Israel’s Settlement on Capital Hill

With [traditional Israeli defense strategists] it’s all about tanks and land and controlling territories … and this hilltop and that hilltop. All these things are worthless.
— Incumbent Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Soon after the sand settled following the Six Day War in 1967, Jewish settlements began dotting the hills in the occupied territories. These settlements are typically located on the high ground to better control the surrounding landscape. Today there are 127 Jewish settlements with a population exceeding 468,000 in the West Bank, the Golan Heights and in the suburbs of East Jerusalem—the last of nearly 8,000 settlers were removed from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

According to a recent Amnesty International report, “In the first six months of 2008 Israel has expanded settlements in the West Bank/East Jerusalem at a faster rate than in the previous seven years.”

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Israel’s westernmost settlement is not located in Palestine-Israel, but is 6000 miles away on the high ground overlooking Foggy Bottom in Washington D.C.

This Capital Hill settlement of pro-Israel lobbies and think tanks strategically controls the high ground overlooking the United States’ Middle East policy landscape by having made kibbutzniks of most members of the executive and legislative branches of the government—including President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden (a wannabe Zionist), and future Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (a born Zionist).

While Israel’s hilltop settlements in the occupied territories—violating over 30 UN Security Council resolutions since 1968—are “facts on the ground” that make the two state peace solution unlikely, their hilltop settlement in the center of the world’s only superpower makes it equally unlikely that Israel’s right-wing government will feel compelled to end their “self defensive” brutalization of the Palestinian people, which has been condemned by the international community (UN, EU) as crimes against humanity.

John Holmes, UN Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, said that Israel’s blockade of vital supplies to the Gaza Strip in retaliation for rocket attacks “amounts to collective punishment and is contrary to international humanitarian law.”

Collective punishment is forbidden by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.” A “protected person” is someone who is under the control of an “Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.” Only the most ideologically blinkered individual would fail to recognize the Gaza Strip as occupied territory.

Israel’s current blockade of Gaza, which began on November 4, is resulting in what the UN Relief and Works Agency is calling a humanitarian catastrophe. Before the blockade, 1000 truckloads of food, fuel and essential supplies per day were necessary to sustain the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned behind the concrete and barbed wire of the 25-mile long border. Eighty percent of Gazans live on two dollars a day and depend on international aid to survive. Since the border crossings were sealed, less than 100 truckloads have been permitted through.

The imprisoned Palestinians—50 percent of whom are younger than 15—are slowly starving. They lack the fuel to generate electricity for lighting, water purification, and sewage treatment. The erratic, intermittent electrical power puts the lives of patients in intensive care wards and those who are connected to live-sustaining equipment in grave peril. The lack of basic medicines such as antibiotics and insulin pose an equally fatal threat.

Twenty human rights organizations and all Israeli and international journalists have been barred from entering the Gaza Strip since the blockade began. A letter of protest signed by most major news organizations was sent to Prime Minister Olmert. Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror responded to the letter by saying that Israel was afraid journalists would inflate the Palestinians’ suffering. No one is allow to speak out on behalf of this beleaguered population.

President-elect Obama has been speaking out “swiftly and boldly” about the economic catastrophe threatening our 401Ks, but his silence regarding the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe threatening the lives of Palestinians is both deafening and telling of the price he’s willing to pay to maintain his status as kibbutznik-in-good-standing in Israel’s westernmost hilltop settlement.

Obama’s unconditional support for Israel’s policy of “self defense,” preemptive attacks, and repressive occupations is not one iota different from that of George W. Bush, an internationally recognized war criminal. This is not an encouraging beginning for a man whose battle cry was “change we can believe in.”

By any rational, humanitarian standard, Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians amounts to collective punishment and crimes against humanity. Perpetrators of such crimes, whether they are individuals or governments or willing allies, are criminals who should one day sit in the dock of the International Court of Justice in The Hague—just as defendants sat in a Nuremberg court 60 years ago—and be held accountable for their crimes.

Until Israel’s hilltop settlement in our nation’s capital is dismantled, allowing for the possibility of a just and lasting peace in Palestine-Israel, its influence on both branches of our government and its insidious affect on US Middle East policy will continue to make willing—or unwitting—kibbutzniks of all Americans. We will be held as complicit, and as culpable, as the citizens of the country whose leaders sat in the dock at Nuremberg.

The world will ask, “Why didn’t you do something to stop it?” The majority of us will reply, “We didn’t know!”

Robert Weitzel is a contributing editor to Media With a Conscience. His essays regularly appear in The Capital Times in Madison, WI. He can be contacted at: Read other articles by Robert, or visit Robert's website.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Giorgio said on November 28th, 2008 at 1:27pm #

    I just can’t help taking my hat off to these Zionists. They ooze chutzpah by the truckload and their final assault on the American political establishment under cover of a “Black Messiah” is just mind bogglingsing. Three cheers for the feat: HIP, HIP, HOORAY !

