September 2018

The role of ordinary American citizens in overthrowing the illegal occupation

By demanding the same equal expectations from Israel and Palestine, two-state solution can be a reality

By Siddiq Bazarwala

It is high time American citizens living in the United States and overseas rise up and make themselves heard given the continuing descent into madness by the current Trump administration.

News reports confirming US cancelling more than US$200 million in aid to Palestinians, citing Hamas control of Gaza, is no doubt a catastrophic misstep, for those besieged Palestinians living under the brutal Israeli blockade and America’s floundering role in the Middle East.

While we unreservedly condemn violence on all sides, it is illogical to compare rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians by Hamas with Israel’s disproportional use of fighter jets, hellfire missiles and helicopter gunships, that has caused thousands of Palestinian lives and untold civilian infrastructural damage.

Hamas has committed attacks on civilians does not erase the fact that Israel’s violence violate basic humanitarian laws regarding proportionality.

Yet, America aids Israel with UN vetoes, preferred trade agreements and over eight million dollars every single day (US$3 billion annually) in military aid. US support for Israel also enables Israel to continue its illegal occupation and settlement expansion unhindered.

In fact, the UN Charter forbids acquisition of land by force, the Geneva Conventions forbids banning refugees from returning to their homes, UN resolutions and international law charters forbid occupying armies from settling their population on seized territories. Worse still, the suffocating land, air and sea blockade on Gaza, the world’s only open air prison remains the epitome of Israel’s moral bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, a portion of US taxes paid by every tax paying American goes to subsidise the illegal Israeli colonisation of Palestine and seventy years of egregious violations of Palestinian human rights by the State of Israel, as widely and meticulously documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, BT’Selem and many other human rights groups irrefutably attesting to this damning fact. 

Yet, not one politician on Capitol Hill has been able to utter a word of public reproach for Israel’s repeated violation of international law, illustrating the choking stranglehold of the Israel lobby on Israel-Palestine issues.

History is replete with examples European and US empires legitimizing their violence by constructing the people they dominate as uncivilized savages and muzzling their voices. Let this not be another attempt on the part of the evidently declining US imperialism.

We live at a time in which all the information we need is at our disposal, and we cannot claim ignorance. Silence is consent therefore the question is no longer where or when to act, but how will we respond?