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Iran’s Nuclear Theater Meant to Divert Attention
Monday, 05 October 2009 19:06
by Ramzy Baroud

World events have taken an interesting turn recently, with the Goldstone report, which wreaked havoc in the beginning of the week being nearly completely overshadowed by Iran’s revelation of another nuclear facility, according to diplomats in Vienna on September 25.

The Iran nuclear threat - although theater is a more suitable term - was highlighted repeatedly, first by US President Barack Obama during a UN speech on September 23, then again by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the next day. The latter came armed with maps and relentlessly provoked Holocaust memories, following the ever so predictable, albeit insensitive and deceptive pattern.

This charade was meant to distract from the nearly 600 page UN report, prepared by South Africa judge Richard Goldstone and others, dedicated mostly to Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Confirming that Israel wantonly used weapons, including illegal weapons, against a defenseless civilian population in Gaza and going so far to say that Israel did not only commit war crimes, but indeed may have also committed crimes against humanity, the findings of the report were all set by the wayside. The report was utterly rebuked by Netanyahu and his ilk, arrogantly disregarded and shelved.

Concurrently, Israel’s official statement regarding the IAEA’s pressure on Israel to sign on to the Non-Proliferation Treaty was that Israel “deplored” such a notion. The Israeli conceit may be redundant, but is as ever infuriating.

Many of Israel’s devoted supporters accused the Goldstone mission of fabricating conclusions before the investigations even came to a close.

And so yet again, Israel unhesitatingly established that they it’s above the law, promptly and successfully turning the world’s attention to the greater menace: Iran.

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It seems that President Obama is also learning some painful lessons regarding the balance of power between the US and Israel, going into negotiations in Washington this past week – along with Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas - with a strong stance for the complete freeze of all settlement activity, and ending with clear and potent calls for the Palestinians to continue down the road of diplomacy inspite of Israel’s refusal to consider the option of adhering to international law. In the words of Israeli writer, Uri Avnery, “No point denying it: in the first round of the match between Barack Obama and Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama was beaten.”

Learning from past history, one can hardly be optimistic to expect a US victory in the second round, or anytime soon for that matter.

And thereafter, the Israeli cue was emulated, and Obama followed it to the letter. Israel’s recent use of illegal weapons on civilians, its arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons and its refusal to consider disarmament paled in comparison to the potential threat that could arise should Iran seek a nuclear weapon some time in the future.

Obama’s words to Ahmedinejad and the people of Iran at the UN were decisive: “They are going to have to make a choice: Are they willing to go down the path to greater prosperity and security for Iran, giving up the acquisition of nuclear weapons ... or will they continue down a path that is going to lead to confrontation.”

This is sure to ignite a war of words, to the pleasure of Netanyahu and his extremist government.

But the outcome of this duel will certainly exceed the realm of words.

It seems that Obama’s rebuke and Netanyahu’s declarations could actually lead to the detriment of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and indeed to us all, by encouraging nations who until this point do not possess nuclear weapons to expedite the creation of their own arsenal. After all, what we have learned from this episode is that nations who do not yet possess weapons of mass destruction had better get on the band-wagon and make some, for it seems that without them, they are nothing more than sitting ducks.

How ironic it is, and what a sweet-talker Netanyahu is, to successfully divert the worlds eye, ears and conscience away from what he has indeed done, to the dangerous notion of what another man with up until this point can only be branded for fiery speeches, could do some time in the future.

As for Ahmedinejad’s crusade for Iran, it could be very possible that in the end, the ones who will pay for his bold declarations will be as usual, the Palestinians, who after the scourge of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead nearly one year ago, still await the bare necessities to rebuild, still thirst for clean water and basic sustenance. Netanyahu has been tireless at drawing parallels between Iran and Gaza, presenting them both to the world as dire threats to the existence of the Jewish State. When addressing the UN in New York on September 24, he branded Iran once again, exhorting that. “The struggle against Iran pits civilization against barbarism. This Iranian regime is fueled by extreme fundamentalism. What starts as attacks on Jews always ends up engulfing others. This regime embodies the extremes of Islamic fundamentalism.”

Interesting words from a man whose former administration and current administration could very well face the International Criminal Court for the endorsing the carrying out of crimes against humanity.

Such utterances make one wonder, just who in the world are we to trust, and who in the world are we to fear?

For the time being however, one can only hope that the international community reject all attempts to be blinded by Netanyahu’s fear mongering, and insist on a stern and decisive investigation into the alleged war crimes in Gaza, as presented in the Goldstone report so that the real culprits, not the imagined ones in Tehran, pay for their heinous crimes against the defenseless people of the Strip.

- Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an author and editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His work has been published in many newspapers, journals and anthologies around the world. His latest book is, "The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People's Struggle" (Pluto Press, London), and his forthcoming book is, “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story” (Pluto Press, London), now available for pre-orders on Amazon.com.
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Comments (3)add comment

Awamori said:

In an August interview with South Africa's Business Day, Goldstone admitted that "If it had been a judicial inquiry, that letter [Chinkin] signed would have been a ground for disqualification."

