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Arab nations leaving Palestinians to face Israel alone
January 12, 2002
The Arab "client regimes" bear much of the responsibility for what has so tragically happened to the peoples of the Middle East region, most especially to the Palestinian people. Together with Israel and the U.S. it is these regimes that pushed and pushed for the miserable "Oslo Peace Process" in the first place, in the wake of the even more terrible "Gulf War" that has decimated Iraq and brought American and Western forces to occupy the region even more directly than previously. ARAB NATIONS LEAVING PALESTINIANS TO FACE ISRAEL ALONE
By DAVID HIRST Special to The Japan Times
BEIRUT, 10 January 2001 -- There has always been a vital Arab dimension to the Palestinian struggle. For a long period, in fact, the Arabs bore the brunt of the struggle, waging four, mainly disastrous, wars, in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, with little or no Palestinian participation in them.
Only after despairing of impossible military solutions did the Arabs -- or their dominant players at least -- turn in the 1970s to diplomacy. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon each sought a peace for themselves. But at the same time, they could not envisage such an all-embracing Arab-Israel settlement without a specifically Israeli-Palestinian one at its heart, one that went some way to gratify the Palestinians' national aspirations and redress the injustice done to them, which was the root cause of a seemingly implacable conflict.
Ultimately, a consensus was to form around the idea of an historic compromise under which the Palestinians should set up a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza, the 22 percent of original Palestine that, until the Zionist colonization, had been almost entirely theirs, ceding the other 78 percent to Israel.
So it was that the first great breakthrough in the new peace-seeking strategy, the 1978 Camp David treaty between Egypt and Israel, was composed of two distinct parts; the second was the "Framework for Peace in the Middle East," by virtue of which Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, styling himself "custodian" of the occupied territories, undertook to negotiate the establishment of a provisional self-governing Palestinian authority that -- or so he made out -- would turn into a sovereign state. The project failed because of Israeli intransigence, Egyptian weakness and the hostility of Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Liberation Organization.
In due course, however, Arafat himself negotiated a deal, the Oslo Accord, which in essence emulated Camp David. It was a quantum leap in moderation that took the Arabs by surprise, but basically it had been they who drove him to it. They therefore had a vital stake in making Oslo work, not only on moral grounds, but because if it did not the eventual resumption of violent struggle in Palestine would inevitably draw them back into the fray.
Oslo led swiftly to the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty. The conviction grew that, with Syria and Lebanon destined to follow suit, Middle East peace was now irreversible.
The conviction was based primarily on the assumption that Israel, having emerged victorious from an existential struggle, would make the necessary, reciprocal contribution toward that historic compromise, an infinitely less onerous one than that required of the defeated Palestinians.
But the assumption has so far proved wrong, and now, in the person of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel is led by the very epitome of nonreciprocity; a conquistador who, far from responding in kind to conciliation, treats it as weakness to grasp yet more.
He and much of the Israeli right have no interest in a historic compromise that detracts from their maximalist aim, which is to secure and perpetuate Zionist control over the "Land of Israel" in its entirety. He systematically opposed every stage of the peace process from Camp David to Oslo and its subsidiary agreements, for the compromises these embodied, or at least portended, would "redivide" that land.
His aim now is not simply the suppression of Palestinian violence, but the whole notion of Palestinian self-determination on any portion of Palestinian territory, to destroy any legitimate, representative Palestinian institution capable of bringing it about.
"From the day he took power," said veteran Israeli peace activist Uri Avneri, his agenda has been to erase the Oslo Accords and dismantle the Palestine Authority and its armed forces. He believes that ultimately the Palestinians will flee, as they did in 1948, or agree to be herded into a few isolated "Bantustans."
True, Sharon has said that he is not opposed to something that might call itself a Palestine state. But the one he has in mind territorially would be confined to a mere 40 percent of the 22 percent of original Palestine, and, even then, only arise in the context of one of those interim arrangements under which the Israelis would be free to press ahead with settlements and all those "facts on the ground," remorselessly stripping it of any meaning.
The Arafat who turned down the "generous offer" that Sharon's predecessor, Ehud Barak, made to him at the Camp David summit in 2000 cannot give any consideration to a mockery such as that. So long as Sharon remains in power, therefore, the peace process is as good as dead.
Arafat knows it, but under personal, political and military siege and desperate to preserve some semblance of possible progress, he pretends that it is still alive.
So do the Arab governments. They surely know that all Sharon wants of them is that acquiescence in the Palestinians' unconditional surrender, which would be final betrayal of all their obligations to the cause; that the only way to deal with a man whose only language is force is to use, or threaten, some kind of force in return. But they also know that they don't possess it.
