A New Day Shines – The Tower, October 8 2010
Popular news stories rarely reveal the entire story. This holds true when discussing coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. American media outlets rarely challenge the US. and Israeli governments’ justifications for oppressing the Palestinian people. Israel rests easy in the knowledge that the US. government and Americans will continue to invest financial and political capital in the Israeli cause.
Portrayed as defending themselves, Israel gladly welcomes American congressional earmarks that further the existing occupations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In a time when fiscal restraint is called for by all parties in American politics, Israel continues to receive 87.6 million daily in military aid and the unquestioning support of the United States in the international community.
The popular legend in the United States is that the Israeli people are under attack from Palestinians. There is no doubt that terrorism committed by Palestinian extremists must never be condoned, and efforts should be made to lessen the threat. However, a closer look at the situation reveals that the true threat is the perpetual distrust and malice from all sides.
A brief overview of the Palestinian situation is helpful in discovering the harm that the conflict brings upon those living in the occupied territories. In the past decade, 6,408 Palestinian civilians died due to Israeli attacks, including over 1,300 minors. Millions live in refugee camps and at the mercy of Israel, who has shut off water, power, and humanitarian aid efforts in the past. The border wall strips Palestinians of their land and water rights, destroying almost all gainful employment opportunities.
At the same time as the Palestinians struggle to survive in the occupied territories, the policies of Israel continue to harm its own citizens as well. A nation constantly on a war footing diverts resources from education, social services, and economic development. The cycle of violence and human rights abuses perpetuated by the Israeli Defense Forces makes the state an outlier in much of the international community. Ultimately, Israeli citizens are held hostage by extremists on both sides, deteriorating their quality of life.
Americans, due to their own imposition, are integrally linked to the fate of these two nations as well. $3 billion annually, making up approximately a quarter of the Israeli defense budget, goes a long way to providing that nation with top of the line instruments of oppression. Simultaneously, it diverts already limited funding from domestic needs here in America and furthers anti-American sentiments throughout the world.
The current state of affairs remains untenable for all involved because it harms each of the parties, whether they care to admit it or not. With the moratorium on Israeli settlements expiring, Iranian president Ahmadinejad is scheduled to make an appearance on the Lebanese border, and peace talks continuing to be stagnant, the time has come for decisive action for justice.
There are numerous facets to the solution of this long standing problem, and these are too many to address in this column. The best start, though, would be to stop Israel’s blank check for apartheid coming from the American taxpayer’s pocket.