Everything that’s wrong with the Israel lobby and U.S. public policy and Zionist Israel is in this story: An Israeli government minister whom the U.S. secretary of state had the fortitude to snub on his latest visit to the U.S. has come out for segregated bus lines in the West Bank. And we’re supposed to feel defensive about snubbing this character? And ambassador Samantha Power was compelled to meet with him? Cry my beloved country.
First, here’s the Kerry snub. Back in the spring Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon called Kerry “messianic” in his pursuit of a peace plan. Arutz Sheva reports:
Ya’alon was denied meetings with top American officials during his visit to the United States this week, The Associated Press (AP) reported on Friday, citing officials in Washington.
While Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon did see Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, the officials said the White House and State Department rejected Israeli proposals for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, national security adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry.
A pro-Israel news site is affronted by this treatment:
The Obama administration’s mass snubbing of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon last week was designed to “humiliate” him, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, adding that Obama officials would continue to “ostracize” him until Ya’alon further apologizes for off-the-record comments he made about Kerry more than nine months ago.
Barak Ravid, the diplomatic correspondent for the newspaper, compared the Obama administration move to a “hazing.”
Yes but who are we hazing? Haaretz reports that Ya’alon has come out for segregated bus lines in the occupied West Bank at the urging of the colonists there: “Ya’alon bans Palestinians from Israeli-run bus lines in West Bank, following settler pressure.” Yes, that’s the Defense Minister, making policy for brown people in the colonies who can’t vote.
Following intense pressure from settlers, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has issued a directive that bans Palestinian workers from traveling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank….
The new guidelines prohibit Palestinian workers from using buses that run directly from central Israel to the West Bank; instead they will have to arrive at the Eyal Crossing, near Qalqilyah and far from populated settler areas, and continue to their final destination from there.
The Samaria Settlers’ Committee and local Jewish authorities have conducted an aggressive campaign in recent years aimed at banning Palestinian workers from public transportation used by Israelis in the West Bank.
Currently, Palestinian laborers who work in central Israel can enter only through the Eyal Crossing, where they undergo security checks and swipe a biometric I.D. card before continuing to their workplace.
The workers are not allowed to sleep in Israel, however they can return to the West Bank through various crossings. Hundreds of Palestinians who live in the central West Bank prefer to return on buses that run from Tel Aviv or Petah Tikva along the “trans-Samaria” road through the settlement of Ariel and on to their villages.
The settlers have tried on multiple occasions to prevent the Palestinians from commuting on those buses, and have released a video calling for them to be banned…
Here is that disgusting video. We covered this story some months back. It seems to me this is exactly the sort of government official we should be slamming the door on!
More rage from the lobby. The Jewish Press is rushing to support Ya’alon.
Kerry may have snubbed Ya’alon, but an American journalist provides a significant and far-ranging interview of the Israeli defense minister.
And why is this a guy we should pay any attention to?
Ya’alon in January described Kerry to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as “obsessive” and “messianic” in his persistent pursuit of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, suggesting the secretary of state’s proposals did not meet Israel’s security requirements.
Poor Samantha Power had to meet with the racist.
Senior US officials who refused Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s request to meet with key administration figures had also intended to foil his meeting with UN ambassador Samantha Power.
The Anti-Defamation League also embraced Ya’alon on his visit. Have they said a word about the Jim Crow bus lines?
The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth, neocon of longstanding, interviewed Ya’alon. It’s a straight interview about the strains in US-Israel relations. Ya’alon says of the dustup with Kerry, “We overcame that.” No, you didn’t. And here’s what Ya’alon says about a Palestinian state:
Do you believe in a two-state solution?
You can call it the new Palestinian empire. We don’t want to govern them, but it is not going to be a regular state for many reasons.
What does that mean — the Palestinian empire?
Autonomy. It is going to be demilitarized.
In Gaza and the West Bank?
It is up to them. According to the agreement, they should be demilitarized. It is up to Abu Mazen if he is able or if he wants to demilitarize Gaza. Otherwise, we are not going to talk about any final settlement.
Is Abu Mazen the best Palestinian leader you’re going to get?
I don’t know, but he is not a partner for the two-state solution. He doesn’t recognize the existence of the Jewish state.
Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.
P.S. Noam Chomsky has said that Israel doesn’t recapitulate the colonial condition of the French in Algeria or the whites in South Africa because it does not depend on the labor of the indigenous population, but just wants to get rid of that population. That is why Chomsky says that the likely outcome of the imbalance-of-power is the further cantonization of the West Bank. He’s obviously got a point about the continued cantonization of the West Bank, but notice the Palestinian workers who ride those buses. Israel is a wealthy society with a western-European idea of itself, and inevitably it exploits Palestinian labor. The settler-colonial model is alive and well. As is the struggle for equal rights.