    The best comparison for this vicelike control of America, I find, lies with the analogy of the cuckoo. “It makes nice cooing sounds in the
    forests and then deposits its eggs in sparrows nests and eventually drives out the sparrows chicks. The mother sparrow will exhaust herself feeding the demands of the cuckoo in its nest – a parasite that it
    doesn´t recognize as an alien in its midst. The parasite eventually gains control not only of the nest, but also of the mother sparrow that frantically seeks to feed the parasite…” (1) and so, likewise,
    has Israel, the cuckoo, gained control of America.

    (1) US Aid to Israel, Feeding the Cuckoo
    by Paul de Rooij

  2. DavidG. said on November 28th, 2008 at 4:16pm #

    I guess the truth is that America willingly does Israel’s bidding. After all, wealthy Jews make large political donations.

    But then, Israel, being a militaristic, imperial power like America, suits America’s own imperial ambitions. Israel, a disgrace to the world community, gives America a subservient , strategic outpost right in the middle of the Middle East where all that lovely oil is.

    Israel and America use each other to deceive the rest of the world while they go about their secretive machinations. They both use the ‘defending ourselves’ ploy to mask their various invasions and occupations. What happened in Mumbai is one of the results of this unholy alliance. The terrorists targeted Jews and Americans among others.

    It is a sick alliance that must be broken before it causes further turmoil and killing across the world.

  3. bozh said on November 28th, 2008 at 4:22pm #

    i will never again use the word “zionism” in my posts. instead, i will call theft of land ” imperialism”.
    thus, i make no distinction bwt russian, UK, pakistani, indian, chinese, ‘jewish’ , or amer imperialisms/stealing.
    to what degree does ‘Jewish’ imperialism affect amer imperialism?
    i don’t know.
    anyone knows? or is just that so many imperialists support one another?
    as i have said in my previous posts, ashkenazic volk not being semitic, cannot claim zion as own and thus cannot be zionists but mere thieves. thnx

  4. DavidG. said on November 28th, 2008 at 10:17pm #

    Yes, imperialism is imperialism, Bozh. It is an outmoded concept, one kept alive by nationalistic dinosaurs, some of whom work together.

    America and Israel are co-conspirators. The only difference is that Israel takes land surrounding it and America takes land anywhere in the world!

  5. J. Matsui said on November 29th, 2008 at 11:46am #

    In 2004, voters were given a choice of two candidates that could be summed up as a choice between Coke and Pepsi. In 2008 voters were once again applying a formula based on meaningless consumer choices to choose their next president. This time around, GW played the unenviable role of the Coca Cola exec responsible for his company’s disastrous decision to tamper with the formula and packaging of a beloved, much touted brand of carbolic soda, while Barak Obama played the dissenting marketing genius who comes to the rescue and restores the poisonous product back to its original flavor much to the relief of angry consumers. McCain’s minor role as hired mouthpiece attempting damage control was a comical and insignificant aside to bigger picture premise of an arrogant and deluded leader being challenged by a visionary and charismatic upstart. Never mind that the “visionary” envisioned nothing more radical than a return to the recent past of putting the requisite amount of high fructose corn syrup in aluminum cans. Voters, not unlike soft drink aficionados can be counted on to rally around a non-cause perpetrated by competing corporate interests both profiting from a well orchestrated marketing campaign – just as they can be counted on to remain indifferent to real news (as opposed to the falsely constructed narratives and PR strategies staged 24/7 in “Situation Rooms” ) Let’s face it: Waiting for Palestinians to slowly die under Israel’s illegal blockade makes for less compelling “drama” than watching traumatized Western tourists in real time being led out of posh Mumbai hotels.

    By the time he officially enters the White House with his Clinton-led cabinet, President Obama will have calmed the angry public backlash at the executive responsible for tampering with an established brand of “soft” Imperialism and exposing it as a crude, corpse strewn land grab. Like the subsequently re-branded ‘Coke Classic’ Brand Obama has never been about “change” but merely reversion to an executive branch that pretends to “feel your pain” while continuing to inflict it even more brutally on vulnerable and impoverished populations overseas. Thus we should not be surprised by his choice of Clinton appointed economic and foreign policy “experts”, or the appointment of Lady MacKlintoon herself as Secretary of State. Nor should we expect that President Obama will respond humanely and rationally to the enduring and worsening humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories. His groveling campaign speech to AIPAC was a clear indication that his conscience and intellect were impediments on the path to his “historic” presidency. His swift post-election appointment of Likud Party poster boy Rahm Emanuel as Chief-of-Staff, not to mention Joe “I am a Zionist” Biden as Vice-President, is just more evidence that the next US president is gearing up to serve as Israel’s next outsourced leader.

    Great article, by the way.

  6. bozh said on November 29th, 2008 at 4:29pm #

    u didn’t read my post correctly. i said, imperialism is theft of land. i cldn’t be clearer.
    wheater one calls this only imperialism or only stealing of land, it still tastes/hurts the same. thnx

  7. Jameel said on December 30th, 2008 at 9:25am #

    Bozh, you are absolutely right…Zionism is just another synonym for Manifest Destiny. The fact that America was founded by people who stole land from its rightful owners and killed them indiscriminately makes the US a natural ally of Israel. It’s completely immoral, but as long as the media keep up the illusion that Israel is a miniature US, attitudes in this country will not change. It’s appalling.