So although it should be illegal, for some reason all I can label it as is wrong and unjust.
The Obama administration has made it very clear that the Israelis should stop building these settlements and Hillary Clinton has read many a statement on the matter and how Israel should cease the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. Israel, however, has continued and never listened to the US. But it’s OK for Israel to do this because, after all, it is Israel.
This is why the relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has been frosty. Israel won’t listen and it makes the US look stupid. But let’s not forget that matters are very complex and that the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee is very influential in what the US decides to do.
In recent times Obama has made numerous attempts to bring the Palestinians and the Israelis to the table to form some kind of peace deal. For years the Palestinians have made concessions and attempted to form peace deals with Israel but Israel rejected them outright (revealed in Wikileaks documents, and published in the Guardian in January 2011).
The two main parties in Palestine are Hamas and Fatah and they have been locked in bloody battles over the issue of Israel’s occupation. Not only this, but Israel and the West have strategically meddled in Hamas and Fatah’s affairs. This is great for the US, Britain and Israel, as a divided Palestine means a stronger Israel, which blocks Arab unity in the region.
After the fall of Hosni Mubarak, a US puppet and the Israel-friendly Egyptian leader, a newly-revived Egyptian military council has brought Hamas and Fatah closer and has got the two sides to put aside their differences and sign a unity deal – something that no other government has ever achieved. This deal was signed in Cairo on 4 May 2011.
Needless to say, with Mubarak gone, Israel has been nervous about a newly elected leader in Egypt’s September elections, and whether this new Egyptian leader will be as subservient as Mubarak.
Already things have gone sour for Israel now that Hamas and Fatah have signed a unity deal. Again, you don’t need to read Sun Tzu to know that if you unite, you’re stronger and if you’re divided – as they once were – then you will fall.
Now that Obama has earned some serious muscle after the massively successful assassination of Bin Laden, it’s hard for anyone to say ‘no’ to president Obama in public.
This is why Obama has started his international tour, rallying support for the US and soaking up the positive publicity. To his credit though, Obama is also using this euphoric wave of positivity to put pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu to come to the table and sign a peace deal with the Palestinians.
So why has Bibi been so active? Well, Bibi also needs to start his own tour and rally support for denying Palestine an official state. He’s on a propaganda campaign to tell the world that his administration will not sign a peace deal with any government that consists of Hamas – what he labels as a terrorist organisation, which if you’re willing to not believe the mass media for one second you’ll find is not a terrorist organisation.
The West frequently decides who is and who isn’t a terrorist depending on whether a group is willing to succumb to their global plans.
Parliamentary democracies over the last century alone have been barred and overthrown by the US, through its support and direct intervention. One example is Iran in 1953, where the US and Britain removed Iran’s only democratically elected prime minister, Mohamed Mossadaq, because he wanted to put Iran’s national interests first in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company – later British Petroleum (see archives of The Independent’s Robert Fisk, who previously wrote for The Times)*.
Now you the reader can decide at this point: if you would like a democratic government of the people, by the people and for the people and the West says ‘no’ to you and later begins a military coup against your ideas, do you say: (a) ‘no, get out of my country we want a better society for our people’; or (b) ‘oh well, there’s nothing we can do about it, we’ll have to take the dictator that’s been handed to us.’
If you choose option (a) then you will more than likely suffer the consequences that Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador experienced when they revolted against US-installed dictators. The US-run contra forces didn’t just kill people in those countries, they exposed them to brutal and sadistic torture – including hanging women by their feet, cutting their breasts off and leaving them to bleed to death.
Oh and not only that, but if you chose option (a) you should expect to be publicly branded a “terrorist”. You don’t need to be a linguist to understand that “freedom fighter” would be a more apt label to describe you in such a predicament.
So Bibi has been busy ensuring that the whole world hears the message that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, which Israel will not do a deal with. Bibi, then, is actively blocking another attempt by the Palestinians to form a peace agreement.
Israel’s sophisticated PR machine, the National Information Directorate, tells the West and Israel exactly how to word statements on the Arab world. And the more specific Israel Project publishes a document that resembles a style guide on wording Israeli and Palestinian affairs, which is divided into ‘words that work’ and ‘words that don’t work’. Anytime Israel is to mention Hamas, a democratically elected party, they must mention that they are a terrorist organisation.
It’s important for politicians to persuade people to act in the way they want and this is done by creating an ideology – a concept of beliefs, values and morals. A great example of this was to scare the public into accepting an invasion of Iraq in 2003 – remember, no WMD found. The method used was to create the vague but effective ‘war on terror’. The more you repeat something, the more that it starts to sound true.
*Further examples of Western removals of democracy include: Guatemala in 1954 (and in 1963, when Kennedy backed a military coup to prevent the threat of a return to democracy), the Dominican Republic in 1963 and 1965, in Brazil in 1964, in Chile in 1973 and often elsewhere – not to mention the Iraq saga.
Eric Chase is a freelance sub-editor for several publications in the UK. He also works as a communications consultant for various companies throughout the Middle East.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.