No, Bernie, Immigration is Not “The Great Moral Issue of Our Time”
The Great Moral Issue of Our Time is “The Palestinian Question”
The US has great responsibility to resolve “The Palestinian Question”
In 1948, President Truman warned of the chaos that would engulf the world, if a solution to the Palestinian Question was not resolved:
“Unless emergency action is taken, there will be no public authority in Palestine… capable of preserving law and order. Violence and bloodshed will descend upon the Holy Land. Large-scale fighting among the people of that country will be the inevitable result. Such fighting would infect the entire Middle East and could lead to consequences of the gravest sort involving the peace of this Nation and of the world. These dangers are imminent.”
The US Abandoned Palestinians to a Life of Exclusion, Oppression, and Violence
‘The Palestinian Question’ has plagued the world, just as Truman predicted, for the past 70 years. Left nationless, without political legitimacy, and removed from their native land and private homes, most Palestinians have become powerless refugees. UNRWA estimates that over 5,000,000 Palestinian refugees have been created since the Partition Plan of 1948. Most live in camps, as second class citizens, in areas around their homeland.
Against legal norms, Palestinians have been denied self-determination, and protections to their human rights, for nearly a century.
It has been the policy of the United States to continually deny, through UN proceedings, Palestinians statehood, or justice for human rights abuses they have long suffered. The most recent UN vote in 2014, to grant Palestine statehood, was rejected by the United States. Why?
According to Samantha Power, US representative to the UN, a measure to grant statehood would lead to more conflict. Clearly, the opposite is the case, violence continues to undulate through the Middle East, and indeed the world, as a result of the ever abandoned ‘Palestinian Question’.
What political power can a people have without political legitimacy? None. For a people who have endured immense injustice, they can neither wage a war on their own behalf, negotiate on an equal footing, or enlist legitimate international help. The only path that remains is ‘terrorism’, as non-state actors striving to shake off the yolks of unending abuses.
Western Nations Demand that Israel be the Grantor of Palestinian Statehood
The US has continually demanded that a resolution to the ‘Palestinian Question’ be gained only through direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine. What other cases of international conflict have demanded that an oppressed people be granted international protections, or political legitimacy, if directly given by their oppressor? Palestinians deserve self-determination, and normal legal protections, whether or not Israel grants it.
The most painful hypocrisy of demanding that Palestine gain legitimacy only at the grace of Israel, is that Palestinians were vehemently opposed the partition plan that granted Israel its statehood in 1948, when almost 1 million Palestinians were forced to flee their homeland, and relinquish their private properties to the new Israeli state. The UN had the power to grant statehood to Israel, without the permission of Arabs in the region, and it still has the power to grant statehood to Palestine, without the permission of the state of Israel.
The US has a unique, imperative, and ever pressing responsibility to grant Palestine the rights it deserves, that we have continually denied through bullying, threats, and violent wars.
Israel will not grant Palestinians statehood. Their self-interest is to gain the religious goal of ‘taking back’ a piece of the world they, and Evangelical Christians, believe a ‘G-d’ gave them 3,000 years ago. In 2017, how can the US let religious zealotry guide our most intractable global conflicts?
Palestinians deserve equal protections under international law, and the US is in a position to achieve this through the UN. Hundreds of UN states support Palestinian rights, while only a few of the most powerful — the US & Britain — block just resolutions.
The Palestinian Question is the Root of Our ‘Terror’ Problem
Without a doubt, ‘terrorism’ is the most pressing issue on the global stage. As Truman predicted, leaving a population powerless, and exposed to violent oppression, has ripped a weeping sore, not just through the Middle East, but through the entire world.
Attacks on the US, and other Western-related targets have been clear — our political policies in the Middle East are oppressive, and against legal, and humanitarian norms; and the people of those regions have been radicalized by the exclusion, oppression, and violence forced upon them.
The first terrorist attack came in 1972, after 24 years of Palestinian displacement, and political exclusion. Black September rose out of refugee camps in Jordan, as displaced peoples tried to live, caught in a threatened existence between Israel and Jordan. Since then, ‘terrorist’ organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and ISIS have all clearly referenced our Palestinian policies as a main reason for targeting the US, and Western targets.
Our policies and methods toward the Middle East, and especially Palestine, are ethically, and legally wrong. The greatest moral question of our time is ‘The Palestinian Question’.
Our Denial and Continued Wrong-doing is Eroding Our Own Freedom, and Values
The 9–11 attacks on the World Trade Center paved a way for US politicians to significantly erode First and Fourth Amendment constitutional rights. Widespread surveillance, search, seizure, detention, and chilling of speech and association, became acceptable under the force of patriotism.
We all know this security for rights trade-off was warned against from the beginnings of our great United States. Yet here we are.
Those who are oppressed the most in the US, because of these new laws, are US Arabs, who are targeted, attacked, and punished, under a hysteria of Islamophobia. The world over, ‘Arab’ is being equated with ‘terrorist’.
The US War on Terror is credited for taking the lives of over 4 million Arabs in the past 30 years. We are nearing Holocaust levels.
We need to change course in the Middle East, and take responsibility for the ‘Palestinian Problem’. We owe reparations for the wrongs we have done throughout the region, as a result of our policy to unconditionally support Israel, and Evangelical Christians, in their goal of resurrecting a 3000 year old religious ‘homeland’.
Too many of our laws and values have been eroded, not by ‘terrorists’, but by our own lack of integrity toward our very own laws and values.
Clearly, answering the ‘Palestinian Question’, in alignment with our laws and values, is the biggest moral question of our time. Will we do it?
The fate of our world is in our answer.