The New York Times editorialised yesterday that it hoped and prayed Israel’s new government was serious about peace. It surely knows the truth; namely that every single Israeli government for decades has continued to expand the illegal colonies in the occupied territories:
If Mr. Netanyahu is serious about being a partner for peace, he will not get in the way of the militant group Hamas entering a Palestinian unity government with the rival Fatah faction — as long as that government is committed to preventing terrorism and accepts past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians. He will recognize that the United States has its own interests in diplomacy with Syria, Iran and the Palestinians — and allow the Obama administration the freedom to pursue them. He also will not start a preventive war with Iran.
The necessary inclusion of Hamas gets a boost from the leading paper of the American political elite.
But will Obama get serious about this?
For many years, the United States has had a policy against spending aid money to fund Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which successive administrations have regarded as an obstacle to peace. Yet private organizations in the United States continue to raise tax-exempt contributions for the very activities that the government opposes.
There’s nothing illegal about the charitable contributions to pro-settlement organizations, which are documented in filings with the Internal Revenue Service. They’re similar to tax-exempt donations made to thousands of foreign organizations around the world through groups that are often described as “American friends of” the recipient.
But critics of Israeli settlements question why American taxpayers are supporting indirectly, through the exempt contributions, a process that the government condemns. A search of IRS records identified 28 U.S. charitable groups that made a total of $33.4 million in tax-exempt contributions to settlements and related organizations between 2004 and 2007.