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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is Not 'The World’s' Problem

Schermata 2016 09 20 alle 21.15.49

If we stop believing that someone else will solve our problems for us, perhaps we’ll be able to do it ourselves.

WASHINGTON – My beloved grandfather dreamed all his life of getting to America. He was certain that the streets were paved with gold and all you had to do was bend and scoop up some. But even he would be amazed at the bizarre argument about America’s defense assistance to Israel. Is the money Uncle Sam is giving us a lot more than we got until now, or only a little more? Perhaps we could have gotten more? We sound like beggars who continue to delude themselves, and not just about the money.
So first of all, we’re not getting dollars from America. The military assistance to Israel is a U.S. administration subsidy for America’s defense industries. Israel is receiving the right to purchase American planes, missiles and bombs at American taxpayers’ expense, all due to complex American political considerations.
But wonder of wonders – even the United States has budgetary constraints and there are many, many people here who think there are better uses for the money than giving it to Israel to buy weapons in deals made by lobbyists. Given all this, the fact that Israel managed to extract such a large American commitment for a decade shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Who can guarantee that the next administration, or the one after that, would be prepared to give Israel nearly $4 billion a year to go shopping? The agreement creates certainty and stability for many years and is not to be taken lightly.
So why the bitter argument? Why are people trying to prove that the agreement is bad? There’s something else at issue here; the fear that if we concede that the agreement is an achievement, given the American reality, then we’d be admitting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded; that there really is no American pressure on Israel. And that, as a result, there is no chance for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nothing could be more ridiculous.
The fact that Israel achieved such an agreement despite the sour conflict with U.S. President Barack Obama doesn’t mean that Netanyahu was right. And the thought so deeply rooted within us that without any outside pressure all is lost is folly – a distorted fixation from which we must free ourselves. The fact that there is no American pressure – and indeed there is none or even the hint of any – doesn’t mean there is no chance for a diplomatic solution. It certainly doesn’t mean that Netanyahu’s policies are correct.
All it means is that the United States is preoccupied with other conflicts, that Obama’s foreign policy isn’t much of a hit, that there are strong forces in Washington preventing such pressure and that we shouldn’t waste any time waiting for the next Jimmy Carter.
“A perception held for many years has collapsed recently,” Nir Baram tweeted recently. It’s unfortunate that its followers continue to declaim, as if hypnotized, that ‘The international community will not support the occupation and will force Israel to end it.’ It would be better to sober up from this nonsense that America has a role in pressuring Israel to reach an agreement.”
Baram is right. Although the world does not support the occupation, it’s not doing anything to force Israel to end it. Because who is “the world” exactly? China? Russia? Perhaps Germany and France, who are dealing with a sea of troubles flowing toward them from the Middle East? Perhaps the world is the ascendant Donald Trump?
The real question is, since when does what “the world” says have to determine what’s right for Israelis who want to effect change? Must we stop seeking a diplomatic solution because Obama has given up? Does the occupation become more moral because Hillary Clinton is avoiding it like the plague?
It’s possible that there’s something good about the world leaving our conflict alone. Perhaps we’ll finally understand that it’s ours, and it doesn’t belong to John from Nebraska or Tania from Alaska. Incidentally, this was always the case; now it’s just clearer. If we stop believing that someone else will solve our problems for us, perhaps we’ll be able to do it ourselves.

Nitzan Horowitz

Haaretz Contributor

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.743220

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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