Tuesday 16 December 2008

While Livni promises Arab deportation, Obama offers "nuclear umbrella" to Tel Aviv - that's what friends are for!

By Michele Giorgio il manifesto

Jerusalem - Everyone is pointing their finger at Benyamin Netanyahu, guilty of being the leader of a Likud full of rightist extremists like Moshe Feiglin. And yet, yesterday Tzipi Livni, the candidate as the Premier of the “centrist” Kadima in the coming elections held next 10 February who is currently serving as Foreign Minister, proved to hold opinions that are very close to those of the nationalist extremists. Leaving no room for possible misinterpretations, Livni told a group of high school students in Tel Aviv that the Israeli Arabs (Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, one fifth of the Israeli population) should go and live in the Palestinian state when it has been set up.

“Once a Palestinian state is established”—Livni claimed—“among other things I will also be able to approach the Palestinian residents of Israel, those whom we call Arab Israelis, and tell them: 'your national aspirations lie elsewhere.'” Livni didn’t specify which steps she would take in order to have the Arab Israelis transferred into the future Palestinian state while the Arab Israelis will go on demanding the foundation of an Israeli state belonging to all its citizens and not to its Jewish majority alone.

At any rate, there is only the slightest difference between her ideas and those of the far-right extremist and former minister Avigdor Lieberman, the historical supporter of the expulsion of the Arab Israelis. What is certain is that Livni—who in these days is carrying out a battle against renewing the truce with Hamas—is placing herself to the right of Netanyahu, who is seen as favourite by the opinion polls. This year, paradoxically, in order to dispel doubts about his being a “moderate” and not an extremist, he has promised to sit at the negotiation table with Palestinians and Syrians and he gives reassurance that he will silence the unpresentable Feiglin.

“Livni’s intentions,”—former Communist MK Issam Makhul told “il manifesto”—“severely menace the rights of the Palestinian minority, yet the Jewish majority must know that those beliefs are detrimental for the entire state of Israel and for the achievement of democracy in this country. What’s needed is a future for each Israeli citizen rather than thinking that a future Palestinian state is going to be the solution for absurd demographic worries”.

Makhul’s considerations also affect the Palestinian President Abu Mazen, who in these days has only been able to repeat that he’s willing “to negotiate with everyone,” both with Livni and Netanyahu. Abu Mazen has to ask himself fundamental questions about which kind of Palestinian state he has in mind, he should wonder whether this state is really destineed to make the dream of independence come true or, rather, if it will end up being only a “box” full of Palestinians, including those who live in the Arab population centres in Israel, a state which, amongst the other things, would lack full sovereignty.

The US has refrained from commenting, and they have limited themselves to reconfirming their military alliance with Israel. President-elect Obama is willing to offer Tel Aviv a “nuclear umbrella” against a possible threat of Iranian atomic attacks, an authoritative American source quoted by Haaretz said.

The US, the source explained, will soon declare that an Iranian strike against Israel will bring “a devastating nuclear response against Iran,” just as the in-coming Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had suggested during her campaign for the Democratic party nomination. Israel is only partly satisfied with such statement since the idea of a “nuclear umbrella” may disguise the American acceptance of an Iran coming into possession of the atomic bomb.

Translated from Italian by Diego Traversa and revised by Mary Rizzo

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