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by Moved To Action
Monday, Nov. 28, 2005 at 2:02 AM
United States diplomats like to say that when it comes to the conflict between Israel and Palestinians the US plays the role of "an honest broker." But the US' massive financial and military support for Israel means that, in fact, the US is taking sides. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid, receiving more than $3 billion annually  -- or about $8 million every day. If a level diplomatic playing field is to be created, the US' unfair and biased support of Israel must end. Until the US stops lending its weight to Israel, a truly just peace will remain elusive
The U.S. as an Obstacle to Peace
Although the U.S. has claimed to be an "honest broker" between Israel and the Palestinians, it has provided the weapons, funding and political backing for Israel to maintain the occupation.
Weapons: U.S. weapons transfers to Israel actually increased during the current crisis, with the decade’s largest sale of Blackhawk and Apache attack helicopters. These have been used to fire antitank missiles into Palestinian homes, government offices, schools and hospitals.
Funding: U.S. military aid to Israel has also increased, along with Israeli human rights violations. Israel has long been the single largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid. The more than $3 billion in military and economic aid that Israel gets annually is nearly 40 percent of the entire U.S. aid budget. Meanwhile, Israel represents only 0.1 percent of the world’s population.
Political Backing: The U.S. has used its veto on the Security Council of the United Nations to block nearly half of all UN resolutions condemning Israel for human rights abuses against Palestinians and violations of international law. Since September 2000, the Bush Administration has twice vetoed the creation of an international observer force to the region, a key demand of Palestinian and Israeli peace activists.
The U.S. has clearly forfeited its role as a broker for peace. Future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian leadership should therefore be held under the auspices of the United Nations, not the U.S., and all future agreements must meet standards of international human rights and humanitarian law.
A History of U.S. Vetoes
There is another major area, largely ignored, that at some point must be faced. It involves the serious distortion of the official Security Council record by the profligate use by the United States of its veto power. In 29 separate cases between 1972 and 1991, the United States has vetoed resolutions critical of Israel. Except for the U.S. veto, these resolutions would have passed and the total number of resolutions against Israel would now equal 95 instead of 66.
These resolutions would have broadened the record by affirming the right of Palestinian self-determination, by calling on Israel to abandon its repressive measures against the Palestinian intifada, by sending U.N. Observers into the occupied territories to monitor Israel's behavior and, most serious, by imposing sanctions against Israel if it did not abide by the Council's resolutions.
Such a list of resolutions passed and resolutions vetoed is unparalleled in United Nations history. The list in itself forms a stunning indictment of Israel's unlawful and uncivilized actions over a period of 45 years and of America's complicity in them.
Yet references to this damning record are totally absent from the vocabularies of American leaders as they go about saying they are seeking peace. If they are really serious about peace, then at some point they must act with the same firmness they displayed toward Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. Had they approached Iraq with the same timorous tactics they are applying to Israel, Iraqi soldiers still would be in Kuwait.
The point is that aggressors have always answered the question of whether they want peace by their actions. If the United States really wants peace in the Middle East, it must insist that Israel abide by the judgment of the world community as expressed in resolutions by the United Nations. The U.S. can do this at any time simply by forsaking the use of the veto and joining the world consensus. Anything less makes a sham of the peace process, and is demeaning to leaders of a democratic country.
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