The AIPAC Lobby Does It Again
Take Steven Rosen’s recent piece on FP.com, where he basically blames the United States for creating the mess that is the Mideast peace process:
“U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to confront Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Israeli construction activity in East Jerusalem has been greeted by a hail of praise, especially from people impatient to proceed with peace negotiations with the Palestinians. The belief seems to be that meeting this issue head-on will accelerate progress toward an agreement ending a conflict that has festered for generations. The historical record suggests a different conclusion.
Consider this: If, 17 years ago, U.S. President Bill Clinton or Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat had insisted that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin freeze all settlement construction, including in Jerusalem, before Arafat would sit down with Rabin, there would have been no Oslo agreements.”
And here is the money quote:
“Today, for the first time in 19 years, we have an administration unable to produce Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. We have a crisis. Netanyahu is doing something that every past Israeli prime minister of the left and right has done, but Obama is doing something that past American leaders considered unwise.”
Just so I don’t get criticized with taking Rosen’s comments out of context, here is the full article. Read it for yourself, and you’ll understand the frustration that many are currently feeling in the White House.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not disparaging the Israel lobby for no good reason (people today throw the anti-Semite label out there all too often). In fact, the presence of so many lobbyists inside Washington is a cornerstone of American democracy. I am just questioning the validity of Rosen’s comments; blaming America whenever something goes wrong in the Mideast doesn’t do anything to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian quagmire.
It is the right-wing Israeli Government that continues to build settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem- areas, by the way, that have never been accepted or legalized by the international community. Is America to blame for this policy as well? Hardly. The United States is not deliberately carving up Palestinian land and evicting Palestinians from their homes. This, my friend, is the Israeli Government’s official policy. One, might I add, that makes the prospects of an independent Palestinian state all the more impossible.
Here is a quick news flash that some on the Israeli right seem to forget; the world has never recognized Israel’s expansion into the West Bank, or in East Jerusalem for that matter. Time and again, U.N. committees have asked the Israelis to scale back their settlement building, and time and again, the Israelis refuse to comply. If Israel’s growth past the 1967 lines was legal and legitimate, expansion wouldn’t be that big of an issue. But as common wisdom reveals, the U.N.’s official policy states the exact opposite.
Comply with global protocol and maybe the peace talks could go forward. Or we could simply pass the buck and blame the United States for Israel’s self-destructive behavior.
-Daniel R. DePetris
**Comments courtesy of Stephen Rosen at FP.com**