Israel is working night and day to destroy America’s interests and shake the U.S. by shaking its economy and its international alliances, and subjecting the interests of the U.S. and its allies to tremors of limitless consequences.
Attempts have been made by Shimon Peres, Zalman Shoval, Moshe Arenz, Ariel Sharon and all the Israelis to mislead the American administration and American public opinion by insisting that Israel is an ally of the United States, and that this Western-Israeli alliance is to confront terrorist (and foul according to many Israeli officials) Islam. Despite these attempts, the clear facts will lead any strategic researcher, strategic research center or to those in the know to the conclusion that Israel is working hard to destroy the relations and strategic interests of the United States thinking this will leave Israel as the only strategic ally.
Israel, or at least the strategists in it, is aware that this would strategically lead to a major breakdown in the United States. Perhaps this is what they want, so that the Zionists may tighten their grip over it. It is no secret, the American administration, European administrations and the world, everyone including any American interested in reading any news article beyond the frame of local state news, knows that Israel’s occupation of Arab lands, and its continuous crimes against the Palestinian and Arab people has caused, and will cause, the most gross injustices and tragedies history has ever known.
They know that Israel’s lack of commitment to international legitimacy resolutions and its treating lightly the resolutions and sound directions of the world, is a continuation of Israeli practices that have always stemmed from the Israelis’ conviction that they are above the law, and that no one on the face of the earth has the right to judge Israel or impose anything on it. (According to what Sharon said in a meeting with Likud activists on August 8th, 2001).
This Israeli aggression, and this regional expansion achieved through the force of American weapons, has received, and receives still, support, endorsement and silence from all American administrations for the past 35 years. The whole world knows that the U.S. supplied, and is still supplying, Israel with advanced weapons and tens of billions of dollars.
The world has lately been witnessing the massacres that Israel, its occupation army and racist settlers are committing, and the world does not see a firm stand from the West regarding these massacres and crimes. I am positive that London or New York would demonstrate and protest if a deranged person killed twenty cats or twenty dogs, and the public figures of the West would be the first to do so.
The result of such an American stand supporting Israel’s massacres, or staying silent regarding them, is an increase in hostility towards the United States’ position in all the Arab and Islamic countries. Yesterday (Thursday the 25th of October, 2001), the American Congress approved rewarding Israel with financial aid worth 2 billion and 800 million dollars for the massacres it is committing against the Palestinian people, and for its refusal to withdraw from the lands it forcefully occupied in 1967 é lands the U.S. itself officially demands that Israel withdraw from.
So what does President Bush and the American administration want the hundreds of millions of oppressed people to do? How do they expect them to feel? Does the U.S. expect that the Arabs, Moslems and the free people in the world will applaud the U.S. for rewarding people who commit massacres like Ariel Sharon? No they will not.
In the Arab and Islamic worlds the feeling of hostility towards the U.S. is growing because of its unbelievable and irrational stand regarding a cause that is central to them all é Palestine. That is, the United States’ pro-Israel stand and its lack of effort to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands is fueling the feelings of hostility towards the U.S. It is also fueling hostility towards all regimes that are allies of, or have close ties with, the United States.
This growing feeling of hostility did not come as a result of the United States’ and Britain’s bombing of Afghanistan, but as a result of their unlimited support for Israel and their supplying Israel with advanced weapons and money. The United States’ bombing of Afghanistan é where the only places worth bombing are those the U.S. built for the Taliban to fight the Soviet occupation, such as airports and others, added to a great extent to the feeling of hostility felt towards the U.S.
The bombing has led, and will continue to lead, to tens of civilians and those living in misery being killed daily é those who enjoyed a special position because they had mud huts to live in. Despite growing feelings of hostility the American administration continues to submit to the desires of the terrorist Sharon and to the desires of the governing racist military leadership in Israel.
