Sunday, September 25, 2011


I have taken U.S. history classes all my life. In each of these the same message was conveyed. The United States, bristling under oppression by the British, demanded freedom, fought for it and was finally recognized as controlling its own land and destiny. Why then, does the United States have a problem with the Palestinian people asking for the same thing?

In 1948, Israel asked for a vote from the United Nations for partition. They wanted their own nation. They took land legally recognized as belonging to other nations and carved out their own. The United States led the lobbying to win this vote. Now, both Israel and the United States want to prevent the very same vote from occurring and prevent the creation of a Palestinian state.

President Obama told the U.N. General Assembly there is no shortcut to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He told members a vote for a Palestinian nation would not bring peace or solve the dilemma the two peoples face. He is correct. Ultimately, there will have to be negotiations. The Palestinians will have to recognize Israel's right to exist and give up the right to return, and Israel is going to have to agree to negotiate from pre-1967 borders and, most importantly, stop the building of illegal settlements and surrender many settlements already constructed on Palestinian land. There are other questions too ranging from water rights to whether the boundaries of the new state will be contiguous and all will require give and take.

None of these disputes addresses the fundamental question of whether or not the Palestinians should be recognized as a separate nation. The answer is clearly yes. There is no question about their ancestral connection to the land. Historically they were left out in the cold when Israel was created. They were rejected by Jordan and Syria and became a displaced people. It is time to end that wrong.

President Obama says the United States will veto any attempt by the U.N. Security Council to grant membership to the Palestinians. Why? The simple answer is pure politics. Recently, the Democrats lost a House seat formerly occupied by Anthony Weiner. It had been in Democratic hands since the 20's. It contained a large number of Jewish voters who are angry with Obama for a perceived lack of support for Israel and his demand for a freeze in settlement construction and for using pre-1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations. With 2012 shaping up to be a very close election, Obama cannot afford to alienate Jewish votes in the key battleground state of Florida. Thus, the veto threat.

Israel's supporters cheered when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publically upbraided Obama in front of a joint session of Congress. Netanyahu continues to support the building of more illegal settlements. He refuses to even agree to a starting point for negotiations. He supports continued construction in East Jerusalem knowing it makes the Palestinians more intransigent in their demands. He is on the wrong end of history and he is attempting to stop what will eventually occur.

Netanyahu could get away with stalling and posturing in the past, but that time is over. The change in governments in Tunisia and Egypt, particularly Egypt, could leave Israel totally isolated in the region. While the military government of Egypt says it will honor the peace treaty between them and Israel, there is no guarantee a new democratically elected government will agree. Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador from Israel and relations are chilly at best. Syria and Lebanon are unstable and Iran's influence is increasing not decreasing thanks to the U.S. war in Iraq. The plight of the Palestinians is the spark that could set off a whole round of repudiations of Israel and create a serious national security problem.

The United States has for years supported dictatorships willing to be friendly to Israel. The Iraq war was fought to get rid of Saddam Hussein because of his support for the Palestinians. Some Jewish interests in this country attacked President Obama for throwing Egypt's Mubarak under the bus. They had no concern for the freedom of the Egyptian people. With Mubarak in charge, Israel had a leader who was willing to maintain the peace between the two nations even as he crushed his own people. So much for freedom loving Americans.

It is possible the Palestinians could win a vote in the General Assembly to be upgraded to observer status. The U. S. could not stop such a vote. Observer status, among other things, would allow the Palestinians to control their own air space and give them access to the International Criminal Court in the Hague where they can press their case Israel has been committing war crimes. This might generate even more pressure on Israel or isolate it further and could also push them to restart negotiations. As of now, Netanyahu has shown no such willingness.

The Palestinians have a moral right to their own nation. The Israelis have a moral right to live in peace. As long as Israel and the United States continue the hypocrisy of promoting democracy and freedom for any people, other than the Palestinians, this conflict will be a flash point in the Arab world and a threat to U.S. national security.

The Palestinians will get no help from Obama. He is deathly afraid of alienating the Jewish vote and will not pressure Israel to open a new round of talks prior to the election of 2012. Republicans will try to attract Jewish and evangelical voters by unconditional support for Israel and condemnation of the Palestinians. Ironically, they once again will choose the wrong path as they have done for the last 11 years. It's a position that weakens American security but plays well politically. Now that is the definition of appeasement.


  1. Please check out the book "The Israel Lobby".I think the co-authors are Walt and Mehrsheimer(sp?)

  2. Maybe if the Palestinians stop lobbing bombs and rockets into Israel, maybe if the Palestinians stop their talking and teaching of obliterating Israel -- in other words, if the Palestinians started acting like a civilized people - then Israel would have a partner it could actually negotiate with in good faith. Would we "negotiate" with a country that bombs and threatens us daily?

  3. For a pro-Israeli perspective on the crisis, see the youtube vid "Debunking the Palestinian Lie" by speaker/animator Sol Stern.

  4. BERNIE WARD WRITES: "In 1948, Israel asked for a vote from the United Nations for partition. They wanted their own nation. They took land legally recognized as belonging to other nations and carved out their own."

    BECKY: The "nations" who were "legally recognized" as "owners" of the land were the BRITISH!!! How can you make a claim that a white, European country with NO historical ties to the land, were the "proper" "owners?"

    But we all know history, right? The British won the land from the Turks in WWI. That made them the legal owners. Not any "Palestinian Nation" which didn't exist then and had never existed prior to that time.

    Under the League of Nations, the Balfour resolution was passed which declared that an area that was then referred to as "Southern Syria" should be opened for Jewish settlement. This was international law of the day. All of it quite legal under US, BRITISH, and League of Nations law. All resolutions of the League of Nations were adopted en masse by the newly formed United Nations.

    So where do the "Palestinians" come in? Well, in 1947, they were called "Arabs". If anyone used the term "Palestinian" in those days, they were referring to JEWS!!!

    In 1922, the League of Nations deeded 80% of "Palestine" to Jordan. Today, Jordan is 60% Palestinian but ruled by a Hashemite King. Jordan passed a law prohibiting any Jew from owning any land in Jordan.

    The land of Jerusalem and Israel has been Jewish land for 4,000 years. So the call to form the Modern State of Israel is based on that traditional claim to the land by the Jewish people. Jews came from Judea and Samaria--areas that are NOW said to be "Palestinian lands."

    Nor are the US an Israeli govts. opposed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is the Palestinians themselves who have prevented peace by failing to fully recognize the right of the Jewish people to have their own state in the mideast, no matter how small.

    If the US govt. and the Israeli govt. are in any way obstructing the formation of a new "State of Palestine" it is because they fear instant rocket attacks on their civilian population as was done by Hamas in Gaza when Israel ceded that land in 2005.

    All that cessation of land did was create MORE war and MORE attacks on their civilians.

    The land in question was NEVER "Palestinian" land. The only legal "Palestinian" land is Gaza, which Israel ceded to the Palestinian Authority (the civil govt) in 2005.

  5. Good article Bernie, but I don't buy the whole pandering to the Jewish vote excuse for why politicians are so pro-Israel. Jews make up a tiny portion of the population. And most Jews vote for Democrats no matter how hawkish they are on Israel. Congress is far more hawkish towards Israel than Jewish Americans themselves. The fear of not being ultra-Likud-pro-Israel must come from the various watch-dog groups as well as the Israel lobby. Our entire foreign policy in the middle east is not based on the fact that there are a few Jewish voters waiting to be pandered to.