Reposted with permission from Jewish Peace News
Nov. 17, 2008
This article by Jeff Halper, the American-born Director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, clearly lays out the consequences to the United States of its support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and makes a clear and compelling case that the new Obama administration must make ending the occupation a priority.
A BONE IN AMERICA’S THROAT
by Jeff Halper
Even before the voting began, Israeli politicians and pundits were asking: Will an Obama Administration be good for Israel? “Be good for Israel” is our code for “Will the US allow us to keep our settlements and continue to support our efforts to prevent negotiations with the Palestinians from ever bearing fruit?” For Americans the question should be: Will the Obama Administration understand that without addressing Palestinian needs it will not be able to disentangle itself from its broader Middle Eastern imbroglios, rejoin the community of nations and rescue its economy?
The Israel-Palestine conflict should be of central concern to Americans, near the top of the new Administration’s agenda. It may not be the bloodiest conflict in the world – its minor when compared to Iraq – but it is emblematic to Muslims and to peoples the world over of American hostility and belligerence. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not merely a localized one between two squabbling tribes. It lies at the epicenter of global instability. Go where you may in the world and you will encounter the same phenomenon: a sense that the suffering of the Palestinians represents all that is wrong in an American-dominated world.
As Obama comes into office, he will encounter a global reality very different from that of eight years before: a multilateral one in which a weakened and isolated US must find its place. He will discover that much of America’s isolation comes from the view that the Occupation of the Palestinian territories is, in fact, an American-Israeli Occupation. If restoring a weakened American economy depends on repairing relations with the rest of the world, he will learn that without resolving the Israeli-Palestine conflict he will not create those conditions in which the US will be accepted once more into the wider global community.
To be more specific, the Israel-Palestine conflict directly affects Americans in at least five ways:
· It isolates the US from major global markets, forcing it to embark on aggressive measures to secure markets rather than peaceful accommodation;
· It thereby diverts the American economy into non-productive production (tanks not roads), making it dependent upon deficit spending which only increases dependency upon foreign financing while diverting resources into the military rather than into education, health and investment;
· Support for the Israeli military costs US taxpayers more than $3 billion annually at a time of deepening recession and crumbling national infrastructure;
· It leads to an American involvement in the world that is mainly military, thus begetting hostility and resistance which produce the threats to security Americans so greatly fear; and
· It ends up threatening American civil liberties by encouraging such legislation as the Patriot Act and by introducing Israeli “counterinsurgency” tactics and weaponry developed in the West Bank and Gaza into American police forces.
For many peoples of the world, the Palestinians represent the plight of the majority. They are the tiny grains of sand resisting what most Americans and privileged people of the West do not see. They are a people who are denied the most fundamental right: to a state of their own, even on the 22% of historic Palestine that Israel has occupied since 1967. For the majority of humanity that lives in economic and political conditions unimaginable in the West, the suffering caused by Israel’s occupation – impoverishment and a total denial of freedom that can only be sustained by total American support – is emblematic of their own continued suffering. Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians with the active backing of the US shows demonstrably the existence of a global system of Western domination that prevents others from achieving their own dreams of political and economic well-being.
Like a bone in the throat, the issue of Israel’s occupation can be neither ignored nor by-passed. To make things even more difficult, it is doubtful if a two-state solution is still possible, since Israeli settlement activity has largely eliminated that option. Whatever the eventual solution, if this most destabilizing of conflicts is not addressed, the US – even under Obama – will remain mired in conflicts with Muslim peoples and reviled by peoples seeking genuine freedom. Neither the US nor Israel will find the security they claim they seek. We live in a global reality, not a Pax Americana. The logic of the Bush Administration has run its course. No longer can the US throw its weight around in a War Against Terror. No longer can its involvement be purely military. The new logic that will accompany Obama into office can be summarized in one word: accommodation. And the US will not get to first base until it achieves accommodation with the Muslim world, which means ending the Israeli Occupation. What happens to the Palestinians takes on a global significance. Clearing the bone in the throat – that is, ending the Israeli Occupation and allowing the Palestinians a state and a future of their own – should be a top priority of the next American administration. Indeed, America’s attempt to restore its standing in the world depends on it. In the global reality in which we live, the fate of Americans and Palestinians, it turns out, are closely intertwined.
(Jeff Halper is the Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He can be reached at <email@example.com>.)
