Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler - by Charley Reese

Some scathing commentary from Charley Reese.

A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler - by Charley Reese: "A Quarter of a Million Dollars Per Settler
by Charley Reese

The state of Israel – which, the last time I checked, was both a foreign and a sovereign nation – wants the American taxpayers to cough up $2.2 billion in addition to our regular $3 billion-or-so annual subsidy to pay for the withdrawal from Gaza.

Unless the American people raise hell about this, it's a done deal. In Washington, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets. Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the American people should rebel at the latest brazen attack on our treasury by Israel and its American supporters.

First, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided unilaterally to withdraw from Gaza. This was in lieu of following the president's peace plan, which Sharon has ignored from the very beginning. Where is it written, on stone or parchment or paper, that the head of a foreign government can decide to do something unilaterally and automatically send the bill to the American taxpayers?
We will derive no benefits at all from the withdrawal.

Furthermore, Sharon's adviser spilled the beans in an Israeli newspaper interview. The withdrawal from Gaza is not part of any peace plan. It was just an excuse to put off serious peace negotiations. Sharon will remove about 8,000 settlers from Gaza who are a pain in the government's rear end anyway, shut down four tiny settlements on the West Bank, and that's it. As Sharon's adviser admitted, there won't be any serious negotiations with the Palestinians until they 'turn into Finns.'"

I would normally agree with Charlie on matters relating to the funding of Israel, but I think he is being unpragmatic, and far too cynical. First of all disengagement, even if it was not negotiated, will be of practical benefit to the US. Many polls of people in the middle east show that the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank is the number one complaint against the US on the part of the Arab world. Al Qaeda definately brings this up whenever they have made pronouncements in public. Getting Sharon to leave by any means necessary will definitely dry up potential Al Qaeda recruts.

Another thing Charlie is failing to comprehend is that Sharon completely miscalculated the affect settler violence would have on the Israeli middle. Sharon believed that it would cause them to think disengagement wasn't worth the trouble, so they would give up on disengaging from the rest of the occupied territories in the west bank. Instead, settler radicalism has inspired so much contempt from the mushy middle, that it wants to uproot the rest of settlers too.

Secondly, our capitulation to Israel is not just a result of weak willed politicians. There are definately bad political consequeces if you don't give aipac what it wants. The Israeli lobby has run several successful primary challenges against those who opposed their projects. Ed Hilliard, and Cynthia McKinney come to mind. There was a reason Fritz Hollings didn't denounce AIPac until he announced retirement from the Senate. Anyone, who proposed a cut in aid to Israel can expect his/her political career to die a nasty death. The pro-Israel lobby will tell its voters that the politician doesn't support Israel, and an opponant will be funded generously. It isn't primarily Conservative Jews who will finance your opponant. They are a dinky minority, within a dinky minority. It is the religious right, inspired by a belicose "Christian Zionsim" who can command the money and votes of at least 25% of the population. .

Finally, no-one asked us ordinary folks whether we wanted to support the settlements in the first place, and frankly the vast majority of us didn't complain about it either, so why should we get in a snit now that they are at least beginning to disengage? I for one and happy to pay for them to leave if I don't have to finance the settlements in the future!

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