As Colin Powell shuttles from place to place and person to person around the mid-east, as he qualifies more and more the details and purpose of the touted roadmap to peace in Israel and Palestine, as he runs into ruts and berms, snubbing and insults, it becomes obvious that the roadmap is flawed, the touted peace a mirage, and its true purpose a rouse to make evident the need for total military control of the area.
The cartographer’s craft exists to provide a clear rendering of a geographic area that enables users to find their way. A roadmap makes movement from one point to another obvious; it removes uncertainty, avoids obstacles to progress, and identifies the final goal. The roadmap Colin Powell carries in his pocket, coffee stained, wrinkled and torn, does none of these things. No end goal is identified; no obstacle is avoided; no certainty exists. It unfolds a road to nowhere.
The Bush roadmap makes two things very clear (and it makes this clear to Arab and European countries if not to the US): solving the crisis in Palestine must take priority over all other foreign policy matters, and all attempts to solve the crisis through the current Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority are doomed to failure.
The current crisis in Palestine exists because of events that transpired in 1947 and prior to that date leading to the partitioning of Palestine by UN Resolution and the failure of the British Mandate. One could argue that the crisis can be traced to the political Zionist movement created in 1897, an effort to design and implement a Jewish State in all of Palestine, South Lebanon and the Golan Heights. To affect this goal an ethnic cleansing would have to be undertaken. The first serious effort to achieve that goal happened in 1947/8 when more than 700,000 Palestinians had to flee their homes; that group and their descendants, now numbering over a million, have yet to return.
For Arabs, this Palestinian Diaspora and the subsequent homelessness for the people for over fifty years, the lopsided financial and military support of the United States for Israel, averaging (according to Richard Curtiss in “Washington Reports on Middle East Affairs”) approximately $23,240.00 dollars per American taxpayer each year, the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the storage of US military hardware in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the American armed forces presence in these Arab countries, the presence of Sharon who is remembered for his massacre of the inhabitants of Kibbya in 1953 and subsequent atrocities against Arabs, and the threats implicit in the “New American Century Project Report” and “The National Security Strategy Policy Report” of September 2002, both of which contain implied invasions of Syria and Iran and the forceful removal of Hamas and Hizballah from Palestine and Lebanon, the potential control of the mid-east, through the domination of US forces and Israeli presence, is inevitable and ultimately destructive of their existence.
The European community of nations, observing this same scenario, sees the control of energy sources that will fuel their economy in the future under the jurisdiction of America and Israel. That threatens not only their independence economically, but puts the dollar and the euro on a collision course. The disequilibria created by the American presence in the mid-east and the aggressive nature of the Sharon government towards Syria and Iran as that government, through its Ambassador Daniel Ayalon in Washington last month, asserts the need for regime change in these countries because they are a threat to Israel, causes Europeans to find the resulting uncertainty unacceptable to their future interests. Add to this the Asian perspective that sees the American and Israeli dominance in the mid-east a threat to their hegemony and future growth, and the need to immediately address the Israeli/Palestinian crisis is evident.
But the roadmap calls for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to work out the solution despite the reality that Israel distrusts the Europeans and the Palestinians distrust the Americans. The roadmap avoids all reference to the causes of the conflict and thereby avoids solving them; in that reality lie its deception and its demise. Consider the causes: 55% of the land occupied by an indigenous population of Arabs for over a thousand years given by an external organization, the UN through a non-binding General Assembly Resolution, to a predominantly immigrant group belonging to the same religion and, purportedly descendents of Abraham, without the acceptance of that resolution by the indigenous population; the forceful eviction by fear or arms of more than 700,000 of that population in 1947/8 making them refugees in other lands; the non-payment of recompense to those so deposed or acknowledgement of their rights of return which are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Resolution 194; and the forceful occupation of all but 22% of the indigenous population land area after the 1967 war and the confinement of the majority of the population into two areas, the West Bank and Gaza, where they must live under the occupation of the Israeli military.
If these are the reasons why the roadmap is doomed to fail from the perspective of the Palestinians, and these reasons do not include the devastation and havoc that has been the hallmark of these last two years of invasion and occupation by the Sharon government, then the recent remarks by Benyamin Elon, a minister in Ariel Sharon’s government, speaking in Washington and reported in the New York Times May 18, arguing that Palestinians must be convinced that the proper place for a Palestinian State is in Jordan and that all of Palestine properly belongs to the Jews because they were given the land by God, should make clear that Israel has no intentions of abiding by the roadmap. Considering that Sharon’s current government hinges on two religious parties that proclaim openly their refusal to permit the existence of a Palestinian State, and it does not take a genius to understand that this is not the government that can bring peace to Palestine.
It should be evident that peace cannot come through the roadmap or through the control of the process by the Bush administration or through the cooperative efforts of Sharon and a shill appointed for the Palestinian Authority acceptable to Sharon.
