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Saturday, 17 January 2009


by Former Congressman Paul Findley

Americas abject subservience to the government of Israel has led us into deep complicity in Israels shocking air and ground military assault on 1.5 million defenseless human beings called Palestinians who are crowded in a hellhole called Gaza. I toured Gaza four years ago and was amazed that human beings could survive in that hot, humid land covered constantly with a heavy blanket of dust.

They could not escape, because Israel long ago converted Gaza, a tiny coastal strip adjacent to Israel and only twice the size of Washingtons District of Columbia, into a miserable outdoor prison. Inmates are effectively locked down around the clock, except for a few injured who are permitted to seek medical care in Egypt. For 18 months they suffered from an Israeli blockade. Food and medical supplies dwindle dangerously. Even before the assault, electricity was intermittent and food supplies dangerously low.

Eighty percent of the inhabitants of Gaza are victims of Israels illegal expansion into Arab territory in the Jewish states early history. They, or their forebears, fled into Gaza as a place of refuge when they were forced by Israeli military units to leave their homes in what is now Israel.

As I write, 524 Palestinians have been killed and over 3,000 injuredmany of them women and children. The pretext for this most recent assault on Gaza are homemade missiles launched by Hamas supporters in Gaza that occasionally hit a nearby Israeli village. The missiles caused four Israeli deaths, a few injuries and some destruction. These bombings are also a lamentable violation of international law, but they hardly justify the massacre Israel has inflicted on Gazans.

The plight of Gazans intensified when they voted to power several years ago members of Hamas, a political organization that Israel helped bring into being years ago as a political counterweight to the PLO. Hamas developed into a large, independent and popular organization that provided needed social and other services before emerging as a strong critic of Israels mistreatment of Palestinians. The leadership proposed an extended ceasefire without response from Israel.

The moment Hamas gained authority in a free and fair election, the U.S. government began conspiring privately with Israel on ways to reverse forcibly the electorates decision. So much for the democratic process.
President George W. Bush publicly defends Israels bombing and ground assault by saying, Israel has a right to defend itself. It would be comforting if he would also say that the Gazans have a right to defend themselves against Israels longstanding harsh and abusive treatment. Are Palestinian lives less precious than Israelis? President-Elect Barack Obama has remained silent.

Just before the current Israel assault, Prof. Richard Falk, a distinguished Jewish scholar in international law at Princeton University and recently designated as United Nations reporter on Palestinian rights, was refused entry to Israel and unceremoniously deported after being confined in a dirty cell for 20 hours. Falk writes that the spate of homemade rockets does not give Israel either the moral or legal authority to punish the entire population of Gaza. He adds,
Even before Israels strike a recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. The sonic booms associated with Israeli over-flights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Malnutrition is extremely high and affects, in varying degrees, 75 percent of GazansThe magnitude of Palestinian suffering and the deliberate violations of international humanitarian law by Israel are indefensible.

As a veteran former Republican Member of Congress, I was upset when Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, brushedd off a reporters question about Israels assault on Gaza in these words: Israel had no choice.

Americas political structure and most of our media are bereft of balanced appraisal. In the Congress, only Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio speaks out in protest. Almost all other Members of Congress toe the Israeli line and express supportive words similar to McConnells.
The Palestinian death toll approaches 500 with over two thousand seriously injured. In contrast, one Israeli soldier was killed and a handful injured. Only Aljazeera television has kept the Arab world fully informed with regular glimpses of the true extent of death and injury suffered by Gazans.

The American people, largely unaware about our governments subservience to Israel, are unwitting partners in the inhuman brutality being inflicted on the people of Gaza. The fighter planes, helicopter gun-ships, tanks, and missiles used to visit death, injury and destruction upon the Palestinians are gifts of the U.S. government. In the UN Security Council, only the United States opposed a call for an immediate ceasefire. Without Americas unconditional military and political support, Israel could never carry out the destruction of Gaza or its humiliation of Palestinians in the West Bank and other war crimes. Americas indifference to the plight of Gazans makes we wonder if our citizens have lost all capacity for moral outrage.

If you wish to find out who is really responsible for Israels scofflaw behavior and war crimes, look in the mirror. Citizens like you and me let lobbyists for a small, ruthless government make America its uncomplaining servant.

Paul Findley; Member of Congress 1961-83, is the author of three books on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the Washington Post bestseller They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israels Lobby. He resides in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Letter submitted by former Congressman Paul Findley, about halting all aid to Israel:

Findley writes:

"Years ago, our government should have suspended all aid until Israel withdrew completely from Palestinian territory it seized in June 1967. The option remains available today. At the least, suspension of aid would liberate America from further complicity in Israel's misdeeds. At best, it would quell the insurgency in Iraq and prompt Israel to vacate stolen territory. But Bush seems totally detached from reality. So does Blair."

Mr. Findley's argument is that unless Israel immediately capitulates on U.S. demands over Israeli occupation of the West Bank we should simply cut off all Israeli aid. This is a radical suggestion, and holds little chance of working to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By cutting off aid to Israel, it is true we would send a powerful message to the Israeli government, and to its people. But Israel's back is already pushed against the wall. Terrorist attacks haven't softened Israeli resolve, quite the opposite. The use of terror against Israel has only radicalized its opposition to resolving the problem.

By cutting off U.S. aid the U.S. would lose its most important bargaining chip with Israel, and would only isolate, and make more radical its response to pressures to compromise with the Palestinians.

Better than cutting aid to Israel might be a suggestion to increase U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The increased aid, could be spent on building Palestinian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, and assistance to small businesses. The increase in aid would be tied to achieving a reduction in anti-Israeli propaganda, an increase in Palestinian led anti-terrorism efforts, including sharing anti-terrorism intelligence with Israel.

And yes, it does sound as if we are not asking much from Israel, but we need to take the long view on this issue. Israel is facing an uncertain fate. Israel will in the long run make concessions with the Palestinians, and perhaps at that time the Palestinians will have the leadership willing to compromise with Israel. It's only a matter of time, and the U.S. can help the process only if it stays actively engaged with both sides.

And if anyone has any doubts about the wisdom of attempting to isolate a nation into submitting to U.S. will, we need only look sixty miles off the shores of Florida. An economic embargo still remains in effect after more than forty years, and it hasn't worked to end the Castro regime. Only Castro's death will do that. Furthermore Cuba's resolve is based upon the fears of just one man, and his circle of thugs, while Israeli resolve is based upon the very real fears on an entire nation.

Findley's suggestion, although bold, translates into unrealistic appeasement of those who vow to destroy Israel first, and then the Great Satan when they're done with Israel.

Click here to learn more about Findley's wrangling with AIPAC. I'm not sure which is more disturbing, the excerpts from Findley's book (click on the prior link), or this sweet picture of President Bush holding hands with Saudi Prince Abdullah.