It is not because of any intrinsically peace-loving disposition that they all -- including a Syria that has yet to conclude a peace treaty -- speak of peace as their "strategic option" but because, since the peace process began, Israel has yet further increased its military superiority over all Arab armies combined, in conventional let alone nuclear terms.
They know, too, that their reliance on diplomacy, and the good offices of a congenitally pro-Israeli United States, will now be even less rewarding than it was before; since its victory in Afghanistan, the U.S. feels less inclination to appease its traditional allies, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to whose misrule it ascribes the growth of Islamic terror; less need, either, for there was little sign that, during the Afghan campaign, that these were seriously imperiled by the profoundly anti-American Arab "street."
Despite what, in most Arab eyes, is the bankruptcy of their peace-seeking strategy, none of the regimes seems ready to alter it, to heed those who insist that they must find the means of inflicting real pain on Israel and America -- instead of just endlessly lamenting the misdeeds of one and the partisanship of the other, pleading with them to mend their ways and issuing futile warnings about the disasters that will surely engulf everyone if they don't. They seem to be afraid of any kind of challenge or escalation, political or economic let alone military, that would risk Israeli reprisal and American wrath, or, while pleasing their publics, arouse its expectations for more.
There has lately been such a reduction of violence in the territories now that U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni is back in the region in attempt to turn the lull into a permanent ceasefire. But unless the U.S. imposes restraints on Sharon as well as the Palestinians and offers serious hope of a political breakthrough, the violence is almost certain to resume, furnishing Sharon with renewed opportunity to finish his task of subjugating the Palestinians with as much force as he can politically risk.
One of the risks has always been that of finally galvanizing the Arabs into a serious re-engagement on the Palestinians' behalf. Ironically some of those who think that possible pin their expectations on Sharon himself. For the grandiose geopolitical schemer and gambler, now engaged in his last great adventure, is notoriously apt to overplay his hand. He did so in 1982, when, in an earlier attempt to destroy Arafat, he dragged his country into the "mud" of Lebanon. The Arabs' very weakness and passivity might lead him into temptation again.
"What would happen," asks Abdul Wahab al-Effendi, "if this (Lebanese) disaster were to be repeated on a massive scale, which is certain to happen if peace is not concluded quickly? The Arab world is unlikely to remain backward and divided forever."
But perhaps it is the pan-Arab newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, displaying no illusions about the depth of Arab decadence and inertia, that is the more realistic, with the histrionic, but typical, cynicism of its forecast: "The Arab states that have established diplomatic ties with the Jewish state wouldn't sever them even if it were to exterminate the entire Palestinian people and Israeli tanks were to demolish al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?eo20020110a2.htm
Comment on these article(s)
Standing Ovation at U Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm
(January 31, 2002)
Standing Ovation at University of Chicago for MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky Keynote Address. Full text at http://www.MiddleEast.Org/uchicago.htm
University of Chicago Speech by MER Publisher Mark Bruzonsky
(January 31, 2002)
Arab Client Regimes Shaking
(January 30, 2002)
The first thing they do is cover your eyes. They make you strip to make sure you're not carrying anything. They replace your clothes with uniforms that are not clothes at all. They chain you by hand and foot. They drag you away and leave you on your own. They interrogate you. They say you are going to die if you won't talk. They feed you - you're not much good to them if you starve to death.
Torture and the Smile of Policeman Agadi
(January 30, 2002)
A few years ago Dr. Eyad Sarraj startled many when he published an article explaining "Why We Are All Suicide Bombers Now". Dr. Sarraj, Ph.D. from Harvard in psychology and a very cultured and secular individual, is Palestinian and lives in Gaza.
Black Voices For Peace - The Good and the Bad
(January 29, 2002)
Black Voices for Peace in Washington put on a good show last Monday, Martin Luther King's Birthday.
For Blacks it was a well put-together and nicely produced program that went on for some 5 hours in a local downtown heart-of-D.C. church.
Arabs Threaten to Threaten; Israelis Act
(January 28, 2002)
The confused, bewildered, impotent, and divided Arab "leaders" -- mostly of course of the "client regimes" -- will be meeting in Beirut in March desperately trying even harder than usual to mask all of these realities.
Pakistan on Brink of Backlash, Chaos, War
(January 28, 2002)
India is likely to strike sooner or later, doing so on behalf of and in coordination with both Israel and the U.S. regardless of what those parties say in public. Whether India will wait for General Musharraf to loose control -- at that could come at any time -- is uncertain to everyone, probably including those in charge in New Delhi.
One War Criminal To Another
(January 27, 2002)
Fearing the possible public explosure of secrets known to very few, it appears one war criminal decided to do in another this week in Lebanon. The cycle of violence begetting violence, revenge leading to still more revenge, has not been broken in the Midldle East.
