Barack Obama, right, with Binyamin Netanyahu, center, and Mahmoud Abbas in Washington last week. Photograph: Tim Sloan/AFP
We've seen this Middle East Peace Talks Kabuki dance so many times and with so many leaders that it's hard to be optimistic ~ particularly when their private agendas are not peace but Damage Control: Allen L Roland
How can anyone be optimistic about the current Middle East so called 'Peace Talks' when there are so many political undercurrents at work especially with the U.S. Mid-Term elections taking place on November 2nd.
So why not try to read the thoughts of all three leaders as they commence their carefully choreographed Kabuki dance in Washington, DC and Jerusalem
To accomplish that I turn to Uri Avnery ~ famed Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement ~ whose seen this all before and realistically knows it's all about Damage Control. Here's a condensed version of his recent article on the same subject ~ with my bolded emphasis.
Excerpt: " A DUTCH journalist asked me last Wednesday to try and divine the thoughts of Binyamin Netanyahu on his way to Washington. It seems that she was satisfied with the results, because she asked me to divine the thoughts of Mahmoud Abbas, too.She must have liked that as well, because then she asked me to do the same for Barack Obama.
Here, then, is what I told her ..................
NETANYAHU’S THOUGHTS on the way to Washington:
" The main thing is to minimize the damage ...Just now, someone asked me how I see our situation in four years time. Four years! I am thinking about what is going to happen in four weeks, when the settlement freeze is due to come to an end ! These settlers (yes, yes, I know I should call them “inhabitants of Judea and Samaria”) cannot be trifled with. Impossible to reason with them and convince them to keep silent while we look for ways to get around the freeze... I grew up in the States. I know how things work. AIPAC rules Congress. The politicians are afraid of us all the time, and even more so at election time. They know very well that if they don’t support Israel, they will be kicked out...But now we have a mess. Obama wants at all costs to do something that can be presented to the voters as a great achievement.... And peace? Don’t make me laugh. I have no time for such foolishness. Clearly, the maximum I can offer does not even come close to the minimum they can accept. What, I should partition Jerusalem? I should dismantle the hundreds of settlements and outposts? I should give up the Jordan valley? I should agree to the return of even one refugee? Even if I wanted to – and I most decidedly do not! – I would be unable to do it. What, to break up the good coalition I have now and be dependent on that dreadful woman? ... The main thing is to get safely out of this mess and preserve the status quo. The status quo is the best of all worlds."
ABBAS’ THOUGHTS on the way to Washington:
" The main thing is to minimize the damage ... Nothing good can come out of this. That’s clear. But the blame must not fall on us... OK, Obama is no Clinton. I trust him. He does indeed want to make peace. But can he? Until now, every time he tried, he gave in to Netanyahu in the end. Now he must compel Netanyahu to extend the settlement freeze. Can he do it ? It would be ridiculous to negotiate while the settlements are being enlarged. As that young fellow, Michael Tarazi, so aptly put it: “It’s like talking about dividing a pizza while they [the Israelis] are eating the pizza.” ...Can one rely on Obama? They say that after the elections in November he will be free of Jewish pressure. But then he will already start to think about the presidential election in two years’ time. Only if he is reelected – and I am not at all sure that this will happen – will he be able to act without fear of AIPAC.. In the meantime, we must hold on. That is the main thing: to hold on and wait for time to do its work ".
OBAMA’S THOUGHTS on the eve of the conference:
" The main thing is to minimize the damage ... The economy is a mess. The situation in Afghanistan is as bad as possible. (What the hell got into me during the election campaign, when I promised to go on with this war?!) The crackpots of the Tea Party are gathering momentum. I suspect that the Jewish lobby is secretly helping them. Who is running the campaign about me not having been born in the United States? A Jewish Israeli woman. And the campaign about me being a Muslim? Another Jewish woman. They want to bring me down. And why? Because I want to make peace, which is in Israel’s best interest !..Now the main thing is to get through the elections in November without too heavy losses. As I told Rahm [Emanuel], at this point in time we must suck up to the Jews. That’s why I appeased again and again that repugnant guy, Netanyahu. Now we must find some compromise about the settlement moratorium.. The main thing is to get September 26 behind us, when the moratorium comes to an end, and then the November 2 elections. After that, God knows. Perhaps I shall succeed, after all, in creating a situation which will allow me to present my own peace plan and impose it on them. Ever so softly, of course....What the hell, aren’t I the goddam President of the United States of America? "
Yes, you are, Mr Obama and millions of Americans are still waiting for you to get beyond Damage Control, stop trying to win a popularity contest, finally stop walking softly, truly be the President and act like the leader of the free world.
But the sad reality is that Obama, like Clinton before him, is a corporate tool and the Democratic party is in bed with Wall Street and the financial elite ~ as well as beholden to AIPAC.
So there you have it, how can we have peace in the Middle East when all three leaders don't want to rock their own domestic political boats ?
In kabuki theater, as in some other Japanese performing arts, scenery changes are sometimes made mid-scene, while the actors remain on stage and the curtain stays open ~ just as the Middle East Peace talks have become highly stylized political drama, regardless of the location, where the actors go through the motions with their common non-verbal objective being political Damage Control ~ while the rest of the world watches in perplexed anguish and longs for peace.
As for the highly dubious Two-State Solution ~ let's be honest ~ this pretentious device has been used for at least 40 years to steer open and honest discussion away from acknowledging our moral obligation to simply stop supporting and financing an illegal occupation of ethnic and religious prejudice.
In other words, how can their be a lasting peace in an illegally occupied country ~ and the same goes for Iraq and Afghanistan.
Allen L Roland
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Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations ( email@example.com )
Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website allenroland.com He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on www.conscioustalk.net
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