US-Israel Strategic Relations
...There are real US-Israel conflicts, but they are not being reported in the US (they are in Israel). An important one right now is the conflict over Israel's efforts to sell advanced military technology to China (Harpy drones), to which the US is strongly objecting, as it has in the past, when Clinton compelled Israel in 2000 to cancel its transfer of Phalcon technology to China, after Israeli authorities had sworn that they would never back down because of its enormous significance to Israel's highly militarized high-tech economy. This goes way back.
On the end of the Arafat era offering new hopes, that's true in only one respect: US-Israel are hoping that a new leadership may be more willing to accept unchanged US-Israeli demands. I can only refer you to my posting on the commentary on Arafat's death.
We need not waste time [on] our Dear Leader's [Bush's] "efforts to spread democracy," etc. It's normal, not only here, for the more obsequious commentators to worship at the shrine of the political leadership, who are always proclaiming noble visions. That's why no serious analyst ever pays the slightest attention to declarations of virtuous intent by political leaders, which carry precisely zero information because they are completely predictable, including Hitler, Stalin, Japanese fascists, and virtually anyone else you can think of.
...The question [regarding a change in strategic relations with Israel] always is: Where's the evidence?
One bit of evidence is indeed put forth, with enormous enthusiasm in fact: the Sharon-Abbas cease-fire. The gushing is understandable. The cease-fire is an enormous victory for the US-Israeli rejectionism which, since Kissinger, has blocked political settlement. The cease-fire is to be welcomed: better no killing than killing. But take a careful look at the terms. The framework is entirely that of US-Israeli rejectionism: Palestinian resistance, even against the occupying army, must cease. Nothing could delight US-Israeli hawks more than complete peace, which would enable them to pursue, unhindered, the policies of US-Israeli takeover of the valuable land and resources of the West Bank, and huge infrastructure projects to break up the remaining Palestinian territories into unviable cantons. That has been the core issue of the conflict for years, and there is not a single word about it in the cease-fire agreement. Last year, US-backed Israeli settlement programs increased the illegal settler population by 6%, to 450,000 -- counting "East Jerusalem," illegally annexed in violation of Security Council orders, but with a wink from the US, since expanded enormously, and now recognized by the US as part of Israel -- tacitly by the press, which even goes so far as to say that the illegal wall -- also not mentioned -- separates the West Bank from Israel. Bush virtually put the stamp of official approval on it. It would be hard to imagine a clearer and more complete victory for US-Israeli rejectionism. The Abbas government accepted it, much as the Arafat-led "Tunis" PLO accepted Clinton's doctrine that all UN resolutions are "obsolete and anachronistic" -- opening the way, as predicted, to the continuation of the US-backed Israeli settlement programs that continued without a break through the Oslo years, reaching their highest level (pre-Sharon-Bush) in 2000, the last year for Clinton and Barak. One might argue that it's the best they can do as long as the US keeps to its unilateral rejectionism, and the population here let's it happen. But that's a separate question. There's no indication that I can see that anything has changed.
There's a somewhat more general issue that is settled by the cease-fire agreement. The strongest UN condemnation of terrorism, passed at Reaganite initiative in 1987, had unanimous support (Honduras alone abstaining), apart from the US and Israel, which voted against it. As they explained, the offending passage was one that endorsed the right of resistance in accord with the UN Charter against racist and colonialist regimes (meaning their close ally Apartheid South Africa) and foreign military occupation (meaning Israel). Unreported, as usual, when the facts shed an improper light on the character of US elites. Now the US and Israel have won that battle. Military occupation is declared legitimate, and no resistance to it is tolerable. Another great victory for the rule of force, and demonstration of the importance of a subservient intellectual community.
I'd like to be optimistic, and will leap at any straw in the wind. But so far I see nothing real.