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September 17, 2006

"Testing" a Democratically Elected Government

The NYT wrote an editorial calling for Hamas to not only acknowledge Israel's right to exist, but to act on it as well in order to receive financial aid. In passing, they mention that Hamas was democratically elected and that Israel is withholding Palestinian tax revenue from their government.

The US can use any litmus test it wants before giving aid to another country. Its within the USG's legal rights to cut off aid to one of the few truly democratically elected governments in the Middle East because said government doesn't bow down to the US or Israel. But it is illegal for another government to withhold a sovereign state's taxes. And therein lies the crux of the problem: Palestine is not a sovereign state because Israel continues to occupy it.

Make no mistake about it - there is a crisis occurring in Gaza everyday. And everyday that the media does not show you the people going hungry, their infrastructure destroyed by the Israeli military, their land occupied by the Israeli army, is another day that the media lies to you.

I have no love for extremists, be they from Hamas or Evangelical Christians. Both groups contain peaceful, community-building factions and both groups contain hateful, community-dividing factions. But I'm not going to call for a moratorium on evangelical Christians, and I can't understand why it is okay for the US to stop talking to Palestinians because they chose the party that promised to rid their land of corruption and nepotism and which has shown through their local leadership that they can effectively bring food to the table.

The real issue here is racism wrapped in pro-Israel bias. Arabs and Arab countries must prove their loyalty to the US before we accept them as friendly, whereas Israel enjoys a "special relationship" with this country regardless of how racist and extremist its political leadership gets. You don't believe me? Take a look at Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's "convergence plan:" He plans to give up a few out-lying Israeli settlements in the West Bank; but also to expand the size of the largest Israeli settlements; continuing to build his separation wall and continuing to expand the Jewish-Israeli only highways and settlements within the West Bank.

How can we expect the Palestinians to give up their right to self defense when the Israeli government continues to meet with them at the point of a gun or a lethal Caterpillar bulldozer? As a Jewish American, I am appalled at all that is done in my name. I don't need Palestinians to starve to death to make myself safe as a Jew. I don't need Lebanese families to die picking their olive harvest in Lebanon from cluster bombs left by the Israeli army to make myself safe as a Jew. And I certainly don't need the US government hypocritically cutting off aid to a democratically-elected government to feel safe as an American.

See also: "US Women Demand US Restore Aid to the Palestinian Authority," a press release from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section

Posted by cj at September 17, 2006 10:28 PM


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