The election of Ariel Sharon, a notorious serial war criminal, was a clear sign that the Israelis were intent on pulverizing the Palestinians. It sent a message to every single Palestinian that they are, individually and collectively, in grave danger. A widely held belief among Arabs is that Colin Powell and George Bush have been more than willing to deal with this mass murderer to the extent of giving him a green light to intensify the repression and 'let the Israeli army win'. It has not passed the attention of Arabs that George Bush has yet to utter a single word of condolence to the 500 families who lost loved ones to the bullets and shells of the Israeli occupation army. Powell, especially, has taken a belligerent stand against the Palestinian struggle for independence. Nothing out of character for a man who constantly raves about his Vietnamese and Arab body count.
Adding to the wounds of the Palestinians is the mounting evidence of the impotence and lack of moral fiber of Arab governments, who have provided the uprising with nothing more than the occasional burst of hot air. Arafat himself is hardly coherent and constantly on tour seeking out the company of men like Putin, the butcher of the Chechen people. The 'President of Palestine' never seems to get enough twenty-one gun salutes. The only thing that has materialized from seven years of Oslo is an opportunity for Yasser Arafat to strike a pathetic pose as one more Arab authoritarian ruler, a pretender to the Palestinian throne.
Despite all the Palestinian concessions in Oslo, Arafat has failed to deliver a Palestinian State. He has failed to end the Israeli occupation and he has failed to provide adequate security and protection for his people. It also appears that he was asleep on the job while the Israelis and Dennis Ross were busy using Oslo as a cover to accelerate the creeping annexation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat is constantly side tracked by each and every American-Israeli ruse. Powell's current insulting proposal to 'improve the quality of life under military occupation' is like a recommendation to improve prison food on death row. Yet when Arafat finally got an audience with Powell, his helicopter's right to take off and land took precedence over his people's right to move freely from Ramallah to Nablus. There was also his bizarre focus on Palestinian accounts frozen by Israel and now the settlement 'freeze'. But the most troubling development has been Arafat's willingness to deal with a universally despised war criminal like Sharon who openly declares the solitary goal of intensifying the violence of the occupation. The Israelis elected Sharon to offer the Palestinians nothing, just slightly less than what Barak offered them.
The Americans and Israelis need to hear a simple and clear demand to end the occupation now. It took Indonesia two weeks to clear out of East Timor. Is Arafat too lame to narrate this most elementary of Palestinian demands? Why doesn't he ask for an immediate "East Timor" style referendum, a free and fair vote, to confirm to the Americans and the world the absolute desire of each and every Palestinian to live as a free people, completely independent of any Israeli intervention in their daily lives? Arafat needs to challenge the American government to clearly articulate their objections to Palestinian freedom? Let this administration go on record with additional evidence of its disdain for Arabs, so we can all take a full measure of its 'theology of repression'.
Consider that, in 1948, America conspired to allot 650,000 Israeli Jews, mostly recent immigrants, an independent country on 78% of the Palestinian patrimony. Why are the Americans so reluctant to give eight million Palestinians the right to an independent state on 22% of their native soil? Why has the United States financed 7000 Jewish settlers as a thorn in the side of a million plus Palestinians in a severely over-crowded Gaza? What of the 400 militant racist settlers in Hebron who, under the protection of the Israeli army, have been given free license to provoke and torment the 200,000 Palestinians?
The American government needs to make a declaration that future policy will no longer to be based on a religious dogma that favors European Jews over the native Christian and Muslim communities in the Holy Land. It is time for America to separate religion from State Department policy making.
If we are going to tear down plaques of the ten commandments on public property, what the hell is America doing supporting a racist Jewish State that compulsively elects war criminals to the office of Prime Minister? If we are going to ban nativity scenes from city hall and public malls, why do we support a state that punishes citizens who are not Jewish or not Jewish enough? The Palestinians should ask the Americans for a copy of their official "History of Palestine". They will be astonished to discover that the State Department professionals know and approve of every atrocious Israeli act against their people. Why? Money! Campaign money!
If Arafat has lost his tongue, he should resign and allow other more spirited Palestinians to narrate the justice of the Palestinian cause to the world. It is incredible that he has allowed Sharon of Qibya and Sabra and Shatila to be considered a plausible 'partner for peace'. He should tell the Americans the truth; that they are not trusted; that they are seen as a super-power that supports the repression of his people. By all appearances, George Bush and Powell increasingly look like they have jumped on the Sharon wagon for a sadistic crusade against the Palestinians. He should tell them that the Palestinians view the Americans not as honest brokers but as conspirators who want to break the Palestinian will to resist a horrible and brutal thirty-four year foreign military occupation. He can demand that the Americans put their support behind an authentic honest broker like France or Norway or Belgium and then get out of the way. But before they leave, the Americans need to offer an unambiguous apology to the Palestinian people. He should tell the American Congressmen and Senators that every Palestinian child is aware that they finance their campaigns with the currency of innocent Palestinian blood.
