Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Obama, Israel and Palestine

by ROBERT FANTINA

One wonders when, if ever, the nonsense that spews forth from the mouths of the U.S.’s elected, so-called representatives, ceases. Less than five months after his victory over a truly frightening opponent, President Barack Obama went to the Middle East to dance to the tune of his puppet-master, Israel, and, while there, to throw a worthless bone to the Palestinians.

Mr. Obama reiterated the U.S.’s support for Israel’s security, as if Israel was some vulnerable, third world country surrounded by powerful enemies. Israel is, and for years has been, the beneficiary of the United States’ most generous largess, amounting to a total of $8,500,000.00 per day in military aid alone, for a staggering total of $3,102,500,000 in 2012. Compare this to the amount of military aid that the U.S. gives to Israel’s mortal enemy, Palestine: $0.

The U.S. president, when meeting with the corrupt and ineffective Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said this: “Palestinians deserve a future of hope. Palestinians deserve a state of their own.” Pretty words, indeed, but as meaningless as all Mr. Obama’s half-hearted and ineffectual efforts on behalf of the Palestinian people. He once again urged direct talks, without preconditions, with Israel.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, Israel has no interest in negotiations. Real negotiations can only occur between two parties, each of which has something the other wants, and each of which must surrender something, in order to obtain from the other, what is wanted. Israel is free to take from the Palestinians whatever it wants, without consequences. Israel daily arrests Palestinians, including children, and holds them indefinitely, without charge. The international community, and certainly the U.S., says nothing. Palestinians in Israel jails are tortured. The response from the international community, including that self-proclaimed bastion of human rights, the U.S., is silence. Israel, in violation of several United Nations resolutions, controls all Palestine’s borders, including land, air and sea.

Hundreds of checkpoints and arbitrary road closures, ostensibly designed to prevent mythical powerful Palestinian terrorists from threatening equally mythical poor, vulnerable, Israel, force Palestinians to travel hours to work their own land, which should require only a few minutes’ walk. Palestinians seeking emergency medical aid in Israel, unavailable in Palestine because Israel will not allow the import of medical supplies and equipment, often wait hours at checkpoints, for no other reason than the arrogance and cruelty of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on duty. This unfair, unjust and arbitrary waiting includes women in labor, causing many to give birth at the checkpoint. In the last few years, at least seventy Palestinian babies have died at checkpoints, being forbidden needed care by IDF soldiers.

Israel builds modern roads on Palestinian land that the Palestinians are forbidden to use. If a new Israel road bisects a Palestinian road, Palestinians cannot cross the intersection. Palestinian famers bringing their produce to market are often stopped at checkpoints and forced to wait days, until the produce has spoiled.

And this is the country that Mr. Obama wants Palestine to negotiate with, without preconditions. What, one asks, is to be gained, other than the perception by a shrinking number of people, most of whom are in the U.S. Congress and are owned by the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that Israel is acting in good faith?

In the past few years, Palestine has been the target of the wrath of many U.S. members of Congress. Palestine has been threatened with all kinds of sanctions, including the withholding of the minimal aid (none of it military) that the U.S. provides. And what has Palestine done to deserve this anger? There were two things the U.S. simply couldn’t countenance:

1) Palestine applied for, and became a member of, UNESCO, the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Winning approval by a vote of 107 to 14, Palestine and the United Nations could not escape U.S. punishment. The U.S. withdrew all U.S. funding of UNESCO, which comprises about 22% of that organization’s budget.

And what of UNESCO? What radical, terrorism-fostering program is this? As stated on that organization’s website, “UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.” Far too radical, apparently, for the U.S.

2) In November of 2012, Palestine applied to the U.N. General Assembly to upgrade its status to ‘non-member observer state.’ This passed by a vote of 138 – 9. In an unusual show of bipartisanship, the U.S. senate proposed a complete cut off of all U.S. aid to Palestine if that nation brought charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court, and the eviction of Palestine’s representatives from Washington, D.C., unless the Palestinians enter into ‘meaningful’ negotiations with Israel. Senator Lindsey Graham said this: “We will not use American taxpayer dollars to support a Palestinian entity whose primary goal, if they file a complaint in the ICC, is to marginalize the Jewish state rather than live in peace with the people of Israel.” Why he thinks Palestine’s goal is to ‘marginalize’ Israel, and not to obtain redress from the horrific crimes Israel perpetrates on the Palestinian people on a daily basis, he did not bother to explain.

Where will it end? What will it take for the U.S. to stop playing lip-service to supporting human

rights around the world, and actually take action? One is naïve indeed, if one thinks the U.S. will ever take such action. That would require courage and statesmanship, something with which the U.S.’s elected officials have no experience. It would mean standing up to powerful interest groups, stating obvious truths, and looking at reality through a lens uncolored by the green of lobbyists’ money. It would mean renouncing greed and the desire for the self-aggrandizement that are so much a part of the U.S. political process.

No, for the Palestinians to one day have a nation, it will take the courage of their leaders, and that of the world community. Why President Abbas has not yet sought to take Israel to the International Criminal Court would be a mystery, if his compliance with Israel’s demands were not so well known. But even he seems to have his limits; he did, after all, finally petition the United Nation for elevated status. The people he purports to lead desperately need him to take the next step. Doing so should not be held hostage by the U.S. and Israel.

ROBERT FANTINA is author of ‘Desertion and the American Soldier: 1776 – 2006.

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Pill Press).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]