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Said Arikat

Israel sows Iranian fears to distract from its crimes

Israel warns of Iran's destructive power, while pounding Gaza to rubble [AFP]

Date of publication: 26 February, 2015

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Comment: Israel has used its overblown, inaccurate campaign against Tehran's nuclear activities like a smokescreen as it steals the West Bank and commits atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza, says Said Arikat.
By all accounts, the US and Iran are edging towards a historic deal on the latter's nuclear programme, a deal that would greatly ease enmity that has existed between the two countries ever since the Iranian revolution 35 years ago.

US officials acknowledge that there are still obstacles to overcome before a deadline in March, with any deal likely to face harsh opposition from within the US and Israel, and strain relations between Barack Obama's administration and the Israeli government of Binyamin Netanyahu. 

Israel opposes any agreement that doesn't "end Iran's nuclear ambitions" - without ever spelling out exactly what it wants in actual terms from Iran, short of surrendering all nuclear activities, peaceful or otherwise.

We know the drill. Netanyahu will use a speech before the the US Congress next week to criticise any deal, and will probably receive a standing ovation. Both houses are majority Republican after all, but Democrats will be among those clapping as they abandon their president to focus on their own political fortunes and their electoral nest-eggs.

Washington will be thronged next week by thousands of people attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee convention - 14,000 strong they claim.

In AIPAC, Netanyahu is king, the terminator, the vanquisher of evil terrorist hordes. He will lump Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, the Islamic State group, al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, Boko Haram together. He will finger-point, he will boast, he will threaten.

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But he will not mention the brutal Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. He will not speak of Gaza suffocating under siege, nor of the thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians killed and wounded on his orders. He will neglect to raise the humanitarian crisis of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians made homeless by his wars. He will ignore the horrors his marauding settlers inflict daily on the brutalised Palestinians.

No, the man who has done this very venue every March for decades like a skilled circus ringmaster, knows that he can use AIPAC as a whip to crack at all those who back the deal with Iran, including the President of the United States.

His support will include Republicans, Democrats, the Christian right, the far-right, the middle-right and scores of media footsoldiers. He also has Sheldon Adelson, the gambling tycoon who bestows political viability on all contenders according to J Street, the centrist American Jewish Organisation who claims total support to Israel, and sees its continued viability only through a "two state solution".
     To be sure, there will be hard applause for Netanyahu in Washington.

In a promotional email, J Street has warned that the Adelson-backed Republican Jewish Coalition has promised to "commit whatever resources we need" to go after "members who don't support Netanyahu."

To be sure, there will be hard applause for Netanyahu in Washington.

But also to be sure, this was never about Iran. Israel is using the hype to scam the world while stealing Palestinian land and ensuring its occupation will not end.

Iran's nuclear programme became rose up the agenda as Israel went on a theft frenzy - stealing land, building walls, dissecting and bisecting the West Bank, besieging the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But the world was looking elsewhere, too worried about a potential nuclear Iran, to pay heed to Israel's criminal behaviour.

The USE knows that Iran ceased to have any capability to have a weaponised nuclear programme.  According to evidence from the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.

This corresponds with the assessment in the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate, which stated with near certain confidence that Iran had not restarted its weapons research.

In 2014, the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said Iran would not be able to enrich enough uranium to build a bomb without being discovered.

Nor is Iran developing long-range ballistic missiles that could be armed with nuclear warheads. Iran's longest-range missiles 2,000km are classed as medium-range, not intercontinental, as some have suggested.

Israel knows very well that Iran ceased to have a nuclear threat. Both the Guardian and Al-Jazeera reported on February 23, 2015, that Israel's Mossad spy agency, confirmed to Netanyahu a number of years ago that Iran was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons".
     The claims and rhetoric of Israel's politicians are smokescreens, distractions and illusions.

Netanyahu knew this as he was showing his Wile E Coyote bomb-cartoon at the UN general assembly in September 2012.

The claims and rhetoric of Israel's politicians are smokescreens, distractions and illusions.

What's not an illusion is Israel's Judaisation of East Jerusalem and gobbling up of 42 percent of the West Bank for settlements, turning what's left into a disconnected patchwork of broken Palestinian villages and communities. Close to 600,000 settlers renders the "two state solution" null and void forever.

It is no surprise that Israel's Chicken-Little 'The Sky is Falling' warnings over Iran's have coincided with this accelleration of Palestinian land theft and intimidation.

It is time for the world stop being bamboozled by Israel and hold it accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians.

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