The Michigan Peace Alliance (MPA) calls for an end to American complicity in Israel’s massive war crimes against Palestinians and calls for America to support policies that will ultimately lead to short-term and long-term solutions providing justice for the Palestinian people.
At the time of this statement, Israel has renewed its bombardment of Gaza after a several-day ceasefire while Hamas and Israel exchanged hostages and prisoners, but the overall significance, necessity and challenge of the moment remain the same. With United States’s and the mainstream media’s fervent support, Israel has conducted a massive terror campaign of genocide, collective punishment and “ethnic cleansing” against the 2.3 million Palestinian people of Gaza under the guise of attacking Hamas for its killing of Jewish civilians. For humanity’s sake and for this country’s national interests, the United States must openly break with Israel’s current brutal policies and use whatever coercive power it has to stop Israel’s war crimes in Gaza and to then begin supporting policies that can eventually lead to a just resolution of Palestinians’ suffering under Israeli subjugation.
This moment of catastrophe for the Palestinian people, a “Nakba,” has struck because Israel’s ultra-nationalist government has exploited Hamas’s war crime killing over 1,300 people to create a war hysteria to justify its own even greater war crimes against millions of Palestinians in Gaza and likely those on the occupied West Bank. In the blood-lust fury of the moment, for Israel and for its supporters in the United States, all barriers to the righteous slaughter of Palestinians have been lifted. But two wrongs don’t make a right: they make an even greater crime against all.
“MOWING THE GRASS” HAS NOT WORKED
Before the Hamas attack, Israel had thought it could contain Palestinian resistance to occupation and subjugation by “mowing the grass’’ – an expression meaning Israel would use its intelligence and selective military repression to keep Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank under control permanently in an apartheid state. But the October 7th Hamas offensive against Israel has shattered this illusion. Through Hamas or a future movement resisting Palestinian subjugation, Israel could never completely contain their anger. So, from the ultra-nationalist government’s perspective, what is the solution to the Palestinian problem if “mowing the grass” doesn’t work? Not a two-state solution or one Israeli/Palestinian state solution for sure! Instead, it is conducting massive war crimes.
The most extreme Zionist supporters have always believed that the only solution to protect the Jewish state was to rid the land of non-Jews – that is to expel Palestinians from it: in other words, ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands. And that is exactly the apparent aim of Israel’s current barbaric assault on the people of Gaza: its goal is to wantonly kill and terrorize thousands of people, and to destroy any capacity that Hamas or anyone has to operate something resembling a civilized society amid the rubble of homes and the destruction of basic infrastructure.
ISRAEL IS NOT SO MUCH ATTACKING HAMAS AS IT IS ALL PALESTINIANS
Here is what Israeli President Isaac Herzog said: "It is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It's not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It's absolutely not true." He added: "We are defending our homes, we are protecting our homes, that's the truth, and when a nation protects its home, it fights, and we will fight until we break their backbone." In essence, under the assault, wipe them off the face of the Earth or expel them all.
Many thousands of people will be killed or driven into the Sinai Desert in a reverse Exodus to await whatever fate that comes. Maybe a “humane” Israel will offer them a “humanitarian” corridor to go to Jordan or somewhere else, which will not accept them. After the bombing stops maybe thousands will be trapped and left to live in squalor or to die in Gaza amid hunger, thirst, disease and permanent Israeli terror. And a trickle of humanitarian aid will not make a dent in the needs. Israel and the United States may offer a few crocodile tears for these desperate circumstances, but really say that they brought it on themselves. Such is the supposed moral superiority of Israel, the United States government and the mainstream American media.
THE UNITED STATES MUST STOP GIVING ISRAEL UNQUALIFIED SUPPORT
As the extent of Israel’s war crimes becomes more obvious, President Biden must call for a permanent ceasefire and negotiations before the destruction of Gaza is complete. The 75-year-old American policy of unconditionally supporting Israel or at least quietly tolerating its actions no matter what acts of violence, of land confiscation and of violations of human rights it commits – all under the ceaseless mantra of, “Israel has a right to defend itself” – has reached a crisis point in the Gaza. This compels a change in that support before the United States becomes even more complicit in Israel’s war crimes because of its political and military support for them.
THE UNITED STATES MUST SUPPORT NEW POLICY DIRECTIONS
In the face of this current crisis for the United States and Palestinians, the Michigan Peace Alliance, representing over twenty Michigan organizations supporting peace and social justice, call for the following actions:
For the immediate term, the MPA supports:
Israel and Hamas, supported by the United States, must agree to a permanent continuation of any short-term ceasefire while negotiations are started on other matters;
The United States should publicly declare that it will not provide additional military supplies to Israel until Israel agrees to a permanent ceasefire and while negotiations on short-term and longer-term matters are underway;
Israel and Hamas, encouraged by the United States, should continue negotiations on the status of hostages and other matters to stabilize the current situation preparing the way for further negotiations on longer-term matters on Gaza and the status of the West Bank;
The United States should require that Israel immediately restore all services and supplies--such as water, food, fuel and power--to Gaza to prevent a further humanitarian catastrophe;
The United States should insist that Israel immediately allow all-needed humanitarian supplies from the United Nations, NGOs and all countries to enter Gaza;
The United States should insist that Israel stop all land confiscations and quell settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank;
The United States must oppose any Israeli military attack on the southern part of Gaza where several million Palestinians have been concentrated due to Israeli attacks on northern Gaza.
For the intermediate term, the MPA calls for the following:
As part of a permanent ceasefire, the United States should support negotiations among Israel, the international community, including the United States, and in all likelihood Hamas, over the interim governing of Gaza. Although this will be difficult, under no circumstances should any interim governing be solely in Israeli hands. Ideally, any governing should be under control of some yet-to-be-worked-out international arrangement;
Under any longer-term governing agreement for Gaza, Israeli troops must be withdrawn;
In all likelihood, Hamas cannot be completely defeated even with more massive Israeli war crimes against millions crammed in southern Gaza if Israeli forces enter there;
As part of an interim agreement, the United States should not support the same mistake that it made in Iraq by dismantling the government institutions of the Ba’th Socialist Party. In other words, after negotiations, much of the ongoing government in Gaza, of necessity, should remain in the hands of the governing structures Hamas established;
The United States, the United Nations, and other world governments should provide resources and organize others to provide immediate and massive resources to help Gaza recover from Israel's bombardment of Gaza and its destruction of public and private infrastructure;
Any investigations of possible war crimes in this fighting must include both Israel and Hamas.
For the long term, the MPA calls for the following:
A diplomatic process to reach a long-term solution to the status of Palestinians in Israeli-controlled land must be started as part of any ongoing negotiations;
The United States must abandon its carte blanche support of or toleration of Israeli actions no matter how dangerous or unwise. The policy of public support and private criticism and suggestions to Israel has failed making the US appear to be the prisoner of whatever Israel decides to do. This is not only morally wrong, it works against the interests of the United States.
MPA STATEMENT ISSUED: DECEMBER 5, 2023