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August 21st, 2014

The United States-Israel-Palestine — some thoughts

On August 1st a reporter on Aljazeera America News describing the carnage in Rafah said  “today I saw several children…I have to say…I have never seen children look so shell shocked.”  On the internet there is a picture of a very young child sitting on stones next to dead parents.

Has our Government no memory, no mercy, no shame, or is it that our holders of office fear loss of support if compliance with and assistance to the Government of Israel is not accepted as a ‘given’ duty?

A principal consideration informing U.S. policies and action with respect to Israel-Palestine should be that the Palestinians (and contrary to the statement of Golda Meir there were Palestinians — lots of them) lost their ancestral homeland in the 1948 partition of Palestine, which we supported, and they did not like it.  Would anyone?  Hundreds of their towns and villages were abandoned, evacuated, or destroyed. During the expulsion many became refugees; many were killed.   Many residents of Gaza are refugees from what became Israel.  Yes, there was the Holocaust.  The Palestinians did not cause it.

Is it possible that Israeli-Palestinian areas of contention might not have led to this arena of  unbelievable, unspeakable slaughter in Gaza if the United States  had early  taken responsibility for requiring the Government of Israel’s lifting of the land, sea, and air blockade  in order to facilitate  rebuilding and economic functioning in Gaza following the earlier catastrophic belligerency, as well as requiring the Government’s release of the areas of restricted arable land?

It must be realized that this war in Gaza is part of the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict  in which the United States is a major party, providing the Government of Israel annually over 3 billion dollars (pro-rated —10 million dollars a day) military aid.  Annually about 440 million dollars non-military U.S. financial aid is provided the West Bank and Gaza.  Nevertheless, the U.S. Government is unwilling to or incapable of pressing the Government of Israel to observe   international law.  The ruling of UN Security Council Resolution 242, following the June 1967 war,  on re-establishment of borders was not implemented.  The Fourth Geneva Convention Article 49 on population transfer —“the Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” has been  ignored by the Government of Israel— to the detriment of  Palestinians.

Why has the Government of Israel been allowed to populate the West Bank, an occupied territory, as well as East Jerusalem?  Some say that because settlements have been built, it is too late for this action to be rectified — for settlers to be resettled.  Why is this so?  The areas in which the settlements have been established are Palestinian.  In 1948 Palestinians were resettled.  Does U.S. support of Israel make international law irrelevant in this case?

In 47 years very little has been resolved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It seems to me it is time for the United States — which has a part in all of this — to require, yes require,  of the Government of Israel the lifting of the blockade, to require of Israel and Hamas a complete military truce, and for the U.S. to act as a true and knowledgeable broker in diplomatic sessions, involving all parties including Hamas, for comprehensive conflict resolution in all areas of contention and for redress of injustice?    As all know,  one person’s ’terrorist’  is another person’s ‘freedom fighter.’

What has been allowed to happen in Gaza is tragic, so tragic!

– Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade

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