Zinni Embraces "Daddy Bear" Sharon Condemns "Mafia Godfather" Arafat
(January 27, 2002)
Americans and Israelis are essentially frolicking in bed together, all the more so in the aftermath of 11 September, all the while whispering under the covers about how they have truly screwed everyone else, most especially the gullible, weak, and confused Arabs from Arafat to Mubarak to Abdullah, et. al.
More Bloodshed Now; Possible Armagedon In The Future
(January 27, 2002)
At the moment Israel is Goliath in the Middle East; and American is Hercules in the world. But it will not always be this way; and the seeds of potential cataclysm, indeed of Armagadon, are in fact now growing like weed
U.S. Warns, Squeezes Arafat, Saudis
(January 26, 2002)
By threatening to desert the Arafat Regime the Americans are sending a much larger message to the rulers in the Middle East and especially at this moment to the Saudi Regime. The message: If you dare defy us, if you don't do what you are there to do, if you think you can get along without us support you; well think again.
Arafat Deserted; Region Boiling
(January 25, 2002)
The Arab "leaders" having deserted Yasser Arafat, as well as the Palestinian people. The terrible weakness and divisions of what is known as "the Arab world" are more visible than ever now.
Arafat Again In Exile? Oh No!
(January 24, 2002)
OH NO! Just the thought of Arafat going back into exile, continuing to hold to all the power and money and imagery, and traveling the world again with his sensely slogans, babbling ways, near zero credibility, and terrible record of corruption and ineptitude, is enough to make long-time supporters of the Palestinian struggle for true self-determination and real independence cringe.
Washington Gives Israelis the Wink and the Nod - Plus of course the Means
(January 24, 2002)
While the U.S. and Israeli military, and the CIA and Mossad, forge ever closer ties in the new crusade to remake the entire Middle East in the opening years of the 21st century, just as the Brits and the French did in the opening years of the last century, the Israelis also continue their assassination campaign not only of Palestinians but also of former friends and allies.
PERES, NOT PEACE-MAKER BUT CRIMINAL - Former Aide Charges
(January 23, 2002)
"Your silence and inaction can no longer be justified by
any excuse: Shimon, you are a partner in crime...
You have imprisoned an entire people for over a year
with a degree of cruelty unprecedented in the history
of the Israeli occupation. Your government is
trampling three million people..."
CONGRATULATIONS, AMERICA YOU HAVE MADE BIN LADEN A HAPPY MAN
(January 23, 2002)
"'We are turning ourselves into the kind of deceitful,
ruthless people whom bin Laden imagines us to be"
"Minus the torture, the United States is now doing what
most Arab regimes have been doing for decades:
arresting their brutal "Islamist" enemies, holding them
incommunicado, chained and hooded, while preparing unfair trials."
British Support for Israel and Sharon
(January 23, 2002)
Take the Middle East. When Blair welcomed Yasser Arafat to Downing Street following 11 September, it was widely reported that Britain was backing justice for the Palestinians. Editorialists drew a favourable comparison with the bellicose Bush administration.
SAUDI DENOUNCES U.S. AGENDA BEHIND BOMBING CAMPAIGN
(January 22, 2002)
From down under these two articles from the Sydney Morning Herald today, a newspaper with unusually thoughtful converage of world affairs. In Saudi Arabia there is a trembling now and a rush to try to distance themselves form the Americans one way or another.
Thousands of Al Qaeda and Pakistanis may have "escaped" Afghanistan; Bin Laden possibly among them
(January 21, 2002)
Kashmir remains the flashpoint. "The situation is bloody explosive," a senior Pakistani
diplomat says, suggesting that Musharraf has not been given enough credit by the Indian
government for the "sweeping changes" he's brought to Pakistan.
Thousands demand Arafat's release
(January 20, 2002)
Thousands of Palestinians marched through the Gaza Strip on Sunday protesting at the Israeli blockade of Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah. The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has said Mr Arafat is now effectively a prisoner of Israel.
THE RIGHT OF RETURN IS ALIVE AND WELL - ?
(January 20, 2002571570)
What Israel (with continuing U.S. and European help) has done to the Palestinian People "is the largest, most carefully planned and longest ethnic cleansing operation in modern history. The population of 530 towns and villages have been expelled in 1948, removing 85 per cent of the Palestinians in the land that became Israel. Those who did not suffer this fate in the remaining part of Palestine are now in the grip of the most brutal, longest and only occupation in the world."
America grabs for more power and domination, risks future revolution and explosion
(January 16, 2002)
Just as it did in the Middle East in years past, the U.S. is now positioning regimes and its military and economic tentacles to take in the riches of central Asia. That's really what these struggles are really all about in the end, power and wealth. The daily headlines and the various slogans and clashes actually serve to mask and obscure this far deeper and far more important reality.
