Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Questions about us: Diplomacy – an uncomfortable truth

The U.S. is currently a willing accomplice in Israel’s tragic war against Hamas.

Hamas, a Palestinian social and political organization, rules Palestine and hides rocket launchers and terrorists in heavily populated cities to strike at Israel from afar.

Israel, with the benefit of billions of dollars from the U.S., bombs Palestinian homes, businesses, and communities seeking to destroy the terrorists who launch rockets and shells at Israeli homes.

The U.S. spends billions of dollars: in fact more than its foreign aid to every other nation combined: to maintain Israel’s military dominance in the region.

As of Jan. 28, 13 Israelis had died, including three civilians.   On the other side of things, 1,100 to 1,300 Palestinians were dead.

The very disproportional aspect of Israel’s war with Hamas severely undermines international support for Israel. Indeed, Israel has been widely condemned for loosely defining acceptable military targets. As a result, the United States’ unequivocal support for Israel in the form of political statements, economic and military aid severely undermines our credibility with other nations in the Middle East.

At the root of the problem is that Israel’s legitimacy as a state has never been accepted widely by its neighbors. Its founding was an act of colonialism by well-meaning western Europeans and its vibrant economy and powerful military are the result of its alliance with the U.S.
It’s time to question the nature of this alliance. Our support for Israel not only makes us hated in the Middle East: the hotbed for anti-Americanism: but politically pushes Israel’s domestic politics in favor of hawkish politicians.

Our government officials can repeat their desire to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis and other would-be terrorists in the Middle East all they want, but until we realize that we are being held accountable for Israel’s actions, we will never win the hearts and minds of the people of the Middle East.

Israel can kill as many Hamas terrorists as it wants with its precision guided missiles, but for every terrorist casualty, five more young Palestinians will be inspired to continue their cause. The U.S. can continue to call for democracy on one hand and give Israel a blank check on the other but that policy has only perpetuated the cycle of violence in the Gaza strip.

In the long run, Israel will never be secure as long as it is a tiny prosperous nation situated around poorer neighbors who hate it.

Yes, Israel has nuclear weapons, but : what if Iran finishes developing their own? What if Iran’s nuclear ambitions spread to Syria, to Saudi Arabia and Egypt? That nightmare scenario is only avoidable if Israel and Palestine achieve peace through means other than rockets and bombs.

Israel will only stop using disproportionate violence if the U.S. pressures it through cutting military aid.   No one believes that Israel’s military needs it. They’re already selling weapon systems to China, to the chagrin of the Pentagon.

However, the position among US politicians of both political parties to silently consent to Israeli military power is untenable; instead of speaking out against the grave humanitarian crisis in Palestine, the Bush Administration authorized increasing military aid to Israel by $6 billion in 2007 to be implemented over the next decade.

Diplomacy isn’t easy and Israel will undoubtedly have to concede territory more than it wants to. It may have legitimate claims on cultural and historical grounds to its land, but so do the people of Palestine who live in much worse conditions than the average Israeli. A lasting peace between Israel and Palestine will require tough concessions and reason, not ideology and bombs.

It’s time our political leaders see this uncomfortable truth.

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    Peter RIchardsMar 6, 2009 at 3:26 am

    this is a really well done article. your argument is clear and concise. well done Gary. All of your pieces delight me in different ways. you are my favorite Pio writer. I can’t wait to see what you have planned for next week.