Toward a New Foreign Policy. (Self-Determination Series)

By Yackley, Joseph; Zunes, Stephen | Foreign Policy in Focus, May 6, 2002 | Go to article overview

Toward a New Foreign Policy. (Self-Determination Series)


Yackley, Joseph, Zunes, Stephen, Foreign Policy in Focus


Key Recommendations

* Rather than spending billions of dollars preparing Israel for conflict, the U.S. should focus on addressing the causes of conflict.

* To restore confidence in negotiated peace, Washington must suspend military assistance to Israel as long as the Israeli government continues to engage in violations of international human rights standards and international law.

* The U.S. must emphasize regional security and work for regional arms control.

The U.S. must recognize that Israeli security and Palestinian rights are not mutually exclusive, but mutually dependent. Just as the Palestinians will not be granted their rights until Israel's legitimate security needs are recognized, Israel will not be secure until the Palestinians are granted their legitimate rights. The U.S. should maintain its moral and strategic commitment to Israel to ensure its survival and its legitimate strategic interests in defending its internationally recognized borders. At the same time, however, the U.S. must also be willing to apply pressure whenever the Israeli government refuses to make the necessary compromises for peace, which requires withdrawal from the occupied territories, removing colonists from the illegal settlements, sharing Jerusalem, and pursuing a just resolution for Palestinian refugees. This would require an immediate suspension of all military assistance to Israel as long as the Israeli government continues to engage in violations of international human rights standards and international law.

Such a position not only would be morally right and would be in Israel's own security interest, but it would also end the Bush administration's ongoing violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, which forbids security assistance to any government that "engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" without a waiver [22 U.S.C. Secs. 2034, 2151n].

Suspension of military aid to Israel must be part of a comprehensive effort at regional arms control, including a suspension of U.S. military aid to other Middle Eastern governments, virtually all of which engage in a pattern of gross and systematic human rights violations.

Despite the threat and reality of suicide bombings, Israelis are relatively secure within their country's internationally recognized borders compared to the soldiers and settlers in occupied Palestinian territories seized by Israel in the 1967 War. Settlements and roads in these areas--reserved for Jews only--not only create an apartheid-like situation, but also make it extremely difficult for Israeli forces to defend against a hostile population angry that foreign occupiers have confiscated what is often its best land. Israel would be far more secure defending a clearly defined and internationally recognized border than this network of illegal out-posts within Palestinian territory. …

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