Wikileaks cable: 4 years ago Israel said it will have to deal with Hamas ‘sooner or later’

I keep meaning to write about this revelation from Wikileaks: a truly disgusting July 2007 cable that shows the Israeli hypodermic entering the American vein and spewing neocon junk. We see Israeli intelligence officials putting across several neoconservative narratives with a Bush White House anti-terrorism official (Fran Townsend): Iran has links to Al Qaeda, terrorism is growing across the region because of Islam’s failure to modernize, and Israel and the U.S. are the only forces opposing terror.

This is pure craziness. The cable validates what Scott McConnell wrote last year, that the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel is now “a transmission belt, conveying Israeli ideas on how the United States should conduct itself in a contested and volatile part of the world.”

These are not the only revelations of the cable. The Israelis acknowledge what any fool knows, that the blockade of Gaza is unsustainable and “sooner or later” Israel will have to deal with Hamas! Just not now. No, they want to choke Hamas still, and therefore they want the U.S. to participate in a new regime of starving the Gazans of capital. And what does Fran Townsend– a real lightweight– answer? Talk to Stuart Levey at Treasury and Elliott Abrams in the White House. I.e., talk to your neoconservative friends in Washington.

When you get to that part of the cable, II below, remember that Levey is a longtime Israel supporter who has held his high political appointment without interruption from George Bush’s presidency to Obama’s. Thus the Democratic Party offers safe haven to neoconservative ideology.

But let’s get to the cable. Three excerpts:

I. Sooner or later we have to deal with Hamas. Remember, this was four years ago:

Brigadier General Danny Arditi, a counterterrorism advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, presented Townsend with a plan for increased cooperation with the Fayyad government, facilitated by improved monitoring of the Palestinian financial system. Arditi said that the objective was to damage the Hamas government in Gaza financially without creating a humanitarian crisis, and to buy time for Fatah to rebuild support. In Arditis view, the current closure of Gaza border crossings is not sustainable, with several thousand Palestinians currently waiting to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Arditi said that sooner or later the GOI would have to deal with Hamas. At the same time, said Arditi, Israel and the Fayyad government are in agreement that they cannot allow free movement into and out of Gaza without a mechanism for controlling the flow of money and goods to terrorists and the Hamas government…

II. We need a new means of crushing the Gazan economy; OK, call Levey and Abrams:

Arditis [Gaza] proposal called for the creation of an external oversight system, with assistance from the United States and/or the European Union. The proposed system would include the creation of a strong Palestinian FIU [Financial Intelligence Unit] based in the West Bank, and “the adoption of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules by the Palestinian banking system.” Without such oversight, Arditi expressed concern that Israeli banks would cut off their correspondent relationship with the Palestinians (reftel). …Arditi asked Townsend who would be the right partner in the USG for the FIU plan, and inquired as to whether it would be well-received in Washington. Townsend recommended Under Secretary for the Treasury Stuart Levey as a natural counterpart, and suggested that the Israelis approach Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams on the question of support….

III. More neocon hypodermic– Iran is linked to Al-Qaeda. Note that a year after this Tel Aviv meeting, Treasury issued a statement linking Al Qaeda to Iran; and the Israel lobby promoted the claims. Also note that there is not a word about Israeli treatment of Palestinians here; and today even the Weekly Standard acknowledges that the Israeli occupation is a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.

[Former Israeli National Security Council] Chairman Ilan Mizrahi stressed that process, not events, affects the spread of terror in the Middle East. He pointed to three major factors in the region that create the conditions for terrorism: the weakness of Arab and Muslim communities and states that fail to join the advances of the modern world; the erosion of the secular state and the rise of ethnic politics, particularly in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon; and the rise of political Islam. Mizrahi also noted that the clash between Sunni and Shia Islam tends to bring out the extremists on both sides. He pointed out that both sides support terror groups that further their interests, including the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that some characterize them as “moderate Arab states” or “good guys.” Mizrahi said that many Arab states would be better characterized as an “axis of fear,” because they share a fear of Iranian influence. 6. (S) There are few forces restraining radical Islam, said Mizrahi, particularly now that the United States and Israel are viewed as weakened powers. Supporters of radical Islam believe that their cause is ascendant, he continued, given what they perceive as successes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Africa, Iraq, and Lebanon — as well as growing militancy among Muslim communities in Europe and the Far East. Iran supports terrorism throughout the region, said Mizrahi, who asserted that Iran is currently sheltering two senior al-Qaeda operatives.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 9 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Jim Haygood says:

    Some background on Israeli correspondent banking with Palestine:

    ————

    Signed in 1994 as part of the Oslo peace process, the Paris Accords gave Israel Discount Bank and Bank Hapoalim exclusive rights to provide financial services to the P.A.

