There is the historic, biblical land of Judea and Samaria — which most Americans couldn’t delineate on a map, even the observant ones who claim biblical literacy. There is the post-World War II Israel, proposed in 1947 by a United Nations mandate creating two parallel states, one Palestinian and one Jewish, with an internationalized Jerusalem. Following the Arab Israeli war of 1948, the modern state of Israel came into being, offering itself as a beacon of freedom and democracy in a troubled part of the world. There is the contemporary fictional Israel of Daniel Silva, in which the heroic Gabriel Allon vanquishes all challengers to the small but mighty Jewish state.
Now there is the ultra-right wing Israel, allied with an ultra-right wing Trump administration. That Israel sees a chance to crush the aspirations of the Palestinian people once and for all. Israeli Defense minister Avigdor Liberman says that negotiations with Palestinians are useless, and that Israel must simply enforce its will.
The U.S. just completed a 38 billion dollar military aid package for Israel., which means we are largely funding Israel’s enforcing its will. There are approximately 5.8 million Arabs between Jordan and the Mediterranean. “Enforcing its will” means that 6.2 million Jews plan to exert military control over that Arab population, apparently in perpetuity.
A similar strategy toward its black population hardly worked well in South Africa, I’m reminded.
What might bring this incredibly lopsided U.S. policy to and end? Money, of course. While delivering on this astounding military aid package, the Trump administration says that modest raises for federal workers here are beyond the capacity of the U.S. budget.
As further cuts to the U.S. safety net unfold — particularly if Republicans hold Congress in November — I can’t imagine U.S. workers, U.S. voters, being enthused about the trade off: a blank check funding Israel’s goal of killing the dream of a Palestinian state instead of wage increases here.
Sounds like a bad bargain to me.