by Glenn Greenwald Guardian/UK November 21, 2012
Everything about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict follows the same pattern over and over, including the reaction of Americans. In the first couple of days after a new round of violence breaks out. Intense interest is quickly replaced by weariness, irritation, and even anger that one has to be bothered by this never-ending and seemingly irresolvable conflict. The crux: "I would like to have an opinion on this continual bloodletting that didn't sound banal but I am thoroughly sick of both sides here."
This temptation is genuinely understandable. The carnage and mutual hatred seem infinite. The arguments are so repetitive. As is true in all wars, including those depicted in pleasing good-vs-evil terms, atrocities end up being committed by all sides, leading one to want to disassociate oneself from all parties involved. It is just as untenable to defend the indiscriminate launching by Hamas of projectiles into Israeli neighborhoods as it is to defend the massive air bombing by Israel of what they have turned into an open-air prison that is designed to collectively punish hundreds of thousands of human beings.
But for two independent reasons, this reasoning is invalid. The first reason, which I will mention only briefly, is that there is not equality between the two sides. The overarching fact of this conflict is that the Palestinians, for decades now, have been brutally occupied, blockaded, humiliated, deprived of the most basic human rights of statehood and autonomy though the continuous application of brute, lawless force.
But the second reason, to me, is even clearer. The government which Americans fund and elect is anything but neutral in this conflict. That government - certainly including the Democratic Party - is categorically, uncritically, and unfailingly on the side of Israel in every respect when it comes to violence and oppression against the Palestinians. For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer.: So this "both-sides-are-hideous" mentality is not what drives the actions of the US government. Quite the contrary: the US government is as partisan and loyal a supporter of one side of this conflict as one can possibly be
Pierce does say that "I wish American arms and American dollars weren't being used to demolish entire neighborhoods," but in the next breath asks: "People are waiting for the president to do something, but what is to be done?" But he answered his own question: the US need not be, and should not be, such an active, one-sided participant in this aggression. The US government is fueling and feeding the Israeli war machine, and, with its own militaristic conduct, is legitimizing the premises of Israeli aggression.
This is exactly what I was referencing when I wrote on Saturday that one must stop pretending that the US is some sort of helpless, uninvolved party in this war between two distant, foreign entities. That is complete fiction. If an American citizen really wants to advocate for neutrality on the ground that both sides are equally horrible and they're sick of the whole conflict and wish it would all just go away, then the place to begin with that advocacy is US government policy which, as unpleasant as it might be to face, has long been, and remains more than ever, a key force that drives the bloodshed. [Abridged]
Glenn Greenwald is a columnist on civil liberties and US national security issues for the Guardian.