The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is based in Jerusalem and has chapters in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Please visit our websites:
Jewish Peace News editors:
Sarah Anne Minkin
Jewish Peace News archive and blog: http://jewishpeacenews.blogspot.com
Jewish Peace News sends its news clippings only to subscribers. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or manage your subscription, go to http://www.jewishpeacenews.net
The price of resisting the occupation in Israel: “leftists aren’t allowed…”
Finding the words to say it By William Bowles
Occupation 101 (video; watch while available; over 18 only)
Ali Abunimah: Obama picks pro-Israel hardliner for top post
Pingback: Who Will Stop The Settlers? By Jonathan Cook « Dandelion Salad
THERE IS NO OCCUPATION!!!
In urgent matters of national survival and geopolitics, words matter. The still generally unchallenged language referring provocatively to an Israeli “Occupation” always overlooks the pertinent and incontestable history of the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza.
Perhaps the most evident omission concerns the unwitting manner in which these “Territories” fell into Israel’s hands in the first place. It is simply and widely disregarded that “occupation” followed the multi-state Arab aggression of 1967 – one never disguised by Egypt, Syria or Jordan.
A sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967 or 1948. Nor was a state of Palestine ever promised by UN Security Council Resolution 242. Contrary to popular understanding, a state of Palestine has never existed. Never.
Even as a nonstate legal entity, “Palestine” ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence (a war of survival fought because the entire Arab world had rejected the authoritative United Nations resolution creating a Jewish state), the West Bank and Gaza came under the illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the effective prevention, sui generis, of a state of Palestine. The original hopes for Palestine were dashed, therefore, not by the new Jewish state or by its supporters, but by the Arab states, especially Jordan and Egypt.
LET US return to an earlier history. From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918 – 1948), the land named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. Significantly, however, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I, at the San Remo Peace Conference of April 1920. There, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over “Palestine” (the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks since 1516) to prepare it to become the “national home for the Jewish People.” Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza. Present-day Israel comprises only 22 percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference.
In 1922, Great Britain unilaterally and without any lawful authority split off 78 percent of the lands promised to the Jews – all of Palestine east of the Jordan River – and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name Transjordan, which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan. From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law.
On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah for the latter’s hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan’s “moderate” King Hussein – 19 years later, during September 1970 – brutally murdered thousands of defenseless Palestinians under his jurisdiction.
IN 1947, several years prior to Abdullah’s killing, the newly-formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Curiously, considering that this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders accepted the painful judgment. The Arab states did not. On May 15, 1948, exactly 24 hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre.”
This unambiguous declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab orientations toward Israel, including those of “moderate” Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst has remained patently genocidal. For some reason, this persistence has repeatedly been made to appear benign.
IN 1967, almost 20 years after Israel’s entry into the community of nations, the Jewish state, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over the West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is codified in the UN Charter, there existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could be “returned.” Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly cruel control since the Arab-initiated war of “extermination” in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian “self-determination” had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War, and – significantly – had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967.
For their part, the Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it….” The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.” Exactly what was it, therefore, that the PLO sought to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967?
This question should now be raised in connection with the US-sponsored “Road Map To Peace in the Middle East,” a twisted cartography leading to “Palestine.”
THIS HAS been a very brief account of essential historic reasons why the so-called “Palestinian Territories” are not occupied by Israel. Several other equally valid reasons stem from Israel’s inherent legal right to security and self-defense. International law is not a suicide pact. Because a Palestinian state would severely threaten the very existence of Israel – a fact that remains altogether unhidden in Arab media and governments – the Jewish State is under no binding obligation to end a falsely alleged “Occupation.” No state can ever be required to accept complicity in its own dismemberment and annihilation.
Both Israel and the United States will soon have new leadership. Neither Jerusalem nor Washington should be deceived by the so-called “Road Map To Peace in the Middle East,” a twisted bit of highway that makes entirely inaccurate claims about “Palestinian Territories” and “Israeli Occupation.” For substantially documented reasons of history and national security, it is imperative that a twenty-third Arab state never be carved out of the still-living body of Israel.
If anyone should still have doubts about Palestinian intentions, they need look only to former Prime Minister Sharon’s “disengagement” from Gaza, an area that is now used by Hamas to stage rocket attacks upon Israeli noncombatants, and by al-Qaeda to mount future terrorist operations against American cities.
The writer, a professor of International Law at Purdue University, is the author of many books and articles dealing with military affairs and international law.
Pingback: Al Qaeda says order given for US attack far bigger than 9/11 « Dandelion Salad
Pingback: America’s Moronic Iraqi Policy By Paul Craig Roberts « Dandelion Salad
This is a good and long overdue analysis by a sane Jew as opposed to a zealot Zionist.
May the Obama administration read this and take it to heart.