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Clinton or Trump, it will be a sad day for the future of occupied Palestine

March 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm

US presidential wannabe Hillary Clinton has made her extreme pro-Israel credentials clearer than ever as she seeks campaign donations and votes from lobbyists in America. According to a report in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, she has said that America and Israel “must be closer than ever and stronger than ever… to prevail against our common adversaries and advance our shared values.”

She then went on to criticise Palestinians for the “brutal stabbings and shootings” which are, she claimed, “incited” by the leadership in Ramallah. Furthermore, she condemned the Palestinians for “celebrating terrorists as martyrs” and “paying rewards to their families.”

In doing so, she was parroting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as ignoring the uncomfortable – for anyone concerned with reality in this world – fact that Israel has indeed glorified terrorists, “naming not only streets after them but also electing them to the highest office,” as journalist Mehdi Hassan has demonstrated.

Highlighting the “brutal stabbings and shootings” while failing to condemn Israel’s brutal military occupation and extra-judicial murder of Palestinian teenagers by security forces who are incapable, apparently, of disarming and arresting them, demonstrates that if she ever had a head and a heart filled with concern for humanity, Clinton has lost both. She is in the pro-Israel Lobby’s financial and electoral grip, and Zionism is a pernicious ideology.

We should be used to this sort of duplicity by US politicians when it comes to Israel, especially during elections, but Clinton has surpassed her own shabby record this time, which takes some doing. At the height of Israel’s 2014 assault on the civilians of the Gaza Strip, a headline in the Huffington Post pointed out that she “twists herself in knots to avoid blaming Israel” for bombing a UN school. The evidence pointed the finger clearly at the Israelis.

Clinton’s latest support for the rogue state comes as yet another report has been published which, it is claimed, provides solid evidence that senior Israelis were responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” during the same military offensive defended so stoutly by the Democrat frontrunner for the presidency. Published by the BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights, No Safe Place is based upon the organisation’s “formal submission to the International Criminal Court, delivered to the Office of the Prosecutor in February 2016.” In its own words, No Safe Place is a “damning indictment” of the state of Israel.

Codenamed “Operation Protective Edge” the offensive in question lasted 51 days. BADIL’s report reminds us that the Israelis killed “more than 2,250 Palestinians”; destroyed or damaged “almost 170,000 Palestinian homes”; and left “108,000 Palestinians homeless.” Across the besieged Gaza Strip, “17 out of 32 hospitals were damaged, with six closed down as a result.” Not only that, but “out of 97 primary health centres monitored for damage and closures by UN bodies, four were completely destroyed, while 45 sustained damage. Palestinian agricultural infrastructure suffered damage to the tune of $550m.”

That is the sort of damage inflicted by Israel’s modern, well-equipped army on a largely civilian population in 2008/9, 2012 and 2014; indeed, Israeli military incursions happen in Gaza on an almost daily basis, including attacks on Palestinian fisherman by the Israeli navy; most go largely unnoticed by the Western media and politicians. Nobody can tell me that Hillary Clinton doesn’t know about these things, though, which makes her support for Israel all the more repugnant for someone seeking what is regarded by many as the highest political office in the Western world.

US exceptionalism is a critical aspect of its “War on Terrorism” and military expansion around the world; it has “800 military bases in more than 70 countries.” Hillary Clinton and people like her believe that Israel must have the same sort of immunity from prosecution for its constant breaches of international laws and conventions. Israel, she has claimed, is entitled to act in “self-defence” but she doesn’t explain why that entitlement does not extend to Palestinians brutalised by Israel’s occupation and colonisation of their land. In fact, as was pointed out during “Protective Edge”, there is no “right of self-defence” in the face of legitimate resistance by a people living under military occupation. In case you have fallen for Zionist propaganda, it is worth reminding ourselves that it is the Palestinians who face an existential threat at the hands of the Israelis (see the map of disappearing Palestine, for example), not the other way round.

Such is the influence of Clinton and her backers that Israel’s ability to act with impunity is almost guaranteed, which is why BADIL’s submission to the ICC is unlikely to result in a prosecution, and the report will gather dust on a shelf like so many others before it. This stands as an inglorious stain on humanity in general, and the UN and all of its human rights bodies in particular, at a time when peace is more essential than ever before.

Hillary Clinton is likely to win the Democrat nomination and has a good chance of ending up in the White House; if she doesn’t, the Republicans’ Donald Trump probably will. Clinton or Trump, it will be another sad day for the future of occupied Palestine; they’re two sides of the same pro-Israel coin.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.