As the United States continues its war against terrorism, a war that is being staged as both a military exercise, and also a war of ideas against extremism and fanaticism of all types, perhaps it’s time that our country take an intellectual pause to assess our moral, and military standing internationally, and to decide where we really hope to go from here as a country. Are we a people of peace, or a people who have come to love war? Are we a people who enjoy starving and killing people to make political gains for allies, or are we a people who respect the rule of law, and who serve justice?
While assessing who we are as an American people, we might also need to ask ourselves whether we are still a people who believe in fairness, who champion the underdog, and who have nothing but contempt for lawlessness, racism and warmongering. We also need to ask ourselves whether it is really in the US interest to pass anti-Palestinian legislation aimed at all but ending any possibility that the US will ever play a significant role in resolving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict peacefully. Whereas this conflict is not part of the US war on terrorism, supporters of Israel in our government have worked very hard over the years to make it appear that it is. Just as AIPAC and the pro-Israel crowd in Washington misled the US into war in Iraq, and are presently instigating a nuclear war against Iran, they are also busy using their influence over the US Congress to position the US in confrontation with the Palestinian people. The subject anti-Palestinian legislation that was reportedly written by AIPAC for Senators Tom Lantos (D-CA) and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and that is being pushed for passage in spite of a US public outcry against this piece of legislation, is another major policy mistake about to happen that will push the US further away from international peacemaking, and more violently into international warmongering. Passage of this bill, the so-called “Palestinian Anti-terrorism Act” will embroil the US in this conflict, hook, line and sinker as an unconditional supporter of Israel that is not interested in a peaceful end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. It is the type of legislation that is so drastic and punitive in its approach to Palestine, that once passed, we should expect to be looked upon with the utter disdain by the rest of the world that such a blatantly hateful and antagonistic approach to foreign policy deserves, which would be a tragedy, especially considering that the US was once the most loved and respected country in the world. We won that credibility and respect over many years of hard diplomatic effort, and some wars that cost us the lives, and limbs of our young men and women, and plenty of US taxpayer money. To throw all of that out of the window is a choice. To throw it all out of the window for the sake of Israel is insanity.
Don’t listen when the pro-Israel zealots in Israel and the US say they are adopting these draconian measures, hoping to moderate Hamas. Hamas moderated itself, and has for an entire year honored a cease-fire with Israel, even though Israel has done everything in its power to provoke a return to tit-for-tat attacks, as in targeted assassinations and suicide bombings. Their goal with this legislation is simply to accelerate the demise of the Palestinians through a continuation of their war of attrition and genocide against the Palestinian people, and the election of Hamas is a convenient excuse. Now instead of acting to kill off the Palestinian people alone, they are seeking more direct assistance from the US, the EU and the UN. Even before Hamas was elected into power, the Israelis were threatening to steal taxes collected on behalf of the PA, and even pulled tanks up to a Palestinian bank, like thugs, and attempted to rob the bank in broad daylight. This is Israel, the great democracy and US ally.
Israel has also used suicide attacks against the Palestinians, and in fact, was the first to use such attacks in this conflict. The attack by Baruch Goldstein on the Hebron mosque was such an attack, as was the suicide attack of another Israeli attacker who killed several Palestinians on a bus, only to die, as did Goldstein from being beaten to death by survivors. The bus incident took place during Israel’s evacuation from Gaza. Also, many observers suspect that the recent attack on a Christian Church in Israel, by an Israeli extremist who set off fireworks in the Church, was a failed attempt at another Israeli suicide attack, similar to the Hebron, and bus massacres. The bus attack was so brazen and horrendous that even Ariel Sharon called it Jewish terrorism. People know that these are suicide attacks, since it has been reported that the Israeli suicide attackers confided to friends and neighbors prior to these attacks that were going to commit suicide, and would not return. So if the US is attempting to end terrorism by ending aide to Hamas, closing the PLO office in Washington, refusing US visas to the PA legislative representatives, restricting movement of the PLO representatives at the UN, and defining territory controlled by the PA “terrorist sanctuary,” while threatening to withhold US dues to the UN because it supposedly “maintains bodies that advocate for Palestinian human rights,” along with promised US aid, we should do all of these same things to Israel. In this way, both sides will know that the US is serious about ending this conflict, and that we expect both sides to abide by international laws and UN resolutions relevant to the conflict.
We, the American people, should also be very concerned that our Congress is violating the Constitutional separation of powers by acting to formulate and advance US foreign policy through such legislation, a duty that was delegated in our Constitution, and is rightfully carried out on behalf of the American people by our Executive branch of government, and not our Congress. Along with the imperial presidency, it seems that the neo-con Zionists, AIPAC, and Jack Abramoff have also turned the US Congress into diplomats, Foreign Service officers, and policy makers. We must stop this unconstitutional restructuring of the US government by stealth that has become so prevalent in our country, and a good way to start is to defeat this bill.
There are several organizations that are leading the American people’s opposition to this legislation. One such organization is US Campaign to End the Occupation (www.endtheoccupation.org), and another is CNI, the Council for the National Interest in Washington DC. For information on how to oppose this legislation, and contact your congressional representatives, etc., contact either of these organizations. To learn more about what you can do to help the Palestinian people, in spite of the cowardly world governments and international institutions, visit the UNRWA website at www.unrwa.org for ideas.