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On Sunday, April 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on U.S. television, denouncing progress made in reconciliation talks between Fatah, which ostensibly controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the democratically-elected government in the Gaza Strip.
According to CNN: “Netanyahu said he and Secretary of State John Kerry recently applauded that some progress was being made toward a peace agreement. ‘And then the next day, we were both shocked, there’s no other word, we were absolutely stupefied that President Abbas embraced the terrorist organization Hamas that seeks Israel’s destruction,’ he said on ‘Face the Nation.’”
We will ignore for the moment the idea that the Prime Minister of Israel feels free to speak for the U.S. Secretary of State; when the puppet master pulls the strings, anything can happen.
Rather, we will focus on Mr. Netanyahu’s apparent horror and repugnance at the idea that the governing body of one nation, or part of a nation, seeks the destruction of another.
Israel plays lip service to the U.S.’s ineffectual and disingenuous attempts to achieve a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel, despite the fact that Israel continually, even during talks about said solution, destroys Palestinian homes, farms and villages, to create Israeli-only settlements. The borders of Palestine have shrunk to almost nothing since the establishment of the nation of Israel, which resulted from the violent eviction of over three quarters of a million Palestinians during the period of 1947 – 1948. Those genocidal practices have continued now for nearly seven decades.
Mr. Netanyahu refuses to deal with anyone who wishes the destruction of Israel, yet he is actively pursuing the complete annihilation of Palestine. This murderous pursuit, in violation of numerous international laws, is financed almost fully by the United States.
A comparison of financial aid to Palestine and Israel by the U.S. shows the complete dishonesty of the latter two countries.
Since the mid-1990s, according to the Congressional Research Report, ‘U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians’, dated September 30, 2013, the U.S. has committed (note: the report does not say ‘sent’) $5 billion dollars to Palestine. That, of course, sounds like a great deal of money, but that sum must be put into context. Since 1987, the U.S. has sent over $3 billion dollars to Israel, every year. So if we assume that ‘the mid-1990s’ means 1995, Palestine was scheduled to receive an average of $158 million each year, or about $433,000 a day. Israel, receiving $3 billion a year, averages about $9 million a day, most of it in military aid. During fiscal year 2013, while the U.S. was busy giving Israel its nearly $9 million dollars a day in military aid, the sum given to Palestine for military aid was $0.
As a result of this generous largess by the U.S., Israel has the most sophisticated weapons of offense and defense that exist in the world today. Palestinians, on the other hand, are occasionally able to cobble together sufficient supplies to make a few bottle rockets.
At least partly because of this unspeakable inequality by the U.S, since 2000, 1,109 Israelis have been killed in conflicts with Palestinians, yet 6,862 Palestinians have been killed. Among the population of children, 129 Israeli children have died, and at least 1,523 Palestinian children have been killed by Israel. In that time period, 8550 Israelis have been injured. This is compared to 54,761 Palestinians injured in that same time. Palestine currently detains no Israelis, yet 5,224 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons. Going back further, since 1967, at least 27,000 Palestinian homes have been destroyed by Israel. No Israeli homes have been destroyed by Palestine.
So Mr. Netanyahu’s ‘shock’ that Fatah and Hamas are in reconciliation talks, and that he can’t possibly deal with an organization that seeks Israel’s destruction, is a bit difficult to swallow. But this is typical for the Israeli Prime Minister and, by extension, the U.S. Both countries talk about negotiations with Palestine, when Israel, with the U.S.’s blessing, can take whatever it wants from Palestine with impunity. They discuss the need for Palestine to respect the sovereignty of Israel’s borders, but are content to allow Israel to violate Palestine’s borders on a constant basis. They decry the occasional bottle rocket launched from the Gaza Strip that reaches Israel, but then allow and support the carpet-bombing of Gaza. They condemn any resistance by the occupied against the occupier, but perpetrate horrific acts of terrorism by Israel against the Palestinians.
And now, to ‘reward’ Palestine for attempting to reconcile its government, the U.S. is threatening to cut off the paltry sum it currently sends that beleaguered nation. So the annual aid, now proposed at $400 million (although Israel’s displeasure with anything Palestine does is sufficient to cause all or part of that to be withheld), what Israel receives from the U.S. in about 50 days, is now in jeopardy. In order to prevent this loss, a unified Palestinian government must renounce violence and recognize Israel.
Where, one might ask, is the demand that Israel renounce violence and recognize Palestine? Where is the threat that any part of the billions of dollars the U.S. sends Israel every year will be withheld until that nation does so? Why, one asks, is ineffectual resistance to brutal occupation considered terrorism, yet the occupation itself, which takes a horrific toll on all Palestinians on a daily basis, considered acceptable?
It has long been known that the U.S. government, the so-called elected representatives of the people, has been bought by the American Israel Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Can there be any other reason that unspeakable human rights abuses are not only allowed, but actually funded, by the U.S. government? In the U.S., government officials pay homage to the lobbyists, and the lobbyists with the deepest pockets get the most reverence. And few of the U.S.’s representatives will bite the hand that so generously feeds them.
There are only two things that can ease the burdens of the Palestinians, and give them hope for an independent nation of their own. The first is the recognition by the global community of Israel’s apartheid practices, and the resolution to do something to end them. The second is a lobby group in the U.S. that is larger and more powerful than AIPAC to come into existence. This does not appear to be on the horizon. The former option appears to be making progress, however; the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanction) movement is ever-growing and is gaining international support. Palestine has a greater presence in the United Nations than ever before, and is recognized by 132 U.N. members, about 68% of that world body (Israel is recognized by 160 countries, about 83%), and that number is slowly growing. Mr. Netanyahu may not like it, and may deny it, but world opinion is moving away from him and Israel and their lies. And that can’t happen soon enough for Palestine.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Dill Press).