American Interest, Israeli Damage
By Tamar Gozhansky
It is a tradition among peace-loving Zionists in Israel to place their hope in an American president that will put pressure on the Israeli government not only to enter into negotiations, but even to withdraw from the occupied territories ...
Translated By Hannah Stork
6 December 2012
Edited by Molly Rusk
Israel - Haaretz - Original Article (Hebrew)
It is a tradition among peace-loving Zionists in Israel to place their hope in an American president that will put pressure on the Israeli government not only to enter into negotiations, but even to withdraw from the occupied territories and reach an agreement under which an independent Palestinian state will arise. Many American presidents have come and gone without living up to these expectations, but the hope for a Messiah from across the sea is still alive.
The vote on the Palestinian bid to receive the status of observer state in the U.N. proved that President Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, knowingly risks international isolation solely to prevent America’s settlement-building friend from being left alone at the U.N. As if it wasn’t enough to vote against the bid, Obama’s U.N. representative Susan Rice also reiterated the tag lines of Netanyahu’s government: The Palestinians are taking “one-sided steps” and recognition is “a danger to the peace process.”
I recommend that everyone waiting for America try to recall the wars that Israel has initiated and waged since 1967, and then ask themselves which of those wars the American government ever opposed, and if any war has occurred after which the U.S. hasn’t hurried to increase its military assistance and to “fill the storehouses that were depleted.”
Why does the U.S. support Israel’s policy of settlement so methodically? During the last U.S. presidential elections we heard again and again the claim that Obama dreaded the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby on the Jewish vote. But this claim, which in my eyes always seemed exaggerated, is fading now that the elections are over and Obama is sitting on the presidential throne.
Not to ignore the significance of American domestic issues, but neither the competition between Democrats and Republicans for the Jewish vote nor the “common values” rooted in the Old Testament are the basis for military and political collaboration between the U.S. and Israel; rather, it is a cold calculation of the realms of capital and power in the two nations.
The tremendous military assistance that Israel receives from America, which in the last few years has reached 3 billion shekels a year; the tightening collaboration on military technological development; the existence of American military bases in Israel and the transformation of Haifa into the main port of the American Navy’s Sixth Fleet; the collaboration on intelligence; the shared military training — all these yield economic and political fruit to the economic and political establishments of both sides.
In 1981 Israel and the U.S. signed a strategic agreement, and in 1982 the U.S. government granted Israel the unique status of an important ally not counted among the members of NATO. Supported by these agreements, the different governments of Israel have turned the occupied territories as well as Lebanese territory into an active experimentation field for different types of American and Israeli weapons. Afterward, they could market these weapons as having stood the actual test of war, or of surveillance and inspection of the lives of millions. It is not a coincidence that the American military representative closely followed the deployments of the “Iron Dome,” which the United States invested a large amount of money to develop. In this way, the weapons, surveillance and supervision industries of the two nations benefited from the collaboration.
The calculation is not solely economic. In all the areas of the world in which the U.S. operates for the preservation of its political and economic hegemony, it does not have a partner as faithful as Israel with similar status, loyalty and technical ability. In many nations where leaders work with the U.S. there is great internal opposition to this collaboration. Thus, the U.S. has to be prepared at every moment for the political revolution that is likely to occur in these nations and endanger America’s position in the region. This happened recently during the Arab Spring when, under the pressure of the masses, the government was replaced in several Arab nations. This also happened over the course of the last decades in several Latin American nations. When such a revolution takes place, the U.S. must invest efforts anew to cultivate collaboration with the new leader (as with President Morsi in Egypt).
The national gain that Israel has enjoyed from its position as an immobile aircraft carrier and as a senior partner has come from the success the United States has had in training the majority of the region’s Arab nations — through bribe, threats or straight-out occupation — and European nations to reconcile themselves to the Israeli occupation, the settlements and the separation wall; and from there, to the creeping elimination of the Palestinian peoples’ right to independence and freedom. True, from time to time some peace plan or another is put forth, but the U.S. government ensures that any such plan will be disregarded.
The American-Israeli collaboration has wrung from the citizens of Israel a steep price: wars that replay themselves over and over; increased military expenditures with civil costs; strengthening of the capital within the government; construction of the youth as soldiers of the occupation; a growing erosion of democratic freedoms; institutionalized discrimination and racism; and, in short, “Likud Beitenu” as the government’s political party.
Israel’s future lies in an important aspect of political realism, in which the political party Hadash has stood out for dozens of years. This aspect is the understanding that friendship with the U.S. is nothing but a destructive bear hug that endangers Israel’s security and the peace of its citizens, that distances peace and that — as early as this spring, according to Netanyahu’s promises — is liable to bring forth a war adventure more horrible than any in the past.
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