As the son of American Jews, I denounce Israel’s attacks ongoing attacks
against the Palestinian people. Criticism of Israeli policy should not be
confused with being anti-Jewish. Yet ignoring the “why” of the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict creates confusion. The “why” is Palestinians’
opposition to Israel’s military occupation, backed by the economic and
military might of the U.S government.
Israel’s control over the Palestinian people takes different forms in
different places. One example is the bulldozing of Palestinians’ homes for
Jewish settlements. An obedient American media has called the Palestinians’
land “disputed territory.” Such brutal crimes happened all the time during
the Oslo “peace process.” Confused?
Well, “peace” by definition is what the U.S. government says it is in the
Middle East. Both U.S. political parties agree on this.
Why does the U.S. arm the Israeli army and air force? Israel is the local
muscle for the U.S. in the Middle East. That’s where the oil is, “A
stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes
of all times,” according to the U.S. State Department’s George Kennan in
1948. The world runs on oil. Saudi Arabia and Iraq have the world’s first-
and second-largest estimated crude oil reserves. Control of oil is key to
controlling world affairs.
One billion dollars. That’s the amount of economic aid Israel got in 1999
from the U.S. government, Jeff Mason of the Center for Defense Information
said. These dollars in part helped to build roads for Israeli soldiers to
contain Palestinians in squalid refugee camps.
For the Arab majority of the Middle East, the United States-backed
government of Israel is the regional thug. Its might regularly enforces U.S.
power. And the American taxpayer pays daily for Israel’s military might. The
profits flow to Pentagon corporations such as Boeing, General Electric,
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Westinghouse.
Pigs will fly before the United States can create peace between the Israelis
and Palestinians. Why? Without justice, there can be no peace.
Consider Palestinian children. They die, “caught in the crossfire,” in
clashes with Israelis. This is one cliché that suggests an equality of
military power between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinians have firebombs, rifles and rocks. Israelis have air-to-surface
missiles, helicopter gunships and tanks. The Palestinians are stateless with
no armed forces. Israel is a legal state with an army and an air force.
Palestinians have refugee camps. Jews have a homeland in Israel. Israelis
are humanized with distinct personalities. Some are American Jews who
arrived in nuclear-armed Israel to become citizens. Dehumanized Palestinians
are one-dimensional. This is a public relations ploy to weaken the American
people’s solidarity with and sympathy for the Palestinian people living
under Israeli occupation.
In the meantime, Israeli-Palestinian violence has sparked demonstrations
throughout the Middle East. Israeli and U.S. support for the U.N. sanctions
that have degraded and humiliated Iraq for 10 years while killing over one
million Iraqis, especially children and the infirm, has also caused big
resentment among Arab people of the Middle East.
U.S. foreign policy is a part of—not apart from—the lives of the American
people in all their diversity. This money to fund U.S. foreign policy
doesn’t come from the moon but from their pockets.
In the Middle East, the U.S government spends Americans' tax money to
protect the profits and market share of petroleum corporations. An
independent Palestine state could threaten such power and the wealth it
controls by caring for Palestinians who have been forced off their lands and
into refugee camps. States that look out for their citizens by seeking an
“immediate improvement in the low living standards of the masses” are feared
by U.S. policy makers, a 1954 State Department document reveals.
Well, can there be an Israeli-Palestinian peace? Yes, but only when there’s
justice for all.
Seth Sandronsky lives in Sacramento, California. firstname.lastname@example.org