Leaks of classified government documents have gone from a drip to a torrent, and we need a way to keep up. “The Palestine Cables” is a weekly chronicle/analysis by Alex Kane of important revelations bearing on Israel/Palestine that are contained in the ongoing dump of hundreds of thousands of U.S. State Department cables and the Palestine Papers that were released by Al Jazeera and the Guardian.
The cables have included interesting revelations about European countries’ relations with Israel–and how much the Goldstone report has mattered, thought not enough–as well as what seems to be a Lebanese official passing on advice to the Israeli government on how to defeat Hezbollah in a new conflict.
The Obama administration’s failure to bribe Israel’s right-wing government into accepting a three-month settlement “freeze” should have ended talk about the “peace process,” but Obama’s Middle East team is still crawling towards a two-state solution with little light at the end of the tunnel. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks will dim the lights further. The cables show that Israeli officials’ stated vision of a Palestinian state is one that is feeble and toothless–a vision that could snuff out any remaining hope of a viable Palestinian state.
Forsaken by the “peace process,” ignored by mainstream media, denied justice two years after Israel committed what many rights groups called war crimes– still, the plight of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip remains a burning issue around the world. Cables from the trove of State Department documents WikiLeaks has been releasing show that global civil society’s outrage at the brutal 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza has resonated with governments everywhere, and that Gaza remains a symbol of everything that’s wrong with the Israeli occupation.
Whether it’s the Mossad’s use of foreign passports or the refusal to open up about its nuclear weapons program, Israel is developing a reputation as a rogue state. Some of the nearly 2,000 secret State Department cables so far released by WikiLeaks and its media partners reveal that governments around the world are getting impatient with these practices.
The State Department cables also reveal for the first time that while Israel waged a devastating assault on the Gaza Strip, eventually killing an estimated 1,400 Palestinians, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were actively working with Israel. Previous cables from WikiLeaks revealed that Israel had “consulted” with Egypt and the PA prior to the beginning of “Cast Lead.” The PA denied the allegations then.
1/25/2011: Why there will never be a State of Palestine
One core lesson from the “Palestine Papers,” Al Jazeera’s leak of secret documents on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations from 1999 to 2010, is that there will never be a State of Palestine, living side by side with Israel. This was known before, but the papers confirm it. The mainstream narrative–that Israel and the Palestinians have been talking for nearly 20 years and are very close to reaching an agreement but just have to sit at the table for a little more time–is not credible anymore.
General David Petraeus backed away from uttering similar words, but it’s clearly a view that holds wide currency in the U.S. military establishment: ending the Israel/Palestine conflict is a core U.S. interest that affects the safety of U.S. soldiers. Haaretz picks up (though they bury it) that U.S. Admiral Michael Mullen echoes the “linkage” argument in a document published by Al Jazeera as part of the “Palestine Papers.”
Despite the fact that the Obama administration has been watching Al Jazeera to get the latest out of Egypt, the U.S. has a tortured history with Al Jazeera, as Jeremy Scahill of the Nation points out: bombing its offices in Afghanistan, shelling a hotel in Iraq and killing the network’s Iraq correspondent and holding a network employee in Guantanamo Bay for seven years. Recent WikiLeaks cables obtained by Counterpunch add more to the U.S.-Al Jazeera story.
The Israeli establishment is pleased to see that Omar Suleiman, the former head of Egypt’s intelligence services who was recently appointed to be Egypt’s first vice president, is angling to continue the Mubarak regime. As reports circulate that Hosni Mubarak may step down tonight, examining Suleiman, Mubarak’s presumed successor, seems all the more important. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks show that Suleiman directs Egypt’s policies on Israel/Palestine, policies that are in line with Israeli goals: weakening Hamas, continuing the blockade of Gaza and halting Iranian influence.
The revolt rocking the Gulf state of Bahrain continues, as protesters occupy the Pearl roundabout area, demanding that King Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa step down. One of the root causes driving the crisis in Bahrain is the existence of a “king who shows diminishing care for relations with his Shi’i subjects,” as Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote. And while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is far from a root cause of the unrest in Bahrain and other Arab countries, popular sentiment on Israel is one more example of the disconnect between Bahraini and other U.S.-backed Arab elites and their people, and this disconnect is at the core of the uprisings’ demands for democracy and freedom.
Since Mubarak’s overthrow in February, a looming question has been to what extent the Egyptian government and military would continue to enforce a blockade that the vast majority of their population detests. The cable makes clear that there is some tension between the Egyptian and Israeli militaries.
U.S. diplomats don’t have to turn to other sources–the media or the State Department’s human rights reports, for example–to learn that Israeli officials and the state they serve are racist. Instead, they get a front row seat, as revealed in recent State Department cables published by Israeli newspapers.