Archive for April, 2006

Once Again, Double Standards

April 21, 2006

By Samia Khoury
Friday, April 21, 2006

“No contacts with the Palestinian Authority.” These were the instructions of the U.S. administration and the European governments. How brutal and unfair! Once again, the double standard by which the U.S. deals with the Palestinians vis a vis Israel creates more ill feelings and bitterness and pushes away the possibility of peace in the region.

This past week, “The Israeli Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” a study by Professors Stephen Walt from Harvard’s Kennedy School and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, was widely circulated. It confirmed what we have been saying for years. In the study, the professors conclude that the flagrant, longstanding pro-Israel bias in U.S. Middle East policy benefits Israel, but works to the disadvantage of U.S. national interests. One of their most significant conclusions is that the U.S. has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel. Indeed, Paul Findley in his article “Silence of the Poodles” quotes George W. Ball (1909-1994), the distinguished diplomat, author of The Discipline of Power, and champion of human rights who had served as Undersecretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.: “When Israel’s interests are being considered, members of Congress act like trained poodles. They jump dutifully through hoops held by Israel’s lobby. … The lobby’s most powerful instrument of intimidation is the reckless charge of anti-Semitism.”

It is no surprise, therefore, for the U.S. to take this stand. But for the Europeans not to have the moral courage to stand independently from the U.S. was the biggest disappointment. What happened to the “Liberty, equality, and fraternity” of France? What about the moral obligation of Britain, a nation that played a significant role in the root causes of our dispossession? By what moral values and sense of logic and justice can an occupying authority which has been oppressing a whole population for the last 39 years, flaunting U.N. resolutions with impunity, continue to be rewarded both financially and morally? Should the people of Palestine be oppressed further because they voted for change and reform in a democratic election after exhausting other options for achieving liberation and independence?

When Mr. Arafat was president, the U.S. forced him to relinquish his powers to the prime minister; but now that the prime minister is from Hamas, the demand is that he relinquish his powers to the president. What does the world community think we are? Pawns on a chess board to be moved by the U.S. and their European poodles as they may please? And will we be moved off the board entirely when foreigners declare a checkmate? This policy rife with double standards will not force the Palestinians to kneel and relinquish their rights. It will only lead the whole region into a disaster.

Yesterday we were at the YWCA to bid farewell to the General Secretary.
One of the women arrived so angry and frustrated after crossing the check point that she told us that we should not be surprised if she ends up a suicide bomber. I could not believe my ears, but this is a sign of how bad the situation has become, and it certainly will be a new phenomenon for Christian Palestinians. If a woman from a comfortable home feels that way, what do you expect from a starving population in Gaza, Nablus and Jenin and other refugee camps? Or the plan to make the situation so hopeless that either the Palestinian Authority will be forced to kneel and acquiesce or the frustration and violence of the jobless and hungry population will be directed against the occupation itself? Israel would then have the perfect justification for boosting its oppressive measures of ethnic cleansing to “face the demographic threat” and call it security.

All this is happening under the silent watch of the international community, which continues to demand that Hamas recognize Israel and stop the violence. Why has nobody ever demanded that Israel stop the state violence and recognize the rights of the Palestinians in accordance to UN resolutions? And besides, which Israel is Hamas supposed to recognize when Israel is constantly and unilaterally moving its borders by confiscating more land and by building more walls on Palestinian territory? Why were the results of the Israeli elections accepted with a blessing despite the new prime minister’s stated policy of such unilateral shifting of borders? For heaven’s sake, you good people out yonder, stop being naive! If Israel were truly interested in peace, Hamas would not be an obstacle. The peace process started with the Madrid Conference in 1991 when Hamas was only four years old, and was being encouraged by Israel as an alternative to the PLO. So Israel had plenty of time prior to Hamas’ rise to abide by peace agreements if Israel were serious about peace. But instead it has deferred their implementation by claiming that it had no peace partner. Please help put an end to this disastrous situation that is killing us all! Is there any hope for your governments to serve as honest brokers and to speak out for justice despite intimidation so that peace will eventually prevail for all the peoples of the region?