With the dawn of 2003 Palestinians are ready for a cease Fire, Where are the International Observers?
The world awakened with the dawn of 2003 to realize that the prevailing attitudes & feelings that dominated the sunset of 2002 remained the same: feelings of uncertainty.
Circumstances created by the American administration and spread all over the world are those of fear, insecurity, intellectual terror, and a continued threat of wars that would destroy the whole world and kill millions of people.
The world bid farewell to 2002 and welcomed 2003 with an atmosphere that can best be described as one of ” usurpation of human beings freedom, independence and sovereignty.”
The US administration has dropped all laws, principles, & values and went about spreading panic amidst Americans in the first place, as well as throughout the whole world. Under the slogan of “democracy” and “Western Civilization” the US administration went around usurping all principles of democracy and civilization.
The world woke up, just as it went to sleep on the eve of a new year, worried of a coming future, full of panic as to what the coming days, weeks and months of 2003 might hold for it. Out of all this, stands out the Middle East distinguished among others as to this turbulent sea of fear, panic and usurpation. The area has become extremely hot in this area characterized by decades of conflicts, contradictions and an armaments race, as well as a deadly struggle of imperialist powers to dominate & control its oil, markets and geo-strategic position.
Iraq is threatened by a war that will leave nothing, because its oil is an aim of imperialist domination. Its land is threatened with division so as to remain weak over the years, the Gulf States to remain threatened with either extinction, dithering or division so that its oil remains under total imperialist hegemony. Algeria is threatened with division under the continued crimes of “fundamentalist” groups financed and orchestrated by imperialist forces. Again, the aim is Algeria’s oil, precious metals, rich deserts, as well as its geographical location.
The year 2003 might bring the Middle East with “earthquakes” that could lead to the demise of royal families that that have ruled since World War I. It might lead to coup-de-etats in the Middle East, which are far from the “Democracy” propagated and publicized by imperialist countries. It could lead to a spread of uncalculated results of anarchism, terror and lack of Laws. All this may be a result of US present policy.
We can say, without fear of exaggeration, that Palestine is the most affected of what is happening in the whole area of the Middle East. At the same time it is the most “immune” of all in confronting this American contradiction of all the laws & norms of life, particularly those principles of democracy, freedom and self-determination.
The Palestinian woke up this year, just as he bid farewell to 2002, to a continued Israeli aggression, demolition of homes, tens of arrests for no reason other than being Palestinians, and to meeting of Sharon, Netanyahu and Mofaz to decide whether to release Palestinian frozen funds, or part of it, as another manifestation of this law of the jungle. But what the Palestinian feels is rather distinguished to what other people of the Middle East (including Israelis), although this seems a queer equation for the contradictory components it holds within. For in spite of the hunger, siege, destruction, insecurity, and what the coming moment may hold as to an Israeli tank shelling a neighborhood or invading Israeli troops breaking into a Palestinian home to kill a child or arrest a young boy who is later sent back home to his family as a dead corpse resulting from severe beatings (as happened with the young boy ‘Imran ‘AbdulGhani Hamdiyeh, aged 18 years, on new year’s eve in Hebron). Side by side with these feelings, the Palestinian feels that he has courageously demolished the wall of fear & panic, by his steadfastness on his land & his resistance to occupation.
That incorporates the Palestinian people as whole. Starting with President Yasser ‘Arafat who has been under siege in his premises and Israeli armored rocket demolished office, down to the blind children of the school that was subjected to the harassment of Israeli tanks recently.
With the dawn of 2003, some weary people might ask: “What has the Intifada achieved after these bloody events over the last few years?”
Un-hesitantly, the answer is that the question is irrelevant. The present Intifada was not an initiative of the Palestinians, and no one planned to wage it. The question should be “What has Sharon achieved from his unprecedented barbaric aggression, an aggression unsurpassed by the most fascist of regimes in earlier times.
Sharon has failed in what he planned. The Palestinians and their leadership, refused to submit to his plans, and continuously expressing greater steadfastness, solidarity and immunity.
The dawn of 2003 witnesses a more optimistic and determined Palestinian people to achieve its rights, for the simple reason that he raises another question: ” What’s next?”
Sharon has killed & wounded tens of thousands, arrested thousands, uprooted trees, demolished houses, schools and hospitals, kept Palestinians under occupation at the mercy of a gun’s barrel pouring out their deadly shells at children throwing stones with their bare hands. What’s next?
Sharon’s army, with all its tanks & warplanes, has failed to suppress the Palestinian people, because they are demanding their freedom, independence, rights & international legality. They will not be subdued no matter what excessive use of force or organized state terror he resorts to.
The Palestinian’s question “What’s Next” is a ???? to Sharon in one aspect, a ???? full of steadfastness and determination to achieve freedom. It also carries with it a call for the international community to act and use its conscience, to send international observers to replace Israeli occupation forces & sponsor a peaceful negotiating process that leads to political solution, safeguarding Israel’s security and Palestinian independence.
This is the Palestinian people’s call for the whole world with the dawn of 2003. The Palestinians appeal to the world to send its troops & observers to supervise:
A cease-fire that commences before the Israeli elections, and before the forthcoming “road map” conference in London.
A pullout of Israeli troops to be replaced by these troops, to enable the Palestinians to carry out their free and fair presidential, legislative & municipal elections.
Sponsoring extensive negotiations to implement President Bush’s vision of the establishment of a Palestinian independent, Sovereign state, endorsed by Senator Joseph Lieberman on his visit to the area. Negotiations based on resolutions 242 & 338, as well as the Arab initiative of Prince Abdullah.
This is what the Palestinians are calling for with the beginning of 2003. They will continue in their steadfastness & resistance of occupation, irrespective of the situation, until the realization of their dream of freedom & independence. Such matters are achievable if the US administration stops its biased support of Sharon & his right wing government.
Palestinians are hard at work to finalize an agreement that will enable the Palestinian Authority to officially propose a cease fire, if the US administration guarantees Egypt that such a proclamation will be met by a cessation of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people. Information available is that this proposal will be ready by the end of the first week of this year, i.e. before the convening of the London conference on the “Road Map”.
Furthermore, the Palestinians have finalized a proposed constitution, which will be legislatively approved for implementation with the establishment of an independent Palestinian State.
This means in effect that the London Conference proposed by prime minister Blair to discuss “Security & Reformation” will have to discuss the core of the problem: Israeli withdrawal, implementation of International resolutions, & the establishment of an independent Palestinian State. The Palestinians are doing their best to shorten distances, knowing well that Sharon asked President Bush to postpone discussion of the “Road Map” till after the Israeli elections, and knowing that President Bush accepted that in contradiction to European, Russian & UN objection.
The Palestinians also know that Sharon is most likely to ask another postponement till after the formation of the new Israeli government.
To President Bush and his administration, as well as to the Arab countries: Till when will Sharon continue securing the US administration’s biased support of his aggressive policies? Is there no Arab influence of this bias? At least in the direction of not postponing negotiations?
The Palestinians are not bystanders observing & doing nothing. They have been active in formulating developments, and will continue to do so with their blood & steadfastness, knowing that this confrontation requires an Arab position that is supportive, morally, politically & materially. The Arab position can no longer remain dazzled & paralyzed to such an extent. There has to be a change.
Bassam Abu-Sharif is a special advisor to Yasser Arafat.