It is regrettable that Mr Bush hastened to acknowledge that unfair legislation identifying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This incident may only be perceived as a provocation suggesting that a local legislation could have a mighty influence upon the lives of millions of Muslims throughout the world.
Though the pro-Zionist lobbyists in the Bush administration would rejoice with this act, it is doubtful that it would make any better the relations between America and the Muslims, é included in the first position the American Muslims- or serve the rapprochement and the dialogue.
However, without trying to belittle or reduce the importance of the incident, we must recall that the local legislations do not bind the foreign countries. As far as I know, there is no exception to that rule, unless the so-called legislation has been agreed upon by several states, which is the condition for its international recognition. Otherwise, it is destined to remain local. In the present case, either Mr Bush signed, willingly or not, the miserable political decision issued by the Congress to satisfy the extremist Zionists, stipulating that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, does not change anything in the Muslims’ perception. We know perfectly what is Jerusalem and for whom it belongs.
The question would actually acquire a great importance only if the Muslims themselves acknowledge that this American legislation may alter their perception of Jerusalem or hinder them considering it as the first Islamic Kiblah, whose defence is a religious duty for all of them. If Mr. Bush is able to snatch this acknowledgement from the Muslims, then let him take not only Jerusalem but also the rest of the Muslims’ honour. But if he cannot do that é and we know that no power on earth is capable of such an achievement-, then it would be more logical to consider his act as a signature aiming é as he thinks or rather as some of his advisers led him to assume- at earning the support of the American Jews in the upcoming presidential campaign.
Nevertheless, if those who pushed Mr Bush to that position are mindful of the political game, then it is clear that they may as well do the same with his rival and try to obtain more. It would neither be the first nor the last political volt-face in the history of lobbyists and alike pressure groups. Otherwise, why should one believe that the simple signature over a legislation grants the renewal of the presidency since the “Jews are in the pocket”? It may also be the biggest political blunder a President could be trapped in, for many American Jews reject the pretension to Jerusalem as a capital of Israel. We know that the latter are neither a minority nor powerless, as we know that the extremists who led that game are not as numerous as they pretend, although they may be quite influential.
But anyway, nothing proves that the majority of the Jews claim Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, at the risk of confronting endlessly and tragically the whole Islamic world: Policy being the art of attracting people, it becomes a repelling tool only at the hands of the fools and the dictators.
In this context, it does not really matter if Mr. Bush says this is not going to change anything in his views or in his foreign policy, for what happened was actually in complete contradiction with the responsibility of the USA as a superpower and its ethical duty toward the Muslims é and the Christians too. What really matters is the fact that even if this is just an internal political game between the President, the American Jews, and his rival in the upcoming elections, it appears still as excessive and quite unnecessary if it aims only at gaining a few voices: precisely those of the extremist Jews. Is this really all what Mr Bush needs?
The Americans were not actually supposed to fall until reaching this paltry level unworthy of a state claiming to defend freedom é freedom of faith included. They were not supposed to play with Jerusalem é or any sacred place- or to make it an asset in their political game. But policy can be sometimes very nasty, and here is the evidence. Moreover, since the Islamic states allowed the Congress, the Jews, and Mr Bush to drag Jerusalem to this arena, regardless of the feelings of one billion and half Muslims, why is it so hard then to imagine a Bin Laden arising from this earthly hell to wage war against all the parties, Muslim nations included?
I am not justifying anything, but only trying to understand. Is it possible to avoid such a question in these days?
Naturally, we are talking about a local American legislation, similar to another one issued also by the Congress, and purporting to forbid companies and private businessmen from investing high sums of money in the Iranian, Libyan, and Iraqi oil fields. We ought to recall here that the Europeans considered this legislation of no avail to their business and rejected it: “Why should we be bound in our international commerce by a legislation of the Congress?” They contended. True that this a matter of sovereign choices, which no state may cede. After all, the American Congress is not a world parliament, but a local one, just like the Tunisian, the Mauritanian, or the Chinese chamber of representatives. If for some reason, the Chinese parliament decided that Washington is the capital of Cuba, would this imply its acceptance by the rest of the world?
Of course, there are no limits to madness. Yet, if it is obvious that the American representatives have definitely the right to decide for their own creeds and choices, and if it is no less obvious that Mr Bush may absolutely indulge in whatever game he deems useful for his campaign, he should also bear the consequences of his acts.
Then why wonder: why they hate us?
Who hate you? In fact, nobody. But it is sure that some of your actions are hated.
Hichem Karoui is a writer and journalist living in Paris, France.