I typically like and agree with many of Tom Zirpoli's opinion columns, but I believe he is completely wrong in his April 1 column, "U.S should rethink Israel support."
First of all, Benjamin Netanyahu is a political caretaker in a democratic country and, although he won re-election, forming a new government will not be easy. Immediately after the election he backtracked on his two state solution comment and also apologized publically to Israel's Arab community. In essence, he exhibited political maneuvering at its worst. We see the same behavior in the U.S. right now with the religious freedom bills.
Netanyahu's behavior was shameful yes, but I think this is a poor reason to rethink U.S. support, especially in light of the Iran nuclear negotiations. Netanyahu may run Israel, but he himself is not Israel. His policies can be overturned by the will of the Israeli people. It is our moral responsibility and in our national security interest to support the only Middle East democracy.
The $3 billion in annual support is actually part of a trade agreement, and a percentage of dollars we send to Israel actually come back in the form of jobs to the U.S. Take a look at the DHS IFT project as an example of how the U.S. and Israel work side by side to improve national security for both countries. U.S. media rarely talk about information exchanges between major U.S. corporations and Israeli corporations in cyber, physical and military areas. Go to http://www.cybertechisrael.com. Stuxnet was no accident. It is ongoing warfare with other nation states. Why on earth would we even consider pulling the plug on our key ally in a time of war?
Comparing Netanyahu to Vladimir Putin, as Zirpoli did, is ridiculous. Putin is a dictator who runs phony elections, stripped Russia of its wealth, nationalized every major industry and has whipped his people into nationalistic hatred toward the U.S. If it sounds familiar, think Hitler prior to 1933. Germany (Russia) in decline.
As the original trade route out of Africa, the land itself has had more owners than any strip of land on earth, so to say it was stolen is not completely accurate. Jerusalem belongs equally to Christians, Jews and Muslims who have traded ownership for over 3,000 years. Christians need to take a more active role in promoting the only solution that would satisfy everyone: two states and a shared Jerusalem. I do agree that the Jewish settlements only hurt the cause of peace. These should be stopped and dismantled. Palestinians, without question, deserve a country. Jerusalem belongs to the world.
Opening up Israel to the international courts is a death sentence for Israel during a time when anti-semitism in Europe is again on the rise, witnessed by recent events in Copenhagen and Paris, and also with the rise of Muslim communities throughout Europe.
To rethink support for Israel and subject it to International courts would not be justice and is morally wrong. You would have to throw many other countries and groups into that mix. Netanyahu is one man, and we have to consider the Israeli people as a whole, as well as any impact our foreign policy has on the region. The region is already destabilized, why would you throw fuel on a raging fire? No, we must always support Israel because, frankly, it is our only "true" friend in this entire region.
Patrick Differ writes from Westminster.