zondag 23 oktober 2016

Tom Engelhardt 208

October 18, 2016
Tomgram: Sandy Tolan, The Death of the Two-State Solution

Okay, here’s your quiz of the day: What country, according to the Congressional Research Service, has been the “largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” to the tune of $124.3 billion, and most of it military in nature? Great Britain, Germany, Japan, the Philippines? The answer: none of the above. The correct response is Israel. In the midst of an election campaign in which almost nothing can’t be brawled about, military aid to Israel might be the only nonpartisan issue left. After all, President Obama, who hasn’t exactly had a chummy relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the ascendant Israeli right, recently agreed to a deal that, even compared to the present stratospheric levels of military aid to Israel, the White House has termed “the largest single pledge of military assistance in U.S. history.” You’re talking about a 10-year deal (2019-2028) for this country's most advanced weaponry (and a lot of less advanced but no less destructive stuff as well) adding up to $38 billion, or about 27% higher than the previous aid package -- though Netanyahu originally asked for $45 billion, which represents chutzpah of a major sort).

This was undoubtedly the Obama administration’s way of throwing a sop (and quite a sop it is) to the Israeli prime minister in return for the Iran nuclear deal, which he so fervently opposed, and to congressional Republicans who also failed to block that deal (and many of whom are now relatively quiet but eager to pony up yet more military aid for the Israelis). In fact, in an era in which hardly a move the U.S. has made across the Greater Middle East hasn’t come a cropper, resulting in collapsing statesand spreading terror movements, you could say that Washington has had just one genuine success. As befits the reigning arms trader on the planet, it has poured staggering amounts of weaponry into that embroiled region. Only recently, for instance, we learned from a study by arms expert William Hartung that, since 2009, the Obama administration has offered the Saudis $115 billion worth of arms and advanced weapons systems in 42 separate deals -- a record even for the Saudi-U.S. relationship -- and don’t forget similar, if somewhat smaller scale sales, often of advanced weaponry, to KuwaitQatar, and other countries in the region.

It’s quite a record. (U.S.A.! U.S.A.!) Now, TomDispatch regularSandy Tolan, author of Children of the Stone, puts that future $38 billion worth of weaponry for Israel in the context of the larger Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” in order to suggest just how bankrupt Washington’s policies in the Middle East actually are. Tom
Throwing in the Towel 
What the Bankruptcy of White House Policy Means for the Israelis and Palestinians 

By Sandy Tolan
Washington has finally thrown in the towel on its long, tortured efforts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians. You won’t find any acknowledgement of this in the official record. Formally, the U.S. still supports a two-state solution to the conflict. But the Obama administration’s recent 10-year, $38-billion pledge to renew Israel’s arsenal of weaponry, while still ostensibly pursuing “peace,” makes clear just how bankrupt that policy is.
For two decades, Israeli leaders and their neoconservative backers in this country, hell-bent on building and expanding settlements on Palestinian land, have worked to undermine America’s stated efforts -- and paid no price. Now, with that record weapons package, the U.S. has made it all too clear that they won’t have to. Ever.
Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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