We hear a lot in the media, from our government and from commentators about how the Palestinians are undermining the peace process by taking “unilateral” action by going to the United Nations in an attempt to have a Palestinian state recognized by the international body. Both Secretary Clinton and President Obama have repeatedly denounced the Palestinians for taking “symbolic” action that seeks to “delegitimize” the state of Israel. Putting aside the stupidity of such an argument, I was wondering when the Obama administration was going to speak out about the growing number of Israeli land grabs currently taking place beyond the Green Line? I was wondering when the U.S. media was going to take note? Is illegal land confiscation not “unilateral” action? It certainly is more than symbolic. In fact, the ongoing illegal settlement expansion does tremendous harm by changing the facts on the ground in a way that disproportionately disadvantages the Palestinians. Is this not a form of “delegitimization” of the Palestinians?
This is why the administration argument against the Palestinians’ bid for UN recognition falls apart at the seams- it’s the usual biased moderating from the so-called “Honest Broker.”
Today in Haaretz, there is this:
The IDF Civil Administration is taking steps to increase state-ownership of West Bank lands, an internal military document reveals. The policy enables increased construction not only around settlement blocs like Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Gush Etzion, but also in strategic areas like the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea.
Until now it was not known that the administration, which is a military agency, was charged with distinguishing between the blocs Israel is demanding to annex as part of a final-status agreement and the rest of the settlements.
The inclusion of the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea and area surrounding Ariel in the “settlement blocs” whose takeover the administration is advancing, would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity. In addition, the scope of land in question thwarts the possibility of exchanging areas in a peace settlement, according to the formula presented by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 19.
This is because on the western side of the Green Line there is not enough open land to compensate the Palestinians for such an extensive annexation, according to examinations carried out during previous talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
It has recently been reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants Obama to ratify the letter of his predecessor George Bush, of April 2004, saying the United States is in favor of the new borders, which take into account “the new reality on the ground,” including the existence of “major Israeli population centers.”
Yes, our ally.
This is why I posted an article yesterday discussing how the Obama administration is trying to ease the anxiety of Jewish Democrats by
pandering seemingly taking a hands off approach to Mideast peace so as to not be seen as putting any pressure on Bibi Netanyahu. One of the issues that pops up in all of these polls of the Jewish community is that they seem to think the POTUS is unfairly harsh to Israel- only making demands of Israel while letting the Palestinians do anything they want. Hello? Where have these people been? This article from Haaretz excerpted above is the perfect example of how the U.S. continues to allow Israel to take unilateral steps to change the facts on the ground so as to prevent a Palestinian state with contiguous borders.
If the media aren’t going to report on this and if the State Dept. and White House are content to let Israel continue to thwart a two state solution and if the Jewish community and Israel Lobby are insistent that the U.S. put zero pressure on Israel, then it’s time for all those aforementioned groups to come out publicly and dispense with the fiction that we are in search of a viable two state solution. Because we are not. And if that’s the case then we are headed towards a one-state solution based on an Apartheid system. If that’s what people want then they should have the guts to come out and say it. And I don’t want to hear any of this nonsense about how using the word “apartheid” is anti-Semitism. It’s time to have an honest debate without all the rhetorical efforts to censor people.
On a related topic, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is successfully trying to prevent the President from continuing to thwart the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, on national security grounds- something which Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have been doing in order to prevent all hell from breaking loose in Israel-Palestine. The committee added an update to the legislation (The Jerusalem Embassy Act) this week which specifically states that Jerusalem is to remain the “undivided capitol” of Israel and as such, the U.S. Embassy should be in Jerusalem, and that the POTUS, starting in 2014, can no longer prevent the transfer. In other words, no two state solution.
I’m going to call my members of Congress and the White House and try to make the point that Congress is sabotaging the President’s foreign policy, destroying any chance of a two state solution and trying to foment antagonism in the region with this new Embassy Act they are likely going to pass. I also intend on writing to NYT, WaPo, etc. to ask why they continue with a total blackout of Israel’s unhelpful and provocative actions in the Occupied Territories. It probably won’t accomplish anything, but at least I’ll be able to let them know that some people are paying attention.