Obama meets Netanyahu in the Oval Office. Photo: Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Four more years!
After a presidential campaign that lasted two years, cost billions of dollars, interested very few people and was turned by the corporate media into a tight race (in terms of the popular vote), finally, we have a winner: Barack Hussein Obama II!
Obama should be proud. He defeated one of the worst-ever candidates (Republicans and Democrats combined) to postulate for the job of ‘puppet master of the world’. The campaign was degrading for the whole political class and incredibly divisive, full of slogans, one liners, bigotry, racism and sometimes total lunacy. A campaign empty of any content and actual programme for the future. The only thing Obama did well was to not use his favourite slogan again: ‘Yes we can!’. A very sensible decision as, after four years of ‘No I won’t!(change a thing)’, most US citizens would have felt a bit insulted.
In Israel (sometimes called the ‘51st State’) meanwhile, business continues as usual.
For all the talk about how much Netanyahu wanted Romney to win, the fact is that the re-election of Obama will not change the slightest things on the ground. Netanyahu, (Obama’s ‘sworn enemy’ if you watch too much TV), congratulated him and lauded his re-election. Because that is what professional politicians are taught to do: be a phoney at all times. Smile, shake hands, have a laugh with and even go on holidays with people you don’t care for in the slightest, people you don’t agree with on anything, people you actually despise.
Politicians are all made with the same ingredients, using the same recipe. The secret deal they all make with each other is sometimes, at least publicly, to act as if they do not agree on things. It is important to entertain the illusion, for the masses, that politicians are different and we have a choice. But really, we don’t. Politicians are like programmed robots craving for the same fuel. Obama and Netanyahu are not different.
So what did Netanyahu do before, during and after Obama’s re-election?
First, he merged his party, Likud, with Yisrael Beiteinu, the party of the Foreign Minister, Avidgor Lieberman, ahead of the next Israeli general election in January 2013. While Lieberman is only saying publicly what most Israeli politicians are keeping for more private conversations, it is still important to understand what this coalition means for the Palestinians.
Lieberman has called for the sacking of Mahmoud Abbas and the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority(PA) – Israel, as Abbas’s employer and the PA’s creator, could do this without notice; after all, we are going through a recession right now – which 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 towards a new round of ‘peace negotiations’ with Israel.
Lieberman has also called for some Palestinian political prisoners to be drowned in the Dead Sea, for a population transfer of Israeli Arab citizens, for bombing all the PA institutions in Ramallah (which happened back when Ariel Sharon was in power) and 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 is victorious in January, the Palestinians’ situation will turn from really bad to incredibly worse.
But maybe the radical European Union (EU) will decide that such a racist, ultra-nationalist, Islamophobic government has to be dealt with and 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, and as the EU has never been about double standards, we have hope.
The next thing Netanyahu and his government did, actually on US election day, was to announce the construction of 1,285 new housing units, in occupied East Jerusalem and across the green line in the illegal mega-colony of Ariel. Ironically, Israel also announced that it might expand settlement activity as a sanction if the PA seeks a status upgrade to 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 the newly re-elected president of the world going to give his Israeli nemesis? Is he going to stop sending annual $3 billion cheques to Israel? Is he going to call for sanctions against the rogue state? Or maybe, something he is really good at, a good old regime change? For freedom, peace and democracy.
No he won’t. Because Obama or not, business in Israel continues as usual.