Israel, Tear Down This Wall
By Matt Hutaff
Oct 1, 2003
Show of hands: Who here feels what happened to the Native Americans during the Western conquest of the New World wasn't handled very well?
Duplicity. Targeted biological warfare. Slaughter. Theft of land. It's one of the darkest chapters of American history.
But it's also present-day Israel.
On Thursday, the Israeli government announced it would continue to settle land that did not belong to them, forcing more Palestinians from their privately owned property. The 565 new homes, joining the thousands already built in the West Bank and Gaza Strip regions, are in violation of standing United Nations treaties and work in opposition of all peace plans in negotiation by the United States.
At the same time, a massive "security fence" is being built by Israel as a means to annex more land than was stolen during the 1967 Six Day War. The security fence is 10 feet high, lined with barbed wire, and essentially 160 feet wide when you consider the surveillance cameras, paved patrol roads, and ditches that surround it. When completed, it will sever Palestinians from their agriculture, their communities, and their property. All in the name of Israeli security.
The current Israeli government treats its Palestinian neighbors with absolute contempt. It's embarrassing that the Middle East's only "democracy" is engaging in such despicable attempts at holocaust. What's even more embarrassing is that the United States condones it.
The United States gives billions of dollars in loans a year to Israel. This year, the total will exceed $10 billion, and the loans will never have to be repaid thanks to congressional loopholes created by former Sen. Alan Cranston. Without the foreign aid it receives annually from the U.S., Israel's economy would falter and eventually collapse. What is given every year is basically an assurance of our ally's survival.
If we wanted Israel to stop its practice of uprooting Palestinians and plopping down hundreds of state-of-the-art new housing developments, you'd think all the U.S. would have to do is threaten to withhold that money — money, by the way, that's taken in through federal taxes from you, the citizen.
You'd think the folks in Washington would condemn a government that kills an American and then casts the blame on the victim. To this date, the death of activist Rachel Corrie has gone uninvestigated.
You'd think the United States would oppose total racial apartheid. You'd think it would divest its relationship from a country that bombed one of our naval vessels, the USS Liberty in 1967, and tried to pin the blame on someone else.
You'd think a lot of things. Too bad they never come to pass.
The State Department decided that, despite all of the conflicts with American policy (conflicts that allow the U.S. to reduce or eliminate the loan guarantees), it would make no plans to lower the amount promised — despite requiring the money only be spent on territories held before the Six Day War. Never mind that State Department official William Burns cites the settlement growth as something that "could threaten the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy. "
So where will the money go?
Israel's main mission seems to colonize as much Palestinian land as possible before the world cries loud enough that it stops. That means that much of the spending allocated by the U.S. government will go into areas that, by definition, not only aren't part of the original territory, but aren't even currently part of Israel.
The budget of that massive security fence doesn't emerge from thin air (unless you consider American funds a deus ex machina device). It has to come from somewhere. And something tells me it'll be coming from the taxes I dole out and never see put into my community.
The United States has an opportunity to stop this now by blocking the influx of American cash into a country that openly defies our best interests and spits on our diplomatic solutions to the bloodshed and violence prevalent in the Middle East. Instead of looking the other way while Prime Minister Ariel Sharon allows a Jewish settlement in Ariel to be surrounded by the wall, thus sealing off even more land, we can take out the proverbial rubber stamp and slap a big VOID on our next "payment. "
The United States, through its direct assistance and guidance in Israel's development, has created a spoiled brat of a nation. Israel never has to worry about the numerous U.N. violations it commits (more than Iraq, by the way) because the U.S. will veto any resolution. Israel can spend and spend on outrageous military build-ups and a nuclear arsenal, and our government will keep handing out allowance. We've created a situation where our "kid" is completely self-absorbed and ignorant of consequence.
Accountability needs to start now. Even if it's as simple as stopping the funding of idiotic land grabs or not stopping a U.N. resolution condemning the assassination of Yasser Arafat. Or laughing in the face of Zalman Shoval, the guy who said the peace process is stalled because "there is no action taken by the Palestinians to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure." Or keeping heavily armed IDF soldiers from stealing the Palestinians' land, destroying their home, and sealing them away from their families with a 160-foot-wide demarcation of segregation.
Please, any wake up call that tells our child he doesn't get rewarded for bad behavior.
Two hundred years ago we completely shafted a culture of people. Let's not see history repeat itself with the Palestinians. I'd like to think we've evolved a little.
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