Whoever expected a serious improvement of the American position on the Arab-Israeli conflict to be expressed yesterday by Colin Powell would have certainly been disappointed. Not only that Powell expressed nothing new to what was already known till now of the American position on the conflict when it comes to the obligations and shortcomings of Israel, he instead verbalized the hardest American assault on the Palestinian legitimate right to resist occupation by equating the Intifada with terrorism.
In comparison with more than 17 instances in his speech where Mr. Powell stated with unequivocal clarity what the Palestinians and Arabs “must” and “must not” do, he used shy words to ask for an end to occupation and for a viable Palestinian state. Israel, he said, “must be willing to end its occupation” and “accept a viable Palestinian state in which Palestinians can determine their own future on their own land, and live in dignity and security.” So what if Israel is not “willing” to do so? What then, will we see sanctions on Israel? Would the U.S. form a coalition to drive Israeli forces out of the occupied territories in light of UN resolutions?
As Howard Kohr, head of the largest pro-Israeli lobbying organization, the American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC), said, the most important point Secretary Powell made was the “sequence” of events leading to peace, meaning that Palestinian violence must first cease. “You have violence and terror and incitement and that must end,” he said, “and at that point in time, you can move into the political talks. I think that’s what he signalled to the parties.”
In other words Powell adopted the Israeli position considering that it is up to the occupied oppressed people to first stop resisting the agressor-occupier, and only then that occupier would take a look into their fate, and decide with its main ally, what to do with them.
Any measures that do not address the root of the problem will not be but temporary pain killers, and we all know that while pain killers (like the Mitchell and the Tenet plans) might be useful from time to time, we should never look at them as therapy, and getting hooked on them is dangerous as they might become a problem of their own.
We believe that we have had enough pain killers in Palestine, and that we are now in need of an operation to extract the tumour that Israeli occupation represents in the heart of Palestine. We also know that with a criminal like Ariel Sharon in power no peace, not even dialogue is possible.
Yet the United States under the influence of AIPAC and other pro-Israeli lobbies is unable to play a fair and balanced peace broker role, and despite the rhetoric of change in its position, its deeds are telling another story. Only a week ago, and loyal to a yearly tradition, it approved a 2.8 billion dollars bill of military aid to Sharon’s army of child killers, not to mention the hundreds of millions in economical aid. So now with the certainty that they can do in 2002 what they have been doing in 2001, namely slaughtering the Palestinian people and destroying its social and economical fabric, the Israelis can show even more hard-line in their policy.
What can we do? As far as the Arab European League is concerned, we will continue our efforts to Bring Sharon to justice for the atrocities he committed in 1982 against the Palestinian and the Lebanese peoples. The 28th of November the Brussels court of appeal will look into the case that we filed together with more that 23 survivors of the Sabra and Shatilla massacres against Sharon and his aids, and Sharon have been summoned to appear that day in front of the court. We will also march on the eleventh of December in Brussels to protest against this whole situation, and all these double standards and try to wake up the consciousness of our European compatriots. We keep on trying to create a pan European coalition of the Arab community living in Europe in order to better serve these aims. We continue trying to inform people and politicians of realities and dangers of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But we will certainly need all the support we can get if we are to make even a slight deference, because after all we are in Europe, and we’ve all seen how Europe (and Belgium particularly) was insulted by Sharon and his followers last week, and how the Belgian government was called a government of “Bastards” by the mayor of occupied Jerusalem who is a member of Sharon’s Likud party. But unfortunately we all also witnessed how weak, ineffective and undignified the reaction of Europe was, if we can talk of a reaction.