We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel. Rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of a state that must now achieve its independence and that is Palestine. The moment has come for the world to say: enough of aggression, enough with settlements and occupation.(1)
Israel and the U.S. cast off the Palestinian bid as merely a meaningless gesture saying that the vote by the UN to recognize Palestine is no more than a symbol. If that's the case, it's strange how hard Israel and the U.S. worked to stop it from happening, even threatening to withhold tax funds due for services in the West Bank. And the US sent Bill Burns, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, to visit Muhmoud Abbas in his New York hotel room to urge him to “reconsider” his request for recognition.
Why so much panic over a mere symbol? Because this “symbol” allows the Palestinians access to the International Criminal Court and there's the rub.
Suddenly, a people whom Israel had hoped would remain invisible will have a channel of revealing to the world 62 years of continuing “criminal” conduct by our “closest ally.” If Americans actually knew the history of Israel's oppression of the people upon whom it planted its nation, we might begin to ask questions. Questions such as, Why is there “no daylight” between the US, which publicly declares its commitment to democracy, and the State of Israel, which publicly declared itself a theocracy, a state for Jews only?
Some might even ask why the US refuses to recognize the democratically elected government of Gaza instead of broad brush declaring Hamas a “terrorist” organization. Worse still, why do we continue to give Israel more than $8,000,000 a day in foreign aid to build settlements when every news program on TV talks about the horrible financial situation we are having at home?
Some might even begin to wonder if our blind support for Israel's criminal activity could have contributed to 9/11 which ultimately got us bogged down in two wars, which threaten to bankrupt our nation. Some might even ask for an investigation into the crushing death of Rachel Corrie or Israel's deliberate attack on the USS Liberty.
Exposing Israel in a trial before the International Criminal Court would surely raise questions. Our US political leadership might be forced to use more honest language than Hillary Clinton's, “a step that will not bring us closer to peace,” which she immediately followed it up by declaring, “America has Israel's back,”(2) and Barak Obama's declaring that the Palestinian bid for recognition was “unhelpful.” Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador explained, “Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution placed further obstacles in the path for peace, that is why the United States voted against it.”(3) Perhaps, exposing Israel also exposes us.
Henry Seigman in Foreign Policy.com. said, the U.S. uncritical stance “confirms America's irrelevance” in resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It dooms President Obama's efforts to renew peace talks as an “empty and purposeless exercise.” Unless the U.S. demands that Israel accept its 1967 borders as a starting point, negotiations have “no prospect of producing anything other than cover for Israel's continuing colonial behavior.” (4)
Immediately, the day after 138 nations voted to recognize Palestine, Israel announced the construction of 3000 new houses in Palestinian. The location of these new settlements is significant in that they will cut off the West Bank from Jerusalem and put an end to any hope of a Palestine with contiguous territory. Dani Seidemann, a Jerusalem lawyer and peace activist, described Israel's latest settlement plans as “the fatal heart attack of the two-state solution” and said Mr. Netanyahu was wielding “the doomsday weapon.” (5) All that over a “mere symbol.”
Thomas AreDecember 12, 2012
1 – Reported by John Glaseer, UN Votes in Favor of Upgrading Palestinian Status, Antiwar.com, November 29, 2912.2 - Housing Move in Israel Seen as Setback for a Two-State Plan, Jodi Rudoren and Mark Landler, New York Times, November 30, 2012.
3 – John Glaser, UN Votes in Favor of Upgrading Palestinian Status. Antiwar.com. November 29, 2012.
4 - Housing Move in Israel Seen as Setback for a Two-State Plan, Jodi Rudoren and Mark Landler, New York Times, November 30, 2012.
5 - The Week, The Israeli-Palestinian Rift Deepens. December 14, 2012. p.3.