FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Zinni’s Doomed Mideast Mission

by Sam Bahour And Michael Dahan

U.S. envoy to the Middle East, retired marine general Anthony Zinni’s announcement of his decision to end his cease-fire mission following his meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adds yet another blunder to the numerous failed attempts throughout history for the U.S. to act as a genuine peace broker between Palestinians and Israelis.

As General Zinni shuttled back and forth between Israel and Palestine his efforts were marred by an increased intensity of violence. Israeli F-16’s greeted his visit only 24 hours prior to his arrival, a wave of suicide bombers entertained him while here, and F-16 strikes on Palestinian cities wished him farewell. The series of events that propelled the cycle of violence comes as no surprise to those living the daily horrors of Israel’s 34 years of occupation policy.

Blind to the facts on the ground being created by Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, and Israel’s previous administrations, General Zinni came riding into the Middle East on Secretary of State Powell’s white horse. Armed with the newest U.S. Middle East initiative, he had the mandate to “prod” and “present ideas”. It seems the U.S. naively believed that a decorated U.S. General could speak sense into a desecrated Israeli General.

Once again, the U.S. fails in mediation, leaving the region in a “might is right” mode. Zinni’s mission, and the hundreds before him, did not have to end in failure. The tools to solve the conflict reside in Washington D.C., but no U.S. Administration has had the political will or moral courage to employ them.

With U.S. taxpayer dollars freely flowing into Israel to a tune of $3 billion per year, the U.S. has the financial clout to stop aid to Israel until steps are taken toward ending Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinians. These funds are directly responsible for the freeing of other funds that Israel uses to build illegal settlements and fund its continued gross violations of human rights.

U.S. provided armaments, F-16’s, Apache helicopters, M-16’s, etc, are being indiscriminately used to attack Palestinians, both civilians and Authority. While U.S. decision-makers publicly “demand” explanation for Israel’s continued air strikes, which are, or have, destroyed any possibility for peace, the U.S. refuses to stop arming Israel, even though U.S. Law requires its weapons not be used in such cases.

As Israel’s economy dramatically fails as it wages war on Palestinians, the U.S. refuses to take additional economic measures to bring Israel in line with the will of the world. Instead, Israel’s free trade agreement status stands unscathed providing an economic safety net for any Israeli aggression.

Most importantly, the U.S. fails to puts its weight behind the countless number of UN resolutions that call for the end to Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Instead, Secretary of State Powell reiterated the U.S. position that, “The only lasting peace will be the peace the parties make themselves.” It is interesting how the occupied are required to reach an agreement with the occupier, while in Iraq and Afghanistan no agreement was required by the parties before the U.S. flexed its muscles.

As the Israeli occupation generates more and more Palestinians that have equated life under occupation to death, it is no wonder the phenomena of suicide bombers exist. Ten years of Oslo, diplomacy and civil disobedience got the Palestinians nowhere. Fifteen months of Intifada and sadly, six months of suicide attacks have, for all practical purposes, stopped the expansion of settlements, alerted the Israeli citizens that their government is still oppressing their neighbors, seriously damaged the Israeli economy, reduced Jewish immigration to Israel and brought the U.S. to recognize the “P” word, Palestine.

Instead of forging forward a new path, the U.S. thrust has been to join an Israeli character assassination of elected Palestinian President Yaser Arafat. The U.S. would be well advised to address the core issue of ending occupation rather than meddle in domestic Palestinian affairs. After all, it was former President Jimmy Carter that monitored and certified the election of President Arafat.

We wish General Zinni a nice life and we can promise him one thing. As long as Israeli occupation is permitted to survive, he can come back in 10 months or 10 years and would have not missed much – Palestinians, stripped of their dignity, land and freedom will continue to struggle, with Arafat or without.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American living in the besieged Palestinian City of Al-Bireh in the West Bank and can be reached at sbahour@palnet.com. Michael Dahan is an Israeli-American political scientist living in Jerusalem and can be reached at mdahan@attglobal.net.

Sam Bahour is a Palestinian-American business consultant in Ramallah and serves as a policy adviser to Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and blogs at ePalestine.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

March 29, 2017
Jeffrey Sommers
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon: Real Threats More Serious Than Fake News Trafficked by Media
David Kowalski
Does Washington Want to Start a New War in the Balkans?
Patrick Cockburn
Bloodbath in West Mosul: Civilians Being Shot by Both ISIS and Iraqi Troops
Ron Forthofer
War and Propaganda
Matthew Stevenson
Letter From Phnom Penh
James Bovard
Peanuts Prove Congress is Incorrigible
Thomas Knapp
Presidential Golf Breaks: Good For America
Binoy Kampmark
Disaster as Joy: Cyclone Debbie Strikes
Peter Tatchell
Human Rights are Animal Rights!
George Wuerthner
Livestock Grazing vs. the Sage Grouse
Jesse Jackson
Trump Should Form a Bipartisan Coalition to Get Real Reforms
Thomas Mountain
Rwanda Indicts French Generals for 1994 Genocide
Clancy Sigal
President of Pain
Andrew Stewart
President Gina Raimondo?
Lawrence Wittner
Can Our Social Institutions Catch Up with Advances in Science and Technology?
March 28, 2017
Mike Whitney
Ending Syria’s Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below 
Mark Kernan
Memory Against Forgetting: the Resonance of Bloody Sunday
John McMurtry
Fake News: the Unravelling of US Empire From Within
Ron Jacobs
Mad Dog, Meet Eris, Queen of Strife
Michael J. Sainato
State Dept. Condemns Attacks on Russian Peaceful Protests, Ignores Those in America
Ted Rall
Five Things the Democrats Could Do to Save Their Party (But Probably Won’t)
Linn Washington Jr.
Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Hiring Practices: Privilege or Prejudice?
Philippe Marlière
Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Presidential Hopeful, is Good News for the French Left
Norman Pollack
Political Cannibalism: Eating America’s Vitals
Bruce Mastron
Obamacare? Trumpcare? Why Not Cubacare?
David Macaray
Hollywood Screen and TV Writers Call for Strike Vote
Christian Sorensen
We’ve Let Capitalism Kill the Planet
Rodolfo Acuna
What We Don’t Want to Know
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of the Electronics Ban
Andrew Moss
Why ICE Raids Imperil Us All
March 27, 2017
Robert Hunziker
A Record-Setting Climate Going Bonkers
Frank Stricker
Why $15 an Hour Should be the Absolute Minimum Minimum Wage
Melvin Goodman
The Disappearance of Bipartisanship on the Intelligence Committees
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS’s Losses in Syria and Iraq Will Make It Difficult to Recruit
Russell Mokhiber
Single-Payer Bernie Morphs Into Public Option Dean
Gregory Barrett
Can Democracy Save Us?
Dave Lindorff
Budget Goes Military
John Heid
Disappeared on the Border: “Chase and Scatter” — to Death
Mark Weisbrot
The Troubling Financial Activities of an Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate
Robert Fisk
As ISIS’s Caliphate Shrinks, Syrian Anger Grows
Michael J. Sainato
Democratic Party Continues Shunning Popular Sanders Surrogates
Paul Bentley
Nazi Heritage: the Strange Saga of Chrystia Freeland’s Ukrainian Grandfather
Christopher Ketcham
Buddhism in the Storm
Thomas Barker
Platitudes in the Wake of London’s Terror Attack
Mike Hastie
Insane Truths: a Vietnam Vet on “Apocalypse Now, Redux”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail