Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I don't see the connection between screwing the Palestinians and invading Iraq. What's the logic?

Apart from generally demoralizing the Muslim center in surrounding countries, by putting a big American force in the region, behind Syria's back, any overt move Syria made against Israel in support of Palestinian expulsion from the West Bank, could (would) be effectively countered by the US forces already there. (Probably the real reason for the Status of Forces Agreement.) Remember, Iraq had the largest army east of Israel, and the US rolled over it in three weeks. Lebanon has been a mess for a long time and is unable to respond, Jordan has very close ties to the US and won't respond (I don't know how much support we give the regime in Jordan, but I've heard it is sizable), Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid and amenable to "suggestions" from Washington, as we've seen in Cairo's support of the Israeli action in Gaza. With troops in Iraq, Iran is blocked from sending military aid. All of which leaves Syria.

With any overt response effectively blocked, the IDF can concentrate on the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The logic behind the IDF's interest is that by expelling Palestinians from the West Bank, a huge salient right in the heart of Israel comes safely under control.

I'm not saying that this is the "plan," but I wonder if the Iraqi invasion, which ran contrary to actual American interests, was aimed at giving Israel a free hand in doing what the hardliners there have always wanted to do: reclaim Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

My conjecture that the actual chain of events after 2003 is the result of a deliberate move by the US to screw the Palestinians was perhaps "planned" to the extent that Israel needn't worry about regional reprisals, and freed to take the actions she has taken against the Palestinians.

We see life becoming intolerable for the Palestinians in the West Bank and evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem. We know about the land grab going on in the West bank and of the evictions going on in East Jerusalem, which is undergoing an enclosure of its own as a settlement bloc on the far side of it.

  • Shergald reported on stories from Spiegal and Ha'aretz, that the Israeli Defense Ministry closely monitors the growth of the settlements.

  • The BBC reports (26 March 2009) that the Israeli government actively supports settlement growth contrary to its official position.

  • Peace Now's various reports on Israeli expansion into the West Bank.

  • Ha'aretz reports (2 Feb 2009) that at least one settlement "bloc" is set to "massively expand".

  • An EU commission reported (9 March 2009) that:
    Long-standing Israeli plans for Jerusalem, now being implemented at an accelerated rate, are undermining prospects for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem and a sustainable two- state solution.

  • Is it working? From Wikipedia:
    Since early 1997, following the Hebron Agreement, the city has been divided into two sectors: H1 and H2. The H1 sector, home to around 120,000 Palestinians, came under the control of the Palestinian Authority. H2, which was inhabited by around 30,000 Palestinians, remained under Israeli military control to protect several hundred Jewish residents in the old Jewish quarter. A large drop has since taken place in the Palestinian population in H2, identified with the impact of extended curfews, strict restrictions on movement with 16 check-points in place, the closure of Palestinian commercial activities near settler areas, and settler harassment.

Be it said that no new "settlement" activity has been attempted since 1996, which ought to blow my theory out of the water, except for a change of color:

Peace Now on "outposts":

Since 1996, no government has officially decided upon the establishment of a new settlement on the West Bank.  In order to continue to occupy additional land in the West Bank, the settlement leadership, with the close assistance of very senior elements within the government, decided to establish outposts, intent upon establishing faits accomplis in the field and taking control of new areas.  Most of the outposts have been established in key points in the midst of Palestinian population centers, and deep into the West Bank, thereby attempting to create territorial continuity between the existing settlements and breaking up the contiguity existing between the Palestinian townships.  Thus, the settlers are trying to thwart the possibility of the existence of a contiguous Palestinian state on the West Bank.

The more I look at the activity and the dates, the less I think of my brain fart. You can tell from the title I had little faith in this from the beginning. This idea seemed like the best, and I still think, given Wolfowitz' quote, that it is likely a root motivation of the invasion. Oil plays its slimy role, of course, and WMD was a smokescreen from the outset. At times, the US is on record as vigorously protesting settlement activity, yet I also note that the date of this protest is 2006, a year after Wolfowitz shifted over to the World Bank, and a year after Condi Rice rose to become Bush's Secretary of State with the mandate to defend her boss' legacy. It came at a time of strong US objection to the war in Iraq became manifest, a time when Cheney was fading from the scene and as Rumsfeld was preparing to resign, as he did that November.

Their work was done. It's Bibi's turn now. Or else I should remind myself that brain farts are best kept in the sock drawer.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Mon Apr 27th, 2009 at 10:28:24 PM EST
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