07 September, 2009

The crisis that never came...

Take a moment and consider these words by American diplomat George Ball, writing in 1979:

"It is unrealistic to believe that Israel, which has maintained a military occupation over 1,200,000 Palestinians for the past 12 years, can continue that role indefinitely. With violence increasing and Arab strength expanding, the attempt to maintain the status quo offers only a sad an bloody future. Nor is it reasonable to believe that the American people will be prepared indefinitely to subsidize this Israeli brand of colonialism so far out of tune with present-day opinion."

So right, yet so wrong... The article, titled "The Coming Crisis Israeli-American Relations," deals with US-Israeli relations from 1948 to 1979 and also touches upon the growth of the pro-Israel lobby, and is still an interesting read 30 years later. Ball describes US-Israeli relations as characterized by "dependence without responsibility." Some excerpts: 

"Over the last 30 years these relations have evolved to the point where Israel is more dependent on the United States than ever, and yet feels itself free to take hard-line positions at variance with American views without fear of anything worse than verbal admonition from Washington."

"/---/ Today Israel is able to continue on its present course only because of continued vast subsidies from the United States. Distasteful as it must be to Israelis, the nation has become a ward— a kind of welfare dependent—of America. The United States is providing annual subsidies out of the public sector that amount to the equivalent of $7,500 a year for every Jewish family..."

"/---/ Why should Israel not pursue its own course, when Israelis have been so long conditioned to expect that America will support their country, no matter how often it disregards American advice and protests and America's own interests, that both sides now accept this extraordinary ritual dancing as quite normal?"

30 years later, in the Obama era, the White House "regrets" the construction of new settlements on the West Bank. The dance continues...

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