The surest way to make a problem a conflict is by embracing the attitude that only your view matters. When any party refuses to accept any view but its own, peaceful resolution of differences becomes impossible. The problem is exacerbated when those differences feed the anger, hate and distrust of both sides. This is relevant with respect to our US Congress and the Middle East Conflict.
Here are some facts. Israel has demolished more than 18,000 Palestinian homes since 1967. Last year it demolished 107 Palestinian homes in the West Bank alone. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights hundreds of Palestinians have died at Israeli checkpoints in previous years due primarily to denial of travel and an inability to reach timely medical care.
The walls and barriers in the West Bank do not merely separate Palestinians and Jews -- they limit Palestinian movement, access to work, basic resources, trade and business. Unemployment in the West Bank hovers at 23% versus 7.3% in Israel. More than 10,000 Palestinians are estimated to be in Israeli prisons, hundreds held without trial and many deprived of family visits. Israel has barred Palestinians from suing Israel for death, injury, civil rights abuses or damages caused by Israeli security. Israeli Defense Forces admit their killing of Palestinians is investigated only under "exceptional" circumstances.
Amnesty International reports some Palestinians in the West Bank receive less than 20 Liters of water per day, while the average Jewish settler gets 300 Liters/day. Palestinians in occupied territories have no legal voice or rights comparable to Israelis.
The US Congress has responded to these conditions in the last 10 years with a singular view. Last week, the US House passed HR 838 telling Obama and Clinton to oppose the Goldstone report critical of Israel's Gaza war. Earlier this year Congress passed HR 34 stating Palestinians in Gaza were wholly responsible for the conflict with Israel. The more than 1,500 Palestinian deaths --many of them women and children -- from that conflict was merely a reaffirmation of Israel's right to defend itself.
HR 557 this year condemned the UN Human Rights Council for placing Israel human rights abuses and its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories on their permanent agenda. In July of 2004 HR 213 complained of misuse of the International Court of justice for political purposes because it decided to address the legality of the Gaza and West Bank walls enclosing Palestinian people.