Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

US threat to Palestinians: change leadership and we cut funds

The Guardian- The Obama administration has privately made clear that it will not allow any change of Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, the leaked papers reveal, let alone any repetition of the Hamas election victory that briefly gave the Islamists control of the Palestinian Authority five years ago.

That is despite the fact that the democratic legitimacy of both the
Palestinian president and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), and prime
minister, Salam Fayyad, is strongly contested among Palestinians, and there
are no plans for new elections in either the West Bank or Gaza.

"The new US administration expects to see the same Palestinian
faces(Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyad) if it is to continue funding the Palestinian
Authority," the then assistant secretary of state David Welch is recorded as
telling Fayyad in November 2008. Most of the PA's funding comes from the US
and European Union.

Almost a year later, the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reacted
angrily to news that Abbas had threatened to resign and call for new
presidential elections. She told Palestinian negotiators: "Abu Mazen
[Mahmoud Abbas] not running in the election is not an option – there is no
alternative to him." The threat was withdrawn and no election was held.

The US consulate in Jerusalem reported to Washington in December 2009 that
"despite all its warts and imperfections, Fatah remains the only viable
alternative to Hamas if Palestinian elections occur in the near future,"
according to a cable released by Wikileaks.

The US government's private determination to use its financial and military
leverage to keep the existing regime in place — while publicly continuing to
maintain that Palestinians are free to choose their own leaders — echoes the
Bush administration's veto on attempts to create a Palestinian national
unity administration after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in the summer of

Unlike the PLO, Hamas rejects negotiations, except for a long-term
ceasefire, and refuses to recognise Israel. Supported by Iran and Syria, the
group is classed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU.

The leaked documents quote General Keith Dayton, the US security
co-ordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority who was in charge of
building up PA security forces until last October. He warned Palestinian
leaders in 2007 about rumours that the "Fatah old guard" were undermining
Fayyad, who he confirmed as the linchpin of US strategy in the West Bank.

"As much as President Bush thinks Abu Mazen is important," Dayton told them,
"without Fayyad, the US will lift its hand from the PA and give up on Abu
Mazen." Unlike Abbas, Fayyad – a US-trained economist who formerly worked
for the World Bank and and the IMF – is not a member of the secular Fatah

Abbas was elected president in 2005, but his mandate expired in 2009 and is
no longer recognised by Hamas, among others, as the legitimate Palestinian
leader. Fayyad was appointed prime minister by Abbas after the Hamas
takeover of Gaza but his legitimacy is also strongly contested as his
appointment was never confirmed as required by the PA's parliament.

The Obama administration's determination to keep control of who runs the PA
underlines the continuity of policy from the Bush years. In the runup to the
2007 Hamas takeover of Gaza, the then US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice
was revealed in leaked US official documents to have as good as instructed
Abbas to "collapse" the then joint Fatah-Hamas national unity government.

The dependence of the existing PA and PLO leadership on US support is well
understood by those leaders, as the documents underline. Referring to
Obama's attempt to kickstart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 2009, US
state department official David Hale told chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat: "We need the help of friends like you."

Erekat replied that the US president's "success is my survival".

The US consulate in Jerusalem reported in December 2009: "It is axiomatic
amongst our contacts that Fatah remains the only near-term alternative to
Hamas in Palestinian politics. Despite the toll of corruption and stagnant
peace process, our contacts believe that only Fatah has the national
liberation credentials, breadth of appeal and organisational structure to
mobilise and win a Palestinian election for the foreseeable future ...
Despite all its warts and imperfections, Fatah rermains the only viable
alternative to Hamas if Palestinian elections occur in the near future."