On the other hand the world court track record of allowing a judge who said Israel was guilty guilty PRIOR to the court hearing is established.
Some justice!

When Goldstone decided to hold public, televised hearings (Goldstone, 22), he made a travesty of the entire "fact finding" mission. Witnesses who had information hurtful to Hamas, and who might have felt inclined to be honest if interviewed a secure and confidential setting, were forced to choose between publicly:

a. telling the truth and risking their own lives/health and those of their families, or

b. lying or omitting information hurtful to Hamas or helpful to Israel.

The purpose of a fact-finding mission is *not* to broadcast raw testimony without verification; rather, it is to determine the facts based on all sources available, including *confidential* sources, and then to report on the facts as uncovered. Its procedures must be designed to encourage truthful testimony, not to facilitate intimidation of witnesses.

Gaza is a totalitarian statelet ruled by Hamas, an organization that seized absolute power in a violent coup in 2007. Within Gaza, Hamas armed fighters and security teams operate with an iron fist, and their tactics are consistent and violent. Many Ordinary Gazans are intimidated.
So... . Goldstone made witnesses testify *in public*. He placed honest witnesses in potentially mortal danger, and he made it easy for dishonest witnesses to succumb to their dishonesty.
October 15, 2009
Votes: +0

Neutral said:

Firstly i would like to just comment on Awamori's comments and say.....are you for real!!?. People may not have had access to factual information previously but they do now thanks to the internet.
A couple of simple points in regards to Hamas, i aint a big fan of but facts are facts, they were elected by the voters, just like netanyahu...there was no coup. infact the coup took place in the west bank with abbass who accordign to Palestinian law is an illegal president, illegal President of the State of Palestine(self declared) and illegal head of the PLO. Secondly Mr Goldstone has accused Hamas aswell as isreal of war crimes!. just to give you a quick background because it sounds as if you don't know what actually happened/ or led up to 'Operation Cast Lead'...Hamase confirmd that it was willing to sign a further 6 months extension to the ceasfire even though isreal was actively trying to make hamas react by the daily bombings and incursions...Finally when a rocket(i call it rocket because from the footage seen on television you can tell that it is no more complex than a firework and the damage is usually from the physical rocket and not explosive material but its a bold statement of defiance)is fired isreal not only attacked Gaza(the plans were already in place) but began an all out attack in an attempt to re-stamp its authority on the middle east after losing to Hezbollah...
If you take it as a percentage of how many innocent isrealies versus Soldiers were killed and how many innocent palestinians were killed versus soldiers(lets say all men killed were soldiers for the sake of argument) you will see the percentages are higher even though as the mainstream media claims that hamas was aiming for built up residential areas with its rockets!.
OBJECTIVE Isreal wanted to wipe out Hamas whilst abbass says look at what hamas have done!!! which would hopefully stregthen his hand... but it didn't work.
As we speak the palestinians in Gaza still do not have clean water and the blockade is still in place... so this is an on going war crime... using depleted uranium shells in heavily built up places/ use of chemical weapons/use of human shields(children) is not like firing a rocket!! you fire a rocket and it lands somewhere and possibly kills people but firing a shell/using chemical weapons and using human shields is a choice...for example you can choose to bomb a building that you know civilians live in... you can choose to drop chemicals in an area where there are civilians...and you can choose to hide behind a civilian and you can choose to shoot at ambulances and kill medics(unfortunately this is true)
Goldstone has uncovered the facts of Hamas and Isreali war crimes... lets be clear about this... he has not only referred isreal but hamas to the Security council....Hamas has responded saying that it will carry out an investigation...but Isreal which apparently is a democracy has refused to do so!!...instead trying to shift attention on Iran...and the nuclear weapon they haven't got!
Isreal will have to do something extremely radical to avoid getting prosecuted for war crimes and lets face it they have commited war crimes...and are still doing so...by not letting food water and basic neccesities pass to the palestinians...and this is comparable to the holocaust and just like the world stood by and let a state do this to a people, now once again the world stands by and lets a state do this to a people... and whats more supports it to further there own economic agenda.

the state of isreal was founded with the execuse that this land was promised to them... because they are gods chosen people...but i ask you to gods chosen people killing innocent men/women/children? is this what god has prescribed for them?? i think not...
it will not be long before this wagon reaches the final incline and then it will descent and there will be no brakes...
November 05, 2009
Votes: +1

TUT TUT said:

It was amazing to see how quickly the world leaders began to vent there fury on the Goverment of Sri-Lanka- for having 50,000 people trapped in an area which it was carrying out operation against a terrorist organisation and how no one uttered anything when there was 1.5 million palestinians being bombed in the gaza strip(which is about 25 miles long and 4.5-7.5 miles wide in places!!! that to me was dispicable.
November 05, 2009
Votes: +1

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