Wednesday, 16 February 2011

'Moderates' for the Middle East

Recent statements from the 'moderate forces for peace' in the Middle East have helped expose their mutual network, capacity for violence and blatant disregard for basic law.

Tzipi Livni has been held up by the West as the 'benign' face of the Israeli state.  Yet, as then prime minister, she was a zealous exponent of the murderous assault on Gaza in 2008-9.

In the recently-released Palestine Papers - documenting Israeli refusal to countenance even giveaway offers by Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) - she is quoted as saying
"I was the Minister of Justice. I am a lawyer… But I am against law - international law in particular. Law in general."
It's a revealing statement of contempt from this 'voice of reason', consistent with her dismissals of the Goldstone Report, UN findings on the Mavi Marmara attack and any other judicial conclusions critical of Israeli conduct. 

The Palestine Papers also provide a solid indictment of the 'moderate' PA's part in the Gaza coup.

The resignation of PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat over the leaks comes in the wake of rearguard PA efforts to defend the Mubarak regime, including purges against solidarity-with-Egypt gatherings in the West Bank.  The simultaneous call from Abbas for fresh Palestinian elections, following Mubarak's ouster, can be seen as a last desperate attempt to maintain PA 'legitimacy', stifle dissent and placate Netanyahu.   

Middle East 'peace envoy' Tony Blair has also been indulging Netanyahu in an effort to help 'moderate' his image and pre-empt 'criticism' of Israel by the Quartet.

Aware of Israel's outright dismissal of international law and the continued illegality of settlement building in East Jerusalem, Blair has counselled Netanyahu on the need for 'concessions' to the Palestinians on house permits.  In reality, Netanyahu's 'acceptance' suggests nothing more than token assurances all intended to buy more time and allay international condemnation.   

The Blair-Netanyahu relationship, however, may not be of the best-buddy type.  

According to fellow master of spin, populist 'moderate' and prima facie war criminal, Alastair Campbell, Blair always felt Netanyahu to be "untrustworthy".  The feeling was/is surely mutual. One can only speculate on the kind of suspicious, calculating 'friendship' that exists between such self-preserving figures.

Before the heroic result in Tahrir Square, Blair also defended his more confirmed friend Hosni Mubarak, describing him as "immensely courageous and a force for good".  Again, we can but wonder about the sort of 'moderate' mind that would endorse a tyrant torturer against the mass voice of the democracy-demanding Egyptian people.  But, of course, we need only think of Blair's own crimes in Iraq and dismissal of democratic opposition to understand the personal connection.

Likewise, Obama's, Netanyahu's and the PA's collective efforts to shore-up Omar Suleiman, the West's remaining point man on renditions and torture, tells us all we need to know about their true, repressive agenda. 

As the domino-effect of popular protest spreads across the region, the self-declared 'peace-makers' in Washington, Tel Aviv and Ramallah must be deeply concerned about the prospects of real democracy.

The implications of the Egyptian revolution for Israel are already worryingly clear, with alarming potential fallouts for the Obama/Netanyahu-sponsored PA.

The immediate problem now for this 'moderate' alignment  is how to suppress or, at least, moderate any further democratic threats to Abbas's client authority and Israel's apartheid order.    



Julia Riber Pitt said...

I can't take the whole "moderate"/"extremist" thing anymore. Any politician will turn into a monster as soon as they're bestowed with power over the people they govern.

Kebz said...

Good post John. These 'moderates' are responsible for the majority of the carnage and destruction around the planet. They have to be dragged kicking and screaming to acknowledge legitimate peaceful protests and even then they bribe, bully and subvert in order to maintain control over different peoples.

justimax said...

Please avoid the facile use of the big word "revolution". So far in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain (Yemen ?) protests which may take shape and substance in a viable, improved alternative system of government are a first step towards the unknown. So often, getting rid of one dictator ("moderates" - sons-of-bitches, but they're OUR sons-of-bitches)and provisionally stopping the continuation of his "direct-line" regime is insignificant in the longer run- witness so many countries in Latin America, Asia and eastern Europe. One could say that ,in the Good Ol' U.K. the slide through Thatcher-Major-Blair-Brown to ConDemites shows how real improvement remains to be done, if, that is, people have not yet had the stuffing knocked out of them by now. The mindless euphoria over Obama's election from too many commentators who must have known better is another recent example of how the weight of the Establishment is so hard to kick out of touch. Who will win the line-out ? Are there , in any case, two opposing teams, or just two sets playing the same game,strictly for themselves, not for the piblic ?

John Hilley said...

Thanks Julia and Kebz

Justimax, yes, I take your valid point on the word "revolution".

It's all very well geting rid of Mubarak and his ilk. The real task involves changing the system itself.

It's obvious (to us) that Obama and the Western 'democracy champions' are in a real tail-spin over how to feign 'people power' while keeping their favoured henchmen in the top positions.

"The mindless euphoria over Obama's election from too many commentators who must have known better..."

Agreed - though, listening to the gushings of BBC reporters on Obama's 'concerns for democracy', it's worth considering just how much they do consciously know and how much they themselves are conditioned by the system they serve.

Thus, whether it's removing the client villains, exposing media stenography or promoting real civil participation and control, "revolution" is always a long-term work in progress.



Lê Thanh Đức said...

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