Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
US Congress Loves Being Lied to About the
Israel-Palestine Conflict, When the Truth Is So Easy to Discover
By Stuart Littlewood
Redress, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 19, 2011
Stuart Littlewood reminds Israel’s stooges and other ignoramuses
in the US Congress of a few basic facts about the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict – the sheer injustice suffered by the Palestinians at the hands of
Israel and its US supporter – and concludes: “There is only one thing worse
than being lied to, Congress. And that’s acting on a lie.”
in the UK we have so many craven politicians paying homage to the likes of
Rupert Murdoch and playing stooge to the pro-Israel lobby that there’s
little time to take much interest in US politics. So I apologise to American
friends for briefly intruding on their grief; but somebody has sent me a
copy of a letter from a US congresswoman to one of her constituents.
“So why does this nice lady lawmaker from Hawaii suddenly
find herself co-sponsoring a resolution that’s designed to
scupper the hopes for freedom of another people halfway
round the world, who have suffered betrayal and brutal
military occupation for 63 years?”
As the only democracy in the
region, I believe that the United States has a special relationship with
Israel... During my time in the House of Representatives, I will support
our funding our ally and help to forward Israel's efforts to keep their
citizens safe, which currently stands at 2.8 billion dollars in general
foreign aid, and another 280 million dollars for a missile defence
Our foreign aid to Palestine is intended to create a
virtuous cycle of stability and prosperity in the West Bank that
inclines Palestinians towards peaceful coexistence with Israel and
prepares them for self-governance. Continued failure to reach a
two-state solution, combined with lack of consensus on any of the
alternatives, may also mean that the status quo in the West
Bank and Gaza could continue indefinitely. In addition, with the West
Bank and Gaza currently controlled by Hamas, an entity listed as a
terrorist organization by US State Department and many other world
governments, this may ultimately impact future aid our nation will
Most recently, I became a co-sponsor of House Resolution
268, which reaffirms our support for a negotiated solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict resulting in two states. This resolution
also opposition to a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, as
well as outlined consequences for Palestinian efforts to circumvent
direct negotiations.[sic] This bill passed in the House on 7 July 2011
by a vote of 407 – 6…
Resolution 268 actually states that “Palestinian efforts to gain
recognition of a state outside direct negotiations demonstrates absence of a
good-faith commitment to peace negotiations”. It threatens withholding US
foreign aid to the Palestinian National Authority if it presses ahead with
an application for statehood in the United Nations in September. It also
calls for the Palestinian unity government to “publicly and formally
forswear terrorism, accept Israel's right to exist, and reaffirm previous
agreements made with the government of Israel”.
Senator Ben Cardin,
who initiated the resolution, announced: “The Senate has delivered a clear
message to the international community that United Nations recognition of a
Palestinian state at this time does not further the peace process.”
Israel is the only democracy in the region? The West Bank and Gaza are
controlled by Hamas? An application to the UN for Palestinian statehood is
“circumventing” the peace process? Representative Colleen Hanabusa’s letter
shows that she is poorly briefed. There is nothing on her website to suggest
that she has a special interest in foreign affairs, let alone the Middle
East. So why does this nice lady lawmaker from Hawaii suddenly find herself
co-sponsoring a resolution that’s designed to scupper the hopes for freedom
of another people halfway round the world, who have suffered betrayal and
brutal military occupation for 63 years?
Disinformation is a
recurring feature of US foreign policy discourse, and I'm reminded of the
twisted comments of Alejandro Wolff, US Deputy Permanent Representative to
the UN, when he faced journalists' questions at the Security Council on that
infamous day, 3 January 2009, when Israel’s tanks rolled into Gaza to deal
further death and destruction to a community that had already been
air-blitzed for eight days and suffered siege and blockade for nearly 30
months before that.
Ambassador, you made no mention, sir, of any Israeli violation of those
agreements that you've referred to, particularly in the opening of the
crossings. And then there is a major development today, which is
Israel's land attack and that's threatening to kill hundreds of
civilians. Doesn't this deserve some request for Israel ... to stop its
ground military attacks, sir?
