again we can only gasp with amazement at the American administration's
policy towards the conflict in Palestine, as articulated in President
Bush's recent speech.
Israeli tanks roared up to and surrounded Yasser Arafat's headquarters
and a sixth Palestinian town fell under occupation, Bush proved
once again that neither he, nor his senior policy advisers, have
any true understanding of the reality on the ground in Palestine.
his speech, Bush made it clear that if Palestinians wished to have
any chance at all of establishing a State for themselves, they must
overthrow their elected leader, Yasser Arafat, and create a western
style democracy that exists nowhere else in the Arab world. Only
if they fulfilled these two conditions and renounced violence, would
America even begin to consider giving its support to a Palestinian
direct contrast, the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, was not
asked to concede anything. He faces no immediate pressure from the
United States to put an end to the re-occupation of West Bank towns,
stop the Israeli army and Jewish settlers from killing civilians,
cease political assassinations and the torture of prisoners. Nor
is he asked to put a freeze on illegal Jewish settlements. Sharon
has overseen 34 new outposts during his 15 months in Office.
who has any understanding of the Palestinian conflict will know
that far from wanting peace, Sharon, a die-hard Zionist, wants to
destroy the Palestinian Authority, kill or discredit Yasser Arafat
and expel all Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza. Bush's speech
clearly shows just how successful the pro-Israeli lobby in Washington
has been in aligning Israel with America's war on terrorism. They
have succeeded in manipulating the Bush administration to buy into
Israel's contention that it is only "defending itself against
speech will allow Sharon to continue with his "iron fist"
policy of re-occupation, punishment of civilians through murder,
destruction of property and the appropriation of Palestinian land
and resources. He hopes that his policy will eventually see the
Palestinians grow weary of the struggle and accept any settlement
foisted upon then by the Israelis.
made it clear in his speech, that without the removal of the current
Palestinian leadership, meaning Arafat, Palestinians could not hope
for a state of their own. However, while many in the West Bank and
Gaza would like to see a more effective Palestinian administration,
they are not willing to remove Yasser Arafat merely on Bush or Sharon's
say-so. It is to be noted that in a recent poll, 47.5% of the occupants
of the West Bank and Gaza, expect that Mr. Arafat would be elected
if free elections were held. It is sheer arrogance on the part of
the Israelis and the Americans to dictate to the Palestinians who
they can and can't have as their leader.
from the focus on Yasser Arafat's removal, Bush's vision in reality
went no further than a vague promise of a provisional Palestinian
state. He gave neither details of borders of the new state that
he expects to emerge in the future; nor the location of its capital
or the future of the millions of Palestinian refugees throughout
the Middle East.
speech has also removed all constraints from Sharon and his hard-line
government. While they do not have a licence to kill, or at least
expel Yasser Arafat and remove the Palestinians from the West Bank
and Gaza, Bush's speech indicates that that day may not be far off.
It has, in addition, handed Sharon an excuse to delay withdrawal
from Palestinian lands or reopen negotiation with the Palestinians
almost indefinitely - two things that Sharon wants to avoid at all
made it clear that Sharon can demand not only the ending of Palestinian
violence, but also a total overhaul of the judiciary system in the
West Bank and Gaza, before peace talks can begin. As Sharon never
wanted an independent Palestine in the first place, this works in
his favour, as only he can define and decide when Palestinian violence
has ended and whether the judiciary system is truly representative.
This will allow him to postpone peace talks indefinitely, as there
is no pressure on Israel whatsoever to sit down and negotiate peace.
can Bush expect the Palestinians to build an independent legislature
and judiciary, or develop a market economy, while the Israeli army
occupies their land? With every aspect of daily life governed by
an Israeli government that has destroyed much of the infrastructure
of Palestine and crippled its economy, it will be impossible for
the Palestinians, even if they wanted to, to build a functioning
democratic state as outlined by Bush.
can only be concluded that either Mr. Bush is incredibly naïve
or this speech is the cover for an absence of any genuine intent
by him to put in place any meaningful or coherent peace making policy
that offends the Israelis and the Jewish lobby on Capitol Hill.
is the only country that can bring a solution to the Palestinian
conflict. But, as can be seen from Mr. Bush's speech, America still
does not have the will or the resolve to face up to the fact that
in reality, it is its ally, Israel, who is the aggressor, not the
Palestinians. It is not well armed Israelis who need defending,
but rather the Palestinians, who are the victims of State terrorism
and occupation. Until America admits to this and is prepared to
face down Israel and its supporters in the United States, there
will never be peace in Palestine.
failing to offer a constructive and workable approach to peace,
Bush has guaranteed further bloodshed. His unquestioning support
for Israel will allow Sharon to continue down the violent path that
he has chosen to rid himself of the Palestinians. So nothing has
been changed by Bush's 'vision.' This means that the situation will
get much worse for the Palestinians, as Sharon continues to reoccupy
the West Bank and Gaza, build security fences around Palestinian
towns and villages to isolate them from each other, expand Jewish
settlements and murders civilians. This will lead to further suicide
Only when America elects a President that truly has a vision of
peace in Palestine and the determination to implement it in defiance
of Israel's powerful American political lobby, will the vicious
cycle of violence cease. Unfortunately, Bush is not that President.
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