Ray Hanania’s Column
The Israelis and the Bush administration have shown a total disregard for the suffering of the Palestinians, and their policies have fueled the violence that now plagues the Middle East.
The violence is a direct result of the policies of the Government of Israel’s fanatic right wing prime minister, Ariel Sharon, are directly responsible for causing and provoking the violence and carnage that is taking place. It’s almost as if Sharon wants the violence as a cover for his own state-sponsored terrorism which has resulted in the murder of thousands of civilians and has pushed the extremists to acts of outrageous suicide attacks against civilians.
Israel is poised to do exactly what they have been denouncing in the Palestinians, the alleged refusal to accept the most generous offer ever made for peace.
Sharon and his fanatic government colleagues continue the canard that the current violence is the result of Palestinian President Yasir Arafat’s refusal to accept “the most generous concessions” ever made by Israel to the Palestinians in the summer of 2000.
Yet, as the Arab League offers the most comprehensive and solid offer of peace and normal relations not just with one Arab country but the entire Arab World, the Israelis prefer to reject it.
The Arab Summit proposal is comprehensive, and offers full recognition and normalization if Israel returns the lands it occupied, allows the Palestinians to establish their state with its capital “in” Jerusalem.
The Saudi Government, which led this unprecedented offer, have rightly urged Jordan and Egypt and all other Arab Governments to indefinitely suspend all relations with Israel until Israel accepts this principle, which is a fundamental part of the agreements Israel has signed with these two Arab giants.
The Israelis continue to reject the fundamental principle that Israel must return the lands it captured in 1967 and stop their efforts to prevent the Palestinians from declaring a state with its capitol in Jerusalem, also a city under continued occupation since 1948 in violation of United Nations and International resolutions.
Every time there is violence against the Israelis, Sharon’s government target’s innocent people to punish them. This form of collective punishment is racist, immoral and unjustified. It is a form of state sponsored terrorism that marks Sharon’s government policies.
The truth is Israel’s current government does not want peace. It wants to say it wants peace, but it really wants land at the expense of peace rather than in exchange for peace. Israel is under the control of the most fanatic of its founders, members of the first terrorist organization to rear its ugly head in the 1930s, the Irgun and now the Likud.
Their terrorism was an instrument of their fight for independence, yet they continue to argue hypocritically that the terrorism they provoke in Palestinians frustrated with suffering under Israel’s Government’s on-and-off Nazi-like policies is unjustified.
They would know, of course.
But, Israel cannot blame the Palestinians, who are held captive in some 219 different isolated and unconnected land areas — prisons created by Israel’s occupation army. It is inconceivable that Arafat can do anything to stop the violence committed in areas that the Israelis themselves control.
Arafat has been denied authority to curtail the violence that is the result of individuals and organizations that see through Israel’s hypocrisy and policies of state sponsored terrorism.
The answer to terrorism rests with the Israelis. They have a choice, either to continue their illegal occupation and to continue selfishly covet Palestinian lands, or they can recognize their own responsibility in this cycle of violence.
If the Israelis accept their portion of the blame, then maybe the two sides can recognize, together, the only way out of this increasing cycle of violence that has killed as many innocent Palestinians that are ignored in the cries for the killings of innocent Israeli civilians.
Otherwise, the violence will continue. The Israelis and all of their sanctimonious apologists, including in the Bush administration and the predominantly one-sided, pro-Israel American media, must accept their responsibility for the continued violence.
How many more people must die before this principle of balanced fairness is recognized? That both sides are responsible and both sides have the same rights that must be respected?
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American writer based in Chicago and a regular contributor to MMN. His columns are archived on the web at www.hanania.com)