Dec 10,2015 – JORDAN TIMES – George S. Hishmeh
The Arab world, especially the Palestinians, ought to start thinking about a new interlocutor if they want a peace treaty with Israel. US administrations, whether run by Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the likely winner of next year’s presidential election, are disappointingly distancing themselves from what it takes to facilitate a decent and long overdue Palestinian-Israeli peace settlement.
An unfair UN Partition Plan in 1948 has proven a failure, highlighting a five-decade bloody conflict for which Palestinians and Israelis have paid a high price. Resolving the problem by resorting to a one-state solution, favoured by many Palestinians and Israelis, is very unlikely to be fully accepted by Israel, now that the relationship between them is very sour, almost lethal.
The top American leaders are seemingly disqualifying themselves, day in, day out, thanks to the corrupting Zionist lobby in the US. To cite but one recent example, the liberal Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported this week that more than $220 million have been pumped from some 50 non-profit American organisations in recent years into the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. This region, now less than 20 per cent of Palestine, is where the Palestinians are hoping to establish an independent state along with occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Yet some 600,000 Jewish settlers are now illegally living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank
Haaretz explained that the money’s tax-deductible status means that US government “is incentivizing and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement”, even though Washington opposes settlement construction and views it as an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.
Simultaneously, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrived in Washington for a cordial meeting with Obama and a public address the following day at the Brookings Institution. After the two leaders exchanged pleasantries, Obama unexpectedly condemned Palestinian violence, and said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas needs to “condemn it and end the incitement”. He added that there was a “need to find mechanisms for Israelis and Palestinians to have a dialogue” but admitted that “although the prospect of peace seems distant we still need to try”.
This “Israel Day” in Washington was preceded last weekend by another similar occasion where insult was further added to injury when both Clinton, the Democratic Party’s front runner in the upcoming presidential election next year, and Secretary of State John Kerry went overboard in affirming their attachment to Israel speaking publicly at the Brookings Institution and its Saban Centre, a think tank established by Haim Saban, an Egyptian Jew who is now settled in the US.
Here is how Philip Weiss, founder and co-editor of Mondoweiss.net, began his report on Clinton’s speech, which “included more pandering on Israel than any speech I’ve heard from any American politician”. He continued:
“It was endless. Israel is a brave democracy, a light unto the nations, a miracle, its ‘prowess in war’ is ‘inspiring,’ and we must take the US-Israel relationship to the ‘next level’.”
And, she promised, on her first day as president, “I would extend an invitation to the Israeli prime minister to come to the United States hopefully within the first month… to work towards very much strengthening and intensifying our relationship on military matters, on terrorism and on everything else that we can do more to cooperate on that will send a strong message to our peoples as well as the rest of the world”.
A couple of days earlier, in lengthy “rhetorical” remarks at a session administered by Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel, Kerry underlined the close relations with Israel.
He noted that “since 2009, we have provided $20 billion in foreign military financing to Israel, more than half of all the military assistance we have given worldwide.”
He continued: “Over and above that we have invested some $3 billion in the production of Iron Dome and other missile defence programmes and systems. And we saw how in Israel’s last conflicts with Hamas, lives were saved in Israel because of that assistance. We have given privileged access to advanced military equipment such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East to which the United States sold this fifth-generation aircraft. And earlier this year the president authorised a massive arms resupply package featuring air-to-air missiles and other advanced munitions.”
“Diplomatically our support for Israel remains as rock solid as we continue to oppose any effort to delegitimise the Jewish state or to pass biased resolutions against it in international bodies. I have personally been on the phone lobbying, whether it’s a human rights commission or council or individuals, UN, you name it. We are constantly fighting that battle.”
The secretary went on and on, but Israel has not yielded to any pressure, American or otherwise, to reach a settlement with the Palestinians. Obviously, all have to look for other avenues or else the final step may be disastrous.
The writer is a Washington-based columnist.