In Israel it’s business as usual, Obama or not

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by Frank Barat


Obama meets Netanyahu in the Oval Office. Photo: Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Four more years!

The campaign for the President of the USA lasted two years. It cost billions of dollars. It interested very few people. The media made it into a very close race. And now finally, we have a winner: Barack Hussein Obama II!

Obama should be proud. He won against one of the worst-ever candidates (Republicans or Democrats) for the job of ‘puppet master of the world’. The campaign was a bad thing for politics and full of argument. There were slogans, clever jokes, very strong opinions, racism and sometimes there was total madness. The campaign had no real ideas or an actual programme for the future. The best thing was that Obama did not use his favourite slogan again: ‘Yes we can!’. A very good decision. After four years of ‘No I won’t!(change a thing)’, most US citizens would feel a bit insulted.

In Israel (sometimes called the ‘51st State’ of America) business continues as usual.

Netanyahu wanted Romney to win but the election of Obama will not change anything. Netanyahu was Obama’s big ‘enemy’ if you watch too much TV. But he congratulated Obama and welcomed his re-election. Because that is what professional politicians are taught to do: be insincere at all times. Smile, shake hands, laugh with and even go on holiday with people you don’t like at all, people you don’t agree with, people you hate.

Politicians are all made with the same ingredients and the same recipe. Secretly they agree, at least publicly, to pretend they do not agree. It is important to make people think that politicians are different and that we have a choice. But really, we don’t. Politicians are like robots. Obama and Netanyahu are not different.

So what did Netanyahu do before, during and after Obama’s re-election?

First, he joined his party, Likud, with Yisrael Beiteinu, the party of the Foreign Minister, Avidgor Lieberman. This was before the next Israeli general election in January 2013. Lieberman is only saying publicly what most Israeli politicians are saying in private but it is still important to understand what this coalition means for the Palestinians.

Lieberman has called for the sacking of Mahmoud Abbas and the break up of the Palestinian Authority(PA). Israel, as Abbas’s employer and the PA’s creator, could do this easily. We are going through a recession now of course. This is bad enough when you consider that Obama and the rest of the Western world believes that Abbas is the right man to lead Palestine to new ‘peace talks’ with Israel.

Lieberman has also called for some Palestinian political prisoners to be drowned in the Dead Sea. He has called for a transfer of Israeli Arab citizens, for bombing all the PA institutions in Ramallah. This happened when Ariel Sharon was in power. He has called for Hamas to be fought the way the US fought Japan during the Second World War (remember Hiroshima? Nagasaki?). The list is endless. If the Lieberman/Netanyahu coalition wins in January, the Palestinians’ situation will turn from very bad to very much worse.

But maybe the radical European Union (EU) will decide that such a racist, ultra-nationalist, Islamophobic government is not welcome. Who knows? They did this in the year 2000 when Jörg Haider’s ‘Freedom Party’ was about to join the Austrian government. As the EU has never believed in double standards, we have hope.

The next thing Netanyahu and his government did, actually on US election day, was to announce the building of 1,285 new houses in occupied East Jerusalem and across the green line in the large illegal colony of Ariel. Ironically, Israel also announced that it might expand settlement activity as a sanction if the PA tries to become permanent observer-state at the UN General Assembly at the end of November. Israel does have such a great sense of humour.

But if ‘settlements are a threat to peace’, as Obama has often said, what type of a response is thee re-elected president of the world going to give the Israelis? Is he going to stop sending $3 billion cheques to Israel every year? Is he going to call for sanctions against the illegal state? Or maybe, something he is really good at, a good old change of government? For freedom, peace and democracy.

No he won’t. Because Obama or not, business in Israel continues as usual.

As this article has been simplified, the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed. For the original, please see: