Press for a solution
I just returned from a month in Israel where I watched with anger and sadness the ugliness that is happening there. Bad as the shelling and bombing are, the situation is far more involved and awful than that. Both Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews, especially boys, fear going out lest they be beset upon by mobs from “the other side.” The Israeli military occupation of the West Bank continues unabated with the ever-present restrictions on work, travel and every facet of life, while due process is almost unheard of for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (and many Israeli Arabs as well) who are being rounded up by the thousands.
Everyone knows (including most Israeli Arabs and Jews as well as Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza), that only a final solution resulting in viable statehood for both peoples and resolution of the ongoing issues of Jerusalem, refugees and settlements will end this 70-year cycle. Only the most radical elements on each side actually believe there is any other alternative.
So why do we in the U.S. continue to reward intransigence? I believe it is long past time for us to suspend all aid to either side until and unless all settlements are ended, in accordance with international law and U.S. policy, and a final agreement is reached and implemented. The terms of such an agreement have already been mostly finalized by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators years ago in Geneva. What is lacking is the political will to stand up to the naysayers, including many here in the U.S. who provide funding to Israeli and Palestinian politicians who continue to resist compromise.
U.S. interests, as well as the long-term interests of both Israelis and Palestinians, require that we take this step to halt our funding now. Otherwise, we continue to strengthen the hands of the naysayers on both sides (while weakening those of individuals committed to a settlement such as Abbas) and contribute to continuing the useless suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians and complicating our relations with other countries.
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