FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Stop the Blank Check to Israel

by CASEY STINEMETZ

December 10 is Human Rights Day.  This day is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the importance of human rights in our increasingly interconnected world. Human Rights are basic freedoms to which all humans are entitled: the right to life, the freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law.  But are these rights applied equally, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and other differences? 

Last month I traveled on a two-week delegation to Palestine and Israel organized by Interfaith Peace-Builders.  During my trip, I spoke with many individuals, both Israeli and Palestinian, and heard their personal stories.  With every experience, my eyes were opened to the harsh reality of life in this region.   I couldn’t help but feel outraged, knowing that the U.S. government is an ally that provides major funding to the Israeli government.

Israelis are living in a state of fear that fuels much of their national policy; policy that by nature violates the rights of their Palestinian neighbors. Israel’s fear may be justified by the brutal treatment of European Jews, but does that history give Israel the right to deny human rights to Palestinians?

I thought I was prepared for the situation I found in the Palestinian communities we visited, but I was shocked at the depth of the pain I witnessed.  Many Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from their villages, sometimes massacred, often thrown in jail without charges.  Families have been torn apart, separated by walls, barbed wire fences, and endless military checkpoints, all erected by Israel.

Israeli control of natural resources makes Palestinian communities completely dependent on the Israeli government for survival, which encourages compliance to Israeli laws that target Palestinian communities.

We met with farmers in the Palestinian village of Bil’in, north of Ramallah, who told us of how their ancient olive groves were uprooted.  All around Palestine, we heard similar stories of groves being uprooted, burned, or otherwise destroyed by the Israeli military.  Farming has been a way of life for the Palestinians for hundreds of years, and that life has been taken from them.

Leaving Palestine was difficult for me. I know that most of the Palestinian people who I encountered during my travels will never have the opportunity to return to their homes.  Many will die as refugees or internally displaced persons, prisoners in their own land.  Yet, the people we met still have hope for a better tomorrow.  When talking about the future, they spoke of peace and stopping the cycle of violence.  I feel like I owe it to these Palestinians to tell their stories and advocate for basic rights that all people deserve.

Reflecting on my trip now, on Human Rights Day, I find myself focusing on one particular right.  Palestinians are being denied this most basic right – the right to life.

As Americans, it is hard to comprehend the severity of the situation without seeing it firsthand.  It is difficult to see our connection to the human rights violations in this region, halfway across the world.  In reality, we are tied to these issues because we are funding the Israeli government. Our government gives $3.1 billion per year in “military aid” to Israel while making cuts to other programs, like social security and education.

As long as our tax money is funding such oppression, we must pay attention and ask questions.  It is time that we stand up and demand an end to funding human rights violations in Palestine.  It is time to stop the blank check to Israel.

Casey Stinemetz recently traveled to Palestine with Interfaith Peacebuilders, a nonprofit that focuses on peace delegations to Israel-Palestine.  She is the National Chapter Coordinator at Veterans For Peace in St. Louis, MO.  Casey has a Masters’ in Public Administration and Policy Analysis, obtained at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, IL.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail