Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Real 'Theater of the Absurd':
Netanyahu and His Endgame in Palestine
By Ramzy Baroud
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, October 26, 2011
During his deliberately offensive speech on September 23,
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the General Assembly
as “the theater of the absurd.” Israel’s few friends at the United
Nations – led by the US delegation - listened gleefully and applauded as
Netanyahu heralded a steady stream of insults.
returned to Israel with vengeance, enraged by the passionate international
reception of Palestinian Authority’s statehood bid.
Israeli effort, the world community has long been united in its support of
For decades, Israel labored to legitimize
itself, denying the very existence of Palestinians. Following its
occupation of the rest of historic Palestine in 1967, it tried to validate
its colonial project while concurrently targeting any political platform
that represented the Palestinian people. This endeavor was unsuccessful,
thanks in part to the resistance of the Palestinians themselves, but also
largely due to the enduring international support.
Palestinian people owe a great deal to the many countries that have
refused to adhere to such notions as ‘might makes right.’ Over 100 nations
embraced the PLO’s declaration of Palestine in 1988, and now, many more
have been added to the list.
While Netanyahu is a rightwing
zealot without a shred of respect for international law, he is also a
pragmatic leader. He understands that international support for
Palestinians and the growing isolation and the ‘delegitimization’ of
Israel (a mainstream topic of discussion in Israel today) are still not
enough to alter facts on the ground. They will not impede the construction
of the illegal ‘Separation Wall’ or slow down Israel’s colonial ambitions.
The reason for this is US support. The illegal colonies dotting the
Palestinian landscape, in violation of many UN resolutions, are funded by
US money. The Wall is also largely an American investment. Yes, in fact,
the entire Israeli colonial project would have been unfeasible without US
funding, political backing and the silencing of any country that tried to
challenge this iniquitous paradigm.
Despite all the difficulties
facing Netanyahu at home - social upheaval and mass protests - and abroad,
Netanyahu remains well-composed, speaking in the tone of an emperor. His
secret is not the prowess of his army – whose recent victories include the
killing and wounding of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza - nor
the moral ascendancy of his logic (it doesn’t exist). Netanyahu is
elevated by the full knowledge that there are many men and women in
Washington D.C. who remain dedicated to the interests of Israel, even
during this time of American economic, political, military, and even moral
crises. Yes, in the minds of these individuals and organizations, Israel’s
interests sadly trump US interests.
Keeping all this in mind, it
seemed entirely incongruous that while Abbas was trotting the globe to
harness support for his statehood bid, Israel did little on that front.
Instead, it announced grand plans to finally isolate occupied East
Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, to further expand existing
settlements, to dig more trenches and erect more walls - not only in and
around the West Bank and Jerusalem, but also around its border alongside
Shortly after announcing plans to construct over 1000
units in the illegal Gilo colony (also referred to as ‘neighborhood’ by US
and Israeli media), another ‘neighborhood’ of Givat HaMatos will be built.
According to the Israeli anti-settlements organization, Peace Now, the
latest announcement is particularly grave and is a “game changer that
significantly changes the possible border between Israel and Palestine.”
“Unlike recent plans that caused controversy in Gilo and Pisgat
Ze’ev which expanded the footprint of existing neighborhoods, the new plan
creates an entirely new footprint of a new Israeli neighborhood in East
Jerusalem, for the first time since the establishment of Har Homa in 1997
by the first Netanyahu Government.” (Peacenow.org., October 13)
With all fairness to Netanyahu’s government, the new construction, Plan
no. 14295, is an expanded version of Plan no. 5834A, which was made public
during the term of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. It is a fact
that all Israeli governments since ’67 have carried out illegal settlement
construction in Palestine, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention
and many clearly-worded UN resolutions.
The newest Israeli
violation of international law is part of a decided Israeli action to
speed up its projection of the endgame in Palestine. Shortly before the
public announcement concerning Givat HaMatos, Netanyahu announced, on
October 11, “the establishment of a new committee charged with finding
ways to legalize settlement outposts built on private Palestinian land”
(Al Jazeera, October 13). This means that every act of theft and colonial
vigilante that took place since 1967 by individual or groups of Jewish
settlers might soon be recognized as legal ownership.
It is the
height of injustice, not only from a Palestinian point of view, but also
from standards set by international law. For example, UN Resolution 252 of
May 21, 1968 considers “that all legislative and administrative measures
and actions taken by Israel …which tend to change the legal status of
Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change its status.” There are numerous
laws and legal proclamations that render null and void all of Israel’s
illegal action in the rest of the occupied territories.
world’s only superpower, the veto-wielding US, has done much to ensure
that Israel’s violations of international law go unpunished. Worse, it
largely funded these violations, and shielded Israel from any
As for the real ‘theater of the absurd’, US
lawmakers from both parties are launching a “new push to cut off American
aid to the Palestinians as punishment for their efforts to become a
separate state, with a House of Representatives committee pressing ahead
with a bill withholding funding from any UN agency that recognizes
Palestine,” according to the Financial Times (October 10).
Meanwhile, presidential candidates are once again groveling before the
Israeli lobby. The latest is Republican presidential candidate Mitt
Romney, who claims that President Barack Obama has not done enough by way
of aiding and abetting the Israeli occupation. He promised to “bolster and
repair alliance” with Israel, and escalate US action against Iran (Ynet
News, October 9).
“Our friends should never fear that we will not
stand by them in an hour of need,” he said.
“The Theater of the
- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net)
is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of
PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom
Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on