    The incident [in September 2007, when Israeli authorities discovered that roughly $745,000 transferred by Israel Discount Bank ended up in the coffers of the Executive Force, Hamas’s main security force in Gaza] prompted an investigation by the Israeli Justice Ministry’s anti-money-laundering unit and led Bank Hapoalim to stop providing Israeli currency and correspondent banking services to Gaza after Jerusalem declared the strip an “enemy entity” in late September. Israel Discount Bank, which initially responded to the revelations by asserting that it had no control over the money once it was transferred to the Bank of Palestine, soon followed suit.

    In late September [2007], the Bank of Israel and the Israeli Finance Ministry asked the state-owned Postal Bank to assume responsibility for currency deliveries to Palestinian institutions, as well as to manage the shekel accounts of banks operating in the Palestinian territories. But the Postal Bank has refused to provide financial services to Palestinian banks unless it receives financial compensation from the Israeli government, because doing so could expose it to legal claims.

    link to forward.com

    But two years later, in late 2009, the problem persisted:

    ————

    Reuters news agency is reporting quoting a top Palestinian regulator that Israeli banks’ unwillingness to take shekel cash deposits from the West Bank is hurting the Palestinian economy.

    Diplomatic sources familiar with the situation confirmed the existence of the problem, which one said seemed largely driven by reluctance among Israeli banks to be seen as cooperating with Palestinians by their domestic customers.

    Ordinarily, the 20 banks operating in the West Bank moved shekel deposits through two correspondent banks, Bank Hapoalim and Israel Discount Bank, into Israel where they could earn interest and replenish their accounts.

    Jihad al-Wazir, governor of the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA), said the correspondent banks stopped accepting shekel notes at the beginning of 2009, meaning West Bank institutions have been building up huge stockpiles of shekels, unable to move them into Israel-based accounts.

    “The banks have reached their limit and physically there is no space,” he told Reuters in an interview.

    “If we cannot handle the cash, this is not a normal state of business. Cash has reached unprecedented levels,” said Wazir, adding that cash stored in the West Bank has reached 1.2 billion shekels, whereas the banks need only 300 million.

    link to palestinenote.com

    ————

    One of the major themes of recent decades has been the politicization of money and banking under the guise of controlling terrorist financing. Palestine’s economy is being blockaded financially, just as surely as it’s blockaded physically by checkpoints. The pervasive secrecy inherent in terrorism controls means there’s very little democratic transparency to enable distinguishing between real threats and petty harassment.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      It’s Israel doing this. Not the settlements. The Israeli government is the problem, so the Israeli government should be the target of sanctions.

  2. MRW says:

    the Israeli hypodermic entering the American vein and spewing neocon junk.

    I like.

  3. MRW says:

    You know what annoys me about this? The time, the infernal energy, that our congressmen and WH officials waste with Israel’s never-ending drama-queen shenanigans when I see people sleeping with their kids in their cars overnight in the Walmart shopping center parking lot, when I drive past a church nearby and the number of cars that appear there after 9 PM have increased exponentially, when the food banks can’t fill the need they have, when people are hungry and it’s cold…. And they are not doing enough about it; we are half way through the time it took to fight WWII, and the admin is not taking care of business. It breaks my heart, and these conyos are busy playing DC foreign affairs charades that everyone knows the answer to.

    It galls me.

    • Citizen says:

      I imagine the cost of those two squadrons of F-35s would help those kids sleeping in cars outside Walmart. How’s Cohen’s bill in congress doing, the one striving to take our annual cash dole to Israel (and those loans that morph into grants) out of Foreign Aid and stick it in National Defense budget? Anybody know?

  4. munro says:

    Bill Maher on Wikileaks Jan 15:
    “Wikileaks exposed some bullshit that’s actually good for us for example there was a time when Arab countries could pretend that their biggest enemy was Israel and now they know it’s Iran because it’s right in those Wikileaks.”

    video at 4:26
    link to hbo.com

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Bill Maher is a racist. He hates Arabs or any other ethnic group that is predominantly Muslim. I’m not sorry he was pushed off national network television, although really they got rid of him for the wrong reasons.

    • Citizen says:

      Maher, the great adult cynic, has a total crush on Israel–like a school girl.