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Bloody Sunday. Bloody Palestine.

On the day that Israel announced the appointment of “hard-liner” Shaul Mofaz as its new Defense Minister, I went to the movies to see the new flick, “Bloody Sunday.” It recreated an episode in Irish history, where the British took a “hard-line” against Irish Catholics with deadly consequences. For some reason, Tel Aviv thought it was a good idea to brag about Mofaz, a former Army chief of staff, as being a “hard-liner.”

What does “hard-liner” mean within the context of Israeli politics? Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, I’m sure, is a “hard-liner.” He has plenty of Arab victims to prove it, too, going back to his massacre of villagers at Qibya, in 1953. Is Mofaz to his political Right? Now, that is a scary thought! Is Mofaz to the Right of Genghis Khan? How do we measure this? Tel Aviv owes us an explanation. I know it is out of character for anyone in this country to question the colonial politics of the “hard-liners” in Israel. That was true before 9/11, but today that it is no longer true. No alien based entity, like Israel, has a right, because of its relationship with us, to place our Republic in harm’s way. If it does, then it does so at the risk of that relationship coming to an end, along with the cash cow that has provided $10 billion per year to Israel since fiscal 1997, according to Tom Maltaner (Source, ). The American people have their limits.

As for the “hard-liner” Sharon, he bombed Beirut, in 1982, for 70 straight days, killing 19,000 Arabs. He also has the Saber and Shatilla carnage on his resume. Unfortunately, none of this stopped the Israelis from electing him as their prime minister, or Israel’s “Amen Chorus” in this country from giving him their rabid support.

Question: Are the Israelis suggesting that Mofaz is a bigger “hard-liner” than Sharon?

If so, pity the Palestinians in the occupied territories. They can expect more state-sponsored terrorism, more deportations, more torture, and more extra judicial assassinations. And, America, too, had better wake up!

We have enough enemies now in the Arab World, thanks to our unconditional support of Israel and our insulting anti-Islamic foreign policy. Mofaz, if he repeats the strong arm tactics that he demonstrated over the last two years against the Palestinians, can only set up the U.S. for another 9/11-like assault.

For the historical record, I object to these land grabbing Likudnik fundamentalists, and their “hard-liner” military protectors, putting my country at risk. In fact, Scott McConnell, in “The American Conservative,” Nov. 4, 2002 issue, underscored my point about the Israelis making us more enemies.

He said “Sharon is not America’s friend in the Middle East, but one of our country’s most severe diplomatic liabilities. As the beneficiary of Washington’s lavish military and financial support, Sharon has become a prime purveyor of anti-American sentiment in the Mideast and the wider world, a fat advertisement for all that is short-sighted and fundamentally unbalanced about America’s policy.”

Now, Tel Aviv wants to add Mofaz to the lethal colonial mix! Which brings me back to the film about the Irish.

“Bloody Sunday” is done in a captivating documentary style. It showed what happened in British-occupied Derry, in the north of Ireland, on January 30, 1972. The Irish had decided to protest the internment without trial policies of the London regime and to also demand an end to the Protestant dominated state. They patterned their “Civil Rights Movement,” after the drive for justice led by Martin Luther King Jr., in this country in the 60s.

Well, the arrogant Brits, like the imperialist Israelis, have never been much for paying attention to a colony’s evolving sense of justice. The unarmed Irish marchers, fourteen of them, were gunned down by British paratroopers. The Coroner, Hubert O’Neill, labeled it, “Sheer unadulterated murder.”

The Irish Civil Rights Movement also went down for the count on that fateful day. Queen Elizabeth II saw fit, however, to put her black mark on the slaughter. She bestowed an “OBE” award on the military official, a “hard-liner,” responsible for the troops that caused the mayhem!

I had to wait until the Queen came to Baltimore on May 15, 1991, to to let her know about my feelings about “Bloody Sunday.” She attended a baseball game at the old Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street. When she was introduced to the crowd and the band struck up “God Save the Queen,” I stood up out in the right field bleachers, along with hundreds of other activists from the Peace and Justice Movement, and we turned our backs on the British monarch! It was the least we could do to remember the victims of Derry’s “Bloody Sunday.”

As an American appalled by Israel’s continuing oppression of the Palestinians, I don’t think I’m ever going to get an opportunity to tell Sharon personally what I think of him and his “hard-liner” policies. I can’t imagine him going to a baseball game. He’s more of a blood and guts kind of guy. His guts and the Palestinians’ blood!

And, I suspect by the time Sharon and his hatchet man, Mofaz, get done bludgeoning the Palestinians into submission and/or mass dispersal, (Tel Aviv’s final solution?), that America again will become a bloody victim of terrorism. And the right to dissent, long one of our ancient liberties, will also be fading fast from our society, egged on by the ideologues of the John Ashcroft Brigade.

All of this, no doubt, will be directly connected to the policies of our “hard-liner” friends in Tel Aviv! The so-called, “Only Democracy in the Mideast.” Sure!

WILLIAM HUGHES is the author of Baltimore Iconoclast. He can be reached at liamhughes@mindspring.com. (C) WILLIAM HUGHES 2002

 

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