Is it not amazing that a culture that worships Jesus, a Palestinian, as a son of God is daft enough to spend a fortune bringing ruin to his people? I say give the Eastern European Yiddish immigrants room to have a racist state where they can go about acting the universally insulting fiction of being the 'chosen people'. But, don't ever let them take Jesus from the Palestinians. Always remind these European Zionists, who have come to the shores of Palestine with Hebrew pretensions, that a little DNA testing would prove that it was the Palestinians who gave the 'civilized' western world Abraham, Moses and Jesus. As a reward, Europe and America returned the favor with crusades, refugee camps and a 'replacement population' of Eastern European Jews mesmerized by a communal delusion that they are descendants of ancient Palestinian Hebrew Tribes. Lets get some real scientists, historians and anthropologists to weigh in on this subject matter. The Israelis are in serious need of a dose of reality therapy to dampen their chauvinism and force them to deal with the crimes of their leaders.
Those Palestinians who are still awaiting a show of 'Arab' support are kidding themselves. The Arab governments are in the pockets of the Pentagon and the CIA. You want to see humans who auto respond to remote control devices operated from Langley, Virginia and Foggy Bottom? Take a hard look at the Gulf Arabs. With the Israeli Lobby holding a permanent lease on the American State Department, this essentially means that Arab governments, especially the Gulf Arabs, get their marching orders from Tel Aviv. It sounds crazy, but in the big scheme of things, these rulers are force-fed 'American' policies that originate from Sharon's desk. Bush's first edict to the Arab leaders was that Sharon's war crimes should be swept under their Persian carpets, since the victims were only Palestinians. Further they were advised to give Sharon 'a chance'; a chance to beat the Palestinians into submission; a chance to 'convince' the Palestinians to endure another generation under the rule of a violent and ruthless foreign occupation army.
Just the other day, Bush was lamenting that Israelis had more pull in Congress than the President of the United States. It was a Bush 'joke' at a reception for the President of Israel. If you missed the joke, so did our one hundred Senators. The President of Israel has friends who can do more to finance their congressional elections. That's no joke. America's disgusting racist policies in the Middle East grow in a swamp of domestic political corruption polluted by the money and the media control of a very influential community of right-wing pro-Israeli Jews and Christian Zionists. Many of these right-wing zealots believe that the Palestinians were 'illegally squatting' in the Holy Land since the time of Jesus, a place that was reserved by God for a racist Jewish state. Our foreign policy is largely tailored on this peculiar religious dogma.
If you think this "Jewish influence" is just the imagination of a paranoid Arab-American journalist, than explain why Mortimer Zuckerman, the publisher of US News and World report and the Daily News, was recently elected to lead Conference of the Presidents of Jewish Organizations. Next thing you know, Sulzberger will be running for a seat in the Knesset and William Safire will start yet another right-wing Israeli party with his buddy Abe Foxman. The news of Zuckerman's rise to the position of Great Chief of the Yiddish did not even merit a shrug from his media 'competitors'. The third largest American weekly is now officially an ethnic publication. Zuckerman should be applauded for erasing the fictitious line between American mainstream journalism and Israeli propaganda campaigns.
Every American president since Wilson has betrayed the Palestinians. Four generations of Palestinians have suffered the consequences of dealing with a White House and Congress that actively colluded with American Zionist leaders to displace the natives of Palestine and make room for a Jewish supremacist state. Arabs who constantly harp on Israeli racism often neglect to detect the underlying racial and religious anti-Arab prejudices that American politicians have subscribed to for nearly a century. Thanks to a media industry dominated by Israel Firsters, these attitudes have become entrenched with the general public. The American media has worked up a level of irrational disdain for Palestinians and Arabs that is essential to marketing Israeli repression. As an Arab immigrant to these shores, I have spent three decades in North America watching this state of affairs deteriorate with every new administration.
Most Americans were quick to rally to the side of the East Timorese and the Kosovars. They championed the brave Chinese students at Tianamen Square. When the Hungarian uprising erupted against Soviet rule, there was no question where Americans would stand. When Pinochet, Marcos and Milosovic bit the dust, it was good news in America.
Yet American governments have failed, time and again, to stand up for even the most minimal of Palestinian aspirations. It is an incredible outrage that American tax money is annually spent to prolong this vicious land grabbing Israeli military occupation. Unfortunately, the evidence abounds that this administration will continue what is essentially a racist foreign policy. If you recall 'constructive engagement', the policy of appeasing the South African white supremacists, you should also note that this administration has many of the same architects deciding whether the Palestinians are worthy of freedom. These guys are masters at rationalizing institutional brutality against a native people.
What the Palestinians need, what they should demand, is that the American government acknowledge and explain the historic complicity of the United States in making them a nation of refugees. They should also ask the American government, in light of previous racist behavior, to disqualify themselves from the role of 'honest broker' in favor of a group of European countries, perhaps France, England and Norway. America needs to step back, put its full weight behind promising European initiatives, and give peace and justice a chance. As for the Israelis, when their declared desire for peace eventually outweighs their avaricious appetite for native Palestinian land, they can send a clear signal to the Palestinians by bringing down this 'settler' government and handing Sharon over to the appropriate international authorities.