Finally, A Ray Of Light Through Dark Clouds: Shackles of Israeli Stranglehold
08 July 2015
By Tariq A. Al Maeena
It comes as a pleasant surprise to hear that 19 members of the US Congress
have signed a letter calling for prioritising the human rights of Palestinian
children living in occupied West Bank
The United States is ruled by three branches that make up its government. The
executive or presidency, the judiciary or the courts and the legislature,
which is called the Congress. There are 100 members of the Senate and 435
members of the lower house called the House of Representatives. This is the
body that makes and passes federal laws.
This body has been so carefully vetted and manipulated by a lobby serving a
foreign power that it is at peril of crafting legislature in conflict with
the interests of the US. The lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (Aipac), which was previously known as the American Zionist
Council, is continuously manipulating members of the legislative party
towards looking positively at Israeli interests over anything else. It would
take columns of a newspaper to describe how each member of the US legislature
is targeted with gifts and favours and an occasional twisting of the arm by
this lobby, which then steers lawmakers to its version of Middle East
Tanya Cariina Hsu, a noted British political researcher and analyst and one
of the first to break the barrier against public discussion of the Israeli
influence on US foreign policy decision-making once said: "One of the most
influential lobbying groups in America, it is often argued that no politician
can be elected to office without Aipac's support. No president can take the
White House without affirming unbreakable allegiance to Israel and attendance
at the annual Aipac meeting is mandatory. Once in office, every member of
Congress is expected to act, vote and defend the state of Israel on almost
every issue, or face the consequences."
Editor, author and historian Alison Weir also offered her insight into the
strangling chokehold of Aipac on US foreign policy. "The Israel lobby is one
of the most powerful and pervasive special interest groups in the United
States. It consists of a multitude of powerful institutions and individuals
that work to influence Congress, the president, academia, the media,
religious institutions and American public opinion on behalf of Israel."
It was to the Congress, a body that is expected to comprise of selfless
legislators determined to do as well as they can for their constituents, that
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of the ‘self-declared nation state of
the Jewish people' addressed not so long ago and had Senators and
Representatives jumping up and down like puppets, applauding his latest
presentation of the Likud line. It was a nauseating spectacle of
self-interests in defiance of all diplomatic protocol.
Aipac is discreetly generous with those who come under its influence. Mark
Steven Kirk, the Republican US Senator from Illinois and a previous member of
the US House of Representatives, is alleged to be one of those lawmakers who
has benefited from Aipac's gifts to the tune of almost $700,000 (Dh2.57
million)! Another Republican, Senator Mitch McConnell, representing the state
of Kentucky, allegedly received nearly half a million dollars. It does not
take much to figure out what is expected in return. And there are more such
US lawmakers — trust me, many more.
Now having said this, it comes as a pleasant surprise to hear that 19 members
of the US Congress have signed a letter petitioning the US Secretary of State
to "prioritise the human rights of Palestinian children living in the
Occupied West Bank in the bilateral relationship with the Government of
Shackles of Israeli stranglehold
A 2015 Unicef report on Israeli treatment of Palestinian children stated "the
ill treatment of children who come into contact with the Israeli military
detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalised
from the moment of the arrest until the child's prosecution and eventual
conviction and sentencing. More than 7,000 Palestinian children ages 12 to 17
have been subject to military detention and abuse that violates international
human rights standards".
It finally prompted the conscience of some members of the legislature to defy
the shackles of Israeli stranglehold and act.
A press release from one of the signatory's office said the letter
"specifically addresses Israel's ongoing military detention of Palestinian
children in which they are arrested, interrogated, held incommunicado and
frequently physically abused. Israel's military detention of Palestinian
children is an indefensible abuse of human rights. I hope this letter results
in State Department pressure on the Government of Israel to end this systemic
abuse immediately. Palestinian children should be treated exactly the same as
Israeli or American children, without the fear that one day soldiers will
arrest them, beat them, and lock them away in prison".
Calling these abuses "cruel, inhuman and degrading", the letter indicated
that the Israeli military's detention structure targeting children is an
"anomaly in the world", noting that no other country systematically subjects
children to trials by military tribunals.
Finally! Finally somebody broke through the massive Israeli money and spin
machine and saw the light. Finally somebody in the US government had the guts
to stand up and speak the truth — a truth that fosters much of the unrest in
the region today. Hallelujah.
Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.