Sunday, June 26, 2011

Abetting Israeli Violence Harms U.S. and Israeli National Security

By excusing, if not encouraging, Israeli shooting of protesters in other countries and in international waters, Washington is undermining the rule of international law and thus harming US national security. It is also violating its solemn duty to protect the lives of US citizens. And by equating support for the most irresponsible and criminal policies of violence-prone Israeli politicians, Washington is making the US-Israeli alliance harmful to US national security.

From the perspective of US national security, Washington's support for extreme right-wing Israeli politicians who want to use violence against peace activists, even in international waters, is dangerously self-defeating. The US needs the international rule of law but, regarding Israel, is promoting piracy - there is no other word for military attacks on vessels in international waters.

U.N. Condemns Israeli Blockade of Gaza
Riyad Mansour, permanent observer of Palestine to the UN, said the flotilla "is necessitated by the blockade that Israel has imposed since Hamas took over the area in 2007," calling Israel's blockade "immoral" and "illegal." [Xinhua, 6/24/11.]

US official reaction to Israel's murder of Syrian protesters along the Golan border was another troubling example of Washington irresponsibly making exceptions for Israel, allowing it to get away with criminal behavior. Shooting unarmed demonstrators across international borders, like attacking ships in international waters, is criminal behavior that sets precedents that are sure one day to harm US interests.

Israel Attacks Freedom of the Press
Israel on Sunday threatened to ban international journalists for up to a decade if they join a flotilla planning to breach the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip....
The Foreign Press Association, which represents hundreds of journalists working for international news organizations in Israel and the Palestinian territories, condemned the Israeli decision and urged the government to cancel the order. [Forbes, 6/26/11.]

Washington's attitude toward the current flotilla, essentially encouraging Israel to attack and even murder US citizens, is despicable beyond belief, but it is also self-defeating. In a Mideast already plagued with violence that results in repeated harm to Israelis, why would Washington or a patriotic Israeli politician want to encourage further breakdown in the rule of international law? With Israel shooting demonstrators across international boundaries, violating international borders with its fighter/bomber jets, and attacking peaceful ships in international waters, Israel has lost all right to complain about violence used against it by its adversaries.

Author Alice Walker to Join Flotilla
If the Israeli military attacks us, it will be as if they attacked the mailman. This should go down hilariously in the annals of history. But if they insist on attacking us, wounding us, even murdering us, as they did some of the activists in the last flotilla, Freedom Flotilla I, what is to be done? [Alice Walker to CNN, as quoted by Haaretz, 6/24/11.]

If we say piracy by Israel is OK, then piracy will become standard behavior for all others who see an advantage in it. If we say that Israel can kill demonstrators who are in another country, then some adversary of the US will sooner or later follow that precedent.

International law starts with the willingness of the most powerful to follow rules even when those rules happen to be inconvenient.

Six U.S. Congressmen to Secretary of State Clinton
the measures used by Israel to protect its security "as in the case of any other nation, must conform to international humanitarian and human rights law" [Congress of the United States, 6/24/11.]

When Washington bows down to violence-prone right-wing elements in Israel, it makes the world a less civilized place, thus harming American security. This brings us back to the debate provoked last year by General Petraeus' questioning of the impact on US national security of its alliance with Israel. Support for the security of the Israeli people may well be consonant with US national interests; support for violence-prone Israeli politicians is not. When Washington equates support for the most outrageously violent policies of the Israeli right wing with showing American friendship for Israel, then Washington makes the US-Israeli alliance harmful to US national security.

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