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Stop Enabling Israel 

Taking a Gander: If all lives matter, why is it OK to kill Palestinians?

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Black lives matter; LBGTQ lives matter; Hispanic lives matter; children's lives matter. There is no shortage of movements, rallies, and demonstrations focused on eliminating unnecessary loss of life. Many of those movements have found success in the media, and the revision of policies and laws—particularly those relating to law enforcement's use of lethal force—have affected a stronger conscience in protecting, not just some, but all of our citizens.

Our country is showing that the lives of Americans matter, but it has a disconnect when it comes to the lives of others. At best, we seem to have a very prejudicial, international view of exactly which other lives matter—one wherein we can tolerate the killings of dozens, hundreds or thousands of certain groups while providing a free pass for the perpetrators. Where's our sense of fairness and justice, and do we really have respect for all life?

Case in point: Why aren't we all marching on the Capitol with placards that say, "Palestinian Lives Matter"? Incarcerated within their own country, their latest altercation with the Israeli government has left hundreds dead and thousands injured and maimed—to say nothing of the wanton destruction of thousands of homes, buildings and infrastructure in Gaza. And, while we like to simplify things by describing each group as "good" or "bad," there are few international situations that are actually black and white. Our discrimination is the worst type; it's really no different than declaring that African-Americans are somehow unworthy, while the whites can do no wrong. It's a dangerous mindset.

While President Biden chose to declare support for the State of Israel—only defending itself—he also led America into the La-la-land of accepting that those Palestinian casualties were simply punishment for Arab aggression. Actually, nothing could be less true, but the U.S. has followed a dangerous precedent for decades, only recognizing the rights of Israel and marginalizing the lives—and deaths—of Palestinians. At the same time as it's patting Netanyahu on the back—it's OK; it was self-defense—it is forgetting that the rest of the world community has been harshly critical—and rightly so—of Israel's ongoing persecution of its Arab population.

Biden did have the decency to declare that the Israel/Palestine problems can never be over until there's a viable two-state plan ensuring that the rights of all are being properly addressed. That's a premise wisely espoused by the international community—and by many of the more conservative Jewish leaders. It's the only route to lasting peace in the region. Unfortunately, Americans have unwittingly become pawns of Zionist extremists who seek to rout the Palestinians from their homes and steal their land. Israel's far right is hurting and killing Arabs. We must condemn their actions.

The way it now stands is that Palestine's Arab population is like a sick and injured man, lying in a gutter, kicked and beaten by every passer-by, and pissed upon by those adorned in fine attire.

Somehow—despite the pain, humiliation and bruising—the man finds the strength to stand up and take a swing at his assailants; despite his weakened state, he's able to land some kicks and punches on his tormenter-attackers. It is then that the cry goes up, "Look what he did; he attacked us without provocation; now we must avenge our bloody noses." Not only do they shift the blame for the situation, they also enlist the help of allies to make sure the man pays dearly for what he's done. (The unlikely Good Samaritan—in this case, Hamas—comes to his aid, only to be labeled a terrorist for his kindness. It may be considered a terrorist organization, but Hamas is very much dedicated to and motivated by the rights of the Palestinians.)

Then the man dies, but all those who hurt him smile smugly at his corpse. "We were only defending ourselves." That kind of gas-lighting is typical of almost all abusive relationships; Israel, in leveling blame on the Palestinians, has always used its poor-me approach for securing U.S. support and an endless supply of arms. It's time to ask, "For whom should we feel sorry?"

What's sickening is how the unholy alliance of the U.S. and Israel has failed to address the real problem—that, with sufficient provocation, Palestinians have the right to fight back. Instead, our country is selling Israel a near-billion-dollar supply of military killing tools—all for the continuing harassment and destruction of Arabs—never questioning whether or not such a transaction is moral.

To make a long story short, our country needs to stop pandering to the corrupt Netanyahu regime. Virtually all international organizations have declared Israel the abuser—unanimously condemning it for crimes against humanity. Because the U.S. has refused to be subject to international tribunals and U.N. pronouncements, it is, by complicity, a partner in the abuse and killing of Arabs.

The U.S. needs to participate in the worthy aims of the U.N., World Court and humanitarian organizations. Without the benefit of the direction and peer review that would come from such relationships, we are likely to find ourselves on the wrong side of many internationally sensitive issues. The violation of Arab rights, by the Israeli government, is right at the head of the list.

We must not forget that Palestinian lives matter. Too.

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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