March 17, 2010
NYT comment 150 to Roger Cohens The Biden Effect
by Diane V. McLoughlin; Mar. 16, 2010
There is no contiguous space of Palestinian land in the West Bank anymore. That land has been stolen.
What we have witnessed is a race by Israel to transplant fanatical, racist, religious zealots all over the West Bank; constructing Jews-only roads to connect their military protected
enclaves both to each others' hilltop fortress compounds and with Israel, and then declare that really, it
would be too hard to undo it, so they must be there to stay.
If they stay, then what we have is either one state with equal rights for both Jews and Palestinians, or one state with no rights for Palestinians - which is what we have right now as far as the millions of Palestinians in the West Bank are concerned.
It is not a vital security interest to the U.S. whether there is one state or two, as long as an actual, bona fide peace with equal rights for all its citizens is the result.
I find it a false proposition to suggest that the only reason Americans
would care about the oppression of the Palestinian people
is that the anger directed toward us as a result is a threat to our soldiers currently in the field in the Middle East.
While heaven knows American foreign policy can get things disastrously wrong, fundamentally, the American people believe in equal opportunities, equal rights and fair play.
Americans care so much about Israel in part because they care about
what happened to the Jews in Nazi Europe. Americans would care no less to know that Israel oppresses others terribly in its own right, now.
Palestinians have experienced violent repression at the hands of Israel daily, for the past sixty and more years. The litany of violent actions and discriminatory practices against them is immense.
Palestinians are discriminated against because they are not of the preferred race.
Even though Israel's own intelligence proves that Hamas abided by the 2008 ceasefire, where Israel had agreed to easing its military blockade of Gaza, Israel betrayed that trust and attacked the civilian enclave of 1.5 million Palestinians instead. And still, today, three years in,
food, medicine and other vital supplies are only permitted to trickle in. The children, particularly, suffer: stunted growth; developmental delay; severe emotional trauma; and surprisingly, deafness, from Israeli military jet sonic booms.
In the West Bank under Israel's ongoing military occupation, settlers enjoy full rights of citizenship including the right to vote for rabidly right wing governments guaranteed to continue the occupation,
while the enslaved Palestinian people are denied the vote along with every other freedom.
Christians are routinely spit upon by ultra-orthodox Jews on the streets of Jerusalem. The ultra-orthodox force their way into Arab neighborhoods by having Palestinians expelled from their homes. Then to really make the point they do things like have loud
parties singing songs to celebrate Baruch Goldstein's 1994 slaughter of praying Muslims in a mosque.
Not all Israeli Jews agree with what has been going on, of course. Israeli civil rights organizations such as B'Tselem do an admirable job of trying to highlight, in as fair a way as possible, abuses committed
on both sides. Sadly, others continue to believe they can ethnically cleanse the Palestinians out because so far, they have been able
to do it, and we have in large part enabled it to happen with our good-hearted gullibility and our billions in annual tax and charitable donations. Can we force a peace deal? In the end, maybe not.
But we don't have to continue funding the status quo, either.
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Diane V. McLoughlin
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