Graphic and Shocking!
I'll admit, I usually sigh and roll my eyes at any news coming out of Israel/Palestine, it just seems so intractible and futile (then again so did the South African version of apartheid). There's plenty of blame to go around, but the Israeli's hold all the power and I've had it up to here with their intransigent behavior, our media's one-sided coverage and our government's unshakeable one sided support. Not only is it morally wrong, but it's endangering us and our troops (see below).
One of the truisms trotted out all the time is that Israel is the only democracy in the middle-east and our interests are aligned so we must support Israel no matter what. I'll leave the "interests are aligned" thing alone for now. what I question is whether Israel is really a democracy. Israel's population is roughly 7M of which about 2M are Arab citizens who enjoy for the most part equal status with the Jewish citizens, although not entirely. There are about 12M Palestinians and about 7M of those live in the occupied territories (insisde the boundaries on the map above) with the rest being refugies. How can one call a country a democracy where half or more of the people living under it's rule do not have equal rights and no real justice, self government or self determination? It's a huge stretch if you can do it at all. It's more like a little empire and empires NOT democracies. America should not blindly support empires, it's wrong and it's dangerous.
From The Nation Magazine: One of the many platitudes ritually invoked at the annual AIPAC conference is the claim that US and Israeli strategic interests are indivisible. It was repeated again this year, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, among others, even as the allies struggled to patch up a nasty rift arising from the Netanyahu government's announcement of new settlement construction during Vice President Biden's recent visit to Israel.
But what if the claim isn't true? This year it was challenged from unusual quarters, when Gen. David Petraeus, Centcom commander, told the Senate that the Israel-Palestine conflict-and widespread anger in the Middle East over Washington's favoritism for Israel-is hampering regional partnerships and fueling recruitment by Islamist extremists. And while Biden delivered the usual boilerplate about standing "shoulder to shoulder" with Israel in his public remarks there, in private he was harsh; according to the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, he told Netanyahu, (Biden) "What you're doing here undermines the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That endangers us, and it endangers regional peace."
Here is a short, interesting history of Isreal's land grabbing and marginalization of the Paletstinian people that included the above maps: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/16-6
Oh and don't bother with calling me an anti-semite. Not only is that knee jerk response to any criticism old and tired, in my case it's just flat wrong.