Stephen Zunes : Israel and Palestine


Lecture video: Occupation and the Attack on International Law
9 December 2005

University Heights Center (Seattle, WA)


Defense of Israeli Assassination Policy by the Bush Administration and Democratic Leaders
5 October 2005

The U.S. veto of a proposed UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s March 22 assassination of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin has once again placed the United States both on the fringe of international public opinion and in opposition to international legal norms. Despite the proposed resolution condemning “all attacks against civilians,” the United States once again was the lone dissenting vote, marking the 28 th time since 1970 that the U.S. has blocked a Security Council resolution criticizing the actions of its most important Middle Eastern ally….


Congress Overwhelmingly Endorses Ariel Sharon’s Annexation Plans
1 October 2005

On Wednesday, June 23, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote, endorsed right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s efforts to colonize and annex large sections of the Palestinian West Bank, seized by Israel in the June 1967 war.

This was not just another “pro-Israel” (or, more accurately, “pro-Israeli right”) resolution, but an effective renunciation of the post-World War II international system based upon the premise of the illegitimacy of the expansion of a country’s territory by military force.


Israeli Human Rights Abuses and the U.S. Attack on the United Nations and the NGO Community
30 June 2005

The Bush administration, like its predecessors, has frequently taken advantage of the idealism and values of the U.S. citizenry to justify foreign policies that most Americans would otherwise find morally unacceptable. The recent emphasis on justifying Washington’s imperial goals in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East in the name of spreading liberty and democracy is a case in point. The fact that the United States is the world’s principal supporter of autocratic Middle Eastern regimes is conveniently overlooked, as the administration focuses solely on the human rights abuses of governments that challenge U.S. hegemony in the region, such as Iran and Syria. Similarly, repeated emphasis of the fact that Israel has established advanced democratic institutions (at least for its Jewish citizens) and an accountable government (relative to anything that currently exists in the Arab world) makes it possible for most Americans to ignore the pattern of gross and systematic Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories.


The U.S. Role in the Breakdown of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process
1 May 2005

In the time since the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at Camp David in the summer of 2000 and the subsequent Palestinian uprising, details have emerged that challenge the Clinton administration’s insistence—reiterated by leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties as well as by much of the mainstream media—that the Palestinians were responsible for the failure to reach a peace agreement and for much of the violence that has engulfed Israel and Palestine since then.


Arafat Was the Excuse, Not the Reason, for the Failure of the Peace Process
11 November 2004

While there are many negative things one can say about the late Yasser Arafat, he was not the primary reason for the breakdown in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. At most, he was the excuse.


Presidential Election Offers Little Choice for Israeli-Arab Peace
26 October 2004

Earlier this month, in a widely quoted interview in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Dov Weisglass–Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser–acknowledged what most independent observers have known all along: that the Israeli government is not actually interested in a peace agreement with the Syrian government or the Palestinian Authority. Israel has occupied the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights since these territories were seized by the Israeli armed forces in 1967, expelling thousands of Arabs and then colonizing these territories with Jewish settlers in contravention of international law.


Attacks Against World Court by Bush, Kerry and Congress Reveal Growing Bipartisan Hostility to International Law
17 August 2004

On July 9, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined that the Israeli government’s construction of a separation wall running through the occupied Palestinian West Bank was illegal. Among other things, the ICJ noted that the construction of the first 125 miles of the proposed 450-mile barrier “has involved the confiscation and destruction of Palestinian land and resources, the disruption of the lives of the thousands of protected civilians and the de facto annexation of large areas of territory.” The court called on Israel to cease construction of the wall, to dismantle what has already been built in areas beyond Israel’s internationally recognized border, and to compensate Palestinians who have suffered losses as a result of the wall’s construction.


Bush Endorsement of Sharon Proposal Undermines Peace and International Law
27 April 2004

President George W. Bush’s unconditional endorsement of right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan constitutes a shocking reversal of longstanding U.S. Middle East policy and one of the most flagrant challenges to international law and the integrity of the United Nations system ever made by a U.S. president.


More ‘Right’ on Israel Than Bush
24 December 2003

The moment images of Saddam Hussein’s capture flashed across TV screens around the world, John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman jumped on the opportunity to lash out at Howard Dean for not supporting the war on Iraq, even as they congratulated the Bush White House for a job well done.

It was not, however, the first time that the two Democratic candidates have attacked the former Vermont governor for being too “liberal” on foreign policy. Nor is Iraq the only issue where the Democratic leadership — and its anointed heirs — have revealed an unmistakably rightwing agenda.

It is a less-known fact that when it comes to the Israel/Palestinian issue, the Democratic establishment is virtually indistinguishable from the Bush administration.