SMUS: This Land Is Your Land


BY WILLIAM C. HENRY  Can anyone give me an update on how the native Americans are making out in their negotiations with the federal government on getting their original land holdings returned? Yeah, that’s what I figured — about as well as today’s Palestinians are progressing with getting THEIRS back. But I guess that’s how it goes when the land in question was originally doled out to the ancestors of its present occupiers by no less a grantor than Jehovah himself. One could almost be forgiven for thinking all of this is simply a bad dream were it not, in fact, such a completely despicable and deadly reality. Why the hell do we even pretend to believe in “justice for ALL” anymore? Oh, sure, we pay a little lip service to it now and then — an oration here, an oration there; just enough to appease our collective conscience. And then, ho hum, faster than you can say, “One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail,” we’re back in front of our TVs, game boxes, computers and smart phones. It’s a subject much too guilt-ridden to dwell on.

Might makes right. Well, not really. But as evidenced by the one-sided unjust and immoral abomination taking place some 5,740 miles east of here, one could certainly be forgiven for believing so. You might say it all began one day when, as Susan Abulhawa so understatedly asks in her novel, Mornings in Jenin, “How was it that a man could not walk onto his own property, visit the grave of his wife, eat the fruits of forty generations of his ancestors’ toil, without mortal consequence?” To understand why it continues to this day you have only to imagine Benjamin Netanyahu whispering in Mahmoud Abbas’s ear, “You haven’t knuckled under enough, but when you do, rest assured it won’t be nearly enough.” And so it sadly goes, and goes, and goes, in the Jewish God’s own little green acre in the middle of the Middle East. You know, I’m beginning to wonder if “settlement expansion” hasn’t all along been Israel’s covert plan to literally “drown” all protestation out of the Palestinians. The way I see it, the Israelis have secretly resolved to keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing the Palestinians back, back, back, and just a little bit farther back still, until they eventually disappear into the Mediterranean and Red Seas leaving only anecdotal evidence of their ever having existed at all.

Sixty-five years of unimaginable human misery and injustice, more than six million refugees without hope of returning, little or no support from even their fellow Arabs, and still no resolution. Why, you ask? Well, primarily because of the implied (but in all likelihood “paper tigered”) threat of American intervention should Israel end up in an armed conflict with multiple Arab nations. I use the term “paper tigered” because the American public’s reaction to the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with our exhibited reluctance to take any kind of consequential action in places like Egypt, Syria, Libya, Crimea, North Korea, etc., leave little doubt as to our waning valiancy when it comes to military involvement in anyone’s problems regardless of who, where, or under what circumstances. Yes, I recognize that we no longer hold the kind of sway in Israeli affairs we once did, but the threat of divorcing ourselves from their situation completely will always be a hammer too heavy to ignore. For all their bluster, Israel cannot survive without our support. Period.

Thinking that Israel won’t come to an acceptable accommodation with the Palestinians under the hard-boiled threat of armed conflict with the likes of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan combined is absurd, especially should the United States refuse to take Israel’s side (yes, folks, American public opinion is shifting). Anyone who thinks we’d be willing to participate in a war precipitated by Israel’s blanket refusal to be fair and just with a people whose land they brutally usurped and continue to occupy more than a half century later is pipe dreaming. Rest assured, we won’t. A seeming radical solution to a seeming intractable problem? Absolutely. Sometimes you simply have to take the proverbial ox by the horns. I’m convinced that nothing short of a unified Arab threat in conjunction with a no-longer-got-your-back United States stand is the only thing that will bring an entrenched Israel to anything even resembling an equitable and meaningful settlement.

All my life I’ve been listening to Israel say it won’t so much as begin to negotiate with the Palestinians until they unequivocally recognize Israel’s right to exist. Really? Can somebody please explain to me what the hell that would mean in the overall scheme of things. Even if they acknowledged it, would you believe them sincere? If so, I’ve got some mortgage bundles I want to sell you. Come on now, it’s just a “feel good” demand and you damn well know it. Wake up and smell the affectation. And, too, there’s the matter of your insistence on “security guarantees” that, quite frankly, even God himself probably couldn’t accomplish, or in all likelihood wouldn’t even see a need for. There are many, myself included, who suspect that this has been your construct all along: proffer demands you know full well the Palestinians will never accept, thus elevating the esteem of the “status quo” to the lofty heights of “we told you so.” For Christ’s sake, there aren’t any altruists at political bargaining tables. There are no lasting assurances arrived at over green felt tablecloths, only ambitions — in more than one sense of the word. Don’t believe me? Ask any American Indian. The whole “guarantees” thing amounts to little more than the diplomatic equivalent of, “Will you still love me in the morning?” Stop the bullshit. Bring an end to the deplorable incessant anguish. Show the world that there’s at least a shred of common decency behind that mask of self-righteousness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.<