For many years the United States has guaranteed Israel absolute military superiority over any possible combination of enemies. Whatever the original motivation for that policy, it has also become a guarantee that Israel never has to agree to end the occupation. We wrote to Secretary of State Blinken urging him to reconsider the policy.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken 20 July 2021
We are writing to you about the United States’ commitment to maintaining Israel’s absolute military superiority over any potential combination of opponents in the region. This was reiterated recently in reaction to the eruption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas caused by the repression of Palestinian protests against evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.
Your government could not have expressed itself more strongly. The President and top officials were apparently eager to allow Israel to “win” the battle. They were slow to call for a ceasefire and repeatedly blocked a UN Security Council ceasefire resolution..
Not only that, the readouts of the President’s calls with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu reveal the President repeatedly emphasising Israel’s right to self-defence, with little hint of criticism. It looked as if the President had fallen in with Israeli right-wing propaganda that the recurring bouts of violence are due to Palestinian intransigence and antisemitism, as if Israel’s 54-year occupation and settlement of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the siege of Gaza do not inevitably have consequences for Israel’s security.
More specifically, the US government’s foreign assistance agency said: “US assistance helps ensure that Israel maintains its Qualitative Military Edge (QME) over potential regional threats.” And also that “US assistance… is aimed at ensuring that Israel is sufficiently secure to take the historic steps necessary to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians and for comprehensive regional peace.”
We urge you to reconsider those two linked concepts. Giving Israel a guarantee of impregnability will ensure that it never has to compromise with the Palestinians, let alone concede ending the occupation. In those circumstances, why should it ? The QME enables Israel to continue occupying and settling the land, safe in the knowledge that it can never be militarily defeated, even in the unlikely event of all potential enemies forming an alliance.
QME should be replaced by a guarantee of parity, which would oblige Israel to consider compromising as other countries have to do. That will give the centrist and “left wing” Israeli political parties a powerful, realpolitik argument to use against the right wing parties which believe Israel can permanently take over and settle the occupied land.
Diplomatic and Parliamentary Officer
Jews for Justice for Palestinians