Sonja Karkar reminds us that beyond Washington’s
superficial admonishing of Israel over its humiliation of the Obama
administration lie the unbreakable shackles that paralyse the US and prevent
it from translating its words into real action to rein in the Zionist
”The disconnect between words and actions might
please those who want peace more than they want justice for the
Palestinians, but for many the words have been done to death. By the
time proximity talks morph into full negotiations, there will be no
Jerusalem left to negotiate and no Palestinians left in Jerusalem. All
words will then be meaningless.”
“There isn’t one I haven’t heard” or so goes one
of the lines in a well-known American musical. Yet, this time the world is
imbuing the words with new meaning when it comes to US-Israel relations. The
hope is that at long last the US is going to discipline Israel.
Alas, in the flurry of words,
the music has not changed. America seems as much bedazzled by Israel as a
parent who is blind to the antics of an over-indulged, demanding child. No
amount of insults seems to shatter the illusion that the precious being is
in fact a monster.
Just as the parent can no longer control a child’s
obnoxious behaviour, so too America finds itself hamstrung by Israel’s
illegal settlement expansion into Palestinian territory and its
determination to take and Judaise all of Jerusalem. And while this time
there have been some firm admonishments, there have been no follow-up
consequences. America is lapsing into the same old routine of placating
Israel with promises to keep the faith.
"America seems as much
bedazzled by Israel as a parent who is blind to the antics
of an over-indulged, demanding child."
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
conference in Washington DC provided the meeting place for the usual Israel
love-in. There, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plumbed the
depths. He lied when he said that Jews had built Jerusalem 3,000 years ago.
He lied when he said it was theirs to build again. He lied when he said “it
is our capital”.
No one pulled him up over those lies. Instead,
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waffled on about how Israel’s behaviour
exposes the daylight between them that others in the region hope to exploit
– the same daylight that US Vice-President Joe Biden vowed did not exist
between the two countries – and how it endangers the proximity talks and
America’s essential role in bringing those to fruition. But, not before she
had told the audience that America’s commitment to Israel was “rock solid,
enduring, unwavering and forever”.
Her prime concern was not that
Israel’s behaviour denies millions of Palestinians the right to live in
their own homeland and cruelly oppresses those who still do, but rather that
America’s credibility as an honest broker in a long-defunct peace process
might be at risk.
Nothing was said about Jerusalem being a corpus separatum
under UN trusteeship since the Partition of Palestine in 1947 or that Israel
does not have sovereignty over Jerusalem, despite its military conquests.
Not a mention was made that East Jerusalem is occupied territory and that
Israel is in breach of international law.
Netanyahu’s claims over
Jerusalem presuppose an “eternal connection” between Jews and the land. But
the historical record on that is clear. Not only are there non-Jewish groups
who ruled Jerusalem for centuries rather than the brief 170 years of likely
Jewish rule, but also the city existed long before Judaism took form.
On any reading, Jerusalem is no
more Jewish than it is Christian or Islamic. Yet, if anyone can lay claim to
it by an “eternal connection”, it is the Palestinians whose history goes
back millennia to the Canaanites who worshipped pagan deities and then to
those who converted to emerging Judaism, Christianity and centuries later to
ascendant Islam. Thus, the three monotheistic religions believe they too
have a claim. For this reason, the 1947 UN Partition resolution sought to
give Jerusalem international status as a separate body.
To this day, the international
community has refused to officially recognize Israeli sovereignty over
Jerusalem. Notwithstanding this, Israel has pursued an aggressive policy of
“unification” and “reunification” of “Jewish” Jerusalem by pushing out the
boundaries of Palestinian East Jerusalem to some 73 square kilometres, well
into the occupied West Bank where Israel has illegally settled some 300,000
"In the midst of all the
recent hoo-ha about chilling relations, a 210-million-dollar
arms deal with Israel, paid for by US military aid,
nevertheless went ahead with an estimated massive
3-billion-dollar F-35 warplane deal still in the offing."
Secretary Clinton’s “no to settlements” and “no to
natural growth” at the end of last year were empty words. Within days, she
had eagerly announced that Netanyahu’s guarantees of no new settlement
building and no new land grabs were “unprecedented” concessions. Nothing was
said about the building going on in East Jerusalem, let alone the forced
evictions of Palestinians, the demolition of their homes and Israeli
building policies, which are deliberately skewed towards Jewish population
ne has to wonder what meaning words have at all
when carefully considered ones are ignored. A United Nations report of May
2009 said that as many as 60,000 Palestinians were at risk of eviction from
their homes and called for a freeze on demolitions in East Jerusalem. Yet,
the most that Secretary of State Clinton could say then – 10 months ago –
was that Israel’s actions were “unhelpful” in advancing the peace process.
As has happened innumerable
times in the past, the reprimanding words of US emissaries and government
officials are always quickly followed up with other words to reassure Israel
of “the unbreakable bond” between the two countries, and more significantly,
actions that belie the reprimands. In the midst of all the recent hoo-ha
about chilling relations, a 210-million-dollar arms deal with Israel, paid
for by US military aid, nevertheless went ahead with an estimated massive
3-billion-dollar F-35 warplane deal still in the offing.
In other words, regardless of
the song-sheet, America never misses a beat to give Israel what it wants. It
will be interesting to see if the US does withdraw support for Israel in the
United Nations on any resolutions before the Security Council critical of
Israel’s settlement policies in occupied East Jerusalem. The rumours are
fulminating among denials from both sides. While to many this signifies a
change of heart in America’s love affair with Israel, it may be no more than
the stuff of gossip columns to remake America’s image as honest broker in
the Middle East.
The disconnect between words and actions might please
those who want peace more than they want justice for the Palestinians, but
for many the words have been done to death. By the time proximity talks
morph into full negotiations, there will be no Jerusalem left to negotiate
and no Palestinians left in Jerusalem. All words will then be meaningless.
is the founder of Women for Palestine and one of the founders and
co-convener of Australians for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia. She is
also the editor of
contributes articles on Palestine regularly to various publications. She
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors
and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.