UPDATED: US House of Reps Votes on Palestinian Self-Determination

The Chair of the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, Rep. Howard Berman, is trying to push a resolution through Congress today “condemning unilateral declarations of a Palestinian state.”

The United Nations has long recognized the sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem as a matter of international law.   Since 1975 the UN has recommended that the Palestinian people be able “to exercise their inalienable rights to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty; and to return to their homes and property.”

There is growing consensus around the rest of the world in support of Palestinian sovereignty and statehood, yet two countries stand in the way:  Israel and its fiscal sponsor, the United States.

I just received notice from the US Campaign to End the Occupation about this horrifying resolution that will be voted on today.

They state:

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the worst stumbling block to freedom’s advance is the person who “paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s [or woman’s] freedom.”

Yet, this is exactly what Rep. Berman’s resolution seeks to do: subjugate Palestinian freedom and self-determination to Israel’s indefinite timeline.  As MLK said, “‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’”

The question of sovereignty is nothing new for us as Sikhs, and many Sikhs have pledged solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian people.  Now more than ever is the time to raise our voices.  The US Campaign to End the Occupation is urging us to sign the petition to denounce this resolution and call your Congress members and tell them what you think.

UPDATE, 12/16/10

Last night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the anti-Palestine bill.  The bill, drafted by AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, “calls on the U.S. administration to ‘deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties.’  It also urges Palestinian leaders to ‘cease all  efforts…to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians… and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition.'” (See full article in Ha’aretz).

As Israel continues to expand illegal Jewish settlements, the Obama administration, like its predecesors, has given Israel the green light to continue doing essentially whatever it wants.  The Administration recently gave up on its efforts to convince Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu to institute a 90-day settlement freeze.

MJ Rosenburg states in his op-ed today in Al-Jazeera today:

No matter what Israel does, it is fine by America.

It does not have to be that way. If the administration and Congress put US interests (and Israel’s too) over the craving for campaign contributions, the United States could tell the Israeli government that, from now on, our aid package comes with strings.

Like a loan from the International Monetary Fund (although aid to Israel is a gift, not a loan), the US could say that in exchange for our billions, our UN vetoes of resolutions criticising Israel, and our silence in the face of war crimes like Gaza, we want Israel to end the occupation within, say, 24 months. And Israel would have to comply because our military assistance is, as AIPAC likes to call it, “Israel’s lifeline”…

But the lobby would be furious because, above all else, it needs to feel that it controls US policy in the Middle East. Not for America’s sake. Not for Israel’s. But for its own. As with most Washington lobbies, it is not in business to make the world a better place. It is not pro-Israel; it is pro-AIPAC…

But, for now, the bottom line is money. The US government dances to Israel’s tune because it is afraid to risk campaign contributions from a few dozen fat cats. That is the whole story.

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11 Responses to “UPDATED: US House of Reps Votes on Palestinian Self-Determination”

  1. Mr. Singh says:

    Martin Luther King was a staunch supporter of Israel and the right of Jews to their own state. Dr. King called anyone who was against the right of Jews to a Jewish state and people who claimed to be anti-zionist, anti-semitic. Get some knowledge before you start quoting Dr. King for your propaganda against Jewish people and Israel.

  2. brooklynwala says:

    propaganda against the jewish people? far from it. this is about the complete disregard for palestinian human rights and self-determination, brought on by the STATE of israel. the Dr. King quote was used by the US Campaign to End the Occupation because the comparison of palestinian rights to the US civil rights movement is very much worth making, even if Dr. King was a supporter of israel 40-50 years ago. there is a huge movement of jews (in israel and throughout the world) that are leading the movement to expose israel's human rights abuses and some even that point out the flaws inherent in zionism, like the international jewish anti-zioinist network: http://www.ijsn.net.. an exclusionary state based on privileging the rights of one identity has always and will always be problematic. gandhi agreed:

    "The cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me….Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French….The Jews should meet the Arabs, make friends with them and not depend on British aid or American aid, They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs…They can offer … themselves to be shot or thrown into the Dead Sea without raising a little finger against them."

  3. Mr. Singh says:

    Your reference to Mr. Gandhi only supports my and Dr. King’s contention. Mr. Gandhi was a noted anti-semite, who asked the Jews to let the socialist/ fascist Nazis exterminate them without fighting back or defending themselves. Dr. King was unequivocal in his support for Israel, saying it was 40-50 years ago doesn’t change the fact of Dr. King’s unbending support for the right of Jews to a Jewish state, fullstop. You can delude yourself all you want, but the muslim palestinians support the death of all Jews as repeatedly pointed out by their representatives, Hamas, not just the creation of a muslim state called palestine.

  4. […] their homes with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.  I, and others, have argued elsewhere why the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination is relevant for us as Sikhs, so I […]

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