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Dithering Biden 

Taking a Gander: Israel's inhumane treatment of the Palestinians calls for international rebuke.

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It really happened. The Third Reich turned its white supremacy philosophy into the mass-annihilation of Europe's Jews. It was one of the greatest tragedies of all time, yet there were people who merely chose to look the other way, and others who preferred to call the extermination a hoax, claiming it never happened.

All the Holocaust deniers can't change the fact that 6 million Jews were systematically rounded-up and murdered, and the world must never forget. In 1948, the international community gave the Jews a new homeland, and world leaders dove in to bring Nazi perpetrators to justice. Israel honored the dead, using both the courts and Mossad's murder squads to rid the world of those who'd been responsible.

There is, of course, no way to make retribution for what Hitler did. He's dead, and the lingering, vestigial fragments of his movement are no longer immediate threats. The problem is—even after such a sobering event—genocide and religious persecution are still among the pressing challenges of mankind.

Counselors and psychiatrists have long been familiar with the phenomenon wherein those who were once abused often grow up to become the abusers. It's a tragic fact that abuse is often self-perpetuating, which, going forward, plagues multiple, subsequent generations. Today, even though Israel should be full of empathy and humanity for the suffering of the world, it has become one of the planet's worst human-rights violators.

The U.N. and other humanitarian bodies have numbered Israel among the most monstrous nations in the world. That stems, virtually entirely, from the fact that Israel has perpetually ignored the law as it pertains to the rights of Israel's legitimate Arab population. Areas belonging to Palestinians have been a constant target of Jewish settlement expansion, even though the world community has made itself hoarse trying to get Israel's attention.

Instead, Israel has continued to run roughshod over a population that belongs there. It has virtually imprisoned its Arabs—having total control over water and electricity and imposing terrible hurdles for earning livelihoods and achieving economic well-being. The West Bank and Gaza are no better than a concentration camp—one in which generations of Palestinians have spent their lives without any expectation for change.

Recently, the Israeli courts cleared the way to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem and give their homes to Jewish settlers. If this happened to you, right here in Utah, wouldn't you be a bit angry? So, when Hamas started lobbing rockets over the wall, that was simply a natural consequence of Israel's trampling the Arabs and disrespecting their property rights.

Now Israeli rockets and warplanes are pummeling Gaza, and it's really no different than shooting fish in a barrel. The Palestinians are indeed captives in their own land, so there's no escaping the bombing and destruction. While Israel claims to target only Hamas and its operatives, there have been many innocents—women, and children—killed, and hundreds will remain maimed for lifetimes. Israel may look at those numbers as unavoidable collateral casualties, but these are people—real people—we're talking about.

Added to the human toll, Israel has struck out at the news media, destroying the offices of the AP, Al Jazeera and others, in an effort to silence their coverage of the mayhem. Under international law, that is a crime.

Clearly, this is a time when a strong U.S. voice could make a difference, but what does our president say? In a pathetic dereliction of moral responsibility, he makes statements that Israel has the right to defend itself, apparently never considering the reasons for Arab anger. For those of us who've viewed Joe Biden as a giant of humanity, we can only shake our heads at his apparent naivete. It's wrong for him to cheer on Israel, when it is Israel that's at the center of the problem—treating its Arab population with disdain and depriving those rightful citizens of the most basic rights and services. The long-standing persecution of the Palestinians has brought world condemnation for decades, but Israel seems to have no heart.

In response to President Biden's statement endorsing defensive military operations, many have spoken out, and it's ironic that some of the strongest dissenting voices are those of the Jews themselves. Bernie Sanders has been one of them, calling on the president to take a more balanced view of what's happening. Instead, Biden is avoiding the wrath of America's powerful Jewish lobby, and, in so doing, he's participating in the ongoing abuse of the Palestinian people. (How did we ever get into such a mess—allowing a relatively small group of people to dictate international policy?)

Obviously, I can't condone any terrorist organization. That said, without an army, air force, navy or militia, the Palestinians have no defense. That's where Hamas steps in—filling the military gap and looking out for the rights of the Arab population. It's pretty sad when a people's only defense is an organization that's been labeled "terrorist."

Palestinian lives have been made miserable by an illegal captor-country that wishes, most of all, to eliminate any legitimate contest for "disputed" parts of the country. As human beings, we cannot tolerate the continuing abuse of Israel's Arab population, and the only permanent solution must be one that grants all people of the Holy Land their inalienable rights.

It's time to get on the phone; call your congressmen and senators; write to Biden. Let them know that they must open their hearts to the suffering of the Palestinians and assist the world in creating a fair and lasting peace for all.

The author is a retired businessman, novelist, columnist and former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He resides in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and the beloved ashes of their mongrel dog.

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