By MOLLY SULLIVAN
The U.S. supports Israel through its economic and military strength. A 2010 Gallup Poll asserts that 63 percent of Americans support Israel over Palestine. According to Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow, the Zionist movement is one that promotes a designated Jewish homeland, aimed at the protection of Jewish people. Seeing that the Jews have been persecuted at seemingly every point in recorded human history, it makes sense that Jewish people are in need of a legally protected area. However, in this increasingly complex situation, especially distorted by the media, it seems that the Palestinian cause is forgotten.
Following WWII, the newly formed United Nations drew up a 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine, which would designate a state carved out of Palestinian territory, forming a two-state Palestine. Although this is a gross simplification of an ongoing political process, this is the story Americans know best.
The issue arose in part because both Jews and Arabs, for historical and religious reasons, feel entitled to the holy city of Jerusalem. In addition, race relations grew tense as a Jewish minority was now legally entitled to Palestinian territory. Palestine at the time was under British rule, and Britain faced backlash from surrounding Arab states, which jeopardized oil trade. The issue is rooted in a lot of self-serving intentions and complicated political relations. But since this mandate in 1947, the Middle East has delved deep in turmoil.
There is a side to this story that most Americans don’t hear. The Israeli state, as previously mentioned, is rooted in Zionism. Considering the U.S.’s close alliance with Israel as well as the plight of the Jewish people, one can easily deduce that the Zionist cause is a legitimate one.
However, it is important to reflect on how Americans would feel if a large Muslim minority demanded a legally protected territory in the U.S. in the pursuit of the protection of Islam. Although this isn’t the most accurate analogy considering the Arabs have no historical links to North American territory, the thought to most Americans is frightening in that we typically reject the notion of a state being rooted in a largely religious cause.
Zionism itself violates that value. Most importantly, however, Israel occupies Palestinian territories known as West Bank and Gaza, denying native Palestinians the rights that Israelites enjoy, according to End the Occupation Coalition.
This organization states that “the United States supports Israeli occupation and apartheid through military aid, diplomatic backing at the U.N., and resolutions in Congress.”
The organization seeks to end what is considered to be apartheid taking place in this contested territory. Lives of both Palestinians and Israelites are literally demolished as a result of the conflict, which is fueled largely by U.S. aid.
According to End the Occupation, the U.S. sent over $24 billion in foreign military financing to the Israeli cause from 2000 to 2009, resulting in the death of nearly 3,000 uninvolved Palestinians. Death tolls are high on both sides, seeing that the Palestinian government itself is corrupt and considered, by the U.S. government, a terrorist organization. Countless attempts have been made to peacefully draw up legal boundaries, all of which the Palestinian government Hamas has repeatedly rejected. This much is known.
There is clearly no decisive conclusion on what should be done to appease both peoples, but it is important for Americans to acknowledge the filter through which our information passes.