Israel’s Brutality Hinders Solutions, Remember the USS Liberty: Israel Cannot Be Trusted

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas won overwhelming international endorsement for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Abbas has called for an end to the violence against Israel. He has acknowledged that Palestinians, who do not have an Army, Navy, or Air Force, cannot win against Israel’s overwhelming military strength. On November 29, the United Nations General Assembly elevated the Palestinian Authority (PA) to nonmember state status (Palestine previously had observer status). The United States and eight other countries voted against the resolution. Forty-one members abstained. The U.S. criticized the resolution. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said, “Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path of peace. Today’s grand pronouncements will soon fade and the Palestinian people will wake up tomorrow and find that little about their lives has changed.” Although 138 nations may have endorsed the prospect of a Palestinian state, the United Nations (U.N.) resolution, nonetheless, does not make Palestine a state. The issue is that the resolution references Palestine as a state (a non-member state), even though Palestine is not recognized as a state under international law. The U.N. resolution overlooks the fact that the West Bank and Gaza are not a single political entity. The PA controls the West Bank, Hamas controls the Gaza strip, and Israel occupies both. In this lies an essential problem to a two-state solution: with whom to negotiate. Until that comes to fruition and Israel grants Palestinians sovereignty, statehood is just not possible. Complicating statehood even further is the fact that Israel occupies Palestinian territories with "crushing control,” which makes it even more difficult to achieve a peaceful solution. In “Our Harsh Logic,” Israel Defense Force (IDF) veteran Oded Na'aman and other IDF veterans expose Israel’s brutality. Recently, MIT Professor of Linguistics Noam Chomsky traveled to Gaza. Chomsky, who has written extensively about the Israeli-Palestinian problem, is a well-known political dissenter, who too substantiates Israel’s brutal control over Palestine. His article “Impressions of Gaza” is a scathing indictment of Israel’s cruelty. Chomsky calls Gaza “the world’s largest open-air prison.” He said that Palestinians are “constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade.” Moreover, the United Sates is complicit in Israel’s atrocities against Palestine. Glen Greenwald, writing on the

recent Israeli-Palestinian violence, says, “The Obama administration's unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support for Israel is a key enabling force in the conflict.” More important is that Americans should not trust the very dangerous relationship the U.S. has with Israel. I am old enough to remember Israel’s deliberate air and naval attack on the USS Liberty in 1967 that killed 34 and wounded 171 Americans. Despite those who say it was an accident; it was not. The USS liberty flew the standard American flag flown on all of its warships, and was distinctly marked with U.S. markings. The U.S. ignored the fact that 34 Americans lost their lives and instead chose to cover-up evidence. Israel was not then and is not now the friend most Americans believe them to be. Israel could turn on us again. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice says, “Progress toward a just and lasting two-state solution cannot be made by pressing a green voting button here in this hall. Nor does passing any resolution create a state where none indeed exists or change the reality on the ground”; but it cannot be achieved from the tip of a bayonet either. Peace is a process achieved over time; the U.N. resolution is the right step forward, regardless of whether the Palestinians woke up the next day only to fine that little about their lives have changed.

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