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Out of Control Israel Must Be Reined in by the Nations of the World: BDS

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The world is experiencing dej vu as nations watch Israel's ongoing oppression and suppression of the people of Palestine that is, once again, taking a very tenuous situation and escalating it into a bloodbath. It does not take much for the Israeli government to erupt and unleash its massive power on people who now have become little more than sitting ducks in a shooting gallery.

Israel today is following in the footsteps of South Africa when that nation's government was pursuing its system of apartheid that involved the segregation and suppression of its black population. The world had watched the cruel and very often violent actions by this government with great trepidation and revulsion and had great empathy for the oppressed. Then, after South Africa resisted all efforts to end that apartheid, the world responded with powerful boycotts and sanctions.

That boycott movement began in the 1970's and ended in 1994; individuals, organizations, national governments, and the United Nations initiated sanctions and embargoes that involved military supplies, raw materials, together with cultural and sports restrictions against the government of South Africa. Both exports to and imports from that nation were severely restricted.

Israel continues its relentless building of new settlements in Palestinian territories, erecting fences and walls, penning up its people in smaller and smaller areas like animals, hardly allowing them room to breathe; cruel and absolutely unconscionable. Israel has carried out a land, sea and air blockade of the Gaza Strip since 2007, preventing all sorts of essential goods from entering. But, though its leaders continue to be heavily criticized by nations and leaders around the world, including weak, meaningless admonitions by the U.S. government, they have made it clear that they have no intention of backing off this highly aggressive agenda.

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To see how the situation in Israel has evolved over decades, since that nation was created as a state in 1948, go to this link which shows how dramatically the territories controlled by Israel and Palestine have changed in size from 1946 to 2000. Look at the areas in brown, Palestinian territory, versus the white, that of Israel, and see how, over this period of time, the Palestinian portion has been so drastically reduced. Pictures are worth a thousand words and these maps illustrate perfectly how Israel has taken control of nearly the entire country.

When we think of all the cruelty that is involved with this suffocating system there is one act that stands out as one of the most egregious. That act involved Israeli commandos boarding ships of the Gaza bound Freedom Flotilla in 2010. In that confrontation eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed and many others were wounded. This was an illegal act committed in international waters but Israel was never properly taken to task for these vile acts and its government continues to deny that it did anything wrong.

Take your pick in describing the Israel of today; it's a rogue state, an apartheid state or a pariah state or, according to many close observers, it's all three rolled into one.

I can understand the paranoia that seems to be embedded in the psyche of the state of Israel based on the horrendous atrocities that were perpetrated against its people in the past. The Holocaust is an event in history that must never be forgotten. But the one lesson that this part of history should teach us all is that seeking vengeance for those kinds of inhuman atrocities by using an ongoing agenda of extreme oppression and suppression of others is not the answer.

Many of those who strongly support Israel in this ongoing struggle point out that the Palestinians, in particular Hamas, are just as guilty of creating this situation because they also initiate violence and destruction. And to some degree they are exactly right. But we need to understand just what's going on here. When people are under constant, intense, relentless pressure and tightly controlled, when they are deprived of many of the essentials of life, when they feel completely hopeless and have nowhere to turn for relief, what do we think they are going to do? At some point some of them will erupt in total frustration and vent their anger by violence of their own.

There is only one way by which the leaders of Israel will change and that is when they are forced to change; only when they have no other recourse and have no other options. Its government can continue to resist change but eventually it will have no other choice but to

reverse its policies and greatly temper its aggressiveness; for if it doesn't then it's only a matter of time until the increasing level of boycotts, divestments and sanctions by a multitude of countries will begin to adversely affect its exports and imports, its economy, its GDP and the quality of life of its citizens.

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Only the collective power generated by the nations of the world will put an end to this deplorable situation. There is no need for any of these nations to use any form of military force; that has no place here. But the force they need to use is their direct involvement in the BDS movement; they must exercise the force generated by world boycotts, divestment of their interests in Israel, and the application of very strong sanctions against the Israeli government.

This movement continues to gather momentum; so far in 2014 both the U.S. Presbyterian General Assembly and the United Methodist's Pension board have divested themselves of monetary interests in Israel. That's great progress but many more organizations, religious or otherwise in this country and around the world, must join in this process and send a clear message to the Israeli leaders that if they continue on this totally misguided path they will, in the eyes of the world, become a pariah state, one that will become more and more isolated.

Slowly but surely monumental pressure from this movement will take its toll on Israel's government, and its leaders will be made to understand that they can no longer pursue this contemptible agenda against the Palestinians. It will be painful for the people of Israel but, in the longer term, it could be the best thing to happen to that country in order to some day return it to being a respected member of the international community.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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