11 March 2010

Israel colonizes, the U.S. dithers

Israel is apparently quite apologetic about embarrassing U.S. Vice-president Joe Biden. The VP is visiting the Middle East on yet another peace-making mission. Hardly had he arrived, when his hosts announced plans to expand a Jewish neighbourhood on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem.

An Israeli cabinet minister apologised for what he termed "real embarrassment" caused to Biden and a senior official reported, "Messages have been sent to Biden and the Americans that there was no intention to undermine him," adding, "We were genuinely surprised, just as surprised as the Americans." Apparently even the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was blindsided by the project's announcement, made by the interior ministry. The ministry is run by Shas, an ultraorthodox nationalist party and a key member of Netanyahu's governing coalition.

Biden chastised Israel saying, "It is incumbent on all parties to grow an atmosphere of support for the negotations and not to complicate. Yesterday, the decision by the Israeli government to advance planning for new planning units in east Jerusalem undermines that very trust." The Israelis and the Americans, and of course the Palestinians, know Biden's comments are just talk -- an obligatory response to a little faux pas among friends.

The important point in all this is that the Israeli apology was not for colonizing more Palestinian land but simply for the timing of the announcement. The project of Greater Israel will continue. After all, it isn't stealing when God commands it.

And the God-fearing Americans will acquiesce. It's essentially a routine. The Israelis commit another outrage, the Americans complain, the Israelis sweet-talk them, the Americans quietly accept the new status quo. And of course the Palestinians continue to suffer and the toxicity generated by Israeli behaviour continues to waft around the world, poisoning the West's relationship with the Arabs and recruiting Muslim extremists.

Until the United States gets serious with its little Middle Eastern friend and demands it settle honourably with the Palestinians, this part of the world will continue to fester to the detriment of all of us.

1 comment:

  1. This may be slightly off-topic:

    I was listening to Toronto CFRB radio host, Jim Richards, talk to Ezra Levant about hate speech. Richards did mention that even though he wouldn't classify the name Israel Apartheid Week as hate speech, he said that it discredits the organization for using such a term as "apartheid." Agree or disagree with Richards, I do think it is a very effective term. Had the organizers used "Palestine Unity Week" or something similar, their message would have found a smaller audience. Even then the pro-right-wing Israeli supporters would still be calling the organization a left-wing anti-Semitic hate group.