Obama’s “Support” for Israel

What you are thunders so loudly that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Much has been made by the National Jewish Democratic Council about Barack Hussein Obama’s purported support for Israel. Obama’s actions, however, thunder so loudly that we cannot hear his lip service to Israel’s basic security and right to exist. After soliciting the support of the prominent racist and anti-Semite Al Sharpton, Barack Obama just accepted the endorsement of MoveOn.org. Let’s see what this official MoveOn.org bulletin has to say about Israel and the Palestinians.

MoveOn Bulletin
Friday, June 20, 2003
Noah T. Winer, Editor
noah.winer “at” moveon.org

NTRODUCTION: WHERE DOES THE ROAD MAP LEAD?
In July, 2000 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak broke off talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat at the Camp David summit hosted by U.S. President Bill Clinton. That September, Ariel Sharon, chairman of the Likud party, made a provocative visit to the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Control over this holy site for both Muslims and Jews is contested by Palestinians and Israelis. The visit implied Israeli sovereignty over all Jerusalem, the eastern portion of which is considered occupied territory by the international community. So began the second intifada, or Palestinian uprising.

As in the first intifada in the late 1980s, the demand is for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem — which has persisted since 1967 — and acknowledgment of the Palestinian refugees right to return to the villages from which they were forced to leave during the 1948 war that established the State of Israel. In the 33 months since, human death has saturated the region: 816 Israelis and 2,384 Palestinians have been killed.

Early in his presidency, George W. Bush avoided substantial involvement in the Israel-Palestine conflict. After September 11, 2001 a number of factors — escalating violence in the area and Israel’s attempt to link September 11th with Palestinian suicide bombings, pressure from the Israel lobby and the Christian Right, and the desire for an increasing U.S. influence in the oil-rich Middle East — prompted Bush to take an active, personal role in promoting an agreement.

That proposed agreement is the Road Map. While the initiative has been praised for calling for an end to violence and for endorsing the formation a Palestinian state, the Road Map provides no mechanism for actually ending the violence, leaves uncertain the borders of the proposed state, and postpones determining the status of the 380,000 Israeli settlers and four million Palestinian refugees. With matters so central to the resolution of the conflict left to be decided at a future date or ignored entirely, the Road Map is still far from being a bona fide peace proposal.

True and lasting peace begins with justice for all the people of the region. That the Road Map will lead in that direction is not at all evident.

CRITIQUE
From the only joint Palestinian-Israeli public policy think-tank in the world:
“The Road Map is severely lacking in detail. It mentions that the sides will have to negotiate the permanent status issues such as borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees, etc. but makes almost no mention of these issues throughout the process in the earlier phases.”
http://www.ipcri.org/files/roadmapgb.html

From the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:
“According to the facts on the ground, the [Palestinian] ’state’ will apparently be comprised of three enclaves cut off from one another inside the West Bank — in addition to the Gazan enclave, and with no guarantee the settlements inside the enclave will be dismantled. The ’separation fence’ has been described as ‘temporary,’ but it is a wall with hefty fortifications taking up a lot of land, and it has already scarred the Tul Karm-Qalqiliyah area, the most prosperous Palestinian farmland, thus sabotaging one of the cornerstones of Palestinian economic security.”
http://www.moveon.org/r?456

From The Nation:
“For in failing to focus on the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, about to enter its 37th year, and on Israeli settlements, which underpin that occupation, the Road Map misses an opportunity to end this conflict. Instead, it concentrates on Palestinian violence and how to combat it — as if it came out of nowhere, and as if, were it to be halted, the situation of occupation and settlement would be normal.
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030609&s=khalidi

FACTS ON THE GROUND: TERRORISM
Human Rights Watch condemns suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/isrl-pa/

Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, on the Rantisi assassination attempt.
http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/article254.html

An Israeli parliament member and 25 former Israeli generals have raised questions about the timing of Sharon’s assassination attempt.
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0612-05.htm

Senator Dick Lugar (R-Indiana), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has raised the possibility of U.S. military intervention “to root out the terrorism that is at the heart of the problem.”
http://www.moveon.org/r?453

FACTS ON THE GROUND: OUTPOSTS AND SETTLEMENTS
From the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:
“Don’t make do with the outposts. There are more than 100 of them, and about 60 went up in Sharon’s days. If he takes down 7-10 he hasn’t done a thing. Many were put up just to pull them out, like a goat from a crowded corral.”
http://www.moveon.org/r?454

From The Nation:
“A recent poll by Israel’s Jaffee Institute for Strategic Studies shows that 56 percent of Israelis — up from 48 percent last year — would ’support a unilateral withdrawal from the territories in the context of a peace accord, even if that meant ceding all settlements.’ Here is the signpost for a realistic road map that could be charted by the Bush Administration.”
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20030630&s=carey

FACTS ON THE GROUND: THE SEPARATION WALL
Gush Shalom reports that the separation wall Israel is constructing in the West Bank is not at all along the internationally recognized 1967 “green line” border. The wall, officially being built for security, annexes illegal settlements into Israel.
http://www.gush-shalom.org/thewall/

A troubling report on the 25-foot tall separation wall from Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot describes how the system of barbed concrete walls and armed watchtowers will imprison hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without access to their agricultural lands.
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article1546.shtml

The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment on legal efforts to block the wall.
http://www.lawsociety.org/Press/Preleases/2002/oct/oct15e.html

Res ipsa loquitur, the thing speaks for itself. In the above MoveOn.org bulletin, edited by Noah T. Winer, MoveOn.org endorses the following positions:
(1) Israel is responsible for breaking off the peace talks
(2) The “occupation” is responsible for the Palestinians’ violent behavioral choices
(3) The security wall is bad and “imprisons” Palestinians
(4) Israel should cede the settlements unilaterally
(5) The Palestinians have a “right of return”
(6) MoveOn.org promotes positions taken by Gush Shalom and the Electronic Intifada (the same organization that accused Israel of “murdering” Rachel Corrie)

To recap, Mr. Obama,

What you are thunders so loudly that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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