Ray Hanania’s Column
While American soldiers are cleaning up the remnants of one of the world’s greatest terrorist organizations, the nation’s chief “ally” in the Middle East, Israel, is exposing American soldiers to greater harm.
Israel, which survives as an 18th Century colonialist apartheid society, has done so on the largesse of American support.
Yet, as the American soldiers rely on support from the Arab and Muslim World, Israel’s militant Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has chosen to ignore the needs of Americans in favor of his own desire toward the “final destruction of Palestine.”
With certainty, Sharon’s actions indict American foreign policy as a double standard rather than as a righteous campaign to “bring terrorists to justice.” Washington’s silence on Israel’s unprecedented aggression, exposes American foreign policy as being less a principled stand against terrorism and more as just another excessive assault on a political foe.
A true principled American political stand on terrorism would put Sharon’s own government clearly in the center of America’s anti-Terrorism political sights. It is an embarrassing situation for President Bush that has drawn criticism from the allies he needs to sustain the so-called war against terrorism long-term.
Israel’s aggression is exposed further by the impossible standards that Sharon has placed upon the Palestinians as “conditions” of ending its own military aggression against unarmed Palestinian civilians.
Many people, including President Bush, forget that the violence began when Israel dispatched in the most provocative manner battalions of heavily armed Israeli soldiers into the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sharon further throws gasoline on the fire he began by declaring that Arab East Jerusalem will never return to its rightful owners, the Palestinian Christian and Muslim population.
If that’s the case, what’s the point of peace with Israel?
Incapable of engineering a statesman-like image, Sharon must literally steal the very words that President Bush used to denounce the Bin Laden terrorist network, Al-Qaeda. Sharon’s declaration of “war” on terrorism was a plagiarized regurgitation of the president’s own declaration.
The difference was that while Bush was at least trying to embrace honesty in his convictions, Sharon was simply exploiting public emotions and suffering. Con-artists often find their thefts to be more successful against victims who are either elderly or in states of weakness.
Sharon also placed impossible conditions on Palestinian President Yasir Arafat that no leader in the world could achieve, knowingly doing so in the hopes of further undermining the chances of ending the violence and moving the region toward peace.
For example, while Sharon demands that Arafat “end all violence,” Sharon himself has been incapable of stopping the violence with an army that is ranked one of the best in the world.
To enhance the impossibility of the situation on Arafat, Sharon also ordered his occupation army to attack and murder Palestinians accused but not convicted of supporting or planning terrorism. In most cases, of the more than 70 Palestinian activists murdered by Sharon’s policies of assassination (extra-judicial killing is how he prefers to describe it), not one has been linked to terrorism. The only evidence is the dishonest word of the Sharon government, which serves as prosecutor, judge and jury.
The demand on Arafat is as ridiculous on its face as it is unachievable by anyone.
To understand how ridiculous this demand is, one need only look at a city like Chicago in America’s heartland, where the murder rate has hit 648. It is the highest murder rate in the country. The majority of these murders — exceeding the 617 murders in New York City not-related to the World Trade Center terrorist attack — are drug related. Many American leaders, except Israel’s American apologists, have dubbed this drug related killing spree “urban terrorism” that is no different from the terrorism American soldiers claim to battle in Afghanistan.
How is it that the Mayor of Chicago cannot stop the violence in Chicago? Chicago’s mayor has more than 12,000 fully armed and professionally trained police officers, the support of the FBI, and the backing of the Justice Department. Chicago has a population of slightly over 3 million, far less than the population of Israel and the occupied territories combined, and in one-third the land mass.
Additionally, Chicago’s Mayor doesn’t have federal government troops bombing his offices and killing his police officers, as Israel is doing to the Palestinians, while this ridiculous demand is being made.
Just as Chicago’s Mayor is incapable of wiping out “urban terrorism,” Arafat is incapable of bringing the violence against Israel to an end.
Peace in the region would strengthen the American job of routing terrorism and capturing Bin Laden. In fact, one might argue that if Bin Laden has escaped the American military assault, he did so by exploiting growing sympathies in a Muslim World weary of the double-talk. Bin Laden’s terrorism is supposed to be wrong, but Sharon’s state terrorism is not?
Ironically, Israel’s weapons and arsenal are paid for by American taxpayers who are experiencing rising recession and a crippled economy that has undermined even the giants of industry.
These American tax dollars could be better used to protect American troops in Afghanistan and improve security at home.
Sharon’s government has never really cared much for the American government, though, allowing its own agents to spy on American interests and further exposing American security to foreign threat.
Israeli allies in the United States, backed by a one-sided sympathetic American news media, assert falsely that the American people overwhelmingly support Israel. That is true only on the larger principle, but not on the specifics of Israel’s aggressive war.
The reality is that Americans are growing more and more wary of Israel’s aggression in Palestine, the birthplace not just of the three great monotheistic religions, but of Christianity itself.
Criticism of Israel in America is growing and it is becoming more and more apparent, especially as it becomes clear that Israel’s actions are undermining the national interests of the United States.
But how many more terrorist attacks will American interests face as a result of Israel’s refusal to do what is right?
(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)