Netanyahu in secret talks with Obama

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ISRAELI Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and United States President Barack Obama held two sessions of secret talks at the White House yesterday, lasting a total of two hours.

In contrast to previous visits by a Prime Minister of the Zionist entity to Washington, there was no photo opportunity of the two shaking hands, or a formal press conference. This was clearly a business meeting between the leader of US imperialism and the head of its military garrison in the Middle East, Israel.

The White House talks took place only two days after United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who only got the job with the backing of Washington, was in Gaza.

Speaking in Khan Younis, the UN chief said: ‘I have repeatedly made it quite clear to Israel’s leaders that the Israeli policy of closure is not sustainable and that it’s wrong.’ Ban Ki-moon said the international community ‘strongly supports’ Palestinian efforts to build an independent state, and reiterated that Israeli settlement activity in occupied territories is illegal.

On the eve of the secret talks in the White House, America’s very junior partner in its wars in the Middle East, British imperialism, also engaged in a diplomatic spat with Israel. On Tuesday, Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband condemned Israel in parliament and expelled an Israeli diplomat from the country. This arose from Mossad’s assassination of a leader of the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement in Dubai on January 19.

The actions of the UN chief and the British government just before Netanyahu’s visit to Washington are more than a coincidence, they are aimed at making the Israeli leader amenable to US plans.

This comes after a period of diplomatic friction between the US and Israel over their respective priorities in the Middle East. The differences surfaced when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Netanyahu each spoke to the Zionist American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday.

Israel is forging ahead with colonising occupied Palestinian East Jerusalem by giving planning permission for more than 3,000 additional housing units there. Netanyahu told AIPAC: ‘Jerusalem is not a settlement. It’s our capital.’

Clinton told the same gathering that the continued expansion of settlements undermined ‘mutual trust and endangers the proximity talks’ between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

The Secretary of State emphasised the Obama administration’s ‘rock solid’ commitment to Israel.

However, she added that the differences between the White House and Netanyahu ‘exposes daylight between Israel and the United States that others in the region hope to exploit’. She said ‘all parties including Israel’ had to make ‘necessary choices’.

Then Clinton spoke of US imperialism’s major strategic goal in the Middle East at this time – Iran. She said: ‘The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. This is unacceptable to the United States, unacceptable to Israel and unacceptable to the region and the international community.’

Behind the diplomacy it is clear that US imperialism is preparing to take on Iran. The crisis of imperialism is driving Washington and London to expand their wars to control the oil-rich Middle East, from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to Iran.

Netanyahu is in Washington to get his marching orders. Some scraps have to be thrown in the direction of President Abbas in order to give the leaders of Arab states, like Saudi Arabia, something in order to get their support for war against Iran. All Israel’s American supplied warplanes and rockets will also be needed for the war and must be targeted on Iran, rather than deploying them to kill Palestinians.

What is also clear is that the Palestinian masses and the working class in the US and Britain are not about to be pawns, or participants, in imperialism’s wars.

So it is time the trades unions in Britain took industrial action in support of the Palestinians by imposing a total commercial, trade and cultural boycott on Israel. There must be strikes and demonstrations to demand the government shuts down the Israeli embassy.

Any moves to war against Iran must be met with a general strike action to bring down the warmongering government and replace it with a workers’ government that will establish fraternal relations with countries in the Middle East.