President Clinton said he wants to break the "cycle of violence" between the Israelis and Palestinians, but his refusal to do justice actually plants the seeds of oppression and violence.
Shortly after the Israeli military began killing scores of Palestinians, the United Nations Security Council voted 14 to 0 — including Britain, Canada and the Netherlands — for a resolution condemning Israel's "excessive use of force against Palestinians." But the U.S. government abstained, making clear that it is outside world consensus.
And when the U.N. tried to follow up on that resolution, the Clinton administration moved to block it, insisting instead on the Sharm el Sheik "peace summit," where the administration calls the shots.
Clinton now says that we shouldn't assign blame for "the violence." But it was Clinton who blamed Yasser Arafat for not signing the Camp David agreement Clinton was trying to force this summer. And talking about "the violence" is a way of trying to hide the fact that about 100 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli occupation soldiers, while a few of those soldiers have perished.
When Palestinians protest against the Israeli military Goliath, they are saying "give me liberty or give me death." Instead of getting help from the U.S. government, they are shot at by helicopter gunships paid for by our tax dollars.
Why are the Palestinians so fed up? While the Israeli government has been talking peace for the past six years, Palestinians have seen 50,000 more Jewish settlers illegally put into the West Bank and Gaza; Israel has demolished nearly 1,000 Palestinian homes; there has been a threefold increase in Palestinian unemployment; the Israelis have arrested 13,000 Palestinians, and they have restricted Palestinians' freedom of movement, keeping them on little Swiss cheese patches of land on the West Bank.
Israel refuses to comply with international law, which mandates that it withdraw from the West Bank and Gaza (including East Jerusalem) and that it allow the Palestinian refugees living in squalid refugee camps to go back to their rightful homes, from which they were driven by Israeli forces.
Only by addressing these serious issues — not by photo ops — can a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians be achieved.
[originally published on Common Dreams on Oct. 18, 2000; posted on posthaven Dec. 17, 2015]