The prospects for peace in the Middle East received a number of setbacks this past week. Yet, there were also some hopeful signs. The biggest setback has been that the US agreed to help shield Israel from a landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice at the Hague expected to condemn Israel for its Apartheid policies. Concurrent House Resolution 460 initiated by the Israeli lobby in DC passed both houses of Congress by a large majority. It supports strengthening Israel “as a Jewish state”, supports the apartheid wall, supports violations of International law by claiming Israel can keep territories it acquired in its war of 1967, and rejects such internationally recognized inalienable rights like the rights of refugees to return to their homes and lands). According to the United Nations and Human Righst groups, the monstrous project to impoverish and isolate the Palestinians in several Ghettos is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

And then there are all the distractions by talk of future withdrawal from Gaza, talk of handing “sovereignity” in Iraq, and talk of bringing democracy to the Middle East. All while a the congressional General Accounting office reported only 5% of money allocated for infrastructure in Iraq was spent and even then this 5% was spent on administration. The new US viceroy of Iraq, John Negroponto (who facilitated the operations of death squads out of Honduras) will thus have plenty of money to dole out to ensure the new Iraqi puppet government does not stray far from its corporate handlers. The occupying authority also ensured that laws are now in place to protect itself from legal lawsuits and also ensure continued presence of US military and corporations in Iraq. But he coup de etat is the insurance of continued division in Iraq by insisting not on democracy and one person one vote but on “representation for ethnic and religious groups in government”: Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds etc.” Imagine if Bush was to advocate changing the US constitution to advocate such representation of US ethnic and religious groups. We have to have representation in Congress of Babtists, Catholics, Budhists etc. But such divide and conquer strategies are OK to implement for colonized people. But the harm done by rulers to people in far away lands also eventually come back to haunt all the people in the empire.

Pericles (430 B.C.) observed that “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you. “ Indeed all politics impacts our personal lives. Take our annual subsidy to Israel wich amounts to 30% of all foreign aid by the US Congress (according to Mark Twain, “the only native criminal class”). It is estimated that Israel cost US taxpayers over $250 billion so far. The occupation of Iraq costs have also skyrocketed to $120 billion so far. These are conservative figures and do not include ill will generated because of our support of apartheid, and decreased trade with a world increasingly resentful of the US. The US government is complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity by endorsing and funding the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and in the past 12 years by the genocidal policies of blockades and sanctions that killed an estimated 1.5 million Iraqis.

But there are signs of beginning awareness and rebellion at home and abroad that extend far beyond the expected Iraqi and Palestinian resistance to the occupation. There are mass defection of key people from the Bush administration and from Israeli government positions. There are also signs of civil unrest and non-violent mass resistance.

Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset Azmi Bishara and other prominent Ipalestinian-Israelis went on an open-ended hunger strike to bring attention to this unfolding human tragedy and break the silence. Thousands of Palestinians and Israelis have also been engaged in massive waves of demonstrations and civil-disobedience.

Films like Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” shows the hypocrisy of the US administration. Subjects that Moore and the mainstream media both seem to ignore include:

- The fact that the Saudi Royal family and other despotic regimes are dependent on US support to stay in power.

- The lack of substantial difference between Bush and Kerry on these disastrous foreign policies who want to

- The direct links between our support of Israeli apartheid, 9/11, and the illegal war on Iraq (the architects of the war knew it had little to do with terrorism and more to do with hegemony and support of Israeli Likud policies).

- The presence of Israeli Interrogators in Iraq prisons (verified by the US commander of Abu Ghreib prison, BBC).

- the support of leading democrats (with the exception of courageous folks like Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Conyers, Senator Byrd) for the same imperial policies as George Bush and his neo-conservatives. This is evident by votes like those on HR 460 that supports Israeli apartheid

As citizens and filmmakers begin to question of a system corrupted by power and influence, perhaps it is time for US mainstream media to allow full discussion and disclosure of the facts. We should start by a reexamination of who is profiting from the disaster that is otherwise mislabeled “US foreign policy in the Middle East.”