Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not Again, Mike

I thought I got Mike Huckabee out of my system, but then he wrote a piece about his recent trip to Israel. Update: I didn't get Mike Huckabee out of my system.

See Huckabee's newest post from Israel

Huckabee starts with a pointless analysis of his visit to Israel contrasted with Pelosi's trip to Syria. But he demonstrates his warped perception of reality as the piece progresses.
As a private citizen, I have commented on what I have seen based on my past experiences. When I visited Israel in the 1970’s and 1980’s I had no problem visiting Nablus. But this time, I couldn’t go because I was with Israelis, and they cannot enter Nablus or Bethlehem or Ramallah. I commented on this because I thought it was remarkable that there are places Israelis can’t go in their own country.
Dude, Mike. Nablus, Bethlehem, NOR Ramallah are in Israel. And seriously, it's not some unjust practice that prohibits Israelis from going to Nablus. I mean for God's sake, most Palestinians cannot even go to East Jerusalem, an area OUTSIDE of Israel. But if it's all Israel, then that supports your idea to establish a Palestinian state some place else, “outside” of the Jewish homeland (read: everything between the sea and the river).
Just as I believe that Israelis should be able to travel to all parts of their country, I believe they should be able to live wherever they want in that country, and that the U. S. government should not tell an Israeli family that they can’t add a nursery to their house when they welcome a new baby, or tell an Israeli village that they can’t add a classroom to their schoolhouse.
Again, Israelis CAN travel to all parts of their country. Palestinians CANNOT travel to all parts of their country. And it's not the rogue U.S. Government telling Israel they can't build settlements, it's the law. It's international law, that's who. Also, Israelis CAN “live wherever they want” in their country, and they CAN “add a nursery” or “add a classroom to their schoolhouse,” as long as it is in “their country.” They are not allowed to build nurseries and schools on someone else's land in someone else's country.
As a candidate President Obama never told the American people that if he was elected, he would order a draconian freeze on all settlement activity with no exceptions.
True, Obama never told the American people he would order draconian (definition: exceedingly harsh; very severe) measures in accordance with international law, without exception. Don't pretend like it's some unreasonable thing to order a settlement freeze, Mike. The world recognizes that settlements (called colonies in some english-speaking countries) are illegal.
President Obama announced that, “Settlements have to be stopped in order for us to move forward.” With whom are the Israelis supposed to move forward? With the Hamas terrorists of the Gaza Strip? With Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas who barely controls the sidewalk in front of his office in the West Bank? Yet President Obama took the ball out of the Palestinians’ court and said that it wasn’t their wanton destruction of life and property that was holding back the peace process, no, it was Israeli construction. Nothing about the Palestinians’ recognizing Israel’s basic right to exist or renouncing terror to move the process forward, no, it was all the fault of those pesky settlements.
It is racist to lump 'Palestinians' into a monogamous group that seeks “wanton destruction of life and property.” Also, Mike, if someone kicked you out of your house and your country, and you lived in poor conditions as a refugee under brutal siege and occupation, would you recognize the 'right of existence' for the criminal who kicked you out of your house? I bet that would be hard to do while being denied many of your basic liberties and rights by the occupying forces.

I look forward to Mike coming back to Israel in January, hopefully not just settlers are on his itinerary next time.