U.S. Congress a Standard Bearer for Israeli Expansion

Joe Walsh (R-Il)

Joe Walsh (R-Il)

If you read some of the blogs or alternative media reports on the Internet you might know it happened, but you wouldn’t have found out from the major Establishment media. I got it from Caroline Glick, the right-wing deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post: “Earlier this month, Rep. Joe Walsh and 30 co-sponsors issued a resolution supporting Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria.” That’s the way Glick and other Israeli expansionists refer to the West Bank, or what is known in most of the world as the occupied territories. Yes, it happened, an action so provocative and stupid it is understandable that the Times and the Posts of this country would want to ignore it.

Two days after the Republican Walsh tabled his bill in the House, the New York Times ran a political blog piece about him, sans the Israel connection, but noting that he is “a darling of the Tea Party” who had “raised his national profile during the debt ceiling debate this summer, touring the media circuit after he put out a video vehemently accusing President Obama of bankrupting the nation and lying to the American public.”

And, the Walsh gambit wasn’t the only U.S. political action Glick sought to pass off as good for the Israel expansionists. “Israel has nothing to lose, everything to gain from going on the offensive. Our friends in US Congress have shown us a path that lays open to us to follow,” she wrote, adding that, “Israel’s friends in the US Congress have put forward two measures that pave the way” for “a strategy for victory.”

Glick also cites the action of Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who has introduced a bill calling for the US to “end its financial support for the Palestinian Authority and drastically scale-back its financial support for the UN if the UN upgrades the PLO’s membership status in any way.”

“Ros-Lehtinen’s bill shows Israel that there is powerful support for an Israeli offensive that will make the Palestinians pay a price for their diplomatic aggression,” says Glick.

There is no question where Glick, a former assistant foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, with numerous ties to neo-conservative circles in the US, is coming from. She holds that “Israel’s sovereign rights to Judea and Samaria are ironclad while the Palestinians’ are flimsy. As the legal heir to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, Israel is the legal sovereign of Judea and Samaria. Moreover, Israel’s historic rights to the cradle of Jewish civilization are incontrovertible.”

This stance puts her in league with far right Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, chair of World Likud, and Chair of the Knesset Committee for Aliya (immigration), Absorption and Diaspora Affairs. Danon announced at the end of October the Israeli Parliament will take up a bill he has authored calling for full Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA), Danon’s bill “was submitted in line with a similar initiative in the U.S. Congress offered by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), which calls for supporting Israel’s rights to annex the West Bank should the Palestinian Authority move forward with its statehood bid without negotiating.”

“Meanwhile, a letter signed by the leaders of four ruling coalition factions — Likud Party chairman Ze’ev Elkin, Shas chairman Avraham Michaeli, Habayit Hayehudi chairman Uri Orbach, and National Union leader Yaakov Katz — asks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex Jewish-settled areas of the West Bank and calls for increased construction in those areas,” according to the JTA.

Meanwhile, in a related development, the U.S. sharply condemned the Netanyahu government’s decision to build 1,100 new housing units in East Jerusalem. “We are deeply disappointed by this morning’s announcement by the government of Israel approving the construction of 1,100 housing units in East Jerusalem,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. “We consider this counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the parties.”

Catherine Ashton, foreign policy director for the European Union, also slammed the move saying it “should be reversed” as it undermines the search for peace in the region. She added that the settlement expansion “threatens the viability of an agreed two-state solution” between the two sides, as backed by the EU, the United States, Russia and the United Nations. On September 28, the government of China the nation “regrets and opposes” Israel’s expansion of the East Jerusalem settlement.

Not much accurate reporting on the settlement expansion either. On September 27, the New York Times’ Isabel Kershner penned a 700-word piece online titled “Israel Angers Palestinians With Plan For Housing” that was carried by a number of newspapers around the country. It contained nary a word about the State Department response or that of the EU or China. When the story appeared in print the following day it had been amended to include only mention that the Obama administration was “deeply disappointed” by the Israeli announcement.

Carl Bloice, a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, is a columnist for the Black Commentator. He also serves on its editorial board.