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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

U.S. should be harder on Israel

In the past weeks, Israel has announced their plan to build 1,600 apartments in eastern Jerusalem where the Palestinians would like to have their future capital. To make matters worse they made this announcement, while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel. As a White House aide said, it was an insult. The United States needs to take a stand on foreign policy against its arguably number one ally.

The decision was made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the Likud Party. He has said the settlements “in no way” hurt Palestinians. Of course he would have this view because the Likud party platform states “Palestinians will be able to manage their lives freely … but not as a sovereign, independent state.”

The prime minister’s parliamentary coalition consists of multiple right-wing hawkish parties alongside his Likud party who embody this type of view, sometimes they are even more hawkish than Likud. Netanyahu has also been known to embrace hawkish policies in the past. Yet, he has said, “I want to advance a peace agreement with the Palestinians. I am capable of achieving an agreement. I have the political will inside me.”

If he really wanted to advance peace with the Palestinians he would have the political courage to stop settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, all of which are considered occupied territory by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. He can’t do this or he would risk losing support of his party and hawkish parties in his coalition.

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The Islamic militant group Hamas has also been guilty of being hawkish towards Israel. They have only emerged and now have ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 because of the multi-decades illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

American-brokered indirect peace talks were to began in late March between Israel and the Palestinians after the Arab League’s approved of it, but Netanyahu showed his disregard for peace when he tried to embarrass Joe Biden by announcing new settlements while he was visiting.  It also conveyed disregard for their most powerful ally that gives them $3 billion a year.

Israel gets most of its military weapons and assistance from the United States. Under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, the United States cannot provide assistance to countries that “engage in consistent violations of international human rights.”

Israel would be in violation of this act by that definition many times over. One example is the Israeli Gaza offensive in 2009. A war crimes report by South African judge Richard Goldstone said Israel “committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity” because they used disproportionate force, targeted civilians on purpose, and used Palestinians as human shields. The report didn’t forget about Hamas and said they also committed war crimes. The Israeli foreign minister called the report “one sided” even though both sides were charged with war crimes. The death total was 13 Israelis killed including three civilians, whereas 1,400 Palestinians were killed, including 800-900 civilians.

Israel gets such strong support in part in the United States because of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee), considered to be the most influential lobbying group in the United States, which is intriguing considering groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Pharmaceutical Research, and Manufactures of America are also on that list. AIPAC has bi-partisan support including Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush.

Maybe their lobbying power explains why only the United States, Israel and Micronesia have been against the UN effort to ban the militarization of space. China has called for banning weapons in outer space but the United States has led efforts to block negotiations related to this.

It is past due time for the United States to stand up against Israel. We must tell them that our efforts to support them will end if they don’t stop settlements and give in to reasonable negotiations with the Palestinians. These would include giving the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to Palestine and having Jerusalem possibly being an international open capital. The Palestinians deserve a home and shouldn’t be persecuted by a right-wing hawkish government that gets much of its funding from the United States who claims to promote “freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is time to give the Palestinians freedom.

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