Colin Powell needs a Palestinian history lesson



Yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky, Colin Powell gave the speech he should have given last February or March.  He threw a few bones to the Palestinians after the dogs had tired of the miserly scraps.  He talked of an ‘end to the occupation’ but insisted that ‘it will take time and it will take trust.’ Powell has a ‘vision’ of the Israelis and Palestinians eventually accepting a two state solution. A ‘vision’ without a ‘plan of delivery.’ First, he wanted the Tenant Security plan implemented than a gradual phase in of the Mitchell plan. At some indefinite time in the future, final status talks would start if Sharon and Arafat are game. In the meantime, the Palestinians are to bow to the foreign military occupation army that lords over their collective lives.

What is new in this picture? Nothing. Last week, we went to the trouble of assisting Colin Powell with his speech. We sent him a draft that included the following paragraph:

“While we cannot promise peace or justice, the United States is more than willing to start some kind of process that could conceivably open a dialogue with the ultimate goal of considering new negotiations over the Tenant proposals and might, with time, patience and effort, lead to a positive reevaluation of the Mitchell plan. Things are moving fast and we definitely are willing to expend some of our energies in this direction. But, let me be perfectly clear, such efforts to restart the ‘peace process’ will ultimately be up to the parties, under dramatically different circumstances, in another space, when everybody is in the same zone, after the Palestinians fully ingest the magnitude of the lead poisoning problem in their native soil. Perhaps with a change of government in Israel and a more suitable Palestinian leadership; after we take care of the urgent business in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Colombia… “

Frankly, we are disappointed that Powell chose to edit our proposed speech.  Ten years ago, in Madrid, there was also talk of taking time to ‘build trust.’  In the meantime, exclusive Jewish settlements have doubled, Palestinians are living under a constant state of siege, the violence of the IDF occupation troops intensifies with every new Israeli administration and the new Israeli ‘partner for peace,’ Ariel Sharon, is a thug and a war criminal. Sharon now feels free to strafe refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank with Apache helicopters. So, Powell needs to understand that his ‘vision of Madrid’ quip will be the subject of some very dark humor among the Palestinians.  He also needs to be aware that, next week, a Belgian court might indict his beloved buddy Arik for his crimes at Sabra and Shatila.  There was no mention of this possible complication in Powell’s speech. Right about now, I bet the State Department is twisting some serious arms in Brussels.

Colin Powell has probably never read a book about Palestinian history.  I say that to be kind.  Because otherwise, I would have to assume that he is as sinister as Ariel Sharon.  If Colin Powell bothered to acquaint himself with the Palestinian narrative, he would realize that America has had ‘Serious Diplomacy’ in the Middle East since the end of the World War 1 and the Treaty of Versailles, which makes for eight decades of involvement in the dismantling of the Palestinian patrimony.  America’s role was to stiff the Palestinians of their homes and their homeland, over and over again. Why? So that Congress and even Presidents would get ‘favors’ from the Yiddish supremacists who control the American mass media monopolies and have increasingly taken a prominent role in financing campaigns.  Until the day comes when an America administration has the stomach to openly discuss the Israeli Lobby and publicly defang it, assume that the lobby is writing Powell’s speeches to the Palestinians. Further assume, that every Arab and every Palestinian knows that Powell’s speech was written and edited after consulting with AIPAC.  If Powell wants to improve America’s “image” in the Middle East, he should stop insulting the intelligence of every schoolboy in Palestine.  His reliance on the Israeli vocabulary of the conflict, his blind faith in the Israeli narrative, makes him appear to be an advocate of repression. Which he probably is, but I thought there was a new concern for our public image on the “Arab Street.”

Colin Powell should understand some basic facts. 85 years ago, Palestine was 95% Palestinian. Intruders, calling themselves Zionist moved in and set up colonies.  With powerful buddies like America and England, they managed, within one generation, to dispossess the Palestinians of 78% of their country. That was 1948.  In 1967, they went for another major land grab and secured the rest of Palestine, the Syrian Golan Heights and the Egyptian Sinai. They claimed it was a preemptive ‘security’ war but then showed their true intentions by immediately starting a program to confiscate more Palestinian lands, bring in more Jewish settlers and try to depopulate the area of its natives by conducting a violent and vicious 34 year military occupation. As a military man, Powell should understand that a belligerent occupier is prohibited from depopulating an occupied area and building exclusive settlements on confiscated native lands.  There is nothing legitimate about Israeli land grabbing operations.  Israeli real estate fantasies and expansionist adventures have destroyed the lives of countless millions of Palestinians and Arabs in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. This has always been a struggle between native people and foreign invaders.  So, if the Secretary of State is learning about the conflict from Thomas Friedman, CNN’s Global Minute or the retards and bigots on FOX, he should realize that he needs to broaden his horizons a little.  Perhaps he should read a book before he has more ‘visions’.

Many Palestinians were waiting for Colin to make a major policy statement, to give them a ray of hope. No such luck.  According to Powell, the violence is all from the ‘Palestinians’.  It is supposedly in their hands to control it.  That is just willful deception on the part of Powell. Sharon rampages through Bethlehem and surrounding towns for weeks killing over 100 Palestinians and then complains about not getting 7 days of ‘quiet.’  How convenient for that bloody mass murderer. How disgraceful and undignified of the State Department to bow to Israeli dictates and mimic whatever the IDF says. Just another green light for Sharon to kill more Palestinians.  Powell mentioned three incidents over the last year that involved Israeli victims.  As for the 700 Palestinian victims, they didn’t leave an impression on the Secretary of State. The assassination of Palestinian leaders was also not part of his speech, again giving Ariel Sharon a license to continue his murderous spree across the West Bank and Gaza.

Powell needs to stop writing his own speeches. He also needs to stop reading the speeches provided by AIPAC. If he wants to do right by America and the people of the Middle East, he should also stop editing the speeches we send him.  Most of all, he needs to read a little Palestinian history.

To his credit, even Powell made a point of emphasizing that this speech would only emphasize existing American positions on Palestinian Statehood and settlements and refugees.  He talked of a ‘roadmap to a ceasefire.’  Of course, Arafat will be enough of a fool to bite on this stale worm.  He takes any bait they throw on his side of the pond.

So, expect more of this spineless nonsense, finely tailored for a show of ‘Public Diplomacy’ from Washington.  It looks like AIPAC got to Powell and made him reconsider taking a serious initiative.  The whole speech is probably a scam to allow  for an escalation of the conflict from Afghanistan and a move against Iraq. These ‘strategic wizards’ still think they are playing ‘RISK.’  

This much I can promise. Sharon will pick up on Powell’s hesitancy and do his worst to derail even these modest proposals. He will count on the Yiddish supremacists on this side of the pond to do their part to break up the coalition.

Too bad.  There was a genuine expectation among many Palestinians that Powell would be fair to them.  Instead, he took the opportunity to publicly slander them as a people who resort to violence, not in legitimate resistance to occupation, but because they are “terrorists.”  Maybe he thinks it makes him sound tough like Sharon.  In Palestinian eyes, it just made him seem as cruel as Sharon.

Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).