FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Exile at Gunpoint

 

I recently wrote a piece wherein I expressed my distaste for the political/military strategies of Yassir Arafat. My distaste centers primarily on what I perceive to be his reactionary (as opposed to revolutionary) nationalism. Having said this, however, I am appalled and angered by his treatment at the hands of the Israeli government. Indeed, I am still digesting what I just read on the news ticker that runs underneath whatever program I am currently working in on my computer here at work. Israel’s security Cabinet decides in principle to expel Yasser Arafat, but puts off taking immediate action,is the text of the message.

What kind of principle is that, I wonder, that demands the expulsion (or death) of a man who, despite his faults (real and imagined), represents the anti-colonial struggle of the Palestinian people? The most obvious answer to this rhetorical question would be: It’s the principle that says might makes right. After all, it is this principle that seems to be what guides Israel’s financial backer–the United States–in its endeavors around the world. So why shouldn’t it be good enough for the homicide bomber Ariel Sharon and his enablers?

In addition to the big time dollars it provides, the United States also lends the Tel Aviv government “moral”support. Of course, the morality of that support is based on the principle mentioned abovea principle based not on justice or peace, but on overwhelming strength and its accompanying brutal force. This brutal force, when used, provokes its hoped-for response: a murderous attack by a Palestinian guerrilla group somewhere often perpetrated on non-military women and children. Which, in turn, legitimizes the following attack by the Israeli military&ad infinitum.

Meanwhile, people die and the powers that currently run the world tighten their hold. Although Mr. Arafat has been isolated, besieged, exiled, and bombarded, he is still alive and still the nominal leader of the PLO, which is the organization founded over thirty years ago to organize the struggle of the Palestinians in their fight for a land of their own. If the Israelis succeed in expelling or killing him, they probably believe that they will have taken a major step forward in their realization of their dream of a greater Israel. Unfortunately, the likely result will be the opposite. The most recent Israel/US-approved candidate for prime minister will have a shorter term than the recently departed Mr. Abbas and the suicide bombers will become even more murderous.

Despite Arafat’s fluctuating support among the Palestinians as a leader, he does seem to represent their hopes. After all, he has been fighting for the cause for a long time. Although his time may have passed in terms of his ability to keep the various factions of the liberation movement under his control, his expulsion and/or death by the Israelis would surely be met with a wave of angry violence as yet unseen by the people in Israel and the Occupied Territories. In addition, it is unlikely that the violence would restrain itself solely to that region of the Middle East or the world.

Recently, Democrat Howard Dean said that the United States should not take sidesin the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if it wants to be perceived as a fair-minded broker. This is not a radical view, especially when you consider the source. However, this common-sense remark had barely been made before Joe Lieberman–a politician whose bloodlust at least equals that of Donald Rumsfeld, attacked it. Like Rummy, Lieberman acts as if there is no conflict between the haves and the have-nots in the world that can’t be solved by the force of American arms. His rabid support of Israel in its fight against the Palestinians, the Colombian military in its fight against much of Colombia’s poor, and the oil axisbattle for Iraq are all notches in the bloodstained belt that he wears so proudly. Like Rummy, he also likes to take that belt off every once in a while and use it on his opponents.

Lieberman was joined soon thereafter by a variety of Israel-right or wrongchorus members who said, to a man/woman, that the US can not compromise our support for Israel. Despite the deadly intransigence of this position, politicians from both parties line up behind it. Despite the fact that people like Dean are as pro-Israel as Lieberman and his supporters, the little crack that Deans statement of common sense might make in the policy that insists on the US government backing every mission made by the Israeli military into Gaza and the West Bank has brought down the wrath of those policymakers whose intolerance of the Palestinians borders on pathology. Indeed, by the end of last week, Mr. Dean was convinced that his moment of common sense has no place in a presidential campaign and he retracted his comment.

It is up to the Palestinians to decide when Mr. Arafat should leave his post. The United States and Israel have no legitimate say in the matter. Of course, this is why his exile, if it occurs, will be at the point of a gun and it’s effect will involve more carnage than any suicide bomber’s belt.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
Dean Baker
Fact-Checking the Fact-Checker on Medicare-for-All
Weekend Edition
August 10, 2018
Friday - Sunday
David Price
Militarizing Space: Starship Troopers, Same As It Ever Was
Andrew Levine
No Attack on Iran, Yet
Melvin Goodman
The CIA’s Double Standard Revisited
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The Grifter’s Lament
Aidan O'Brien
In Italy, There are 12,000 American Soldiers and 500,000 African Refugees: Connect the Dots 
Robert Fantina
Pity the Democrats and Republicans
Ishmael Reed
Am I More Nordic Than Members of the Alt Right?
Kristine Mattis
Dying of Consumption While Guzzling Snake Oil: a Realist’s Perspective on the Environmental Crisis
James Munson
The Upside of Defeat
Brian Cloughley
Pentagon Spending Funds the Politicians
Pavel Kozhevnikov
Cold War in the Sauna: Notes From a Russian American
Marilyn Garson
If the Gaza Blockade is Bad, Does That Make Hamas Good?
Sean Posey
Declinism Rising: An Interview with Morris Berman  
Jack Dresser
America’s Secret War on Yemen
Howard Lisnoff
The Use and Misuse of Charity: the Luck of the Draw in a Predatory System
Louis Proyect
In the Spirit of the Departed Munsees
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Alex Jones and Infowars
Mundher Al Adhami
On the Iraqi Protests, Now in Their Second Month 
Jeff Mackler
Nicaragua: Dynamics of an Interrupted Revolution
Robert Hunziker
Peter Wadhams, Professor Emeritus, Ocean Physics
David Macaray
Missouri Stands Tall on the Labor Front
Thomas Knapp
I Didn’t Join Facebook to “Feel Safe”
John Carroll Md
Are Haitian Doctors Burned Out?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail