Sheikh Jarrah and the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

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Rockets and bombs have been flying and casualties have been rising while inside Israel there have been clashes between Israelis and Arab Israelis. 

US diplomats spoke out against Hamas fighters firing rockets into Israel while asserting that Israel has a right to defend itself as indeed it has. 

But left in the background is the spark for the raging conflict. The forceful evictions by Israel of long time Palestinian settlers in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. 

Instead of keeping it in the background, what’s happened in Sheikh Jarrah should be put front and center.

Why should the Palestinian settlers be forcefully evicted?
It is wrong for Hamas to be firing missiles into Israel so that should stop immediately.

And so, too, should the crushing Israeli counteroffensive that is likely to soon become an invasion of Gaza by ground forces. 

Surely, as the casualties mount on both sides, the numbers for the Palestinians will be much larger. And that includes children.

It seems very clear, with the long history of warfare between the two rivals, that it doesn’t take much to ignite a broader conflict.

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu knew full well of the possible consequences of Israelis displacing Palestinian settlers from Sheikh Jarrah. But he let it happen anyway. 

Property rights in the area have been disputed in the courts for years, and still he let it happen. I suppose it burnishes his image as a get tough on Palestinians kind of guy. 

But we here in America, who spend lots of money subsidizing that state’s defense forces, should demand a thorough accounting of what is happening there.

We can’t just have Antony Blinken make a statement calling for Hamas to stop the firing of the missiles – which have resulted in a few Israeli deaths but which have been mostly intercepted by Israel’s powerful Iron Dome antimissile system. 

We cannot have the administration be only insisting that Israel has a right to defend itself, which it has, and not put blame on Mr Netanyahu for letting the displacement of Palestinian settlers be carried out.

The American people deserve better.

The Biden administration must do better. 

Antony Blinken and company should know better.

The genesis of this painful and costly clash – where Palestinian casualties will surely, by far, exceed Israel’s – needs to be brought to the table right now. And we should ask, why was it allowed to happen in the first place, when it seemed pretty clear what the consequences would be?

If President Biden can confront Saudi Arabia’s crown prince on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and label Putin a killer for the attempted murder on Alexei Navalny, surely he can call in Mr Netanyahu and tell him that his behavior is atrocious and repugnant. 

Please, Mr Biden, act now.

Oscar Valdes. Oscarvaldes.net