Israel And Palestine: Why US Mid-East Policy On Wrong Side of History And World Opinion

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Prime Minister Netanyahu: UN voted for war crimes inquiry


These were President Obama's words in Cairo in 2009: “Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel's right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine's. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. Israel must also live up to its obligations to ensure that Palestinians can live, and work, and develop their society. And just as it devastates Palestinian families, the continuing humanitarian crisis in Gaza does not serve Israel's security; neither does the continuing lack of opportunity in the West Bank. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.” 

A very interesting and powerful vote took place at the UN on Wednesday July 23. The UN Human Rights Council voted 29 to 1 to launch a commission of inquiry into alleged Israeli war crimes in Israel’s Gaza offensive against the Palestinians.The lone dissenter in the vote was the United States. Nineteen countries, mostly European, abstained. US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said, “ the country had no issue being the sole vote against the commission," adding that the U.S. will continue to stand up for Israel, "even if it means standing alone."

Very few if any mainstream American news outlets or sources reported on this damning vote.  In the country where freedom of the press and an independent news media are supposed to carry the day, a biased misrepresentation of this ongoing conflict continues by omission and commission to distort American’s perspectives on the Palestinian’s ongoing struggle for autonomy and human rights.

An investigation into alleged war crimes is a very serious matter.  “War Crime” is defined as “a crime committed during or in connection with war,” such as genocide or maltreatment of prisoners.

The US government’s blind and blanket support of Israel’s acts of genocide against the Palestinian people will prove to be on the wrong side of history and judging by the latest UN vote, in conflict with the rest of the world.

Genocide is defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group”.  Ayelet Shaked an Israeli politician and parliament member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party recently called for the slaughter of Palestinian mothers who give birth to "little snakes" on her Facebook posting: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Reacting to Shaked's remarks, the Turkish premier, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel's policy in Gaza is no different than Hitler's mentality.

Americans need to understand that the basis of Israel’s attacks on and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians is not security, it's bigotry and racism. It is the bigotry, racism and oppression that make Israel less secure. Palestinians are forcibly resisting the oppression and genocide that the Israeli government is imposing upon them.  

In February 2014 the Israeli Knesset passed a bill that explicitly distinguishing between Muslim and Christian Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

Reports show that vast amounts of Israel’s territory are restricted for the use of Jews only, often on lands expropriated from Palestinians. There, two separate legal systems; one for Jews and one for Arabs and a two-tier transportation system. There are separate roads in the West Bank that only Jews are allowed to drive on. These realities are not being reported on in mainstream American media.

President Obama was correct in 2009 when he stated that the US cannot accept the continued construction of “settlements” and Israel must ensure that Palestinians can develop their own society.  However, for some reason the U.S. continues to accept and encourage these atrocities. Contrary to the president’s statements in 2009, the ongoing actions of his administration continue to allow Israel to violate international and U.S. law, two of which are the U.S. Foreign Assistance and Arms Export Control Acts.  Both of these make it illegal to export defense articles and/or services to any country unless they are used “solely for internal security” or “legitimate self-defense”.

No one can reasonably argue that the asymmetrical nature of the Israeli incursion into Gaza is legitimate. Regardless of how many times Israeli PM Netanyahu says it is and no matter how many times President Obama says that “Israel has the right to defend itself”, Israel’s actions are illegal and immoral.  According to 22 U.S. Code § 2304 - Human rights and security assistance – “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. Security assistance may not be provided to the police, domestic intelligence, or similar law enforcement forces of a country, and licenses may not be issued under the Export Administration Act of 1979 [50 App. U.S.C. 2401 et seq.]”

There is another issue surrounding these atrocities that must be addressed. 

The deafening silence of leadership within the African American community is unacceptable. The NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, and other organizations should be front-and-center in condemning the Israeli government’s actions and the Obama administration’s support and encouragement of them.

Their arguments should be based upon the immoral basis Israel’s actions, violations of US and international law, and that American taxpayer dollars should not go to a country that is engaging in ethnic cleansing.  The African American community was vocal, active and on the right side of history regarding South Africa, but silent in Rwanda and Somalia. Our voices should be heard on this issue.

It is important to remember that while leadership within the African American community remains conspicuously silent regarding the Palestinian-Israeli issue, Israel supported the apartheid regime in South Africa.  According to Professor Juan Cole, “The Israeli government had extremely warm relations with Apartheid South Africa, to the point where Tel Aviv offered the Afrikaners a nuclear weapon.”

In his book Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice Dr. Clarence Lusane writes, “…in the aftermath of WWII, one of the most significant developments in terms of race and U.S. Foreign policy was the emergence of a much stronger and vocal African American voice in U.S. foreign relations.”

Today, that voice is conspicuously absent from the narrative and innocent men, women and children continue to die because of it.  Lusane wrote the following in the context of the rise of Powell and Rice and their promotion of US imperialism and hegemony but I believe that it also applies to the deafening silence referenced above, “For many around the world, it appears that a progressive black American foreign policy agenda and consensus, which has existed for centuries, has eroded if not disappeared altogether.”

President Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace on the shoulders of Dr. Ralph Bunch (1950), ironically for Dr. Bunch's mediation of a conflict in Palestine in the late 1940’s and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1964).  In his acceptance speech, President Obama said, “I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to our highest aspirations - that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mere prisoners of fate. Our actions matter and can bend history in the direction of justice.”

Mr. President, take action that reflects “our highest aspirations”.  Don’t become a mere prisoner of fate or of Netyanyahu. 

Yes, our actions do matter and our inaction is resulting in great cruelty and hardship for the Palestinian people. We cannot stand for the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, now being shown on global media.

Your administration’s policy towards the Palestinians is on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of world opinion.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the Producer/ Host of the Sirius/XM Satellite radio channel 110 call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” Go to or and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at  © 2014 InfoWave Communications, LLC 

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