Free Palestine or Foster Israel?
If you question the average American about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would likely side with Israel. And why not, American media propagates a singular narrative that Israel’s illegal acquisition of Palestinian land is subject to question.
But as Mahatma Gandhi once noted, “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French...What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct...If they [the Jews] must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun.”
There are various colonial implications that are forgotten, allowing for the U.S. government to base their decisions off of religious and economic loyalty to Israel rather than a just solution for the age-old conflict.
As Western media attempts to ignore the history of Israel versus Palestine, it also discounts the horrific daily occurrences in Gaza and West Bank.
According to a recent article from Al Jazeera, over 265 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military in 2015, yet Israeli officials only account for less than 50 deaths of Israeli civilians by Palestinian attack.
This is not to say that one life is more valuable than the other or that the numbers prove that “Free Palestine” is a more just cause than fighting for the violence to cease on both ends.
However, it proves that accounts of the conflict are one sided, offering little to no Palestinian perspectives. When Palestinian accounts are released, their voices are silenced, frequently viewed as biased and problematic while Israeli accounts are taken at face value.
It’s the same concept that bars minorities from speaking up in America. Black people and Latinos can’t possibly offer impartial dialogue on racism and police violence, right? Only certain individuals can critique the system.
Similarly, it’s as if it’s blasphemous to critique the Israeli government without being deemed anti-Semitic. Because of this, the United States government favors any and all policy that is respectful of our ally, Israel.
There is little to no criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s actions even though, as one Muslim-Palestinian described it, “weed is finally legal in Israel but Palestinians aren’t.”
So where do we go from here? When President Trump met with PM Netanyahu in mid February, the proposed solution was rather simple; the U.S. favors a one or two-state formula that would ease tensions. In fact, the President literally said that he “likes the one that both parties like.”
To some, this laissez faire response has caused discomfort and confusion. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was very clear that the U.S. favors a two-state solution, indefinitely. Yet, in late December, former Secretary of State John Kerry adamantly defended a one-state solution.
There is only one way to adequately benefit both Palestine and Israel. In “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” scholars John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt prescribe, “using American power to achieve a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians [in order to] help advance the broader goals of fighting extremism and promoting democracy in the Middle East.”
True “peace” stems from acknowledging the autonomy of Palestine and critiquing the undemocratic actions of both Israel and the United States.
Going forward, the American government must reconsider its national interests and broader intentions when advocating for an end to the conflict. If American foreign policy continues to favor one side over the other, will there ever be an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?