The Israeli prime minister opposes the Iran deal because the Iranians support Hamas and Hezbollah, says Miko Peled.
Binyamin Netanyahu’s name is in the headlines again—this time with the news of the Iran deal. He rejects the agreement, he called it a disastrous and historic mistake and he didn’t miss the opportunity to say that Israel will defend itself.
Two questions must be raised in light of the Israeli prime minister’s outrage. The first is why? And the second is why does anyone care?
Netanyahu opposes the Iran deal because the Iranians support Hamas and Hezbollah. Both of these organizations were created in response to Israeli aggression and occupation—the former in Palestine and the latter in southern Lebanon.
It was the dedicated resistance of Hezbollah that ended the 20-year Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and made it possible for Lebanese people to return to their homes in the south.
Hamas was democratically elected to govern. It maintains some semblance of a government in the Gaza Strip, something it would not be able to do without Iranian money because Israel imposed a siege on the Palestinian territory, locking its 1.7 million people in an open air prison. Hamas is also committed to resistance to the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine, resistance that is obvious particularly in Gaza.
During a 51-day attack on Gaza in summer 2014, Israel murdered over 2,000 Palestinians in cold blood, and so in reality, Israel is the problem—not Iran, Hamas or Hezbollah. Furthermore, neither Iran, Hezbollah or Hamas pose a threat to Israel; they pose a threat to the Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians.
Parallels can be made between the so-called Iran threat and the so-called threat from Palestinians and Muslims in the United States. The closure, prosecution, trial and convictions of the Holy Land Foundation and the five men who operated it is one of clearest cases of political persecution and injustice in the US. And just like Iran never posed a threat to Jewish people or to Israel, the Holy Land Foundation—as was made absolutely clear in their trial—didn’t fund or support terrorism. They are a threat to the Israeli narrative that seeks to justify Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
Most news broadcasts of the Iran deal also include a statement that “US allies in the region are worried.” One ally is Saudi Arabia, a ruthless dictatorship run by a corrupt, male-dominated family of so-called “kings” and “princes” as though we were still living in the dark ages. Another ally is Egyptian dictator Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who gained power through a coup, overthrowing and arresting Egypt’s first democratically elected president. And the third ally is Israel, which maintains a violent, racist apartheid regime in Palestine. With allies like these, who needs enemies?
Now, why does anyone care what Netanyahu says?
The answer has little to do with strategic issues or nuclear proliferation. It has everything to do with the fact that American politicians are afraid of the Israeli lobby. The spineless politicians who stood and clapped as Netanyahu marched on Capitol Hill, his hands stained with Palestinian blood, are afraid that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) will punish them.
AIPAC and the web of pro-Israel organizations it controls are in the business of selling and protecting Israeli interests. They tell a story that paints Israel as a symbol of democracy, freedom and tolerance, and the Palestinians as symbols of hatred, religious fanaticism and terror. American politicians who try to question this pretty picture will find themselves out of a job.
President Barack Obama did well not to bend to Israeli pressure on the Iran deal. Now, will he take an extra step? Will he demand that Israel unconditionally end the siege on Gaza or release Palestinian political prisoners?
*[This article was also featured on Miko Peled’s blog.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.