Ruthless simplification

Paul Waldman in the Post:

Monday marked the moment when the policy of the United States government toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lost all complexity, all ambiguity and all nuance.

On Monday, we were confronted with two sets of pictures. On one side, thousands of Palestinians gathering at the Gaza border to protest are being shot down by Israeli snipers. As I write, at least 43 people have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry; those numbers will undoubtedly rise.

On the other side, representatives of the Trump administration, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, some Republican donors and a couple of evangelical megachurch pastors who have said vile, bigoted things about Islam and Muslims, are celebrating the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

It’s not ideal, is it.

For many years, the behavior of the Israeli government, with regard to the Palestinians, was a source of frustration for both Republican and Democratic presidents. Israel is a staunch ally and we, in turn, are its patron; we give them about $4 billion a year in military aid, and over the years we have provided nearly $135 billion in aid, not adjusted for inflation. But a succession of American presidents has urged the Israeli government — without success — to curtail the building of settlements in the West Bank, knowing that those settlements make it more difficult to arrive at a peace agreement that will allow Palestinians to control their own destiny.

There was some attempt, however minimal, to heed the interests of both parties and not just Israel.

And if you asked any Palestinian, they would have said that previous American governments only pretended to be neutral, while they were really enabling the occupation and seeking only the furtherance of Israeli interests.

Whether you agree or not, under President Trump, the United States is not pretending anything. We have declared unambiguously that we care only about Israel’s interests — or, to be more accurate, Israel’s interests as understood by the conservative Likud party — and that we no longer have any concern for Palestinian rights, Palestinian lives or the eventual creation of a Palestinian state.

Like it or lump it.

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