The psychology of bullies

Dear Mr. President George W. Bush:

I would like to extend my support for your declared intentions to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction, to enforce the compliance to UN Security Council resolutions, and to help developing countries, particularly Arab States, towards democracy and respect of human rights. In expressing my strong support, please allow me to dwell a little on these issues.

On weapons of mass-destruction, Mr. President, you know that Israel possesses an arsenal of atomic, nuclear, and biological weapons, and that she refuses to sign any international treaty to prevent the production or use of such weapons. Should we not be concerned about that? Or is it safe for this arsenal to be in the hands of Sharon, whose Chief of Staff described the Palestinians as a cancer that needs more radical treatment than just chemotherapy, by F-16 bombing?

Mr. President,

The other important goal, which I support, is to enforce the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Everybody knows that Israel has not complied with 45 UN Security Council resolutions, including those related to building illegal settlements on Palestinian land (please see the attached list). I believe that you also should force Israel to comply with these resolutions, and that you can.

I would sincerely support you in bringing democracy and respect of human rights to Iraq. Of course Saddam is a dictator, a ruthless murderer with blood on his hands. But he is not the only one. I am sure that you know that US administrations have traditionally supported some of the worst of his kind, in Arab countries and Israel.  In the last two years the US has done little to stop Sharon’s daily killing of Palestinians and committing other serious violations of human rights.

Mr. President,

Some people are saying that you are going to war for the oil, and suspect your troops to stay for a long time in Iraq to help “build the nation” after destroying it! The more sophisticated believe that your campaign in Iraq will only serve a message to the rest of the world that this is the American age of empire.

Mr. President,

I am reminded of bullied school children who become obsessed with the urge to retaliate. If such children are counseled properly, they would normally assimilate such experiences as part of their repertoire of life. But in some cases, their parents are more keen on revenge and push their children to act violently. In many cases the parents themselves were abused, and they hide within layers of their psyche a desire to avenge their own childhood trauma. You must be aware Mr. President that some people around world leaders are behaving like those parents. Oil and empire are themselves part of the quest for power and vindictiveness.

Indeed, Mr. President, such theory is absolutely applicable to the psychology of Sharon whose behavior of bullying all-along didn’t improve the security of Israel. If anything, Sharon only managed to deepen the worries about the security of the Jewish state.  Saddam himself is a classic case of a bully as his behavior towards Kuwait and Iran testified, which damaged his own country and Iraqis. Both Sharon and Saddam, have distributed so much pain, hatred, destruction and murder all around.

Mr. President,

As a psychiatrist, I know that violence can only result in more violence. As an Arab, I know that a humiliating war will only provoke tribal revenge. As a Muslim, I know that extremists will only be inspired by war to manufacture further terrorism and spread hate, all in the name of God.

May I suggest, Mr. President, that it is time to employ ethics and wisdom, and it is time for counseling, instead of spreading fear, hatred, and instead of murder. I believe you can do it Mr. President.



UN Security Council Resolutions that Israel didn’t comply with:

SC Res. 237 (June 14, 1967): return of Palestinian inhabitants who fled from their homes.

SC Res. 242 (Nov. 22, 1967): “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and “withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied in the conflicté”

SC Res. 252 (May 21, 1968): rescind measures changing legal status of  Jerusalem and to end its expropriation of land and properties.

SC Res. 267 (July 3, 1969): rescind measures changing legal status of  Jerusalem.

SC Res. 271 (Sept. 15, 1969): rescind measures on Jerusalem and observe provisions of Geneva Conventions and international law governing military occupation.

SC Res. 298 (Sept. 25, 1971): rescind measures on Jerusalem that “change the status quo of the City.”

SC Res. 338 (Oct. 22, 1973): implement SC resolution 242 (1967) “in all its parts.”

SC Res. 368 (April 17, 1975): Israel must implement 242/338.

SC Res. 369 (May 28, 1974): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 371 (July 24, 1975): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 378 (Oct. 23, 1975): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 390 (May 28, 1976): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 396 (Oct. 22, 1976): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 398 (Nov. 30, 1976): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 420 (Nov. 30, 1977): implement 242/338.

SC Res. 446 (March 22, 1979): deplores failure of Israel to abide by 237 and 252; end settlement activities in the occupied territories.

SC Res. 452 (July 20, 1979): end settlement activities in occupied territories, including Jerusalem.

SC Res. 462 (March 1, 1980): dismantle existing settlements.

SC Res. 468 (May 8, 1980): stop expulsions

SC Res. 469 (May 20, 1980): stop expulsions

SC Res. 471 (June 5, 1980): comply with Geneva Conventions; protect Palestinians; occupation must end.

SC Res. 476 (June 30, 1980): comply with Geneva Conventions; occupation must end.

SC Res. 478 (Aug. 20, 1980): declares new basic law for Jerusalem null and void.

SC Res. 484 (Dec. 19, 1980): let the expelled return.

SC Res. 592 (Dec. 8, 1986): comply with Geneva Conventions.

SC Res. 607 (Jan. 5, 1988): protect Palestinians.

SC Res. 608 (Jan. 14, 1988): no expulsions.

SC Res. 636 (July 6, 1989): no expulsions.

SC Res. 641 (Aug. 30, 1989): no expulsions.

SC Res 672 (Oct. 12, 1990): deplores massacre, sending UN mission.

SC Res 673 (Oct. 24, 1990): sending UN Mission.

SC Res. 681 (Dec. 20, 1990): deplores expulsions.

SC Res. 694 (May 24, 1991): no expulsions.

SC Res. 726 (Jan. 6, 1992: comply with Geneva Conventions. No expulsions.

SC Res. 799 (Dec. 18, 1992): no expulsions.

SC Res. 904 (March 18, 1994): protect Palestinians.

SC Res. 1073 (Sept. 28, 1996): protect Palestinians.

SC Res. 1081 (Nov. 27, 1996): implement 242/338.

SC 1265 (Sept. 17, 1999): implement Hague Conventions and Geneva Conventions.

SC Res. 1322 (Oct. 7, 2000): condemns excessive force; comply with Geneva Conventions.

SC Res. 1397 (March 12, 2002): calls for two-state solution.

SC Res. 1402 (March 30, 2002): withdraw from Palestinian cities.

SC Res. 1403 (April 4, 2002): implement 1402.

SC Res. 1405 (April 19, 2002): lift restrictions on Jenin; send fact-finding team.

SC Res. 1435 (Sept. 24 2002): cease the destruction of the Palestinian civilian and security infrastructure in Ramallah and withdraw from Palestinian cities.

(Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj is Human rights activist & Chairman of the board of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.)

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