Binyamin Netanyahu’s project to colonize East Jerusalem gained momentum with the first eviction of a Palestinian, Ahmad Sabah, from the West Bank to Gaza, forcibly separating him from his wife and children. Juan Cole writes that his deportation kicks off Netanyahu’s plan to ethnically cleanse the West Bank of Palestinians, making more room for Israeli colonists. He adds that Gaza, a poverty-stricken region blockaded by the Israelis, appears to have become the chosen dumping ground for the Palestinians Netanyahu plans to deport.
In an article entitled "IDF Order Will Enable Mass Deportation From West Bank," Haaretz confirms that the purpose of the policy is to enable the exile of large numbers of Palestinians to Gaza:
A new military order aimed at preventing infiltration will come into force this week, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years.
When the order comes into effect, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.
Netanyahu has refused the US request to stop expanding settlements in East Jerusalem, and Israel’s fiercest supporters in the US Congress, are accusing Obama, not Netanyahu, of souring relations between the two countries.
As Cole points out, the colonization of East Jerusalem will be the nail in the coffin of the two-state solution, which is arguably the only way that Israel can avoid solidifying its status as an apartheid state. The damage that the continuing oppression of the Palestinians within the state of Israel will do to the hearts and minds of the Jewish citizens of Israel is enormous. And Israel will be a pariah state, one that stands in direct violation of international human rights agreements. Cole concludes:
Netanyahu’s various moves this week, from illegally expelling a Palestinian from the West Bank to Gaza– to blowing off the president of the United States and hitching his wagon to massive increased colonization of Palestinian land– all of these steps are guaranteed to mire Israel in violent disputes for years and perhaps decades. And the US, which has already suffered tremendously in Iraq and elsewhere from its knee-jerk support of illegal and inhumane Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, will suffer further.
The obvious fact that knee-jerk support for illegal Israeli government policies is harming the interests of the U.S. does not seem to bother Chuck Schumer and the other members in Congress who signed a letter criticizing Obama for his recent "counter-productive" stance toward Israel. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said that Hillary Clinton’s remarks to Netanyahu, "made clear that the Israeli government needed to demonstrate not just through words but through specific actions that they are committed to this relationship and to the peace process."
Schumer responded to these bland comments with high-pitched hysteria:
"That is terrible. That is the dagger because the relationship is much deeper than the disagreements on negotiations, and most Americans—Democrat, Republican, Jew, non-Jew–would feel that.
Steve Clemons comments on Schumer’s fury at Obama:
Has Chuck Schumer EVER Criticized Israel or its leadership in the way he just unloaded on Obama?…Schumer’s screed gets to the edge of sounding as if he is more a Senator working in the Knesset than working in the United States Senate.
Schumer seems to feel there is no political down-side to blasting the President, the head of his own party, for his meek and modest efforts to rein in the Likudniks’ expansionist policies. And Schumer feels that making offensive comments insulting to Palestinians would not meet with disapproval here in the U.S. A recent poll shows support for Israel in the U.S. at near record highs, so perhaps Schumer is right.
It appears there is no political downside for supporting the disastrous and biased American policy in the Middle East and the wars and international isolation that are its consequence. And we as a nation will continue to betray our own founding principles by helping to arm and fund the government of Israel, which is oppressing its Palestinian minority and laying seize to the people of Gaza.