Bush Administration Acts Like Israel's Puppet
by Charley Reese
Published Thursday, February 7, 2002
My biggest disappointment in President George W. Bush has been in how he has allowed himself to be manipulated by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
He has followed the same failed policy that his predecessor did.
That policy can be summed up as "the Israelis are always right, and the Palestinians are always wrong." Thatís a very convenient policy for politicians who donít want the powerful Israeli lobby on their case. But if the goal is peace, the policy is a failure. If the goal is to protect Americaís interests, the policy is a failure. If the goal is to bring stability to the Middle East, the policy is a failure. If the goal is to eliminate terrorism, the policy is a failure.
Now, when people pursue a policy that has not achieved the goals it was supposed to, there are three possible reasons. One, the people are stupid. I think we can eliminate that. Nobody in the White House is stupid. A second reason is that they are afraid to change the policy because of domestic political pressure. A third reason could be that their goals are not the ones they publicly espouse.
I never thought I would feel sympathy for Yasser Arafat, but heís been put into an untenable position. Imagine a football game. Imagine that you take the coach away and lock him up in a room. Imagine that you shoot half his team. And then imagine how silly it sounds for you to demand of the coach that he win the game.
Arafat is under house arrest. He canít walk outside without chipping his teeth on the muzzles of Israeli tanks. For weeks, no matter who did what, the Israelis have bombed and shelled the Palestinian Authority police stations - along with their equipment and files. The Israelis have killed and injured numerous PA policemen. Yet Sharon continues to demand that Arafat stop terrorism, and no matter what Arafat says or what he does, Sharon scoffs at it.
Now, to our international shame, the Bush administration has adopted the same pathetic line. Like a flock of parrots, Bush and his people repeat whatever Sharon says. Itís not just people in the Arab countries who see this sorry spectacle. People all over the world are wondering how it is that a little country like Israel can jerk the chain of a powerful nation like the United States.
A few facts: The Palestinians are right. The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza is illegal. When the occupation ends, peace follows. As long as the occupation continues, so will the resistance.
Sharon has no intention of ending the occupation or of negotiating in good faith. Israelís treatment of the Palestinians is a brutal record of human-rights violations, violations of the Geneva Accords and violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
It ought to make every American angry that our politicians tell us U.N. Security Council resolutions are worth the lives of Americans to enforce against Iraq but are to be vetoed and spit upon when directed at Israel. Our policy is an insult to anyone who supports the United Nations, and, frankly, people in Europe are getting sick of it.
Israel has hired two public-relations firms, in addition to its American lobby, because it is scared to death that Americans are going to wake up and see the connection between the Israel First policy and the attacks that occurred Sept. 11. It need not worry about the Bush administration or most of the Israel First journalists, but I hope the American people have not all lost their ability to think and to reason.
In the meantime, the Bush administration ought to replace the American eagle with a parrot clutching an Israeli flag in one claw and a tin cup in the other.
Former Orlando Sentinel columnist Charley Reese writes for King Features Syndicate.