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I Wish My People Would Learn

by BOUTHAINA SHAABAN

When Israel assassinated Mahmoud al-Mabhooh in Dubai, it was revealed that intelligence agencies from about fifteen countries collaborated with it in providing Israeli death squads with fake passports and crossing points in their airports.  Nevertheless, after the assassination, Western media focused on the information that the passports were fake in order to cover the assassination itself and their intelligence collaboration in committing the crime.  The crime was against Arabs and, as usual, its perpetrators will not be brought to account.  It was not the first, nor will it be the last.  This collaboration has actually encouraged Israel for over sixty years to carry out assassinations and massacres against unarmed civilians in Palestine and Lebanon.

Today, they invent the story of the Scud missiles in order to undermine the region’s stability and give cover to Netanyahu’s intransigence and his utter rejection of peace with the Arabs.  When it became clear that the story is ridiculous, Barak met with his allies in Washington to launch a political media campaign saying “Hezbollah is being provided with weapons; and these weapons undermine the region’s stability”.  This time, and suddenly, Secretary of State Clinton and Under Secretary Feltman discovered that all the mass destruction weapons possessed by Israel and its air-force supremacy do not threaten the “security and stability in our region”; only those alleged weapons do.

Senior US officials hasten to “threaten Syria and Lebanon” based on accusations made in the media and which do not have any credibility.  In this case only, clarity of expression becomes a yielding instrument, when the Secretary of State condemns “the transfer of weapons” with the strongest possible language”, and considers this imagined act “provocative, threatening to the region’s stability and will not be accepted by the United States or the international community”.  She considers it a violation of resolution 1701 which bans “unofficial importation of any kind of weapons to Lebanon”, while all the Israeli violations of the fourth Geneva convention and of all Security Council resolutions, including 242, 338 and also 1701, together with all the weapons imported by Israel go completely unnoticed by Clinton.  US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates hastened to repeat the litany that Iran and Syria undermine the stability of the region by arming Hezbollah with Scud missiles.

Israel still imposes a land, sea and air blockade, which is against all international laws, legitimacy and human rights, against one and a half million Palestinians because they are Arabs.  Europe and the United States keep silence about the blockade simply because the blockaded are Arabs.  Just imagine the blockade being imposed by the Arabs against the Israelis.  What would Clinton’s and Feltman’s position be?

I wish my people would learn from the organizers of the Freedom Fleet which will sail from Turkey on May 24 to break the Israeli blockade.  Organizations from Turkey, Malaysia, Sweden and Greece will send ships carrying goods and educational and medical supplies and ships carrying at least 600 people. Where are the Arabs in this effort?  What are Arab businessmen doing to support their brethren in Gaza?

Some Arabs lost their international status and their regional role when they abandoned their people and the dignity and rights of their Arab nation.  They should take note because the West, which believes in solidarity, does not respect those who deal with their brothers on the basis of division and fragmentation.

The West is right in considering those who act against their people not trustworthy.  That is why those who imagine they are the West’s friends live an illusion.  The West cares only about itself and about its interests.  So, why do not the Arabs befriend themselves and be true to their interests?  I wish my people would learn how to unify their ranks even from their enemies.

BOUTHAINA SHAABAN is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through nizar_kabibo@yahoo.com

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Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through nizar_kabibo@yahoo.com

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