Hezbollah and Lebanon Next U.S./Israeli Targets
(January 15, 2002566)
The Americans, and Israelis, are out of control now. The rather laughable "Arab League" is in fact scheduled to meet in Beirut in March. They may find themselves facing the wrath and revenge of the Americans who are determined to make the world safe for themselves and the Israelis, and unsafe for all who dare oppose the Empire.
Christian Americans Want Crusade - Was/Is Osama Right?
(January 13, 2002)
George W. Bush let it out of the bag less than a week after 911 when he publicly discussed the new "crusade" upon which American was now engaged. They shut him up quickly...in public anyway. And as for all that American help to the Afghani people... The reality is millions are on the verge of starvation and the country can be lickened to a "slaughterhouse". Someone should ask the Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Iraqis...etc. about American humanitarian assistance.
Arab nations leaving Palestinians to face Israel alone
(January 12, 2002)
"The Arab world is unlikely to remain backward and divided forever," says one of the quoted commentators. True enough. But while it does, and while it is saddled with the inept and corrupt "client regimes" who prey on their own people and miserably squander the resources, the culture, and the history, of this once vital region, the whole Middle East is a seething cauldron of still growing hatreds and grievances whose eruptions in the 21st century now well begun are likely to be far greater than all those of the bloody 20th century now past.
Toward a World at War - Syria Fears, Indians Prepare
(January 10, 2002)
While the Syrians, Iraqis and others prepare for the coming American strikes; and while the Indians and Pakistanis prepare for a possible cataclysmic clash; the Israelis are preparing to further manipulate American policies and also preparing to strike out on their own against all who oppose their brutal military subjugation of the Palestinians -- probably to do so when other even bigger fires elsewhere have much of the world's attention.
US Military Heads For Pakistan, Reorganizes to Remain in Region, Prepare the Way for Global American Companies
(January 9, 2002)
The U.S. military is preparing to go much more publicly into Pakistan, and to establish a long-term presence in the region. The American corporations and banks will soon follow. For in the end its really all about great wealth and power on a global scale.
Attack Syria Next Insists Former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff
(January 8, 2002)
Target Syria even before Iraq says former NATO Commander and White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig. American is on the loose, on the rampage, more and more dangerous all the time it seems.
Saudi royal family 'in complete panic' during recent riots
(January 6, 2002)
SUBJUGATING BOTH KASHMIR and PALESTINE
(January 5, 2002)
Both Kashmir and Palestine are bleeding badly. And in the new world of Pax America and the "War on Terrorism" the Israelis are intent on keeping the Palestinians essentially imprisoned on Bantustans while the Indians see this as their moment to undermine the liberation struggle in Kashmir.
The New "New World Order" - Israel and India Gleefully Follow America's Lead
(January 4, 2002)
Both India and Israel are now seizing the moment to enforce their own regional dictate, a la the Americans. Everything is
reduced to "they are terrorists". The "you are either with us or against us" mantra has been gleefully seized upon by those who
rule in Delhi and Jerusalem. The courageous fighters in Kashmir, along with those in Palestine, are ever so simplistically and
erroneous reduced to mini-caricatures of Osama bin Laden. Decades of U.N. resolutions demanding Israeli and Indian
recognition of basic Palestinian and Kashmiri rights are cast to the wind. Any semblance of historical awareness -- not to
mention real justice, freedom, and democracy -- is not only forgotten but even those who raise the issues and remind the world
of the complex historical context, not to mention those who try to help with tangible and financial assistance, now run the risk of
being branded "supporters of terrorism"
CIA, Israel, and Arafat force Palestinian newspaper to close
(January 3, 2002544)
"If you're not with us, you're against us." The CIA, the Mossad, the Shinbet, and the military -- these are the groups now in charge. And that of course is what happens when a regime like that of Yasser Arafat's puts its fate, and indeed its very survival, in the hands of the intelligence agencies and under the table financial and political deals that would never be possible if they were known.
Both India and Kashmiri Fighters Issue New Threats
(January 2, 2002)
Threat and Counter-threat in the Sub-continent while Pakistan is essentially an occupied country at this point. General President Musharraff has allowed U.S. forces into the country, the CIA is building up its presence, and tensions throughout Pakistan are growing. There are rumored "contingency" plans to either destroy or grab Pakistan's nuclear weapons should Musharraf's tenuous grip on power in coordination with the U.S. fail.
Israel and U.S. Get Ready To Finally Topple Iraqi Regime
(January 2, 2002540)
It's the CIA, Mossad, and the military that are in charge now; preparing to enforce a Pax Americana Israelica throughout the Middle East region.
The Terribly Bloody Year In Kashmir
(January 2, 2002)
The Kashmir crisis is at the heart of the clash which may or may not yet erupt into nuclear confrontation on the sub-continent. For additional information about the Kashmir crisis use the new search capabilities and check the MER archives.