The US can bring peace to the Middle East, but US taxpayers have to advocate to the government how they want their money spent via US foreign policy.
On Friday in Dresden, Germany, a day after his speech in Cairo, President Barack Obama continued his comments about Mideast peace.
He said: “Now I just have to say one more time. The US can’t solve this problem. The US can be a partner in solving the problem, but ultimately the parties involved are going to have to make a decision that the prosperity and the security of their people is best-served by negotiations and compromises, and we can’t force them to most those difficult decisions.”
Soon after his speech in Cairo on Thursday, the Israeli Government rejected Obama’s request for Israel to stop building settlements. Unless the White House takes a hard line with Israel, nothing will change.
US Taxpayer Money
If Americans knew how the US Government gives billions of American taxpayer money as military aid to Israel annually, more people would call on the Obama Administration to stop funneling US taxpayer money into the military occupation of the Palestinians. This occupation includes Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian land, which means Israel will never allow a viable, contiguous Palestinian state to become reality.
According to Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 Appendix, the Department of State and Other International Programs, under the Military Financing Program (p. 829), here is what it says: “For necessary expenses for grants to enable the President to carry out the provisions of section 23 of the Arms Export Control Act, [$4,635,000,000] $5,274,390,000: Provided, That of the funds appropriated under this heading, not less than $2,380,000,000 shall be available for grants only for Israel..” so Obama can forget about his appeal to Israel.
Metaphorically, the repo agent cannot renegotiate conditions for peace, prosperity and security when the white phosphorous shells and money were already left in the tank’s trunk.
Obama claims he can provide Israelis and Palestinians a framework and a forum to achieve their goals. Obama gives the Israeli Military the keys to laissez-faire “let them do as they please,” military strategy. In his speeches, Obama made no mention of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George J. Mitchell, is scheduled to return to the Middle East, where he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday. This meeting is a follow-up to last Thursday’s speech in Cairo.
Mideast Peace – Humanitarian Style
If I had flown to Cairo on Air Force One, I would have made sure I brought with me humanitarian aid. I would have given it to the thousands of children in Egypt’s Resala orphanages and to the Palestinians suffering in Gaza and the West Bank. Instead of extending a rhetorical olive branch, tree saplings grow peace and prosperity. Although Israel destroyed Gaza’s airport several years ago, and the Israeli Military controls the air space, sea and land surrounding the Palestinian Territories, I am sure they would have accommodated the American president. At the border crossing, Obama would have seen the people stranded and the humanitarian resources not reaching the people for reconstruction.
Even though it is nice to travel to tourist sites on freshly-paved roads, why not take the road less traveled? Why not go to the neighborhoods and villages to have conversations with the people? Despite the possibility people may comment on US-foreign policy, it gives one the opportunity to learn about their daily lives. It is only by engaging with people – no matter their race, religion, gender, or nationality – where peace lies.
Wasn’t that the mechanics of the 2008 Presidential Campaign? Talking with people about their daily lives?
How can any political leader understand what life is like for people in another part of the world within a matter of hours or with no contact at all? When people feel concrete actions, and they experience a real, viable plan that makes a difference in their lives, they are receptive to opinions and diverse, points of view. Actions must follow the words. Otherwise, words are meaningless.
In his defense, Obama’s visit to Cairo and Buchenwald were positive steps. However, when he made no mention of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in his speeches, his avoidance points to the extent real change takes place in the Holy Land and the Mideast Region. A speech with no road to change is like a ride on an ox-drawn cart, or a ride in a back roads’ tuk-tuk: the passengers will not travel far.
People need the key/al-miftah to unlock the doors to their survival.
Did the 2008 campaign for change end last November?
On November 4, 2008, in Chicago’s Grant Park, Obama gave his election victory speech. He said: “…And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.”
For the people who struggle, who suffer and who remain trapped by concrete walls and electrified fences, maybe the Sphinx has the answer.