Jun 8, 2009
“It is easy to point fingers – for Palestinians to point to the displacement brought by Israel’s founding, and for Israelis to point to the constant hostility and attacks throughout its history from within its borders as well as beyond.”
This is how President Obama described the decades-long, bloody conflict in and around Israel in his well-advertised speech in Egypt – a quarrel between two peoples who can’t learn to get along.
Obama went on to say that “Palestinians must abandon violence,” but he didn’t utter a single word about the enormous violence coming from Israel: its total blockade of the Gaza Strip that has been starving about a million Palestinians for almost two years; the bombing of Palestinian homes by Israeli warplanes; the Israeli army’s regular invasions of the Palestinian areas, and on and on.
One of the most modern, best-equipped and best-trained armies in the world is waging an all-out, brutal war against a whole population, which is penned within apartheid-like settlements. But Obama didn’t notice the violence involved in this.
More than 60 years ago, the founders of Israel claimed that the new state would provide a home for the Jewish people, a people without a land, after the horrors of the Holocaust. But these founders established Israel as a purely “Jewish state,” using religion to define “Jewishness” – thus discriminating against Arab residents, and pushing most of them off the land Israel was founded on. The majority of Palestinian Arabs were forced to flee their homes by campaigns of violent terrorism. Today, three generations later, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still live in refugee camps.
Thus, Palestinians have become a people without a land. But the Jewish people of Israel also have not found a safe home, because they are locked in an endless, bloody war with Palestinians – who have no future, and blame Israel for it.
Indeed, the founders of Israel and all Israeli leaders ever since, who have violently defended Israel’s exclusion of Palestinian Arabs, are to blame. But backing Israel are the big imperialist powers, and especially the U.S. The U.S. has squarely stood by the Israeli leaders and their policies – giving them money, and arming their military.
The U.S. has long used Israel to protect the profits of big U.S. corporations in the Middle East.
Today Obama may issue moral exhortations about getting along – but that’s only to hide the U.S.’s responsibility for creating the bloody impasse, in which Palestinian and Jewish people find themselves today.