Obama in wonderland

BARACK Obama is visiting our neck of the woods this week, as part of his European tour, to touch ground with his tenuous Irish ancestors and re-affirm the so-called “special relationship” with British imperialism. But the real purpose of the US president’s globe-trotting is to re-assert American imperialism’s hegemony over the entire capitalist world under the false banners of “freedom” and “democracy”.

This was clearly illustrated by what was trumpeted as a key-note speech on the Middle East crisis last week in which Obama said nothing new as far as the Palestinians are concerned.

Barack Obama may have given the American public the impression that US imperialism was right behind the mass movements that had brought down the Egyptian and Tunisian dictatorships. But as he drivelled on about courage, peace, dignity and democracy everyone on the Arab street could see that it was just the same old rubbish they’ve heard time and time again from Washington.

The pledge President Barack Obama gave for US support to a future Palestinian state based on borders that existed before the 1967 Middle East war has, in fact, been the basis of all the “two-state” negotiations since the US-sponsored Camp David talks in 2000, including the land-swaps, the guarantees for Israel and the built-in impotence of the envisaged new Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The American president said nothing about the Palestinian refugees. The refugees and the future status of Jerusalem, central to any settlement were simply dismissed as “emotional” issues that could be delayed indefinitely.That’s what the Israelis think. But they can’t.

There is clearly enough land in Palestine for Jews and Arabs to live together and few doubt that the only viable settlement is a “two state” solution with an independent Palestinian Arab state based on the West Bank and Gaza Strip and including Arab Jerusalem. But what must also be resolved is the problem of Palestinian refugees whose families were driven out by the Zionists during the first Arab-Israeli war that erupted when Israel was established in 1948.

That war led to the expulsion of a million Palestinian Arabs from their homes by the Zionist regime. Those refugees and their descendants have never given up their right to return to their land. And this is the heart of the crisis in the Middle East that has led to five full-scale wars and continuing simmering conflicts.

Past UN resolutions have provided the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. First of all Israel must totally withdraw from the occupied territories seized in 1967. The Palestinians must be allowed to establish a state of their own on the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian refugees whose homes are now in Israel must be allowed to return or, if they so wish, be paid appropriate compensation in exchange.

All states in the region, including Israel, should have internationally agreed and recognised frontiers guaranteed by all the Great Powers.

Obama called for democracy throughout the Middle East, apart from Saudi Arabia and Palestine. Nor did has he launched any new initiative to start new peace talks apart from lecturing Hamas on the recognition of Israel and telling the Palestinian leadership as a whole that the Americans would veto their diplomatic drive for United Nations recognition. No vote at the United Nations, he asserted, would ever create a Palestinian state despite the fact that the Zionist state was established in exactly the same way.

Obama, like all successful American politicians, is good with words. He conjures up visions of the “new American century” while his hidden hand works to ferment turmoil in Syria and his legions pound Libya on a daily basis.

The Nobel peace prize winner struts the world stage posing as a new Abraham Lincoln. But the real face of US imperialism can be seen in the shambles that is Iraq — devastated after eight years of American occupation — the continuing war in Afghanistan and in the concentration camp in Guantánamo Bay.