Palestine Gives Up on US — With Good Reason

Palestine Doesn't Trust USZack Beauchamp over at Vox wrote, It’s Over. It is more helpfully subtitled, “Why the Palestinians are finally giving up on Obama and the US peace process.” It’s a very interesting article. Basically, it is about how even Mahmoud Abbas has given up hope that a settlement can be reached in the traditional way everyone has previously thought with Israel on one side, Palestine on the other, and the United States in the middle. And it would seem that the proximate cause for this is John Kerry, who seems to have been every bit as clueless in dealing with the Palestinians as Condoleezza Rice had been — quite a feat!

But I wonder why anyone thought that the United States could be a neutral arbiter in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I understand that the key to the conflict is where you are going to start it. That’s always the way it is with conflicts. If you tell me when it started, I will tell you what side you are one. When the Soviet Union was a going concern, they traced the Cold War back to World War I, whereas the US traced it back only to the period after World War II. But regardless of which side you come down on in the Middle East conflict, who thinks that America is a disinterested figure?

Things were probably different back in the 1970s. But today, the United States is pro-Israel in a way that defies all logic. Especially among conservatives, there seems to be more commitment to Israel than there is to the United States.[1] I think that is mostly due to the fact that Israel seems like a “kicking ass and taking names” kind of a country whereas the US is committed to diplomacy and all that sissy stuff. (Not that we are, but we give lip services to it.)

But more than this, there is just straight up racism going on. Israel looks more or less like the United States and Palestine looks like those people — you know, the ones who attacked us on 9/11. Out of Palestine we see desperate and mostly impotent attacks on anyone they can. We call this terrorism. Out of Israel, we see properly uniformed and armed forces that are devastatingly effective. We call this “Israel defending its right to exist.” In fact, these seem to get me into more arguments than I like. I have no problem with people siding with Israel, but it is a fantasy to claim that Israel’s tactics make it noble; both it’s tactics and those of the Palestinians are dictated by their power differential.

Given that there is pretty much nothing that Israel could do at this point that would alienate the American public — at least the way it is covered in the mainstream press — it is no surprise that our government has no interest in being an honest broker in the conflict. And I think it’s very simple: it is to Israel’s advantage to do nothing — at least in the short term. And if Israel were serious about a deal, it would stop the illegal settlements. But I think it is intent on allowing the situation to continue until a unified Palestine is impossible — figuring that it will just be able to finesse the situation at that time.

So I’m not surprised that Palestine is turning to the rest of the world, where they are much more likely to find people who understand that both sides have their problems. There isn’t much of an audience for that in the United States. So it isn’t surprising that our government hasn’t managed to get anything accomplished in a long time.


[1] It’s been a couple of days since I wrote this and it just occurred to me that people may think I’m referring to American Jews. That is not the case. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me. I am, of course, referring to Republicans — most of whom are evangelical Christians. Their support has little to do with the need for a safe place for a historically oppressed people. Rather, it is simply Islamophobia and the belief in the book of Revelation.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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