Hunter Mabry: Policy toward Israel short-sighted

With elections now over, this is a good time to take note of other important concerns needing our attention. One of these is our government’s recent action as reported in your news story, “US cuts UNESCO funding concerning Palestinian vote” (New Virginian, Nov. 1, 2011).

The Obama administration was forced to take this action in view of a 1990s act by Congress banning US funding to any UN body that recognized Palestine as a state before Israel and Palestine reached a peace deal.

This ban by Congress is both short-sighted and small-minded – for several reasons:

– The expectation that Israel and the Palestinians could reach a peace deal is totally unrealistic. Israel is a strong state with a well-developed military capability; the Palestinians have neither a state nor a standing army.  Any ‘peace’ reached would be a false peace imposed by the strong upon the weak.

– By mandating a ban on US funds to any UN body that recognizes Palestine, Congress undermines the influence of the US in such bodies and unwisely ties the President’s hands, effectively blocking diplomatic negotiations.

– Congress’ uncritical support of Israel overlooks the reality that since its founding in 1948, when Israel was given 55 percent of Palestinian land, Israel has taken control over all of the Palestinian territories, controls all access to and from the West Bank and Gaza and, in defiance of international law, continues to confiscate Palestinian land, demolish Palestinian homes, and build Israeli-only settlements and infrastructure on the confiscated land.

– Support for the above provide cause for Palestinians and others in the Middle East to perceive the US as acting unfairly and unjustly, supporting the violation of the human rights of Palestinian people.

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign aid – approximately half of which has been military aid. During 2009-2018 the US is scheduled to give Israel over $30 billion more in military aid alone. But if Congress is really interested in establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, then instead of banning UN funding it should ban foreign aid to Israel until Israel stops its confiscation of Palestinian land, demolition of Palestinian homes, establishment of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories, and agrees to abide by international law.

Letter from Hunter Mabry/Waynesboro

Note from the author: For unknown reasons, and despite follow up inquiries, The News Virginian has refused to publish the following letter, which was submitted on Nov. 11.  Readers can draw their own conclusions as to why.

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