Peace talks between Israel and Palestine have come to a halt once again. Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to restart the peace-talk negotiations on July 29, 2013.
Subsequently, Israel and Palestine returned to a process of direct negotiations. These negotiations were planned to last for a maximum of nine months, with the goal of concluding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by the middle of 2014.
Over this period, Kerry has met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas 34 times and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu roughly 60 times. The deadline for forming a general outline to an agreement was April 29, 2014.
This date has come and gone, and once again the issue has come to a halt. Negotiations completely collapsed as the deadline was reached.
The U.S. Department of State puts the blame for the cease of negotiations on both sides, yet President Abbas says he is serious with his recent claims to be ready to resume peace talks with Israel.
John Kerry recently claimed that Israel could become an “apartheid state” if it does not reach a two-state peace deal with the Palestinians.
Palestine native Yazan Barhoush ’17 had stronger sentinments. “It is already an apartheid state. If you want to compare it, you can compare it to what happened in South Africa. It’s completely the same. It’s people who are not getting their simple human rights,” said Barhoush.
In response to Kerry’s statement, Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer of California said, “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous.”
Since this statement was released, Kerry has taken back his words, saying that the meaning of his comment has been misinterpreted. Although, the term “apartheid state” can really only have one meaning, right?
After being criticized by U.S. lawmakers and pro-Israel groups, Kerry said, “I will not allow my commitment to Israel to be questioned by anyone, particularly for partisan, political purposes, so I want to be crystal clear about what I believe and what I don’t believe.
“First, Israel is a vibrant democracy and I do not believe, nor have I ever stated, publicly or privately, that Israel is an apartheid state or that it intends to become one.
“Second, I have been around long enough to also know the power of words to create a misimpression, even when unintentional, and if I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way, in the long term, to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two-state solution,” said Kerry.
The European Union is urging Israel and Palestine to continue negotiations.
With all of these political forces coming to the defense of Israel in the name of democracy, it leads me to believe that these forces have turned a blind eye to questionable and violent actions Israel performed against Palestine, just because Israel is a rare democratic state in the Middle East.
Has America turned a blind eye to injustices performed by Israel on Palestinians because they are a democracy that receives a large amount of our international funding?
On Friday, May 16, Amnesty International spoke out against the continued use of Israel’s brutal force against Palestinians. Amnesty International condemned the killing of two Palestinians by Israeli forces during the West Bank protests on Thursday, May 15.
Amnesty claimed that this lethal action had been applied to protesters who were not capable of posing a threat to Israeli forces. Amnesty International has defined Israel’s actions against the Palestinians as “an unacceptable development that needs to be stopped immediately.”
Amnesty International has also called for a prompt inquiry into the two deaths during the West Bank protests. Amnesty insisted, “Israel must ensure that their forces act in a manner that respects and upholds human rights.”
Of course, this is one of many cases of Israeli brutality against Palestinians over the past several years.
Yet this side of the story is rarely publicized in media headlines regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As with many blatant human rights injustices throughout history, this one is largely unknown to many Americans.
The American government provides Israel with one of the largest chunks of foreign aid compared to all other countries. Washington continues to defend Israel as a democratic nation. This is where the problem lies: the repressed continue to be repressed, and the repressors are rewarded in the name of “democracy.”