The recent spurt of terrorist activity in Israel, Morocco, Chechnya, and Iraq suggests not only the resurrection of an active Al-Qaeda but the intensification of the forces allied against the touted roadmap for peace fabricated by a coalition of outsiders that have no ostensible authority to hobble together a plan for those under the boot of an occupying force or the occupiers. Putting aside the mythological rationale that has emerged from the Christian and Jewish Zionists that grants all of Judea and Samaria to the Jews through a covenant with Yahweh, the reality of the current Jewish State is a creation of the United Nations in consort with the United States principally, and, politically through Harry Truman who could count on Jewish votes but had no expectation of Palestinian ones. In short, it is the UN’s responsibility to address the crisis; it is not the responsibility of the United States or Russia or Europe.
On what basis can this be done? We have the precedent: nation states that defy UN resolutions must be brought before the UNSC to account for their defiance. An action proposed and acted upon by the US. Both Israel and Palestine, through UN recognition of the Palestinian Authority, have defied UN resolutions, many of them, including the most recent passed 50-1 in April of this year, and more than the number defied by Iraq. Indeed, many of the UNSC and UNGA resolutions call upon Israel to return to the pre-1967 borders and for the Palestinians to recognize the rights of Israelis. Many of these resolutions require that both sides accept the Human Rights provisions of the Geneva Accords that they have flaunted for many years. Many condemn the incessant mass killings of innocent civilians by both sides.
In short, the proper authority and the appropriate process already exist to bring this crisis to a halt. The introduction of UN forces between the antagonists would be the first step. It would remove the US as the dominant but flawed power because it is aligned with one of the antagonists and seen, by Palestinians and Arabs alike, as an enemy of the other. It would remove both competing powers, the Sharon government and the administration of Arafat, from futile attempts to determine who goes first, who determines when violence has ceased, who ratifies that step one has been completed and its time to move on to step two, and what compromises need to be cobbled together to create an impossible peace.
The Sharon government has adamantly refused to let the UN become involved. One can understand why: Sharon has no desire or intent to return any of the land taken by Israel in the ’67 war; indeed, it would seem from the remarks made by Elon that Israel’s intent is to take all the lands identified by the Bible as belonging to the Jews, and, hence extra judicial and “accidental” killings of innocent Palestinians will continue indefinitely. Israel, for example, continues its aggressive pace against the Palestinians, especially in its demolition program that has displaced more than 12,737 people since September of 2000 while the killing rate has increased to 2350. Recognizing the political power that the Christian Zionists hold over the Bush administration and their alignment with the Jewish Zionists, the probability that the Bush administration could force the divestment of these lands or stop the military occupation and slaughter of the Palestinians is beyond credibility.
Conversely, any expectation that Hamas or Hizballah will relinquish their embedded desires to reclaim the lands of their forefathers and, consequently, force the removal of the Israeli State, is equally remote. The continued harassment and wanton slaughter of innocent Israeli citizens will continue indefinitely. The struggle seen from the eyes of the Palestinian fanatic turns on the same spit as that which drives the fanatical right in Israel, a righteous and violent interpretation of their respective scriptures. Mustapha Mohammed quotes the Qur’an 5:82, “You will surely find that the people with the most hatred and enmity toward the believers are the Jews and the Polytheists” And he goes on to say, “Don’t you realize what Allah is telling you? Don’t you realize that our struggle against the Zionist is a struggle of religious identity?” Here is a call to arms to aid the helpless brothers and sisters and children “buried under the rubble of their demolished homes with American weapons.” How can an “Authority” stop this insane drive to destruction?
If the primary causes of this prolonged and agonizing crisis are to be addressed, the nations of the world through the UN must step in and assert control. This effort must begin with all the nations of the world in the General Assembly, then to France and China with the support of the EU and the Arab states in the Security Council. The United States must be removed from the process as a principal because it lacks credibility as a disinterested party. Additionally, the United States is currently under the control of a few men who have hijacked its democracy. They seek nothing less than universal control of the world that will be governed according to the dictates of this “cabal.” They have no desire to bring an end to their “age of endless war.” The means to accomplish this goal resides in “The National Security Strategy Policy Report,” the guiding foreign policy document of the Bush administration. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority, acting on behalf of the Palestinian people, must also be removed as parties responsible for bringing about a solution because both have defied UN resolutions and both have and continue to demonstrate no desire to relinquish their destructive ends toward each other.
Only the principal power that brought the crisis to a head, then subsequently removed itself from engagement in the area, can alleviate the causes that have devastated so many lives and threaten the continued destruction of many more. Only the UN is in a position to bring stability to this area of the world and bring the “peace that passeth understanding” to those who worship the one god who, in their mythical stories, gives meaning to this land. Only the UN can prevent the powerful and divisive special interests from selfishly devastating a land so vital to all nations and to all peoples.
William Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His new book, Psalms for the 21st Century, was just published by Mellen Press. He can be reached at: cookb@ULV.EDU