Ambassador Wolff: Well,
again, we're not going to equate the actions of Israel, a member state
of the United Nations, with the actions of the terrorist group Hamas.
There is no equivalence there. This council has spoken on many times
about the concerns we had about Hamas's military attacks on Israel. The
charter of this organization [the UN] respects the right of every member
state to exercise its self-defence, and Israel's self-defence is not
negotiable... The plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza is directly
attributable to Hamas.
Reporter: But Hamas represents
the people, because they voted, over 70 per cent of them, for Hamas in
the last election.
Ambassador Wolff: Hamas usurped the legitimate
authority of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza.
Even US ambassadors should know that Hamas was and still is the
legitimate authority. Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 in a contest
judged by international observers to be clean. The result didn't suit Israel
or its protector, the USA, so, together with the UK and the EU, they set
about trashing Palestine’s embryonic democracy. Losers Fatah, a corrupt
faction rejected by the people for that reason, was recruited and funded to
do the dirty work, for which they were well suited. As John Pilger has
pointed out, when Hamas foiled a CIA-inspired coup in 2007 the event was
reported in the Western media as “Hamas's seizure of power”.
simply took the action necessary to establish its democratic authority
against Fatah’s US-funded militia. This angered the US and Israel even more.
For Mrs Hanabusa’s information, thanks to America’s meddling Fatah
controls the West Bank but has no democratic legitimacy while Hamas is holed
up in Gaza. And Israel is far from being the full-blown Western-style
democracy that many think.
"No equivalence" between Israel and “terrorist” Hamas?
“Palestinians too have a right to defend themselves, and
their self-defence, like Israel’s, is non-negotiable.”
The US uses a perfectly good form of words to brand, outlaw and crush any
organization, individual or country it doesn’t like. Under Executive Order
13224 ("Blocking Property and prohibiting Transactions with Persons who
commit, threaten to commit, or support Terrorism"), Section 3, the term
“terrorism” means an activity that:
(i) involves a violent act
or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and
(ii) appears to be intended
(a) to intimidate or coerce
a civilian population;
(b) to influence the policy
of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(c) to affect the
conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping
The order was signed on 23 September 2001 by George W. Bush. Its
definition of terrorism fits the conduct of the United States and its
bosom-buddy Israel like a glove, the irony of which seems totally lost on
Let us also look at Netanyahu's definition since he runs
Israel's current government. His book Terrorism: How the West Can Win
defines terror as the "deliberate and systematic murder, maiming and
menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends”.
interview with Jennifer Byrne in February 2002, he said: "Terrorism is
defined by one thing and one thing alone, the nature of the act. It is the
deliberate systematic assault on civilians that defines terrorism."
It’s like he’s signing his own arrest warrant.
If terror is
unjustifiable, then it is unjustifiable across the board. The Palestinians
had no history of violence until their lands were threatened and then
partitioned and overrun by a brutal intruder whose greed is never satisfied.
Demands for Palestinians to cease their terror campaign (if you buy the idea
that resistance equals terror) must be linked to demands for Israel to do
As for the resistance movement Hamas, its charter is
objectionable and the leadership are foolish not to have rewritten it in
tune with modern diplomacy. Nevertheless the Hamas prime minister, Ismail
Haniyeh, within days of being elected, offered long-term peace if Israel
recognized Palestine as an independent state on 1967 borders. Previously,
the Palestine Liberation Organization had unwisely “recognized” Israel
without any reciprocal recognition of a Palestinian state. The Oslo Accords
were supposed to end the occupation and give Palestine independence. "What
we've got instead are more settlements, more occupation, more roadblocks,
more poverty and more repression," he said.
Omar Abdul Razek, Hamas’s
finance minister, when interviewed by Aljazeera in May 2006, asked: “Which
Israel would you want me to recognize? Is it Israel from the Nile to the
Euphrates? Israel with the occupied Golan Heights? Israel with East
Jerusalem? Israel with the settlements? I challenge you to tell me where
Israel's borders lie.”
