Arab Spring

A barren tree, once full of life
Stands leafless, brown ice in gloom
A barren tree, once full of strife
Stands not a spark, not a flower in bloom
A barren tree, once full of promise
Stands in sorrow, a promise but for tomorrow
As for today, not a leaf dares there stay

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Israel Lobby

The Arab-Israeli conflict does seem like an intractable conflict. A country is established as a Jewish majority nation in the Middle of Palestine, an existing country with an Arab majority consisting of Christians and Muslims.

Today as it stands, 5.5 million Jews and 5.7 million Arabs live in historic Palestine, between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean. There are only two possible solutions that are viable alternatives to the current situation of occupation and apartheid, as named by many observers, Jews and gentiles, including former President Jimmy Carter who, himself, gave Israel its most prized posession, peace with Egypt.

The first solution is a one state solution with Christian and Muslim Arabs living with Jews in one state that combines Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza into one large nation that is home to both Palestinians and Jews. The one state solution is supported by the majority of Arabs and Palestinians, but is a no deal to Israelis and World Jewry for the reason that the new state would be majority Arab.

The second solution is a two state solution where the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem form the Palestinian state. This would result in two states between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, one Jewish, one Palestinian with large minorities of Arabs and Jews respectively.

The reasons that induce one to conclude that the Pro-Israel lobby is too powerful in the United States are evident. For the last fourty years, the Arabs of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, which now total 4.3 million people, have the been the only people on earth with no citizenship to any country. They have no rights, nor representation, nor self-determination or any freedom that is associated with a soverign people nor are they given these rights as full citizens of Israel.

The United States has supported this state of affairs despite its obvious moral shortcomings and illegal trappings, precisely because of a strong pro-Israel domestic lobby. Furthermore, American interests would no more explain the American policy in the Middle East than morality does.

US interest would lie at the very least in a peaceful Middle East, composed of a secured Israel and a free Palestine. However, even through the Oslo years, and definitely before and since, settlement building and settler colonization of the West Bank has been going strong. The number of settlers between 1967 and 1990 is 90 thousand settlers. During the Oslo years, between 1991 and 2000, the number of settlers increased to 250,000. Since the settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have reached up to 450,000. This number approaches ten percent of Israel's Jewish population. One can no longer claim that settlers are a fringe group. The United States has never weighed heavily against Israel for its settlement policy and the two presidents that tried, Jimmy Carter and George HP Bush did not get re-elected.

The answer is not to do away with lobbies or to outlaw the Pro-Israel lobby but to awaken average Americans to the real costs incurred in their financial and military support of the state of Israel against Palestinians and the entire Middle East.


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