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Tit for tat or business as usual? AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state

posted on: Sep 22, 2021

Tit for tat or business as usual? AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state
A progressive group in the U.S. House of Representatives has tried to block weapons exports to Israel Photo outsidethebeltway.com

By: John Mason / Arab America Contributing Writer

AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congressional representative, along with several other progressive reps., is trying to halt the U.S. sale of missiles to Israel. The claim is that such missiles were used against Gaza the last time around and could be used like that again. This is a harder line of offense than is usual from the U.S. House. Meanwhile, an equally hard line has been taken by Israeli Prime Minister, Neftali Bennett, in claiming to put an end to any idea of a Palestinian state, whether part of a two-state or single Israel-Palestine state solution.

Ocasio-Cortez and progressive allies try to halt U.S. missile sales to Israel

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would stop the U.S. sale of missiles to Israel. Reported in The Star Democrat, the amendment would “suspend the transfer of Boeing Joint Direct Attack Munition weaponry under the $735 million direct commercial sale to the Israeli government.” The amendment claimed that these weapons would replicate the same missiles that killed 44 Palestinians in Gaza City.

AOC is especially disturbed about using U.S. weapons against Hamas leaders and Palestinian civilians. This tranche in the millions of dollars is only a sliver of the several billions sent to Israel each year and year after year under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

It wasn’t Palestinians alone who died in the conflicts, of whom there were 200, but Israelis numbered at least a dozen deaths. Recall, however, that initial causes of the conflict were Israeli attempts to force Palestinians from a Jerusalem neighborhood and Israeli military invasion of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Tit for tat or business as usual? AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has spearheaded the House amendment to block missile sales to Israel Photo Mediaite

Israel PM Bennett opposed to Palestinian State as so long as he rules

In an August address to the Israel Knesset, PM Neftali Bennett announced several anti-Palestinian actions. Most critical is his determination to fight against any notion of forming a Palestinian state. Close on its heels in its severity is Bennett’s plan to increase the size of the illegal West Bank settlements. According to the Palestine Chronicle, Bennett is quoted as saying, “This government will neither annex nor form a Palestinian state, everyone gets that.” The prime minister also noted that there would be no discussions of the years long issue of the Palestine-Israeli conflict.

Reinforcing Bennett’s anti-Palestinian sentiments were the comments of Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid. Lapid said that there is no plan for a two-state solution to the conflict under a Bennett-led government.
However, when Lapid succeeds Bennett in the rotation of the government, he suggested that certain key policies could change. Importantly, according to the Jerusalem Post, Lapid is quoted as saying, “I believe in two-states for two people, the Prime Minister doesn’t believe in it.”

On the U.S. side, President Biden has not sought to press the Israel-Palestine issue. The Jerusalem Post reports, “The Biden administration has not pushed to renew Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which have been frozen since 2014. But it has insisted that Israel not take any steps that would endanger the resumption of such a process.”

Tit for tat or business as usual? AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state
Prime Minister of Israel Neftali Bennett has made no bones about saying “no” to a Palestinian state under his watch Photo jweekly.com

Status quo—tit for tat, business as usual, and continued stalemate

So, here we are at the same status quo position we’ve been at for decades. The U.S. will attempt from time to time to send Israel a message that the status quo does not work. As we’ve seen, in a recent instance in the U.S. House of Representatives, just such a message has been crafted.

Spurred on by AOC and a small number of members of Congress, their effort aimed to curb Israel’s appetite for more violence against Palestinians and more aggrandizement of their land. This kind of congressional action has rarely worked, and AOC’s attempt, while admirable, will unfortunately go nowhere.

Tit for tat or business as usual? AOC vows to block U.S. missile sales to Israel as Prime Minister Bennett says no to a Palestinian state
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who will rotate into the prime minister position following Bennett, supports a possible two-state solution Photo jns.org

On the other hand, Israeli leadership has, over time, become less and less inclined to truly resolve the Palestine-Israel issue, even though an important segment of the Israeli population shows more and more interest in such a resolution. In the U.S., the population is generally less interested in a solution to such a faraway problem and more concerned about taking care of this country’s internal problems, such as a surge in white supremacy and, related, retaining our democracy. Thus, it appears that there is no propitious time to help the Palestinians.

Sources:

“AOC, progressives want to block U.S. missile sales to Israel,” The Star Democrat, 9/16/2021

“Bennett Says No Palestinian State under His Watch,” Palestine Chronicle, 9/20/2021

“No Palestinian state under Bennett-led government, FM says,”67 The Jerusalem Post, 8/20/2021

John Mason, PhD., who focuses on Arab culture, society, and history, is the author of LEFT-HANDED IN AN ISLAMIC WORLD: An Anthropologist’s Journey into the Middle East, New Academia Publishing, 2017. He has taught at the University of Libya, Benghazi, Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and the American University in Cairo; John served with the United Nations in Tripoli, Libya, and consulted extensively on socioeconomic and political development for USAID and the World Bank in 65 countries.

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