By Carlos Alberto Montaner
President Barack Obama made the mistake of ordering that the United States abstain from the latest U.N. vote on the resolution condemning the building of new Jewish settlements in the West Bank territory controlled by Israel.
Not to support the State of Israel is a grave error, because of these seven fundamental reasons:
In the first place, Israel is the only liberal democracy that works in the Middle East. To back that State is perfectly consistent with the principles and values of U.S. society. Not to do so is a contradiction.
In second place, Israel is a military and political ally of the United States. The only dependable ally, from a strategic point of view. The United States’ behavior sends a message that Washington maintains not the slightest loyalty for its allies and can abandon them at any moment.
Third, because in the United States minorities account for much in the design of foreign policy, and the immense majority of Americans of Jewish origin (about 6 million) support the existence of the State of Israel. A resolution like the one that passed with Washington’s consent weakens this nation and antagonizes American Jews.
Fourth, because Israel is a leading scientific partner of the United States. The Israeli technological enterprises in the fields of software, medicine, agriculture and energy contribute considerable support to the United States’ scientific and economic development. It’s as if the U.S. had a huge think tank in the Middle East, another Silicon Valley but without the enormous costs in Research and Development that such an undertaking implies. One doesn’t batter a fundamental portion of one’s own brain.
Fifth, because the allegation that those settlements worsen the problems between Arabs and Jews is not true. In 2006, Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip, leaving to the Arabs the businesses created by the Jewish settlements, but what happened was that the terrorist organization Hamas seized the territory, destroyed those installations and began to launch attacks against Israel and the more moderate Arabs who lived in the region.
Sixth, because the Jewish settlements in the West Bank occupy only 10 percent of the territory and, if someday the State of Palestine is created (which is the general consensus of the Jewish population), it will be best if it’s not a nation with a single ethnicity and a single religion, because that’s where the roots of intolerance and aggression lie. If Israel can sustain its prosperous and modern democracy with a 20 percent Islamic population and 5 percent of other groups and religions, why can’t the Arabs coexist with a small Jewish group?
And seventh, because, as stated by former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon in his excellent essay How To Build Middle-East Peace; Why Bottom-Up Is Better than Top-Down, the basic problem, the real problem is that the Palestinians don’t wish to create their own State. Their primordial objective for the past many decades, ever since their foundation, is to destroy Israel at any cost, to wipe it off the face of the earth. And to those sinister ends, the U.S. vote came to those anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli Palestinians as a godsend.