Having torn Iraq asunder (haven’t used this word for a while since I left Scripture class years ago) George Bush is now threatening to broaden the conflict into Iran – hmmm, perhaps a bit of judicious bombing with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles (bunk busters to smash and sterilise Iran's nuclear plants) or stealth B-2s with same munition(?), all of course for the Hebraic Holy Land.
Then he released US$100 million for Mahmud Abbas, head of al Fatah – to strengthen the Fatah militias. Dubya is adamant that Fatah be built up to speed to tackle Hamas and bugger democratically elected whatever. Where Israel is concerned, as far as he's concerned, f**k democracy, rule of law and due process.
A wee dram of Palestinian civil war with copious volumes of spilled Palestinian blood would be most excellent for dear ole Israel, and go easy on the soda.
Meanwhile, it has being reported that poor Mahmud Abbas and his Fatah loyalists, led by their noses into fratricidal engagement with Hamas like stupid buffaloes, aren’t doing all that well despite generous dollops of both American and Israeli aid, the latter of which was once given to Hamas to weaken Yasser Arafat.
I wonder whether Likud-Kadima members of the Knesset would now be crying plaintively “F**k you, Yasser you bloody goy, where are you when we Israelis need you?”
The Israelis are already looking to a post-Bush era where the US presidential IQ will assume a meteoric rise like a spacecraft launch blasting off into outer space. A future US president, regardless of whether he/she is Democrat or Republican, will be more wary of and ‘tentative’ to Israeli manoeuvring and lobbying.
In fact, Ehud Olmert has already kicked Plan B into action. Early last year he went to Europe to remind Europeans of the broad international agreement, initiated by the Quartet of USA, UN, Russia, and the EU, in which everyone supports the three principles defined by the State of Israel, hastily rustled up following the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections. The Israeli principles are:
There will be no recognition of a Palestinian government with the participation of or under the control of Hamas, unless three conditions are met: the Hamas Charter is changed to recognize the State of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state; total dismantling of weapons and total cessation of terrorist activity; and acceptance of all agreements signed between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel.
He made a firm reiteration that those three (Israeli) principles were defined and composed not only by Israel and the US but agreed to by the Europeans.
Obviously, in the wake of the unmitigated Israeli barbarism and atrocities in its recent destruction of Lebanon, including the war crime of sowing 1 million cluster bomblets in southern Lebanon, Olmert has been damn worried the Europeans might be so outraged that they would resume their traditional financial aid to the Palestinian Hamas government.
The aid is badly needed to alleviate the sufferings of the Palestinian people caused by the US-Israeli financial blockade, in the manner the US-UK led sanction against a Saddam Hussein Iraq had led to the reputed death of 1 million undernourished Iraqi children.
Also sensing that Mahmud Abbas might be ineffectual against Hamas, the Israelis decided to launch Plan C, in the form of Marwan Barghouti, also of al Fatah.
Marwan Barghouti would have been elected the Palestinian president had he not been incarcerated by the Israelis. He is the most popular leader in the Palestinian territories, and is widely regarded as the only figure able to unify clashing Palestinian factions, rein in militants and get peacemaking with Israel moving again.
Gideon Ezra, the environment minister, a political ally of the Israeli prime minister has said that Israel should release Marwan Barghouti, its most prominent Palestinian prisoner, in a manoeuvre to shore up Mahmud Abbas.
He is the second senior Israeli official to recently advocate the release of Marwan Barghouti. Several weeks ago, the deputy defence minister, Ephraim Sneh of the Labour party, also championed Barghouti's release.
Ezra, a member of Olmert's Kadima party, said: "If we want to blunt Hamas's capabilities ... and if we ultimately want a civil rather than a religious government like those taking shape across the Arab world, we have to make a contribution. I think it could definitely help Abu Mazen [Abbas]."
Miri Eisin, Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman, said the release of Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences, was 'not on the agenda'. But Ezra riposted by reminding everyone that Israel has freed ‘much worse murderers’ in the past.
I believe the to-ing and fro-ing of the statements by Olmert’s people have been to test the Israeli public reaction to the proposed release of Marwan Barghouti.
The Israeli government is worried about the political resilence and endurance of Hamas, which is still defiantly in power despite the Israeli-US economic and financial sanction and their terrible fermenting of fratricidal civil war between the two Palestinian parties.
Marwan Barghouti has been sentenced to 5 life imprisonments. The very fact of a proposal by Kadima to release him means the Israelis, in its desperate efforts to contain Hamas, have been driven into throwing in the kitchen sink as well.
I wonder whether they have considered one far more viable option which even Hamas may possibly accept, notwithstanding the latter's extremist rhetoric against the State of Israel – namely, for Israel to return to the 1967 borders?