US Concern about Israel’s Illegal Settlements Is 42 Years Too Late

by Alan Hart / March 27th, 2010

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had the courage to tell AIPAC’s
conference that Israel’s continued construction of Jewish housing on
occupied territory is undermining both the prospect for peace and
America’s credibility and own best interests was good news. The bad
news is that this and other Obama administration expressions of concern
are 42 years too late.

There’s no mystery about when the U.S. should have taken the lead
through the UN Security Council in putting Israel on notice that it
would not be permitted to settle any of the Arab land it grabbed in the
1967 war. Security Council Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 ought to
have contained a diplomatic reading of the riot act to the Zionist
state on the matter of settlements.

As I have noted in a number of previous articles and my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews,
Resolution 242 was, actually, a disaster for all who were seriously
interested in working for a just and lasting peace. By stating that
Israeli armed forces were required to withdraw “from territories”
occupied in the conflict – i.e. not the territories or better still all
territories – Resolution 242 put the Israelis in the diplomatic driving
seat, leaving them free to be the ones, and the only ones, who would
determine (on a take it leave it basis backed by brute force) the
extent of any Israeli withdrawals. This fatal flaw in 242 effectively
gave Israel’s leaders a veto over any peace process.

Despite that, Resolution 242 need not have been a complete disaster
for peacemakers if a statement had been inserted into its text to this
effect… That Israel should not seek to settle or colonise the
occupied territories, and that if it did the Security Council would
enforce international law and take whatever action was necessary to
stop the illegal developments

Question: Why did the text of Resolution 242 not contain such a
statement of Security Council intent? The answer I give in the
forthcoming Volume 3 of the American edition of my book
(, is this.

Those responsible for framing Resolution 242 were very much aware
that Israel’s hawks were going to proceed with their colonial venture
come what may – in determined defiance of international law and no
matter what the organised international community said or wanted. And
some if not all of those responsible for framing 242 were resigned to
the fact that, because of the history of the Jews and the Nazi
holocaust, Israel was not and never would or could be a normal state.
As a consequence, there was no point in seeking to oblige it to behave
like a normal state – i.e. in accordance with international law and its
obligations as a member of the UN. Like it or not, and whatever it
might mean for the fate of humankind, the world was going to have to
live with the fact that there were two sets of rules – one for Israel
and one for all other nations
. Because of the way Israel was
created – without legitimacy in international law – The System now had
a double standard built into it, and because the political will to
confront Zionism did not exist, there was nothing anybody could do to
change that reality.

In my view a conclusion invited is that Zionism’s in-Israel leaders are not the main villains in the story.
They, the main villains, are successive American and other Western
leaders who lacked the will and the courage not only to call and hold
Zionism’s monster child to account, but to do what was in the best
longer term interests of their own countries.

I have the impression (of course I could be wrong!) that President
Obama would like to break this mould. I even think there’s a
possibility that, in the privacy of his own mind, he might already have
told himself that he will do so in a second term, if he has one.
(Though Obama signalled his displeasure at having to meet with
Netanyahu by insisting on no photographs, I thought it was a mistake
for the President to meet with him. As with Biden’s arrival in Israel,
Netanyahu’s arrival at the White House was preceded by the announcement
of the go-ahead for more illegal Jewish construction in occupied Arab
East Jerusalem. There could not have been a more pointed “Up Yours, Mr.
President!” Israeli gesture). But what if President Obama tried and was
not allowed by the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress to
succeed? Would that necessarily mean that the Zionist state was and
would remain a monster beyond control, with catastrophic consequences
for the region and the whole world, including the Jews of the world?

Perhaps not.

There is today a new factor in the equation. It is the concern being raised in public by some of America’s top military men.

The United States Central Command, Centcom, is the military
headquarters responsible for US security interests in 20 countries
across the greater Middle East.

On 16 March, Centcom’s head, General David H. Petraeus, appeared
before the Senate Armed-Services with a prepared testimony. It included
this: “The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its
neighbours present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our
interests. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength
and depth of US partnerships with governments and peoples in the Middle
East and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world.”

Petraeus also briefed Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the U.S.
Joint Chiefs of Staff, and apparently told him, among other things,
that Washington’s “impotence” in the face of Israel’s ongoing
colonisation of the occupied West Bank was the greatest cause of Arab

As noted by Paul Rogers in an article for OpenDemocracy
published on 18 March, “America and Israel: a historic choice”: “the
very arm of the United States federal government which has the closest
links with Israel – namely, the military – is now suggesting that
Israel is the source of some of its own key problems in the middle

The significance of what Petraeus said was, as Rogers also noted,
heightened by the fact that the criticism came not from retired
generals, not remote from the strategic frontline; “but from the very
US military command that has been fighting the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan for most of the decade… This elite forms a core element of
the US military-industrial complex which in five decades of close
cooperation with Israel has furnished its ally with sophisticated
weapons-systems, undertaken many joint exercises, provided huge amounts
of aid; and in turn depended on Israel for crucial assistance in its
war in Iraq.”

This military intervention in the “What to do about Israel?” debate
now gathering momentum in America, made me wonder if the stage is being
set for a showdown, at some point, between the Zionist lobby in its
many manifestations and the occupant of the White House, whoever he is,
with the military on his side.

So perhaps, even after 42 years, coming up for 43, it’s not too late.

Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and globally as a
researcher, author, and a correspondent for ITN and the BBC. Read other articles by Alan, or visit Alan’s website.

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