Casting aside the recent bold initiative by the government of Saudi Arabia to revive the prospects of a just and lasting peace, the Bush administration was less than tepid in responding. If George Bush had anything on the matter, it did not matter enough for the mass media divas who are back to covering the sordid Chandra Levy affair.
The Saudi initiative comes with rock solid support from the Palestinians, Egypt and Jordan and hardly a whisper of dissent from any of the traditional rejectionists. It is a straightforward and reasonable solution that comes at a time when the Europeans are also supporting a decisive final move to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Even the inert Israeli ‘peace movement’ is coming back to life after giving Sharon a year for his military initiative to ‘silence the Palestinians’. Alas, America’s political elite are awaiting instructions from Sharon before making any rash moves.
It is a huge mistake to blindly assume that the Bush administration is actually interested in resolving this conflict. Bush will continue giving Sharon a green light until Israel flashes a bold green light that it is ready to deal. Bush will not act on his own accord, because he will not risk any political capital in the cause of Palestinian freedom.
To be fair, it is unlikely that Bush is militantly in favor of Sharon’s escalating repression of the three million Palestinians living under military occupation. But he is totally indifferent to their plight. His calculations of how to respond to this opportunity will be based on the cynical calculus of American’s domestic power games.
An essential ingredient of American foreign policy in the Middle East is the political posturing of domestic constituencies. One of those constituencies is the pro-Israeli faithful who bow to the criminal agenda of the Likudnik fanatics. Of late, the extremists in this group have taken to calling for the mass expulsion of the Palestinians. For some reason, these Yiddish fanatics can get their darkest political fantasies in mainstream papers like USA Today or the Washington Post. Perhaps, because they own them.
But there is another constituency that also harbors immense malice towards the native people of the Holy Land. They are the right wing Evangelical Christians who follow Pat Robertson and Falwell and believe that the repression of the Palestinians and the turmoil in the Middle East is ‘good news’. As Pat Robertson continues to remind his followers, it is ‘good news’ because the ‘end is near.’ This demented bigot preacher who doubles as a major broadcaster aligns himself with the zealots of the extreme right in Israel. It is a tactical alliance to serve his purpose of hastening the end of the world.
It is easy enough to dismiss Robertson as an idiot and a fool. But he is also a major political force in the Republican party. To back up his delusions about the Palestinians’ fate being a matter of prophecy, Robertson actually calls for Sharon to inflict more violence on this innocent people. Robertson definitely has some bizarre and sadistic notions. He looks like a sinister mafia don just waiting to wreak havoc in the name of the lord. In the last week, Robertson has joined Falwell and Graham in denouncing Islam in public in the most intolerant and vicious language. No one knows how to spread hate like these rats from hell. They use every opportunity to equate Islam with the terrorists who attacked New York and the Pentagon. This is a desperate attempt to derail any hopes of peace in the Middle East. Without the continuing Israeli/Palestinian conflict, these boys will have to go back and concoct a whole new batch of sermons with ‘new and improved certain signs that the end is near.’ For years they depended on portraying the cold war ‘Evil Empire’ as a sign that a nuclear holocaust was just around the corner and recommended that their followers be ready for ‘the last days’. And since they wouldn’t need so much money ‘over there’, they are encouraged to send it to Robertson so he can speed up the coming of the final days. Even The scar on Gorbachev’s head was seen as part of the prophecy. Now that Gorbachev is safely on the lecture circuit, the Palestinians will have to do.
Now, you might wonder why these ‘Christian’ preachers don’t care about Christian Palestinians. Wonder no more. These modern day star gazers believe that tormenting the Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims, is an inconvenient detail in the path of Armageddon.
So, poor George is stuck between the Israeli Lobby with all its media might and the Republican zealots of the Christian Right. And to pile it on, he also has to deal with an Israeli government that can very easily leak information about the role of Bush’s daddy in giving a green light to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the Iran/Contra arms deal and a lot of other matters best left buried in the files at the New York Times.
It also appears that Sharon has something over Bush. That is why Bush walks on egg shells when he is around this particular serial war criminal. That is why no mention can be made of Sharon’s criminal past.
Many observers are mystified why the President of the United States would blindly follow a thug like Sharon and push aside the concern of European allies and friendly Middle Eastern regimes.
Consider Bush Senior’s role in Sabra and Shatilla. When Reagan was elected, it was understood that George Bush Sr. would take charge of foreign policy, while Reagan attended to domestic matters. With his resume as CIA director, UN ambassador, ambassador to China, Bush was marketed as the part of the team that would deal with world affairs. In the summer of 1982, Bush Senior and Alexander Haig gave Sharon a green light to make a 40 kilometer incursion into Lebanon. Sharon went all the way to Beirut, laid siege to the city and bombarded the city for two months. But he could not break the will of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance. So, the Reagan administration sent Habib to arrange for an Israeli withdrawal and an orderly Palestinian departure from Beirut to Tunis. The Americans promised, for their part, to assure the safety of the Palestinian refugees left behind. A few days later, Sharon marched into West Beirut with Israeli trained fascist militias and they proceeded to slaughter all the residents of Sabra and Shatila.
James M., Jr. Ennes in his famous book the ‘Assault on the Liberty : The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship‘, states that the reason for the Israeli attack against the American intelligence ship was to prevent them from monitoring the Israeli murder of Egyptian POWs in 1967 at El Arish. He also mentions, that high flying American intelligence planes were able to document the slaughter. It stands to reason that American planes, with 15 years of additional technological improvements, were capable of monitoring the massacres in the Beirut refugee camps. What did George Bush Sr know about Sabra and Shatilla and when did he know it? Is it possible that Sharon and the Israeli government possess compromising information on what American intelligence knew and why George Bush Sr did nothing to stop the carnage? Is that why the current Bush administration is so touchy about releasing information from the Reagan/Bush years?
The State Department and the CIA know everything they need to know about the brutal nature of the Israeli occupation. I assume that they subscribe to a few papers and have access to the Internet. What is holding the Bush administration from taking decisive action in America’s national interest and bring about an immediate solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Why is Bush so servile to Sharon?
America is led by personally compromised leaders, given power through an institutionally corrupt political process. These leaders have Enron and a hundred other scandals on their minds. To them, human rights are just two words in the dictionary. They are way too jaded to worry about freedom and justice for the Palestinians. Bush does not dare abandon the right wing fringe of his party and would be even less inclined to tangle with the Yiddish supremacist movement and risk the wrath of the Lobby, especially the New York Times and Washington Post.
So, perhaps it is time to ask the American government to recluse themselves from the ‘peace process’, to substantially and permanently reduce their presence in the Middle East, to support European initiatives for peace and to begin to acknowledge some of the great harm that has been inflicted on innocent Palestinians as a result of five decades of cynical intrigue on behalf of oil, Israel’s lobby and domestic doomsday cults.
A final word about the fictional American efforts to win hearts and minds. That is a sick joke. There is no such initiative except in the minds of the president. This administration has not even bothered to come up with policies that would be acceptable to Arab-Americans, so how could they possible hope to market their confused half-baked agenda to the Arab street. The State Department refuses to respond to Arab-American journalist requests for interviews. If they don’t have a cute ‘spin’, they issue a ‘no comment’. They are evasive, rude, ignorant, shallow and incompetent. It is easy to see how the lobby can buy these guys at wholesale prices. The State Department is living proof that the quality of ‘government work’ is nothing to boast about, even in America.