This is what fuels the antagonism and shakes the entire region. If the American administration does not realize the need for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from the Palestinian lands it occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and for the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state, then what the Middle East region, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, the central Asian republics and the whole world will witness will indeed be grave.
The American administration will discover, if it can, that Israel worked to bring down America’s interests and its strategic alliances, making it lose its position as a world leading super power.
Secretary Colin Powell said that the problems that arose in Arab and Islamic countries were problems that could be easily controlled. This statement might be true in 2001, but the continuation of the Israeli occupation and its massacres, and the continued bombing of Afghanistan, will render Secretary Powell’s words obsolete. Things are moving, not standing still é the demonstrations in Pakistan that included a few hundred protestors two weeks ago have turned into demonstrations with tens of thousands.
Secretary Powell will see that the tens of thousands that demonstrated in Jakarta will turn into hundreds of thousands. He will see that the Turkish masses that have started to move will gain momentum. The demonstrations in Iran, although they may look like demonstrations about Iran’s football team’s loss to Bahrain, or its victory over UAE, are essentially against the silence regarding the bombing of Afghanistan and the killing of civilians, and the silence regarding the massacres Israel is committing. The same goes for Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. On the first day of collecting donations for the people of Pakistan, the Saudis donated 27 million dollars to help the Moslems of Afghanistan. This has major implications.
It is natural for us all to think that the fervor in the streets of the main countries in coalition with the United States has many reasons, most important of which is the bad economic situation, the feeling of oppression and the loss of basic liberties.
All these reasons, however, are included in the main reason which is a political one and is specifically the United States’ bias towards Israel and its continued financial and military aid and its silence regarding massacres that exceeded that of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. These are massacres committed daily, by a state supported by the U.S., through organized terrorism by the institutions of this state against unarmed people.
The desecration of Jerusalem, the occupation of its Islamic and Christian holy sites, and the Americans’ silence and support of the Israeli occupier undoubtedly makes this factor more effective. Hostility towards the United States and allied regimes grows. This makes the United States’ position more dangerous é much more dangerous than the strategists who are deceiving the American officials in favor of Israel think.
Mulla Mohammad Omar launched a call to the world, Moslems and non-Moslems alike, demanding that they express their anger at the American bombing of Afghanistan within the next 72 hours. Mulla Mohammad Omar’s call came moments after the execution of Abdul Haq, one of the leaders of the Northern Alliance that is cooperating with the U.S. against the Taliban.
Following this call Hikmat Yar announced from Tehran that he is conducting negotiations with the Taliban at more than one location, one of which was Kabul, and with the Northern Alliance to bring together the ranks of the Afghani people to confront the American-Russian aggression as he called it.
The Taliban returned the arms they had previously confiscated from Afghanis because they were members of opposing parties or not loyal to the Taliban. The general mood spreading over Afghanistan these days is that all Afghanis must fight the Americans as they had fought the Soviets. This will intensify the conflict at a time when Sharon and his government are intensifying their massacres against the Palestinian people, under the protection and silence of the United States.
So what does the U.S. expect from hundreds of millions of people, what does it expect them to feel faced with the United States’ bias towards the Israeli settlers, their crimes and their organized terrorism, at a time when it is asking them and their regimes to join the coalition against terrorism?
The United States is supporting the organized Israeli terrorism that is committing massacres against the Christians and Moslems in Palestine, and the U.S. is asking Moslems and Christians, Arab and non-Arabs, to support it in its war against terrorism.
No one any longer believes in an American administration that, despite all that has happened, continues to use fundamentally different standards when dealing with Israel’s organized state terrorism against the Palestinian people and against the Arab people. On top of all this, Israel is acting both within Congress and in the U.S. at large to turn public opinion against Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
This is where the core of the matter can be seen. Israel is diligently working to destroy the United State’ strategic interests in the Middle East and destroy the regimes allied with it.
What is Israel’s aim?
