On Sunday, the NY Times’ ran an editorial about a fantastical “set of American principles that point the way to a peace deal if the two sides ever muster the will to agree on one:”
Mr. Obama showed leadership in empowering Secretary of State John Kerry to undertake a nine-month negotiation on an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal after fumbling badly with his first peacemaking overture in 2009. The second effort, which seemed better prepared, is now in tatters and seems unlikely to be revived soon. But it demonstrated a serious American commitment and was still worth it, especially if it results in a set of American principles that point the way to a peace deal if the two sides ever muster the will to agree on one.
Here’s the letter I dashed off to the Times:
Just when I was beginning to see signs in recent months that there might be hope that the New York Times might provide a little more insight into the realities on the ground in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, along comes the segment on “Israel and the Palestinians” in the Editors’ Sunday May 4 “President Obama and the World” editorial that omits what’s actually going on and instead implies that the so-called negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is one between two parties that can equally decide on peace.
The provable reality is, of course, that Israel has almost complete control over Palestinian land and lives.
Israel is the world’s fourth largest military power backed by the world’s only superpower, while the Palestinians are a mostly-unarmed civilian population living for decades under military occupation, and in recent years, saddled with an impotent, illegitimate government kept in office by Israel and the United States. Such a power imbalance doesn’t bode well for anything but the more powerful party dictating an outcome to the weaker party.
I find cruel the editors’ fantastical declaration that if only Palestinians and Israelis “muster the will to agree on” a peace deal we would have one. How can that be done when Israel, abetted by the United States, has made it clear that the only acceptable outcome is a p-i-e-c-e deal that will relegate Palestinians to a few disconnected bantustans of land subject to perpetual Israeli occupation?
The editors may let America off the hook, but I and many others refuse to ignore that more than three billion of US taxpayer dollars are sent to Israel every year. Those dollars that could be better used at home not only help Israel to maintain its occupation, but they are sent in violation to US law, and if its anything I’d expect my government to honor as a basic commitment to protecting the people of the US it’s upholding law.
Since Palestinians cannot will in a peace, and the US government refuses to uphold both domestic law, and the international laws that deem Israel’s settlements, occupation, wall, ethnic cleansing and current apartheid system of separate laws illegal, it’s up to the citizens of the world to respond to the 2005 call of Palestinian civil society to help bring an end to Israel’s dispossession and other crimes through BDS, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.