As Israel violates the conditions of the current cease-fire, and Palestine adheres to its part of the bargain, Prime Murder Benjamin Netanyahu continues to proclaim that he will not negotiate with Palestine due to that government’s recent unification. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas, after several years of operating independently, have settled their major differences. Israel will not negotiate, it says, because Hamas’ charter calls for the destruction of Israel. The irony of this is perhaps lost on members of the corrupt U.S. governance body, generally known as Congress, the president and the judiciary.
Hamas, with no army, navy or air force, can call for the end of the world if it wants to; it is in no position, as it cobbles together ineffective rockets from the few items Israel allows to be imported to the Gaza Strip, or the fewer that can be smuggled in, to cause anything more than minor inconvenience to Israel, a fact that was proven during Israel’s recent bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Israel, on the other hand, which claims it wants a two-state solution, has worked for generations toward the gradual annihilation of Palestine. Israel was only established by theft, with United Nations complicity, of 55% of Palestinian land and the violent displacement of at least 750,000 Palestinians. With ever-increasing settlement activity, condemned as illegal by the United Nations and even by Israel’s favorite, unlimited checkbook, the United States, Palestinian land in the West Bank has shrunken to a fraction of what it was prior to the 1967 war.
In the Gaza Strip, blockaded by land, sea and air by Israel, the ‘security’ border is ever growing in size, squeezing the nearly 2,000,000 Palestinians who live there into a 223 square mile area. This is a population density of nearly 10,000 people per square mile. Compare this to New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the U.S., where there are 1,200 people per square mile.
So what is Mr. Netanyahu’s real hesitancy to achieve a two-state solution which, under the circumstances, is the best that Palestinians can hope for? In January, the Prime Murder said that he does not “intend to remove a single settlement… displace a single Israeli.” This complete flouting of international law should signal to the U.S., and the rest of the world, that Israel is not a reasonable negotiating partner. However, since Israel’s belligerency and disdain of international law has been common for generations, it is unlikely that the money-clouded eyes of the U.S. will be opened now. After all, what are human rights when campaign contributions from the Israeli lobby flow so freely?
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has been complicit with much of Israel’s criminal activity over the years, spoke forcefully to the United Nations a week ago. Among other things, he accused Israel of genocide. Said he: “In this year, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, Israel has chosen to make it a year of a new war of genocide perpetrated against the Palestinian people.”
The reaction to this powerful speech, in which Mr. Abbas outlined Palestinian goals, Israeli lies and crimes, and a proposal for moving forward, was, in some circles, just what is to be expected. The U.S. called it ‘offensive’. This is not surprising, from the nation that timidly criticized Israel for bombing a United Nations refugee center. The sight of bloodied bodies of babies, toddlers and others, ripped to shreds by U.S-provided, Israeli bombs, apparently isn’t all that ‘offensive’ in the eyes of a racist, greedy government. It’s quite a vicious circle: the Israeli lobby buys Congress and the President; they, in turn, send money and arms to Israel, which uses those armaments to kill innocent Palestinians. The U.S. justifies this, in the name of Israel’s ‘national security’, and, as a reward, the Israeli lobby donates more money to Congressional and presidential campaigns, and those candidates, when elected or re-elected, send more money and arms to Israel. And so it goes.
One wonders how Israel’s national security is threated by a nation it occupies, and that has no army, navy or air force. It must be puzzling for U.S. officials to understand why pictures of dead children, including infants, do not cause the world to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that dangerous terrorists have been killed. Somehow, when people who are not bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby, see such pictures, all they see are dead children. All they feel is heartbreak for the loss, compassion for the grieving loved ones that may have somehow survived, and, eventually, anger at the perpetrators of these horrendous crimes.
When four children were targeted and killed on a Gaza beach, there was some muted, international outcry. But now they are forgotten, simply casualties of war, and Palestinian casualties at that, which makes them less to be considered, less to be grieved, than had they been Israeli. Had four Israeli children been intentionally targeted on a beach by Palestinians, the world, led by the United States, would demand an inquiry, would condemn Palestine as savage and bloodthirsty, and would assure that someone, anyone, paid for the crime. Israel wasted no time demolishing the homes of the suspects in the murder of three men living illegally in the West Bank; this was done without any trial. Yet those accused of torturing to death a Palestinian youth in revenge continue to live in their comfortable homes; after all, it was ‘only’ a Palestinian who died.
Can a clearer example of racism be presented? Police in Ferguson, Missouri, murder a youth simply because he is black, and the perpetrator is placed on ‘administrative leave’. People in Israel commit the horrific murder of a young boy, killed simply because he is Palestinian, and the government does nothing. Is there a difference here? This writer is unable to see it.
Mr. Abbas was uncharacteristically strong in his speech. Included were these words: “It is impossible, and I repeat – it is impossible – to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question. There is neither credibility nor seriousness in negotiations in which Israel predetermines the results via its settlement activities and the occupation’s brutality. There is no meaning or value in negotiations for which the agreed objective is not ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.”
Finally, a clear and obvious fact, which the U.S. government is forever trying to evade, was spoken to the world body. Negotiations, as this writer has said before, can only occur between two parties, each of which has something the other wants, and which it must surrender to get what it wants. Israel, through its continued “settlement activities and the occupation’s brutality’, as Mr. Abbas said earlier in his speech, “…did not miss the opportunity to undermine the chance for peace.”
Mr. Abbas clearly identified what the world already knows, but what the U.S. tries to avoid: “The future proposed by the Israeli government for the Palestinian people is at best isolated ghettos for Palestinians on fragmented lands, without borders and without sovereignty over its airspace, water and natural resources, which will be under the subjugation of the racist settlers and army of occupation, and at worst will be a most abhorrent form of Apartheid.”
It is long past time for the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel to end. The United Nations should do now what it should have done years ago, and demand an end to the occupation and blockade, both of which it has said for years are illegal. By deploying a ‘peacekeeping’ force along Israel’s border with Palestine, vulnerable little Israel would be protected from big, bad Palestine. The U.N. should prevent any U.S. involvement in this; the peacekeeping force should not include U.S. soldiers, and the U.S. should have no role in ending the occupation and blockade. The U.S. is hardly an objective outsider; it is all but owned by Israel, so can only concern itself with Israel’s interests. And its dismal record of human rights abuses can hardly bode well for a just settlement for Palestine.
Robert Fantina’s latest book is Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy (Red Dill Press).