FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Sharon as Bush PR Flak

by Robert Fisk The Independent

Put your flak jackets on, President George Bush has spoken. He wants a regime change in Palestine, just as he wants a regime change in Iraq. He reads the Israeli government press handouts and accurately quotes them to his American people.

Ariel Sharon, wants the destruction/ liquidation/ resignation of Yasser Arafat. So does Mr Bush. “Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership so a Palestinian state can be born,” Bush told the fearful American people, waiting for the next apocalypse, be it on 4 July or after.

So, no Palestinian state unless Arafat goes. There were no Bush conditions for Israel. He did not secure an end to the continuing building of Jewish settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab (that is somebody else’s) land. Nor did he secure a halt to continuing Israeli military “incursions” — how I love that word “incursions”.

Mr Sharon, in his highly mendacious demand for Palestinian “‘transparency”, has demanded Palestinian reform must be neither cosmetic nor an attempt to preserve Arafat. And what does Mr Bush say? Why, that Palestinian reform “must be more than cosmetic changes or a veiled attempt to preserve the status quo”.

Why, I wonder, doesn’t Mr Bush let Ariel Sharon run the White House press bureau? Not only would it be more honest–we would at least be hearing the voice of Israel at first hand–but it would spare the American President the ignominy of parroting everything he is told by the Israelis.

All that he offers to the Palestinians is a ghastly mockery of what the Palestinians are told to do by the Israelis.

There never has been an “interim” state, let alone a “provisional” state. These are fantasies of the Israelis and Mr Bush. White House “officials” — we can guess who they are — believe a Palestinian state can be “achieved” within 18 months. Let’s forget international law provides for no such entity.

Let’s go over again that most crucial — and most dishonest — part of the Bush statement.

“When the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbours,” he told us, “the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state, whose border and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East.” Let’s see what this means: when the Palestinians have elected a leader whom the Israelis want — a condition that could go on to the crack of doom — the Americans will support a Palestinian state whose very existence will mean nothing unless Israel approves what that state wants to do.

In other words, the United States will be Israel’s spokesman in any negotiations. A growing number of Americans know they are being suckered by their own government and their own press, that their country’s foreign policy is being manipulated to give maximum support to one — and only one — country in the Middle East. So will “certain aspects of its sovereignty”. Note these weighty words. “Certain aspects” of its sovereignty.

What, I wonder, does this mean? Do these “certain aspects” include the continuation of illegal Jewish settlement building? Or the absence of any international guarantees for this interim/provisional state? Or perhaps a get-out clause for the United States to wash its hands of the whole shebang if Israel decides to annex the entire West Bank?

Note, again, the weasel words. Palestine’s borders will be “provisional … until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East”. Yet never before has an occupied people been led by so pathetic a person as Yasser Arafat. Nineteen years ago, this same Yasser Arafat swore to me — on a hilltop above the Lebanese city of Tripoli — that his “Palestine” would be “a democracy among the guns”. His Palestine, he told me, would be unlike any other Arab state. There would be no secret policemen, no “regime”, no cronyism, no corruption.

Fast forward to the spring of 1998. I am listening to a French diplomat who has returned from Gaza. He and his delegation carried a personal letter to Arafat from President Chirac. Again and again, Arafat disregarded the letter, only interested in when the new French school in Gaza will open. The diplomats understand. One of Arafat’s relatives will be the headmistress of this school. Family before nation. The Chirac letter stays unopened.

Yes, as Nabil Shaath, one of the most loyal — and most obsequious — of Arafat’s ministers, says, “a state is a state, and you cannot be provisionally pregnant and you cannot have a provisional state”. It might have been wiser — and more honest — if he had reminded us that the CIA trained the gunmen and intelligence thugs who worked for Arafat; if he had outlined the imprisonment and torture that Arafat inflicted on his Palestinian opponents with the complicity of those who supported the “peace process”.

For it is becoming ever more obvious that Arafat did not fail in his duties as Palestinian leader. He failed in his duties as Israel’s — and thus America’s — proxy colonial apparatchik in the West Bank and Gaza. The fact he is a corrupt little despot does not change this.

He was given time to prove his loyalty to the West, to America, to Israel. He was supposed to have made Israel’s settlements both safe and sacred.

Now, when he can no longer control the people he was supposed to control — remember the BBC’s repeated question: “Can he control his own people?” — his usefulness is at an end. He must go, to be replaced by our choice of leader — forget elections — who will be as democratic as the new Afghan “interim” government.

George Bush insulted the Palestinians and enraged the leadership of the Arab world. Who cares about the latter? Most of them were appointed by us. But I have a feeling that the Palestinians will not accept this nonsense.

Which is why they will be condemned — as never before — as “terrorists”.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
Pete Dolack
Killing Ourselves With Technology
David Krieger
The 10 Worst Acts of the Nuclear Age
Lamont Lilly
Movement for Black Lives Yields New Targets of the State
Martha Rosenberg
A Hated Industry Fights Back
Robert Fantina
Hillary, Gloria and Jill: a Brief Look at Alternatives
Chris Doyle
No Fireworks: Bicentennial Summer and the Decline of American Ideals
Michael Doliner
Beyond Dangerous: the Politics of Climate
Colin Todhunter
Modi, Monsanto, Bayer and Cargill: Doing Business or Corporate Imperialism?
Steve Church
Brexit: a Rush for the Exits!
Matthew Koehler
Mega Corporation Gobbles Up Slightly Less-Mega Corporation; Chops Jobs to Increase Profits; Blames Enviros. Film at 11.
David Green
Rape Culture, The Hunting Ground, and Amy Goodman: a Critical Perspective
Ed Kemmick
Truckin’: Pro Driver Dispenses Wisdom, Rules of the Road
Alessandro Bianchi
“China Will React if Provoked Again: You Risk the War”: Interview with Andre Vltchek
Christy Rodgers
Biophilia as Extreme Sport
Missy Comley Beattie
At Liberty
Ron Jacobs
Is Everything Permitted?
Cesar Chelala
The Sad Truth About Messi
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail