Stalemate: Lack Of Balance In U.S. Policy And Media Coverage Re Israel/Palestine

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Prime Minister Netanyahu -- with region's most powerful army and blanket Western support what incentive to break new path?

[Speaking Truth To Power]

The recent resurgence of violence in Israel and Palestine—sparked by the killing of three Israeli youths in the West Bank followed by the probable revenge killing of a Palestinian youth—is dimming any hope that peace between Palestinians and Israelis will happen anytime in the near future.

Once again, Western political leaders, including most in Washington, will shamelessly place the blame for the carnage and stalemate squarely at the feet of Palestinians. But the essential question that must be addressed is: does the state of Israel really want a just deal with the Palestinians?

This week, the fighting between the Israeli government and Palestinian militants escalated in the aftermath of the recent death of a Palestinian youth—who was believed to have been killed in retaliation for the killing of three Israeli youths whose bodies were recovered recently after they had disappeared. Since then, the Israeli military has launched what it calls “Operation Protective Edge” an operation which is, ostensibly, to attack “terrorists” in Gaza.

On Wednesday, fierce fighting continue between Israel and Palestinian militants like Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The Gaza Strip, which is governed by Hamas, is the target of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) latest military operation. According to Palestinian authorities 60 Palestinians have been killed since Monday.

Israel’s military has aerial bombed over 600 areas in Gaza even after the U.S. had previously called for restraint. The targeted sites included alleged strongholds of Hamas militants—and homes of Palestinians. Reportedly, Israel’s government has authorized the calling up of some 40,000 military reservists, for a possible ground attack.

Militants in Gaza have launched rockets into Israel. According to the Israeli military more than a 100 rockets landed in Israel. They claim that the missiles were aimed at civilian areas in Israel.

On Tuesday, the White House expressed their support for Israel latest military offensive saying that Israel had a “right to defend itself” against the “vicious” rocket attacks. “We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire into Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza," said new White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday. "No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians.”

Mr. Earnest said he was concerned “about the safety and security of civilians on both sides. This means both the residents of southern Israel who are forced to live under rocket fire in their homes and the civilians in Gaza who are subjected to the conflict because of Hamas’ violence.”

The comments of the White House press secretary highlights one of the primary problems with the Palestinian\Israeli crises: the nullification of any form of responsibility to be acknowledge by the Israeli government.

The idea that Palestinians are being “subjected to the conflict because of Hamas’ violence” is a sly, subliminal way of placing the source of the blame squarely and only on Palestinians. According to this notion, the State of Israel is totally blameless for the daily death and destruction in Palestine and Israel. But there’s one thing wrong with this narrative: it’s nothing more than a damnable immoral lie.

Moreover, the truth is largely the opposite. Unfortunately, when Western and Washington politicians speak of the conflict in the land of Palestine it is always omits the fact that the Palestinians were living in these lands before there was any state of Israel—which was created by the imperial meddling of the West, primarily England and the United States. This was done by the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and by the British Mandate for Palestine—which was ratified by the League of Nations, now known as the United Nations, in 1923.

These political policies not only created the State of Israel, in 1948, but also helped to empower the Zionist movement—which by no means is supported by all of the people who identify as Jewish or Israeli. In fact several groups of Jews—including some sects of the Hasidim, Neturei Karta and Haredi Jews—oppose the Zionist ideology that is cemented in the governmental structure of the Israeli government. Zionism was also denounced by influential Jewish rabbis and personalities like: Isaac Breuer, Hillel Zeitlin, Elazar Shapiro and Joel Teitelbaum.

Many of these figures, opposed Zionism for several reasons including the belief that it was a dangerous secular ideology and that it was a violation of something called the “Three Oaths.” These oaths— are from the rabbinical text called the Talmud. Two of these oaths, in particular, allegedly, prohibits Jews from going to Israel as a group to institute a government by force and rebelling against the nations of the world to do so.

Sadly, most of this reality is never mentioned by politicians—or those paragons of the press. For obvious reasons, it’s understandable—though unconscionable—that politicians in Washington would act this way. Israel as the primary power in the Middle East is expected to police the region for the West. But why has the mainstream media been so complicit in obscuring the true facts here?

Is it because they fear AIPAC? Or do they fear being called anti-Semitic?

The anti-Semitic charge is something we need to address.

For years, anytime someone criticizes the unjust actions and land-grabbing policies of the State of Israel they are immediately labeled as anti-Semitic—which supposedly means they hate Jewish or Israeli people. This is nothing more than a specious tactic meant to silence those who disagree with the manner in which the State of Israel treats their Palestinian subjects—whose existence is controlled by Israel. Moreover, the anti-Semitism charge is incorrect—since the term Semitic is largely one of language and there are many people who speak Semitic languages who aren’t Jewish or Israeli.

But the anti-Semitic red herring charge, like many of these things, is just used to silence criticism and obscure the main point here: the State of Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians and has been in constant violations of United Nations regulations regarding settlements in the Occupied Territories for nearly half a century. Israeli political leaders like to talk about peace. But their actions run counter to their well-crafted words and speeches.

If the leaders really want peace, why do they keep building settlements?

Now, once again, Israeli leaders are trying to shift blame from themselves by talking about Hamas’ avowed goal to “destroy the state of Israel.” Did Hamas create the roots of this conflict? And isn’t it legitimate to ask if the State of Israel isn’t intent on destroying the hopes of Palestinians to have a viable homeland of their own with the necessary resources?

The deadly problems between Palestinians and Israeli have gone on for decades—but could be eventually stopped if citizens of the West, en masse, were to become involved in pressuring their political leaders. Politicians can’t be trusted by themselves to broker a fair deal between the two parties. Most of them are too beholden to those who represent the Israeli political and business lobby to do what is right.

Every year, the American government gives at least $3 billion—of taxpayer money—to the State of Israel. Much of this money, funds the death and destruction that Israel visits on Palestinians. As such, average Americans must begin to seriously question their complicity in the continuing quagmire between Palestinians and Israelis.

How will this ungodly madness end?



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