Swedenâ€™s new Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven, has announced that that nation will be the first of the European Union to grant official recognition to Palestine. To date, 134 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognize Palestine. This is a reasonable step that will, hopefully, set the example for other European nations to do the same.
The United States, Israelâ€™s best friend in all the world, and that bottomless pit of financial assistance for Israel, is, not surprisingly, seriously displeased. A spokeswoman for President Barack Obama said this: â€œWe believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature. We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties.â€
Here we go with the â€˜negotiated outcomeâ€™ nonsense again, nonsense that much of the world dismisses, but that the U.S. clings to, knowing that there can be no â€˜negotiated outcome,â€™ but toeing the Israeli party line.
When Israel carpet-bombs Palestine, a nation it occupies, U.S. spokespersons say that Israel â€˜has a right to defend itselfâ€™. They donâ€™t see what most of the rest of the world does: that it is illogical for an occupying force to â€˜defendâ€™ itself against the people it occupies.
But this is the model that worked for a while for the U.S. public-relations machine, when terrorist U.S. soldiers were occupying Iraq. Iraqi freedom fighters, resisting the cruel oppression of the U.S., were labelled â€˜insurgentsâ€™. For the U.S., anyone opposing occupation by it or its allies is an â€˜insurgentâ€™. Someone opposing a government that has somehow displeased the U.S. is not only a â€˜freedom fighterâ€™, but is given whatever level of support the U.S. deems appropriate, often in the form of bombs and/or ground troops. And since the Israeli lobby has purchased the U.S. governing body, and pays its annual maintenance fees, Palestine doesnâ€™t have a chance of U.S. support.
Does anybody outside the White House or the hallowed halls of Congress reasonably believe that the U.S. can be an objective broker in bringing about a settlement between Israel and Palestine? Letâ€™s look at some basic, very pertinent facts about the situation.
* The U.S. provides Israel with $3 billion in foreign aid each year. It provides Palestine with nothing.
* Among the aid provided to Israel is some of the most advanced weaponry in the world. Palestine is not provided with as much as a single gun.
* When the United Nations proposes to officially criticize any aspect of the Israeli occupation, the U.S. uses its veto power to prevent it.
* The U.S. condemns any rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, but supports the carpet-bombing of the Gaza Strip by Israel, with bombs the U.S. provides.
* The killing of any Israeli by a Palestinian is lamented by the U.S., but the deaths of over 2000 Palestinians, nearly a quarter of them children, garners barely a mention.
When the U.S. announces a new round of worthless, meaningless and futile talks between Israel and Palestine, and asks that each side refrain from doing anything to jeopardize them, it isnâ€™t unusual for Israel to announce new settlements on land it is â€˜confiscatingâ€™ (read: stealing) from Palestine. The U.S. huffs and puffs, and says timidly that this may be counter-productive, but, as Israel well knows, will do nothing meaningful to prevent the new settlement construction.
Despite this, the worldâ€™s governments donâ€™t laugh in the face of U.S. proclamations about its efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in the Middle East. The people of the world, however, seem to be taking a second look.
One need not wonder what the U.S. could do, if Congress and the President were not beholden to the Israeli lobby. Simply cutting the purse strings would do the trick. The United Nations, were it not constrained by its own internal inadequacies, could send a â€˜peacekeepingâ€™ force to prevent further settlement activity. And while they were about it, that same force could end the cruel, crippling, illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Any reasonable person (this, of course, does not include U.S. elected officials; â€˜reasonableâ€™ is hardly a term to describe them) would wonder why this isnâ€™t done. Why, they might ask, does the U.S., despite the power of the Israeli lobby, allow Israel to spit in its face? Do these officials have no sense of pride? Have they no sense of shame?
The answer to those last two questions, unfortunately, is no. With very few exceptions (this writer canâ€™t even think of any at the moment), these officials grovel at the feet of the Israeli lobby, paying homage at the unholy altar of AIPAC (American Israel Political Affairs Committee), receiving the financial largess that that lobby funnels to them, while they, in turn, throw the human rights of the Palestinian people under the proverbial bus. What, they might ask, is the worth of a dead Palestinian baby, when they have campaign coffers to fill?
Perhaps that is what is required: a powerful, wealthy Palestinian lobby. The U.S., despite all its lofty proclamations, isnâ€™t what is generally called a representative democracy. Such a thing represents the will of the people who, ostensibly, are given periodic opportunities to replace those whom they elect. The U.S. represents the will of the rich and the powerful, including oil companies, weapons manufacturers (this writer refuses to call them â€˜defenseâ€™ contractors; they have little or nothing to do with defense), and Israel, all of which have well-funded lobbies that set government policy. They do this by spending sufficient monies to assure the election and perpetual re-election of those officials that do their bidding. The Supreme Court, in its infamous â€˜Citizens Unitedâ€™ decision, has only fostered and supported this model.
So hypocritical U.S. officials continue to fund groups opposing governments that displease it, often with disastrous long-term results. They ignore the suffering of people oppressed by its financial benefactors, decrying the human rights abuses of some countries, while countenancing and even financing the unspeakable human rights abuses of others. And when it appears that the citizenry is getting a sense of this injustice, there is always a war to start, an invented threat to address, and an American flag to wave to get everybody back in line. And like lemmings, much of the citizenry rushes out to put a brand new â€˜support the troopsâ€™ bumper sticker on their car. And the current victimization of people like the Palestinians continues, while a new population experiences the horror of U.S. terrorism.