It is time for a reboot of US-Israel relations | Opinions


At the beginning of his term, U.S. President Joe Biden presented his foreign policy vision: to restore the respected leadership of the United States on the world stage; take immediate steps to renew American alliances; and to strengthen the coalition of democracies. The Achilles heel of this optimistic plan and its credibility are Washington’s anachronistic relations with the State of Israel.

This special relationship is a relic of the Cold War, when the United States supported its allies unconditionally – militarily and politically – even when it came to military governments and dictatorial regimes that were involved in serious human rights violations. Consequently, within the borders of Israel there is a state that gives political and economic privileges to its Jewish majority, and in the West Bank there is an Israeli military dictatorship, which operates according to the same methods as colonialist regimes, most of which ended. in the last century.

Recently, two acclaimed organizations, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem, accused the Israeli state of committing apartheid crimes against the Palestinians. This, however, did not produce a policy change in Washington.

For decades, the United States has maintained a bubble of complete impunity for successive Israeli governments, both in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and on the Israeli borders. It extended unconditional support to Israel to the United Nations Security Council and provided annual military assistance. The Israeli state is the largest recipient of foreign aid in the United States, having been granted about $ 146 billion since its inception in 1948.

While the United States has often denounced human rights violations and the deterioration of democratic values ​​and institutions around the world, it has not even criticized state affairs in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

The United States has strongly condemned and even acted against the bombing of civilians in Syria by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but has said nothing about Israeli air raids on residential areas in Gaza or the demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The United States has also spoken out against the injuries and killings of protesters in Myanmar and ethnic Rohingya police, but has been silent on Israeli forces injuring and killing protesters in the West Bank and Gaza and forcibly dispatching them. the Palestinians from their homes in the East occupied Jerusalem, the Jordan Valley and Khan al-Ahmar.

Even when former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu transformed racism toward the Palestinian population and Jewish supremacy into a stated policy, Washington remained a mother.

Under his watch, the Knesset passed the nation-state law, which declared Israel only a nation-state of the Jewish people, while supporters of ethnic policing and hate crimes against the Palestinians arrived. to positions of power. Not only has he weakened state institutions, undermining the independence of the Knesset, security agencies and the judiciary, but he has himself been involved in various corruption schemes. However, Washington continued to welcome Netanyahu into the “club of democratic leaders.”

The new government in Israel, which ended Netanyahu’s 13-year reign, presents an important opportunity for a resumption of US-Israel relations. To balance the dynamics between the two countries, several changes need to be made, but there are a few measures that the U.S. government can take immediately to begin this process.

First, the Biden administration must heed the call of Palestinian, Israeli and American activists to condition U.S. financial aid on Israel’s commitment to defending human rights and international law. If it continues to violate the human rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, then the flow of U.S. assistance must be stopped immediately.

Next, the Biden administration must ask the Israeli government to stop the illegal evictions of hundreds of Palestinian residents from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Third, the Biden administration must ask the Israeli government to repeal the nation-state law, which gives a mantle of legality to the illegal discrimination of Palestinian citizens in Israel.

Fourth, the Biden administration must ask the Israeli government to repeal Military Order No. 101, which was passed in 1967 and which prohibits any protest in the occupied West Bank without permission from the Israeli army – allowing that for whatever reason. it is known to have never been issued by the Palestinians in 54 years of occupation. The Palestinians must have the opportunity to protest without violence against the Israeli occupation and military dictatorship, freely and without restrictions.

It should be emphasized that none of these are exceptional measures. In fact, U.S. laws, such as the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and others, condition foreign aid in fulfilling a country’s commitment to human rights and international law. The US has conditioned foreign aid several times and there is no reason why they should not do it for Israel.

By taking these measures, the United States will end its dual-rule policy that prioritizes the State of Israel over all other states with which the United States enjoys close relations. It should now be clear to Biden and his team that the permission of impunity for the Israeli state and army does not help the people living in Israel and only serves to fuel the endless cycle of violence from which the Palestinians and the Palestinians suffer. Israelis.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.





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