It is time for the U.S. to act like a real friend to Israel, rather than an enabler of Israel's own worst
Today, an increasing number of governments around the world – including the EU and member states that are strong supporters of Israel – are finally adopting policies of refusing to support settlements, occupation, and the de facto annexation of territory occupied in 1967 by Israel. The U.S. should do the same.
It is time for the U.S. to draw a line in its relationship with Israel – at “the Green Line” separating sovereign Israel and the territories it acquired in 1967. U.S. support and cooperation on the full range of issues not directly related to security – including economic, social, cultural, scientific cooperation and agreements, as well as U.S. positions in international forums – should apply only to sovereign Israel, not to its actions and presence in the occupied territories.
After 47+ years of consequences-free pro-occupation policies, and two decades of failed US-led diplomacy, such a policy shift may be the only thing left that can convince Israel and its leaders to change course.
Today, Israel is led by the most pro-settlement, pro-occupation government since 1967. Israel’s leaders
openly prioritize land over peace, settlements over security, hegemony over healthy democracy, and Greater
Israel over a greater position for Israel in the community of nations.
Israel’s government has a right to defend its citizens, but it does not have a right to compel them to pay the price of a perpetual occupation, neither does it have the right to keep millions of Palestinians under military rule.
Ending the occupation is a national security interest of the United States, of its international allies, and – first and foremost – of the people of Israel and friends of Israel worldwide. If Israel is to exist in the future as a Jewish state and a democracy, it must rid itself of the occupation.
Successive Israeli governments have for years talked about wanting peace, but their policies of deepening and expanding Israel's hold on lands occupied in 1967 tell a very different story.
The world has had enough. The international community, which for decades has gone along with U.S.-led efforts to cajole Israel into stopping settlements and ending the occupation, is upping the pressure:
• In recent years, a growing number of Israel's key trade partners and allies, including the EU and its member states, have begun implementing laws forbidding cooperation and assistance that in any way benefit settlements.
• In November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a motion, by a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.”
• At least 132 out of 193 UN member states – 68% – have recognized Palestine as a state, and there is growing pressure in other countries, including those who maintain close ties with Israel, to do likewise.
• In 2014, the Presbyterian Church (PC-USA) adopted a decision to divest from three major U.S. companies due to these companies’ policies that PC-USA views as supportive of the occupation and settlements.
If the Obama administration is serious about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is time for it to apply constructive pressure that would prompt Israel, in concrete ways, to roll back settlements and end the occupation – or get out of the way as others take the lead. After 47+ years of consequences-free pro-occupation policies, and two decades of failed US-led diplomacy, this pressure may be the only thing left that can convince Israel and its leaders to change course.
With nearly 6000 signatures, we are developing momentum. It's not too late: Sign the petition!