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No Peace Between Unequals

Israel is having a very public dispute with the Obama administration over the Jewish country’s announcement that it was expanding its settlements in East Jerusalem.  The Jewish nation was pushing back against Washington’s demands that Israel demonstrate its commitment to the peace process by reversing an announced plan to build new housing units in territory that has been occupied by Israel since 1967.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wants Israel to declare its readiness to hold substantial negotiations with the Palestinians on all issues and easing the continuous siege on Gaza.

But so far, Israeli leaders insist that the Jerusalem construction plans wouldn’t change and responded to Ms. Clinton by declaring that the government of Israel has proven over the last year that it is committed to peace, both in words and actions.  No longer sensitive to political pressure from Washington, Israel is ready to thumb its nose at the United States.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be using this dispute to strengthen his political hand to his constituents.  By defying the Obama administration’s demand for a settlement freeze Israel is trying to take advantage of the growing political opposition to anything the executive branch does.  With a number of high profile Republicans politicians and talking heads criticizing Mr. Obama over everything and anything, Mr. Netanyahu may be gambling that the storm that was clearly building between Israel and the United States over the expansion announcement may be winding down with little if anything to show for the high profile effort.

Honesty, what could we expect.  As a candidate seeking the presidency, Mr. Obama was courting Israel’s favor like a fat kid courts cookies.  How many times did we hear Mr. Obama assure the Jewish nation that under his stewardship, Israel will always have a friend in the United States?  When Israel was dropping white phosphorous magnesium and bunker buster bombs on the people of Gaza for being the launch site for rockets aimed at Israel, Mr. Obama threw his hat into the ring with a comment fully supporting Israel’s over the top aggressive response.  And after years, decades, and generations of being Israel’s staunchest supporter, the United States now wants to play tough guy.  Why?  The expansion announcement came while Vice President Joe Biden was meeting with Israeli officials trying to hammer out a peace negotiation.

The whole flap shows how little progress has made in resurrecting a Middle East peace.  The chances of a consensual peace agreement with the Palestinians are about as long as snowball’s chances in hell indeed.  And while it appears that a relatively mild form of political pressure is being applied to Israel from the Obama administration, the fact that Israel is expanding into East Jerusalem speaks volumes about their commitment to a meaningful peace arrangement.  By no means is Israel going to let a poorly timed announcement or the hurt feelings of an embarrassed United States Vice President derail their plans.  Israel’s business as usual attitude with the Palestinians should demonstrate that there will be no peace unless Israel is pressed to take actions that it will not take on its own.

The administration’s squabble with its conservative counterparts has left it pretty vulnerable from a political perspective.  And not doing anything is not an option.  America’s interests across the region are in a constant state of jeopardy by the failure to resolve the Middle East conflict in a manner acceptable to the other countries that inhabit this part of the world and many countries that lie elsewhere.

In the summer of 2008, then presidential candidate Barack Obama, trying to qualm fears of his commitment to the Jewish nation, declared that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it would remain undivided.  And now, Israel rejects the call to halt construction in the eastern portion of the city that is home to many Palestinians, slowly forcing a complete Israeli takeover of the land.  In the past, Mr. Netanyahu told the Israeli people that the country’s claim to the occupied territory was nonnegotiable.  And although America has routinely and publicly opposed Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, never putting any substance behind its bark, Israel believes it can rally support from corporate, political, and community leaders in America who have sympathy for the Jewish state.  Such is the condition of normal when bigotry and prejudice serves as the foundation for social policy.

The entire group of complexities related to this conflict serves as an amazing window into the vulgarity of human intolerance and injustice when we as a collective are willing to tolerate such blatant racism and social discrimination.  Anyone who supports any action that continues to fuel this conflict from either side has the blood of thousands on their hands.  But like a healthcare reform package that has the potential to change the game for the benefit of the entire community, a lot of people have a vested interest in keeping a suppressing thumb of oppression against people who are perceived to be lesser.

The problem isn’t so much Israel’s settlement expansion into the occupied territory.  The problem is that Israel continues to expand its unique brand of racial discrimination into the occupied territory.  If people were treated with equality, there wouldn’t be a problem.  But the overwhelming attitude is that Palestinians are nothing but a nuisance that needs to be swept aside for the sake of progress.  Engaging the people are coming to a true peace of equals is totally out of the question.  The only peace this place will ever know is the peace that comes from physically beating the opposition into total submission.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - Posted by | Israel, Life, Racism, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. The problem is that one side of the “dispute” has a total lockdown on the US media and prevents the truth of what’s going on from getting out. However they have overreached somewhat and this gives a slim chance for some changes.

    Stories like this are of no interest to the mainstream media.

    Comment by Shady_Grady | Saturday, March 27, 2010 | Reply

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