US Support for Israel Hurts Middle East Peace Prospects

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Washington’s unwavering support for the self-proclaimed Jewish state has diminished the prospects for a viable peace deal

JERUSALEM (AA) — The U.S. is the leading supporter of Israel, which was established on purloined Palestinian land and is often regarded as something akin to a “spoiled child”.

In addition to providing copious financial and military aid, the U.S. also acts as a shield for Israel at the UN, preventing the adoption of a viable solution to the longstanding “question of Palestine” — one of the region’s most enduring problems.

Although the occupant of the White House has changed numerous times over the years, there has been little change in Washington’s policy vis-à-vis Israel.

This is due mainly to the power of the Jewish lobby in the U.S.

On the issues of Palestinian dispossession, Israel’s ongoing occupation, and illegal Jewish settlement construction, the U.S. — directly or indirectly — invariably provides cover for Tel Aviv.

According to many informed observers, Washington’s unconditional support for Israel not only aggravates the problem of Palestine, but it also makes finding a peaceful solution to the conflict more difficult.

US recognition

The document known as the “Balfour Declaration”, sent by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild in 1917, was a milestone in the Zionist march towards Israel’s establishment.

“His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object…,” the document reads.

The Holocaust in Europe during World War II, meanwhile, only served to enhance British support for the Zionist project in Palestine.

On Nov. 29, 1947, through the lobbying efforts of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the UN Security Council adopted a plan — the “partition plan” — to divide historical Palestine into two halves, one Arab and one Jewish.

When the British Mandate for Palestine ended in 1948, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, along with 25 others, declared the new state of Israel’s “independence”.

Truman was quick to recognize the new state — established on stolen Palestinian land — on behalf of the U.S., becoming the first head of state to officially do so.

Thus began the perennial “Middle East Conflict”, which continues to rage to the present day.

Following the announcement of Israel’s establishment, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon all declared war on the nascent state.

Israel’s subsequent victory in that war left it in possession of even more Palestinian land.

Almost two decades later, Israel attacked Egypt in June of 1967. Syria and Jordan also participated in the conflict, which has since become known as the “Six-Day War”.

As the Arab countries were largely caught off guard, they suffered an overwhelming defeat.

That war left Israel in possession of the Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem (in addition to West Jerusalem) and the West Bank, essentially destroying any prospect for a “two-state solution”.

Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights, meanwhile, ensured a de facto state of war between Israel and Syria for decades to come.

Israel did, however, withdraw from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula following the 1979 Camp David peace treaty.

US sponsorship

Since Israel’s establishment, the U.S. is believed to have sent more than $120 billion worth of financial and military aid to its closest Middle East “ally”.

This aid completely destroyed the power balance between Israel and the Palestinians, with the former becoming one of the region’s most powerful countries while some six million Palestinians were forced — over time — to leave their historical homeland.

As a result of this lopsided balance of power due to unwavering U.S. support, Israel has maintained its policy of occupation without making any concessions to the beleaguered Palestinians.

Besides the enormous financial and military assistance, the U.S. has also protected Israel by wielding its veto right in the UN Security Council in the interests of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

To date, Washington has used this veto power more than 80 times — more than half of which were used to shield Israel from criticism.

This attitude by the U.S. has encouraged Israel to maintain its illegal occupation and deflate international pressure on Tel Aviv to accept a fair solution to the conflict.

Recent steps by U.S. President Donald Trump on Palestine, meanwhile, have only further encouraged Israel to maintain its unjust policies.

In December of last year, Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and ordered Washington’s Israel embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (a process that began in May of this year).

This was the first indicator of the Trump administration’s policies as they pertained to the Middle East conflict.

On May 14, as U.S. and Israeli officials were inaugurating the new embassy, 60 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip — who had been demonstrating against the U.S. decision — were gunned down by Israeli troops.

Instead of criticizing Israel’s use of deadly force against peaceful protesters, the Trump administration chose to blame Hamas, which had played a role in organizing the demonstrations.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, for its part, responded to the embassy move by rejecting any future U.S. role in the peace process.

Not long afterward on June 1, the U.S. vetoed a resolution at the UN Security Council that had called for international protection for the Palestinian people.

‘The Deal of the Century’

It is a widely known fact that the U.S. administration is currently working on a backchannel peace plan ostensibly aimed at resolving the Palestine-Israel issue.

Touted by some as the “Deal of the Century”, certain details of the plan have been leaked to the public.

According to media reports, the plan includes several major concessions to Israel, including the recognition of Jerusalem — in its entirety — as Israel’s capital and the annexation of large West Bank settlement blocs by Israel.

Millions of Palestinian refugees, meanwhile, would not be allowed to return to their ancestral homes under Trump’s reported peace initiative.

In fact, the only thing Palestinians would get from the plan, according to reports, would be promises of stepped-up financial aid.

The so-called “Deal of the Century”, therefore, is likely to only further destabilize the region rather than offer a viable solution to the conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has derisively described the U.S. president’s plan as the “Slap of the Century”.

Trump’s (Jewish) Mideast team

It’s also worth noting that most of those forging Trump’s Palestine policy are Jewish — especially Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior Mideast advisor.

It is widely believed that Kushner, who attended the May 14 inauguration of the new embassy in Jerusalem, played a major role in the decision to relocate the embassy.

Despite the fact that Kushner has had no previous diplomatic experience, Trump nevertheless believes his son-in-law can solve the region’s longest-running dispute.

“He [Kushner]… can secure an agreement with Israel that no one else could pull off. If he can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,” Trump declared in a speech.

Another figure involved in forging Trump’s Palestine policy is David Friedman, Washington’s current ambassador to Israel.

In the past, Friedman, who is Jewish, has said that Israel’s West Bank settlement blocs — built illegally on Palestinian land — do not constitute “an obstacle to peace”.

Another figure guiding Trump’s Middle East policy is Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations.

Having previously worked for Trump as a lawyer in New York, Greenblatt hails from a Haredi Jewish family.

Like Kushner, Greenblatt — who reportedly oversees daily communications between Washington and Tel Aviv — boasts little prior diplomatic experience.

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