Omar Abdul Razek: “Does Israel
recognize the 1967 borders? Can you tell me of one Israeli government
that ever voiced willingness to withdraw to the 1967 borders?”
So, the question remains: why should Hamas or any other Palestinian party
renounce violence against a foreign power that violently occupies their
homeland, bulldozes their homes at gunpoint, uproots their beautiful olive
groves, sets up hundreds of armed checkpoints to disrupt normal life,
batters down villagers’ front doors in the dead of night, builds an illegal
“separation” wall to annex their territory, divide families, steal their
water and isolate their communities, and blockades exports and imports to
cause economic ruin – and now plans to steal Gaza’s offshore gas?
Palestinians too have a right to defend themselves, and their self-defence,
like Israel’s, is non-negotiable.
As for recognizing Israel right to
exist, no Palestinian is likely to do that while under Israel’s jackboot.
Nor should they be expected to. It would simply serve to legitimize the
occupation, which is what Israel wants above all and what Israel wants
Israel must get, even if the US has to make a complete fool of itself.
The terror that stalks the Holy Land
“I make that 6,429 to the Israelis and 589 to the
Palestinians - a kill rate of 11 to 1. When it comes to
snuffing out children Israel is even more proficient with a
kill-rate of over 14 to 1.”
American and Israeli politicians love quoting the number of garden-shed
rockets launched from Gaza towards Sderot. But can they say how many
(US-supplied) bombs, shells and rockets have been delivered by F-16s,
helicopter gunships, tanks, drones and navy vessels into the tightly-packed
humanity of Gaza?
But at least we have an idea of the death-toll over
the last 10 years. B'Tselem,
the Israeli human rights organization, keeps a close check.
period between the start of the second Intifada (September 2000) up
to Operation Cast Lead (26 December 2008) 4,836 Palestinians were killed by
Israelis in the occupied territories, including 951 children. Two hundred
and thirty five of these were targeted killings (i.e. assassinations) while
2,186 were killed during targeted killings although they were not taking
part in hostilities. Five hundred and eighty one Israelis, including 84
children, were killed by Palestinians in Israel.
Cast Lead (27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009) 1,396 Palestinians,
including 345 children, were killed by Israelis. In Gaza itself they killed
344 children, 110 women and 117 elderly people. Only four Israelis were
killed by Palestinians in this period, no children.
Cast Lead and up to the end of May 2011 Israelis killed 197 Palestinians in
the occupied territories, including 26 children. Five were targeted killings
during which 65 non-participants were killed. In the same period three
Israelis were killed by Palestinians in Israel, including one child.
I make that 6,429 to the Israelis and 589 to the Palestinians - a kill rate
of 11 to 1. When it comes to snuffing out children Israel is even more
proficient with a kill-rate of over 14 to 1.
And it’s not just the
dead. The Cast Lead assault on Gaza is reported to have injured and maimed
some 5,450. Israel also destroyed or damaged 58,000 homes, 280 schools,
1,500 factories and water and sewage installations. And it used prohibited
weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorus shells.
Assassination has been official Israeli policy since 1999. Their preferred
method is the air-strike, which is often messy as demonstrated in 2002 when
Israeli F-16 warplanes bombed the house of Sheikh Salah Shehadeh, the
military commander of Hamas, in Gaza City killing not just him but at least
11 other Palestinians, including seven children, and wounding 120 others.
I’m told resistance “terrorists” like Hamas account for less than a
thousand victims a year worldwide, while “good guy” state terrorists
slaughter civilians by the hundreds of thousands – some say millions.
