by Leslie Bravery
Friday, June 15th, 2012
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Jeffrey D. Feltman of the United States as the top United Nations political issues official. Jeffrey D. Feltman was at the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, where he served first as Deputy (August 2001-November 2002) and then as Acting Principal Officer (November 2002 to December 2003). Feltman’s attitude to Middle East issues may best be summed up by his comment in a written statement that, “We do know, however, that it will be vital that the United States establish and maintain the types of partnerships that help us protect and promote our interests and that give us the ability to help shape and influence outcomes.”
On 9 May 2012, Feltman, in his capacity as Assistant Secretary of State for near-eastern affairs, produced the statement called “Assessing US Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs amidst Economic Challenges in the Middle East”. In the statement, regarding Middle East peace, Feltman wrote: “The region’s dramatic changes present both risks and opportunities, and we understand Israel is concerned about the implications these changes may have on its security. As the President has made clear, our commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States and Israel are working together at an unprecedented level of policy co-ordination to ensure we understand each other’s perspectives and concerns, and fully support each other as we consider the implications of change in the region.” The Palestinian people’s need for security is never mentioned in the statement. Complicity with the aim of maintaining Israeli hegemony in the region is clearly of paramount concern to the US as the statement goes on to say: “My colleagues throughout the US government and I are working to ensure that security assistance and arms sales to the Middle East are appropriate, and we remain absolutely committed to maintaining Israel’s ability to defend itself and its Qualitative Military Edge (QME).” Feltman’s statement does not concern itself with the Palestinian people’s right to defence against belligerent Israeli military occupation. What is made plain is that the sole strategic concern of the US is an “ironclad” military alliance with Israel.
Feltman also wrote in his statement that “we remain committed to realising a comprehensive peace in the Middle East that includes a secure Israel side-by-side with a viable Palestinian state.” There is no mention of commitment to a secure Palestine in the statement. Indeed, Israel has made plain its demand that any Palestinian State would have to remain defenceless or, as the Zionist spin puts it, “demilitarised”. The statement refers to continued US support for a future Palestinian state that would be a “responsible neighbour to Israel, and a source of stability and moderation in the region.” No such requirement is made of Israel, which presumably would be permitted to remain a source of instability and aggression. The one-sided statement refers to the need for “an effective Palestinian Authority (PA) government that remains committed to the Quartet’s foundational principles for peace, including the . . . renunciation of violence . . . “ The statement does not require the Israeli state to renounce violence and the subject of Israeli violence in international waters and against its neighbours is avoided. The May 9 statement refers to the requirement for Middle East regimes to “respect and protect fundamental human rights for all citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or gender.” The statement even goes on to insist that these standards will be used by the US “to judge which political actors are credible, and which are not.” Yet the US chooses to support the principle of “Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge” and remain complicit with Israel in its establishment of Jewish-only roads imposed upon Palestinian land and the ethnically disproportionate allocation of water resources in Occupied Palestine.
The statement is full of rhetoric regarding the need for a “strong role for inclusive economic growth”. Feltman writes: “We must support equitable, transparent, and predictable access to economic resources and opportunity.” Meanwhile, Israel continues, with US complicity, to blockade the Gaza economy, impose a three-mile fishing limit on a collapsing domestic fishing fleet and backs this up by frequently using its Navy to attack Palestinian fishing boats. The Israeli Army and illegal Occupation settlers continue to commit intolerable daily acts of agricultural and economic sabotage, bulldozing and setting fire to crops and olive trees, destroying wells, irrigation infrastructure and farm buildings. Israel continues to build its annexation Wall on Palestinian land, separating Palestinian communities from each other and from their farmland.
The US and Israel continue to demand that the Palestinians ‘negotiate’, under incredible duress, with their oppressor while the two powers studiously ignore the only legitimate basis for the restoration of peace and justice in the region, namely international law and, in particular, the Fourth Geneva convention. Failing this, the US must stand condemned for its complicity in the Zionist state’s continual ideologically-driven war crimes and the UN for allowing the US/Israel axis to direct policy at the international body. – Leslie Bravery 15 June 2012