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U.S. could spare Israel a bad outcome

by William Pfaff

The merciful death that has, at last, been administered to Secretary of State John Kerry’s foredoomed Israel-Palestinian settlement talks has been greeted by little beyond silence in the international community.

Anyone possessing a modicum of reason knew that the effort was a waste of time so long as Kerry was incapable of bringing to the talks a changed position on the part of the Obama administration. Without that, and so long as Benjamin Netanyahu remained prime minister of Israel, and the character of the Israeli government remained unchanged, the Jewish state remained, and will remain, locked into self-destruction.

The suicide will probably be lengthy and agonized, accompanied at some point in the future by return to armed struggle, as Zionist Israel again tries to destroy whatever entity or community that is the successor to the present Palestinian state, as presently recognized by the U.N. General Assembly. Palestine’s existence, where it is, as it continues to exist, will increasingly become morally, as well as strategically, insufferable and unbearable to Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama could spare Israel this terrible outcome, as I will argue, but the insolence of the Netanyahu government toward the American ally, which has empowered Israel’s survival, prosperity and progress, and connived in Israel’s oppression of its Palestinian victims, has clearly inspired in Obama a profound hatred and contempt toward Netanyahu and his fellow-aggressors, who choose the eventual destruction of Israel itself for reasons of their own advantage, and to satisfy the blind and deaf fanaticism of the settlement movement.

The best in Israel — the people (so few it seems) — who grasp what their fellow citizens are doing to Israel, are begging the United States and the West Europeans (from among whom came those, who in another century, were responsible for the infamy inflicted upon the Jews of Europe), to save them today.

How? I will quote one of the most important and influential Israeli journalists, Gideon Levy, writing in the newspaper Haaretz:

“It is unacceptable, in the 21st century, for a state that purports to be a permanent member of the free world to keep another nation deprived of its rights. It is unthinkable, simply unthinkable, for millions of Palestinians to continue to live in these conditions. It is unthinkable for a democratic state to continue to oppress them in this way. It is unthinkable that the world stands by and allows it to happen.

“The two-state discussion must now become a discussion of rights: Dear Israelis, you wanted an occupation and the settlements — knock yourselves out! Remain in Yitzhar, dig yourselves into the mountainside and build to your hearts’ desire in Itamar. But you absolutely must grant full rights to the Palestinians living alongside, exactly the same rights that you enjoy.

“Equal rights for all; one person, one vote — that should be the message to the international community. After all, what could Israel say to this new message? That there cannot be equal rights because the Jews are the chosen people? That it would endanger security? The excuses would quickly run out, and the naked truth would come to light: that in this land only Jews have rights. Such a message cannot go unchallenged.

“At the same time, the entire ‘foreign’ approach to Israel must be changed. As long as it does not pay the price of the occupation and its citizens go unpunished, they will have no reason to end it, or even to deal with it. The occupation is deep inside the Israeli closet. There is no one to out it; the overwhelming majority want it to remain inside.

“For this reason only punitive measures will remind us of its existence. Yes, I mean boycotts and sanctions, which are greatly preferable to bloodshed.

“This is the truth, even if it’s bitter. America and Europe have kowtowed to Israel enough. Unfortunately to no effect. From now on, the world must speak a different language and perhaps it will be understood. After all, Israel has proved, more than once, that the language of power and punishment is its main language.”

Gideon Levy thus speaks to his compatriots with force and determination — and to us. Israel is what it is today, and the Palestinians are where they are, in part because of the Israeli government’s exploitation of its foreign allies, collaborators and enablers, as well as foreign politicians who have been willing recipients of its bribes, distorting or concealing the truth about a situation that is, to moral man, as Levy says, “unthinkable.”

The U.S. and Western Europe cannot be content with boycotts and sanctions. Washington must stop its nonmilitary aid to Israel, and end its complicity in Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and Israel’s continuing illegal seizure and occupation of Palestinian lands. It must cease its unconditional support for Israel at the U.N.

It should instead support full Palestinian membership in the U.N. and in the International Criminal Court, and such claims as the Palestinians may make in that Court against injustices and crimes committed against them.

It should make unmistakably clear to the Israelis that restoration of their country’s alliance with the U.S., and of their associations with a European Union that follows Washington’s course of “power and punishment” directed at Israel, awaits the day when justice is restored in that country’s relations with the Palestinian people.

Paris-based American journalist William Pfaff writes frequently on foreign affairs. His website is www.williampfaff.com © 2014 Tribune Content Agency

  • http://www.sheldonthinks.com/ Andrew Sheldon

    Stop with the liberal badgering. Palestine govt is no custodian of freedom.They have no moral high ground to shout from. They need you to do it for them, and liberals are all-too selective in their rhetoric. Palestine is not a free country. No free press. No Israelis living there. Thoroughly collectivist tribal haters. They don’t hate Israel’s occupation; they want a piece of the action that they could not make themselves. Let Palestine create some prosperity then it will earn the right to some judicial intervention. If they want any freedom, they first have to earn the right to enter Israel. There is none in Palestine. Is Israel perfect. No, neither is any Western country. Great! Let’s all find some integrity. But don’t start in Palestine. What tragic sense of life liberals have to look for salvation in Palestine? Look for it in Obama. You’ll need a needle.

  • zer0_0zor0

    Another excellent piece from Mr. Pfaff.

    The “Jewish State” is at a crossroads, and anyone not covering their eyes can see the writing on the wall–hell, even John Kerry caught a glimpse.

    Defending the “Jewish State” is the bread and butter of the US military industrial complex, and its high time the taps were turned OFF.