Israel currently has an almost absolute majority to follow the path that Sharon and Leiberman are proposing, a path that Ze’evi was also proposing. This path was described by Lieberman in his eulogy speech for Ze’evi. He told the West that frankly they must face Islam together. He equated Islam with terrorism and said it was a danger both to Israel and to the West, and that they should combine efforts and strike with an iron fist.
They believe that destroying relations between the United States and the Arab and Islamic countries will secure Israel’s position as America’s only ally. This in turn would stabilize Israel’s long term strategic situation, and would enable it to reap the fruits of these relations é be they military or economic fruits.
This Israeli perception is part of a larger vision that sees Arabs and Islam as a hostile surrounding that will, sooner or later, seek to destroy the state of Israel (as was expressed more than once by Binyamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders). Thus, Israel’s rallying of Western powers to stand by it against the Arab and Islamic countries has become a basic and fundamental element of its strategic thinking, especially in light of the growing strike power of Arab and Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Egypt.
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people form a direct target for Israel at this stage. The Palestinian Authority is considered one of the Arab powers that depend on the U.S., and that the U.S. depends on é regardless of the disagreements stemming from the United States’ bias towards Israel. As this equation of mutual dependence could evolve depending on the changes in general circumstances, then Israel’s prime concern is to destroy the peace process, the process of the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and to destroy the Palestinian people’s powers and their national Authority.
This Israeli strategy causes the most damage to the United States’ interests in the Middle East region and in the Islamic world because of the importance of the Palestinian cause to the people of the Arab and Islamic countries, and because of the great importance of Jerusalem to them.
There is absolutely no doubt that the United States’ continued bias towards Israel is what is causing and generating hostility for the U.S. in these countries.
All the regimes allied with the U.S. are very embarrassed by the consecutive American administrations’ position, but these days the embarrassment is turning into a feeling of danger and of the fear of the earthquake that could result from the build up of frustration at the United States’ pro-Israel bias and the inability of these regimes allied with the U.S. to stop this bias, despite the existence of major strategic interests between the U.S. and these countries.
There is no comparison between the United States’ interests in the Arabian Gulf and the Arab Peninsula and its interests in Israel. Israel receives aid from the U.S. and is a burden, whereas the United States’ interests in the Gulf countries and the Arab Peninsula bring in astronomical profits (whether its from the oil, gas or petrochemicals or from these countries’ markets which are wide open for American and Western goods).
These countries and regimes will find themselves, in the not too distant future, isolated from their people if the pro-Israel U.S. position remains unchanged. They will also find that Islamic fundamentalism is growing and controlling the Arab and Moslem masses.
The Arab and Islamic countries might use fire and force to suppress this drift towards Islamic radicalism. No one can predict the consequences, but the only result that can be seen from now is that the United States’ bias to Israel, and the Israeli malicious attempts to strike at the Palestinian people and their Authority has generated, and will continue to generate, serious damage for the countries allied with the U.S., and this means serious damage for the U.S. itself.
Thus, the current American administration has an important and immediate strategic task é a speedy reevaluation of its positions in the Middle East that have been characterized by irrational and unacceptable bias towards Israel, especially in light of the United States’ bombing of Afghanistan which has led, and will lead to on a wider scale, to an increase in the popular anti-American movement in all the Islamic and Arab countries.
The strategists in Washington are asked to reevaluate the United States’ strategy in a way that would serve the U.S. and the American nation, not in a way that would serve Israel.
The formula has become very clear, and the tremors and storms might come sooner than the analysts expect. Making right the American position and the American strategy does not require that the U.S. antagonize Israel, but requires it to restrain Israel and clearly impose the implementation of international legitimacy resolutions. This is what the U.S. officially abides by and commits to.
In short, we say that only the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on lands occupied by Israel in 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, and the withdrawal of the occupation forces from the Golan and the Sheba’a farms will save the U.S. from the complete break down of its strategic interests and its strategic allies in the Islamic and Arab worlds.
Bassam Abu-Sharif is a special advisor to President Arafat.