The long list of Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians – attacks that
cannot be justified on grounds of defence or security and are so
disproportionate as to constitute grave violations of human rights – puts
Israel near the top of the state terrorist league. The demolition of
thousands of Palestinian homes in the West Bank for “administrative” and
planning reasons, the wholesale destruction of businesses and
infrastructure, the impoverishment and displacement of Palestinians through
land expropriation and closure, the abductions and imprisonments, the
assassinations, and especially that 22-day blitzkrieg on the
civilian population of Gaza who had nowhere to run – all this add up to
mega-terrorism on the part of America’s “special friend”, according to their
Negotiations? "We have spoken to Israel for more than 18 years and the
result has been zero”
Finally, what is this nonsense about Palestinians lacking good faith and
somehow “isolating Israel” by applying for UN recognition rather than
wasting more time on fruitless negotiations? Israel obtained its statehood
by accepting the borders of the UN’s 1947 partition, which was agreed
without even consulting the Palestinians whose land was being carved up. The
Jews didn’t stop to “negotiate”. Well before the ink was dry Jewish terror
groups had ethnically cleansed and driven off hundreds of thousands of
Palestinian Arabs from their lands and villages so that the new state’s
already generous boundaries were immediately expanded (example, Najd now
Sderot). The land-grab had started and Israel’s borders have been “fluid”
Why are US lawmakers now trying to thwart the
Palestinians’ dream of their own independent state? No-one is demanding the
1947 borders. They are willing to accept the 1967 armistice lines recognized
in numerous UN resolutions and generally accepted by the international
community. Even Hamas has agreed. So what is the problem?
is that the Israeli occupation should have collapsed long ago under the
weight of its illegality, but Israel shows no willingness to return the
stolen lands or relinquish enough control for a viable Palestinian state.
Netanyahu heads Israel’s Likud party, which is the embodiment of greed,
racist ambition, lawlessness and callous disregard for other people’s
rights. In any other country it would be banned and its leaders locked up.
is welcomed like a hero in the US and given 29 standing ovations by
Likud intends to make the seizure of Jerusalem permanent
and establish Israel’s capital there. It will “act with vigour” to ensure
Jewish sovereignty in East Jerusalem (which still officially belongs to the
Palestinians as does the Old City). The illegal settlements are “the
realization of Zionist values and a clear expression of the unassailable
right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel”. They will be strengthened
and expanded. As for the Palestinians, they can run their lives in a
framework of self-rule “but not as an independent and sovereign state”.
So we can see where he’s coming from.
Kadima, the party of
Barak, is little better and has also pledged to preserve the larger
settlement blocs and steal Jerusalem.
“Funny how we never hear the US talking about law and
justice. It’s always ‘negotiations’ or ‘talks’, buying time
In the 1947 UN partition Jerusalem was designated an international city
under independent administration to avoid all this aggravation.
Rather than force compliance with international law and UN resolutions
the international community, led by the US, has let matters slide by
insisting on a solution based on lopsided power negotiations in which the
Palestinians are at a serious disadvantage. During this dragged-out and
failed process Israel has been allowed to strengthen its occupation by
establishing more and more “facts on the ground”, and its violations of
human rights and international law have escalated with impunity. And that is
what this dirty game is all about: Israel needs more time to make its
Funny how we never hear the US talking about
law and justice. It’s always “negotiations” or “talks”, buying time for
What the situation is crying out for is justice, and it’s all
set down in UN resolutions, international law and humanitarian law. Once
both sides are in compliance negotiations can commence – if there’s anything
left to negotiate.
Fr Manuel Musallam, for many years the Latin
Catholic priest in Gaza, recently told members of the Irish government:
We have spoken to Israel for
more than 18 years and the result has been zero. We have signed
agreements here and there at various times and then when there is a
change in the government of Israel we have to start again from the
beginning. We ask for our life and to be given back our Jerusalem, to be
given our state and for enough water to drink. We want to be given more
opportunity to reach Jerusalem. I have not seen Jerusalem since 1990.
Indeed, when I met Fr Manuel four years ago he had been effectively
trapped in Gaza for nine years, unable to visit his family a few miles away
in the West Bank. Had he set foot outside Gaza the Israelis would not have
allowed him back in to rejoin his flock. So, he stayed put until he retired.
This is just a tiny part of the ugly reality that America supports and
If Mrs Hanabusa and the rest of Congress were in the
Palestinians’ shoes would they bog themselves down yet again in discredited
negotiations with a gun to their heads?
Or would they apply to the UN
for long overdue enforcement of its resolutions and international law?
There is only one thing worse than being lied to, Congress. And that’s
acting on a lie.