US helps Israel Despite Violations
Despite U.N. violations, U.S. helps Israel
Mazin B. Qumsiyeh
New Haven Register 05/25/2004
Amnesty International released a report May 18* calling Israeli home demolitions and evictions of Palestinians as war crimes. On the same day, Israel killed 20 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and demolished many more houses in Rafah; nearly 2,000 homes have been demolished just in that area alone.
Amnesty International also called on the United States to halt shipment of weaponry and equipment, such as Caterpillar bulldozers, used to carry out such large-scale violations of international and humanitarian law. This also violates U.S. arms export laws, which prohibit export of weapons to countries that engage in gross violations of human rights and international law.
Yet in 2003 alone, the United States sent more than $5 billion in direct and indirect aid to Israel.
It is also interesting that the latest intensification of such human rights violations in the occupied territories is taking place in the context of a media fixated on events in Iraq. It perhaps explains why many Israeli apologists in this administration pushed for the invasion of Iraq well before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Richard Perle chaired a committee of neo-conservatives with close Israeli ties and submitted plans to wed Israeli and American governmental interests by toppling the government of Iraq back in 1996. The public document titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" was submitted to then Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu**. The "realm" is, of course, Israel. The Perle committee called on toppling governments, increasing and focusing our outward military posture in close coordination with Zionist interests.
That the occupation in Iraq and Palestine are linked goes beyond the implementation of the roadmaps articulated in such documents as "A Clean Break" to training and advice provided by the Israelis to our forces in Iraq. They go to strategic collaboration in weapons development and to sharing intelligence.
We are told Israel is a democracy, and we are bringing democracy to the Middle East. I would say that if we were truly after democracy, why not start with our client states of Israel and Egypt.
In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak is grooming his son to take over after two decades of his U.S.-supported vassal dictatorship. Egypt actually gets more financial support from our tax money than any other state except Israel.
As for Israel, Amnesty once described it as follows: "In Israel, for example, several laws are explicitly discriminatory. These can be traced back to Israelís foundation in 1948 which, driven primarily by the racist genocide suffered by Jews in Europe during the Second World War, was based on the notion of a Jewish state for Jewish people. Some of Israelís laws reflect this principle and as a result discriminate against non-Jews, particularly Palestinians who had lived on the lands for generations."
And it gets much worse in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, where Israel transplanted 400,000 colonists to settle them on confiscated Palestinian lands. Those Palestinians, unlike the ones Amnesty was referring to, are not citizens and have essentially no legal rights. The Israel Supreme Court thus gave the military full freedom to do things like the mass demolitions in Rafah.
These 3.5 million Palestinians are herded like cattle, surrounded with walls, assassinated and imprisoned without trials, and starved. Statistics like 70 percent unemployment, 60 percent poverty rate, and 40 percent child malnutrition rate only scratch the surface of the incredible suffering, caused by the illegal 37-year-old occupation.
We live in an Orwellian world where human rights and basic justice are trampled for the sake of domination and power and where hypocrisy and double standards are rampant.
For occupying Kuwait and violating a handful of U.N. resolutions, Iraq civilian infrastructure was obliterated and the country subjected to a 14-year regime of sanctions and siege that, according to U.N. reports, caused the death of 5,000 Iraqi children every month.
For violating 65 UN resolutions (and shielded from 35 others by U.S. veto power), Israel receives massive U.S. governmental subsidies. As Israel intensifies its ethnic cleansing and apartheid program, many continue to ignore the racism, violence, and injustice that we fund with our taxes. Many continue to bury their head in the sand and talk about "staying the course."
Yet the world does not ignore the U.S. governmental history and lessons of slavery, Native Americans, and Vietnam. The only question is for how long will the American public allow this current charade to continue.
Mazin B. Qumsiyeh is co-founder and media coordinator of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition. Readers may write him at P.O. Box 1172, Orange 06477-7172. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
* See Amnesty on Home demolitions as War Crimes
** Document posted at http://IsraelEconomy.org/strat1.htm