Wise Up, Mr. Bush

by Charley Reese

May 24, 2002

President Bush continues to delude himself that Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is interested in peace. Mr. Sharon has no intention of ever seriously negotiating with the Palestinians.

First it was the violence, then it was Yasser Arafat, and now Mr. Sharon says he won't negotiate until the Palestinian Authority cleans up corruption and becomes more democratic — presumably according to his definition.

That's arrogant hogwash, of course. If democracy and no corruption were the conditions for negotiations, there wouldn't be a single treaty between any nations on the face of the earth. Sharon intends to just drag things out, as the Israelis have done for more than 10 years, and in the meantime take more Palestinian land and squeeze and harass the Palestinians even more.

Americans should wake up to reality. Support might have been justified when Israel claimed it wanted peace and no Arab country was willing to talk. But the sole obstacle to peace in the Middle East for the past decade has been Israel. Israel could have had peace with the Palestinians, with the Lebanese and with the Syrians 10 years ago. The offer was there. Withdraw from occupied territories and you can have peace. The Israelis said no, although they disguised the "no" with all kinds of sophistry.

Why should we support a country that is preventing peace? Israel has no right to any of the territory it occupies — not the Bekaa farms, not the Golan Heights, not East Jerusalem, not the West Bank and not the Gaza Strip. The Israelis occupy all that territory in violation of international law.

What's worse, Israel gets away with it because the United States acts as Israel's bodyguard, preventing other nations and the United Nations from taking actions that would force Israel to comply with international law. Israel is not a strategic ally. Israel is a huge strategic liability.

The president's and Congress' foolish support of Israel's illegal acts is not in the nation's interest. It's not, to use the words of the late Walter Winchell, in your interest, Mr. and Mrs. America. It was certainly not in the interest of those who perished in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in the plane that ditched in Pennsylvania.

I hope you don't believe the fairy tale that we were attacked because of our wealth or freedom or because somebody sitting in a distant cave (with hundreds of millions of dollars in various banks, by the way) was jealous. That's disinformation. We were attacked and will be attacked as long as we support Israel's aggression and occupation of other people and their lands.

Personally, I am deeply angered that people I love might die one day just because a bunch of politicians have their hands in the pockets of the Israeli lobby. That is a sordid, stupid and useless reason for any American to die. But never doubt the inexorable truth of the old saying "The friend of my enemy is my enemy."

It is insane to allow Israel to make its enemies our enemies. Except for the wrong we have done the Iraqis, the United States had no bilateral quarrels with any Arab or Muslim nation. The hostility we find in those areas is 100 percent directly attributable to our policy of favoring Israel at the expense of the Arabs.

We have no special relationship with Israel. That's more disinformation to hide the fact that our politicians have just sold out. How can you have a special relationship with a country that takes billions of your tax dollars, attacks your Navy ships, blows up your diplomatic facilities and spies on you? Ask yourself: What has Israel ever done for the United States?

Unless President Bush finds the gumption to force Israel to the peace table with a definitive, time-precise plan to withdraw from occupied Arab territories, he will eventually go down as a failed president. American policy should protect American values, not the land-grabbing of Zionist fanatics.

Extracted 09/17/02 from Charley Reese


E-mail your comments to amirali@ilaam.net