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Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2007, page 74

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Still in Limbo After 59 Years...

There are now 7.2 million displaced Palestinians yearning for peace, justice, and the right to go home. Every year on May 15, while Israel celebrates its birth, Diaspora Palestinians mourn the Nakba, the 1948 “catastrophe” when more than 60 percent of the indigenous Palestinian population was expelled and 530 Palestinian villages depopulated. Israel began the longest military occupation in modern times and Palestinians began the seemingly endless wait for the world to recognize their rights to their own homes and country.

Four Decades of “Israel First.”

Sadly, when it comes to Israel, Americans turn a blind eye to injustice. In the 1940s U.S. politicians argued over recognizing a Jewish state, with disputed borders, built on Arab land. Despite strong objections from his advisers, including Secretary of State and World War II hero Gen. George Marshall, President Harry Truman recognized the new nation only 11 minutes after its birth at the stroke of midnight, Jerusalem time, on May 15, 1948. But U.S. politicians didn’t start putting concern for Israel ahead of American interests until June 8, 1967, when Israeli air and sea forces tried to sink the USSLiberty in order to draw the U.S. into Israel’s pre-emptive war against its three Arab neighbors.

Israel’s Attack on the USS Liberty...

Killed 34 Americans and launched a shameful 40-year cover-up. In answer to SOS calls from the crippled ship, nearby U.S. aircraft carriers had launched fighter planes to defend the Liberty and its crew. But to avoid embarrassing Israel, President Lyndon B. Johnson recalled those planes and ordered a cover-up that continues to this day. As a retired naval officer in San Diego recently remarked, “Talk about a cover-up! Every one I knew in the Navy understood exactly what happened, but our government...

Rolled Over and Played Dead.”

Israel has continued to pose a moral challenge ever since, as Americans have been asked to provide ever-increasing moral, political and financial support for its wars, weapons, walls, and policies of assassination, apartheid, nuclear proliferation and occupation. An increasing number of Americans, including former Congressman Paul Findley (R-IL), believe that 9/11 would not have happened had any U.S. president in the last 40 years refused to finance Israel’s destruction and humiliation of Palestinian society.

Turmoil in Gaza.

Despite a professed commitment to the principle of democracy, the United States, Israel and Europe have continued their policy of sanctions and isolation as punishment for the January 2006 election of a Hamas government. Despite the formation of a Palestinian unity government, forged in the Feb. 8, 2007 Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah, there has been no easing of the hardships Palestinians have been forced to endure. As we go to press, the coalition...

Government Was in Tatters.

Violence raged as terrified residents of the Gaza Strip hunkered down in their homes, many without power. Thanks to the sanctions, Gazans’ cupboards already were empty. Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt put it right when he called for an end to Holland”˜s “biased” pro-Israel stances and demanded an end to the boycott in which EU members collaborate. “We automatically pardon the occupier and sanction the occupied nation,” he noted.

Israel Couldn’t Resist Stirring the Pot.

Gaza’s turmoil came just in time to divert attention from long-awaited international pressure on Israel to resume peace talks. To ratchet up the chaos, Israel opened the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza—which Israel usually opens, briefly, twice a week, and in the past nine months has allowed to open on only 64 days—long enough to allow some 500 Fatah security forces trained in Egypt to stream into Gaza. Israeli helicopter gunships fired missiles at the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and destroyed Hamas security buildings in Gaza City. But—finally—Israel’s...

Blank Check May Be Cancelled.

While the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, has been publishing articles for 25 years on the role played by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in shaping U.S. Mideast policy, mainstream U.S. media recently has joined the public discussion. Thanks to three recent breakthroughs, the U.S.-Israeli relationship is now drawing...

Much-Needed Public Scrutiny.

Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government wrote a paper arguing that pressure from the Israel lobby often causes Washington to set aside its own security to pursue the best interests of Israel. Former President Jimmy Carter opened debate with his superb book Palestine: Peace not Apartheid. And former AIPAC officials Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman have been charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful receipt and disclosure of national defense information. Americans finally are discussing AIPAC’s hold on our government.

Ominous Similarities.

This issue’s cover and Rachelle Marshall’s article (p. 7) poignantly—and ominously—illustrate the growing similarities between the occupations of Palestine and Iraq. As Americans adopt Israeli methods of mass arrests, interrogations, torture, roadblocks and now walls, Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” comes to mind. In an age when we need more bridges and fewer walls, his words ring true more than ever:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall...

Building Walls in Cyberspace.

The Department of Defense is now blocking U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan from writing blogs and sharing photos about their experiences, and restricting troops’ access to some of the most popular Internet Web sites. American soldiers who are told they are fighting for Iraqi freedom have lost a basic freedom enjoyed in democracies—and even most dictatorships—around the world.

Freedom of the Press at Home.

We are very worried that, without help from our readers, our voice may soon be silenced—and at a time when American readers have a greater appetite for information about Iraq, Iran and the Muslim world. In July a proposed postage hike may increase our rates by 30 percent—a potentially fatal blow to every small independent magazine in the country. So when you receive our biannual donation appeal, please give generously to help keep this particular vital resource alive for another 25 years and...

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