The UN recently passed a resolution that demanded Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.” The United States has traditionally been very close with Israel and often shields them from the UN, even if only for our own selfish geo-political purposes.
Israel is bordered by the Muslim nations of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, making it the black sheep of the middle-east. America is basically Israel’s security blanket and in return we receive intelligence information and a safe base of operations for our military. Israel also has nuclear weapons which the U.S. obviously has an invested interest in keeping secure from any non-allies.
(Interestingly, nobody actually has any evidence detailing how many nukes Israel has nor if they even have any at all, but it is widely assumed by the international community that they have a secretive nuclear program of some kind. I’m betting our CIA knows all about it, but no details have been officially disclosed).
Rather than disrupt this cozy arrangement, the U.S. has sometimes neglected moral principle in favor of maintaining our allegiance, something the middle-east largely resents us for.
That main source of contention is over Palestine, which exists within the West Bank borders carved by the 1949 Armistice Agreement. For the record, Israel and all four neighboring countries signed this agreement.
Yet it is within this region that Israel has been building additional settlements and has been doing so for years. It was getting out of control, hence the recent UN resolution formally demanding that Israel back off and honor the original treaty.
The U.S. has veto power in the UN (probably in-part because 193 countries make up the UN yet we provide 25% of the funding) but opted not to use it this time. While the U.S. didn’t vote in favor of the UN resolution, we merely abstained from voting and passively allowed it to pass unanimously.
Israeli Prime Minister Nentanyahu is throwing a fit, acting as though the Obama Administration’s neutrality on this issue was somehow an unprecedented betrayal. President-elect Trump agreed, saying that the Obama Administration had treated Israel with “disdain”.
I guess they’re both forgetting that the LBJ Administration did the same SEVEN times. FIFTEEN times under Nixon. TWICE under Ford. FOURTEEN times under Carter. TWENTY ONE times under Reagan, NINE under Bush Jr., Clinton THREE, and Bush Jr. SIX. Guess how many times Obama has gone neutral on Israel when voting on a UN resolution?
ONCE. And only now, in his final month in office! And only to enforce an already-existing legal agreement that Israel previously signed off on. Jesus…
So no, this wasn’t even remotely an unprecedented move nor was it a betrayal. In fact, based on those numbers Obama has been more loyal to Israel than any other U.S. President since 1963, not less. Not only that, but in 2016 Obama provided Israel with a record $68 billion for defense purposes.
You’d think Nentanyahu would be a little more grateful, no?
Not only because his outrage is hyperbolic, but because of how ungrateful he is that we even still tolerate him at all. When the Obama Administration worked out a treaty (a rarity for the otherwise war-mongering regime) that prevented Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, Nentanyahu lost his shit because we allowed for the non-weaponized development of nuclear power in Iran for energy purposes. He even went so far as to accept a Republican invitation from John “Cry Baby” Boehner to speak directly to Congress, bypassing the President entirely.
Now THAT was unprecedented.
Secretary of State John Kerry did an hour-long speech this morning, attempting to smooth things over with Israel over the recent UN resolution. He went further by reiterating America’s decades-old push for a two-state solution that would leave both Israel and Palestine as sovereign, independent nations. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are too often written off as gray areas because they are Palestinian territories, so establishing them as an actual nation for the Palestinians would seriously clear things up. Israel has no legal right to build settlements in these areas, so it’s not like they’re being asked to make any additional sacrifice. They’re only being asked to stop encroaching on Palestinian lands. Yet they stubbornly refuse to back down.
Look at that map above again. Look at how many settlements Israel has developed in Palestinian territory. Little black triangles everywhere! It’s madness. No wonder the Palestinians act out sometimes…
Now I know, I know, Palestine is frequently painted as the “bad guy” because they are backed by Hamas, a group the U.S. considers a terrorist organization (it’s actually a political party, fyi). Regardless, this is still a poor excuse considering America’s history of aligning with purported terrorist groups when it suits America’s own interest.
(America most recently funded ISIS and Al-Qaeda (aka “Syrian rebels”) in an attempt to destabilize Syria and overthrow their leader Bashar al-Assad. The media doesn’t like to mention it, but Assad was elected to his current third term as a result of Syria’s first democratically-held Presidential election in decades! The only reason for controversy is that it was held in the middle of a civil war and some regions were unable to participate. However, this was largely because the rebel-controlled regions were unable to participate because they were a little too occupied with overthrowing their own government. While there could be some doubts about the validity of the election results, an international delegation asserted the election was legitimate. These nations included Brazil, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela).
To illustrate that Palestine isn’t exactly the “bad guy”, let’s look at some figures:
From Dec 1987 through July 2014, 8,441 Palestinians were killed versus only 1,512 Israelis. I’m not going to flatly call Israel the “bad guy” either based on those figures alone (especially since the Palestinians tend to target civilians) but it’s clear that in terms of sheer body count totals the Israelis are killing at a rate of 8:1.
Seems a little one-sided, doesn’t it?
And if you find those numbers suspect and doubt the source, you’ll be happy to know that B’Tselem is not only an independent human rights organization, but is even based in… drum roll please… Israel. So yeah. Nentanyahu can suck it.
How do we solve the problem?
If I were President I’d ever so gently pull the plug on all foreign aid to Israel. Let Nentanyahu chew on that for a little while. Make him sweat. Do so until he agrees to sit in a room with a Palestinian leader and stays in there until a two-state compromise is reached with definitive borders for each nation. A treaty can be signed and agreed to by the UN, acknowledging Palestine as a sovereign nation.
If Israel doesn’t want our money and would rather go at it alone, then so be it. Let them fend for themselves. They’d cave eventually.
I’m opposed to regime change wars and don’t like the idea of meddling in the affairs of other nations. But I do support cutting off defense spending for foreign nations that refuse to support compromise for the sake of peace, especially if that nation is disrespecting the hand that feeds. On top of that they shouldn’t be receiving tens of billions of dollars from the U.S. every year to begin with while half of America is living in poverty. Let’s invest that into our own middle-class instead of handing it over to a war-monger. For some perspective, that’s roughly $7 billion shy covering the cost of universal college education in America.
Still feel the same about Israel?