Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Response to President Obama's Recent Editorial

Current Affairs ---

Mr. President, I read with interest your recent editorial  in the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz in which you explained your support for Israel's retaliatory attack on Gaza.  Indeed, one has to be hard-hearted not to feel sympathy for those Israeli families who live near the Blue Line and for those families who have to live under the possibility of rocket attacks.  Your feelings for those families were palpable.  Now you did not mention the incomparable number of Palestinian families whose homes have been bombed or bulldozed over the years, nor the Palestinian boys and girls who, like the Israeli boys and girls in Sderot you mentioned, also want to grow up without fear.   I agree with you that the abduction and murder of those three Israeli boys and of Hussein Khdeir was senseless, but addressing the "parties" with amorphous velleities rather than holding them both directly responsible for the violence will not bring an end to the conflict.

You laud the friendship between Israel and the US.  It is wonderful that the US is Israel's greatest friend and that Israel (for whom you are willing to dig into Washington's "tight budget") can count on that friendship, but isn't honesty an essential hallmark of friendship?  And wouldn't a true friend be unafraid to point out when his or her friend is in error?  You seem afraid to chide Israel (your friend), while with Palestine you do not pull any punches.   But what I do not understand is how militarism seems to be the basis of that friendship, for you point to your numerous joint military exercises and development of defense technologies as proof of that "strong" friendship.  What kind of friendship is that - built solely around stuff having to do with killing?  

You expressed concern for Israel's security, and I agree with you that her security is important.  So also is the security of all other nations.  I am very glad that you are working to make sure that Iran "does not ever possess a nuclear weapon."  In fact, no country should have nuclear weapons in its possession, for one would not be able to guarantee that the leaders of that country will not use them.  If the great and exceptional USA used its Atom bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, can we trust any other country with nuclear weapons not to do the same?  So, I wish you success in your task of preventing Iran from acquiring such weapons, and while you are at it be sure that North Korea, Israel, India, Pakistan, China, France, and Russia get rid of theirs.  Don't forget to get rid of yours as well. 

Mr. President, your statement about peace between Israel and Palestine being "necessary, just, and possible" was spot on.   However, peace is not "necessary" for the reason you adduce; it is necessary because if Israel and Palestine continue along their current course, it will lead to both their destruction.  And by the way you cannot use the term "democratic" in the same sentence with "Jewish state of Israel", just as you cannot use it in the same sentence with "Islamic state" or "Christian state", etc.  It is a contradiction - especially if that Jewish state is also made up of Arab-Israelis.  

Now back to the issue of peace; indeed it is just, as you say, but you seem to suggest that Israel should be a recipient of this justice.  What you forget, Mr. President, is that Israel is the occupying power in this case - the victimizer in a horrifying occupation.  The Palestinians are the ones in need of justice.  As the occupying power Israel has the obligation according to international law to ensure the protection of Palestinian citizens.  Instead, according to the judgement of the United Nations, it has acted out of accordance with international law with its continued violations of humanitarian and civil rights standards vis a vis Palestine, through the illegal wall it erected, blockade, and illegal settlements.  

And finally, Mr. President, explain to me how peace between Palestine and Israel can be possible when you, the chief mediator,  are inordinately biased towards one of the parties.  That while you attempt to bring the parties together, you are providing one of the parties with funds and weapons to be used in continuing the occupation.  That while you are attempting to end the violence, you are encouraging violence on the part of one of the parties while condemning that of the other.   Here is what I think you should do, Mr. President.  How about truly befriending Palestine?  She could use a friend.  For an exceedingly long time she has been treated like a pariah, even by the other Arab countries.  How about helping her out in the same way you have been helping Israel?  Then you will have, not one, but two strong friends in the Middle East.  Israel might be a bit jealous at first, but she will come around once she sees that you are not giving her up.  Then all three of you together can be good friends.  Think of what that will mean for the rest of the world, Mr. President.