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THE GODFATHER AS “HONEST BROKER”


occupied territories represents a true case of ethnic cleansing, with

Palestinians driven from their lands and with houses demolished in a long-term

process of "redemption of the land" for the "chosen people."

Serb destruction of houses in Kosovo was not to make room for Serbs, it was done

in a struggle to contain an armed Albanian resistance. It was savage, but

Israeli treatment of the Palestinian "grasshoppers" (Yitzhak Shamir)

during two separate Intifadas, and before and between them, has also been

savage. What is more, Israeli abuses are in occupied territory supposedly under

UN and international protection and with the Fourth Geneva Convention

applicable, whereas Serb abuses were being carried out within their own national

territory.

The

crucial difference is strictly that Israel is the Godfather’s client whereas

Serbia had gotten itself on his hit list. That is enough at this point in

history to determine a result no matter how seemingly arbitrary and

unprincipled. The client is free to ethnically cleanse, and no international

intervention to protect victims will be permitted, by rule of the Godfather–as

Richard Holbrooke explained, "no force would be supported without Israeli

approval," so that is that. Kofi Annan and everybody else with a small

modicum of decision-making power recognize that U.S. approval would be necessary

for international intervention, so the matter is settled by the U.S. veto. A

similar process applied in East Timor, where the position of the Clinton

administration was that this was an internal Indonesian problem and that nothing

could be done without Indonesian approval, although here also, as in the case of

the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the abuses were being carried out in territories

recognized by an international consensus–but not by the Godfather–as illegally

occupied. In this instance the Clinton administration did, finally, and very

belatedly, under international pressure, tell this client to get out, but only

after East Timor had been effectively destroyed and the majority of the

population had been made refugees.

It

will be recalled, also, that in the case of Kosovo, international observers,

which the Serbs had already permitted and whose presence they were prepared to

reaffirm at Rambouillet, were deemed insufficient to protect those victims.

There a full Nato military occupation was required. The Godfather declaring this

to be so, naturally the mainstream media and intellectuals agreed– "ethnic

cleansing" is very bad and must be ended by external intervention.

So

how do the media and intellectuals rationalize the Godfather’s veto of an

international presence to protect the Palestinians, victims of a REAL and

long-term ethnic cleansing process that, as Amira Hass stresses in Ha’aretz,

gets more brutal year by year? Key features of the rationalization are massive

suppression of the ethnic cleansing facts and a focus on the

"irrational" retail and responsive violence of the oppressed (see my

"Israel’s Approved Ethnic Cleansing: Part 2, Official U.S. and Media

Protection," forthcoming in Z Magazine in May). But another important

mechanism of rationalization is simply taking it for granted that no

international protection of the victims is necessary because the Godfather and

client say so, and even making such protection unnecessary because the Godfather

is serving as an "honest broker."

In

the few news articles and op-ed columns that deal with the subject it is

reported that Arafat has appealed for UN and international protection, but that

Israel and the United States reject this and therefore it isn’t about to happen.

The secret here is utter superficiality, with no discussion of the conditions

and Israeli behavior that might call for such intervention, no mention of the

Fourth Geneva Convention that Israel has been brazenly violating for many years,

and of course no comparisons in substance between the U.S. and

"international community" stance on the need to protect Kosovo

Albanians and Palestinians. Trudy Rubin, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s lightweight

and undeviatingly establishment oriented foreign policy editor, even notes that

the United States supported intervention in Kosovo, but not in Israel, which she

takes as unchallengeable fact; the discrimination and implied U.S. veto over

anything the world might want to do does not call for any further comment.

Most

spectacular, however, is the frequent assumption that the Godfather is truly an

honest broker. Thomas Friedman cites Clinton’s approval of Barak’s peace plan as

if this demonstrated its merits for all parties ("Arafat’s War," NYT,

Oct. 13, 2000). The bloodthirsty fanatic William Safire decries the fact that

the United States is so impartial, because "Israel Needs an Ally, It does

not need a broker" (NYT, Oct. 12, 2000). The New York Times editorializes

that "Israel rightly resists any shift to a more international format. Only

the United States has sufficient authority and credibility with both sides to

help them bridge their remaining differences" (Nov. 13, 2000).

Given

the fact that the United States has armed Israel to the teeth, rushes to supply

it with guns and money every time its ferocious stone-throwing victims put it

"under siege" (Albright) and force it to kill in the face of

"violence," has vetoed literally dozens of resolutions condemning

Israeli mistreatment and expropriations of Palestinians in the occupied

territories, and has joined with Israel for decades in rejecting implementation

of overwhelming international consensus votes calling upon Israel to return

their land to the Palestinians, this kind of statement captures well a bias that

is not only blatant but one that has contributed much to protecting Israeli

ethnic cleansing and state terrorism.

The

owners, editors and reporters of the Times have bloody hands, but they share

this characteristic with many others in the U.S. media and political and

intellectual establishment.

 

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