Posted by: Tony Carson | 15 October, 2007

Israel-Palestine: US should level the playing field

The only way the Israel-Palestine peace talks next month have any chance of succeeding is for the US to remove its financial and emotional underpinning of Israel and thereby level the playing field.

If, indeed, “it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” as Ms Rice has said, might not she add:
• “that is why we are giving $3 billion a year to the Palestinians and all the ammo they can fire,” or
• “that is why we are ceasing as of today to fund Israel its $3 billion a year and we are ceasing to automatically approve of all their military endeavours.”

Without the US actually becoming an honest peace broker, what reason do the Palestinians have to trust the US?

To quote Goerge Costanza: “Am I wrong about this?”

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Responses

  1. Just out of curiosity, do you know how much money the Americans do give to the Palestinian Authority?

    I don’t think it’s insubstantial (not that it’s as high as their aid to Israel, but it’s not peanuts!).

  2. I don’t, but its in the low millions and it is subject to Palestinian performance. For instance, as with Canada, the US cut off funds when Hamas got democratically elected last year.

    Israel, on the other hand, gets its $3+ billion up front at the first of the year with no strings attached. You may recall that Bush I (or was it Reagan?) attempted to seek assurances that the money wouldn’t be used to construct settlements in the West Bank. He lost.

    How can the US pretend to be an honest peace broker when it so clearly isn’t?

    And how about this: Robert Fisk in his book ‘The Great War for Civilization’ states that of the 5 member US Team sent to negotiate with the Palestinians under Bush II, 4 were Jews. How’s that for a message.

  3. Still, (and admittedly well below the money given to Israel) in 2003, U.S. funding for Palestine was hardly in the “low millions”. According to wikipedia, in 2003 the U.S. gave $224 million to the P.A. Hardly a pittance.

    And it’s true that they cut off funds when Hamas was elected last year, but I choose to focus more on “HAMAS”, while you focus on “democratically elected”.

    Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States (and Canada, and the European Union, and Japan…) and the U.S. simply isn’t going to hand over hundreds of millions of dollars a year to a terrorist organization, elected or not.

    The Palestinian people are free to elect whomever they please, including terrorist organizations, but the fact that they elect Hamas in no way confers on the U.S. a moral obligation to fund Hamas. If Musaraf falls and Pakistan elects Al Qaeda, I’m pretty sure the U.S. will cut off their funding too.

    Anyway, while the U.S. is clearly the largest international contributor to Israel, it needs to be kept in mind that they’re also the largest contributor to the P.A., or they were before a terrorist organization won election.

  4. So, the US gives a gun to Palestine and gives a thousand AK47s to Israel and you call that equitable?

    The point isn’t that they’re giving a relative pittance to Palestine. The point is that the US is underpinning Israel while it pretends to be an honest peace broker. Surely, you can see that without having to resort to the Al Qaeda strawman to muddle into your own version of clarity

  5. I am confused, Tony, by your follow up argument in the comments. When it comes to the antisemitism/anti-Israelism question, people tend to draw a line between Jews and Israelis. But when it comes to negotiations, suddenly Jews are necessarily assumed to represent an Israeli bias. Or I am missing something here/reading your comment wrongly?

  6. Well, look, Dima, I want, as do most, a settlement to the intractable problems in the Middle East. I am naive enough to think it can happen if the US desists from artificially emboldening the Israelis. I tried to show the hypocracy of the US position. I call that realism. I don’t wish any ill-will to the Israels, simply that they accept the UN resolutions that give Palestine a country with the pre-67 borders. As for anti-seminism, that taunt has been used so often it no longer has any currency.

  7. Israel accepts a two state solution.

    You know who doesn’t?

    Hamas.

  8. Tony, i did not intend to question your good will and did not try to bring the antisemitism argument. I was only pointing out, what i think is, an inconsistency in your argument.

    None of the sides in this conflict is absolutely pure, and none can be blamed as an absolute evil. I agree with you that most people, particularly those who experience the conflict in first person, are tired of it and are wishing for settlement. Unfortunately though, the extremists and absolutists on both sides keep everybody else hostage. Here is an example, and that is another take on reality.


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