to impose it on you, but it is necessary.
----- Original Message -----
*From:* World View <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
*To:* email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
*Sent:* Saturday, December 08, 2007 11:43 AM
*Subject:* [wvns] Of Arabs at Annapolis
How is it possible that Arab men who command the greatest natural
resource ever known to man manage to be utterly powerless to stop the
wholesale robbery and rape of Palestine or Iraq?
Of Arabs at Annapolis
by Susan Abualhawa
Friday, 07 December 2007 19:28
Annapolis was hoopla, smoke and mirrors, much ado about nothing, a
hoe-down of politically bankrupt men trying to garner popularity among
their respective constituencies.
It seems that George Bush and Ehud Olmert have figured out how to join
the ranks of those who exploit the Palestinian tragedy and suffering
to further their political ends without actually doing anything to
alleviate that tragedy. For all the ruckus, speeches, leaders and
dignitaries, what came out of Annapolis was yet another meaningless
statement, this time (drum roll, please) Israelis and Palestinians
agreed to agree on something by 2008.
And yet...I wish the absurdity of it were truly so benign as a
hullabaloo. If you were paying attention, you'd have heard the menace
of ethnic cleansing and seen the malignancy of cowardice.
Israel into doing anything it doesn't like. Plainly, the United
States, the country that gives Israel $14,346 for every woman man and
child in Israel, will not insist that Israel withdraw from the West
Bank, which it has been occupying illegally since 1967. It will not
insist that Israel stop detaining and torturing Palestinian men, women
and children, leaving them to languish for years without charge or
trial. The US, a country founded on the principle that all men are
created equal, will not insist that Israel provide full rights under
the law for non-Jews equal to that it accords for Jews. The US will
continue to give Israel more money and weapons that it has ever given
to any country and we will not even insist that Israel comply with one
single UN Resolution (out of over 200 resolutions censuring Israel) or
the Geneva Conventions, or any other tenet of international law. We
will not require, in concurrence with our own laws, that this
recipient of massive foreign aid do something to correct its abysmal
human rights record. We will, however, in 2008, issue the first
installment of a brand-spanking-new $30 billion aid package to Israel.
On to Ehud Olmert, who made it clear that Israel will only hold
"bilateral negotiations" with Palestinians – no third parties allowed.
Plainly, again: Palestinians can turn blue in the face and die, but
they will still be denied their natural right as natives of that land
to return to the homes from which they were forcibly expelled for the
high crime of not being Jewish. Their resources, particularly water,
will of course, always be controlled by Israel. Similarly, all
borders, hence all movement and every aspect of their economy, will be
controlled by Israel. Other basic human rights, for which Palestinians
are required to "negotiate" include the right to education, the right
to move freely in one's own country, the right to pray in their holy
places, the right to live and thrive in Jerusalem as they have for all
of time, the right to life, the right to live without snipers situated
all around you and checkpoints everywhere you go, the right to get to
a hospital when you're having a baby or when your father is having a
heart attack, the right not to be beaten arbitrarily, the right not to
be humiliated because you aren't Jewish, the right not to have your
family's farm confiscated because Jews from New York want to come over
and play cowboy with state issued Uzis, the right to visit your
grandparent's graves, the right to play. You name any inherent right,
Palestinians are required to negotiate with their oppressors to have it.
I suppose this is nature of imperialism, and how cruelly it operates
when good people do nothing to stand in its way. It's a bitter truth,
but I get it. No one really expected Bush or Olmert to care whether
Palestinians live or die. Israel's primary aim has always been clear:
Palestine without Palestinians.
What I don't understand, however, is what were all of those Arab
leaders doing participating in that charade in Annapolis? I don't
remember what Abu Mazen said. I don't care. Turning on his brothers
said more than I wanted to hear. What was going through their heads in
Annapolis, knowing that, in the meantime, Israel has cut off food,
medicine, and fuel to 1.5 million human beings trapped in the open
prison that is Gaza? Children as young as five years old in Gaza are
forced to leave school and work 10 back-breaking hours a day to bring
two shekels ($0.26) home, which now has no electricity, no clean
water, no food, no fuel, no joy, and is constantly under the threat of
sonic planes that fly from Israel to break the sound barrier over
them, terrorizing everyone on the ground; making women miscarry and
small children so traumatized that they become brain damaged. What
gives Israel the right to do this? To starve 1.5 million Palestinians,
half of whom are children? How do Abu Mazen and other Arab leaders
turn their backs on our tortured brothers and sisters to shake the
very hands that drip with Palestinian and Iraqi blood? What are we to
make of that? What are Gazans to make of it?
Palestinians in Gaza are dying like dogs, of hunger and lack of
medicine. This is not happening because a tsunami hit their shores, or
because a drought has created famine, or because a tornado has
destroyed all infrastructure of civil society. This humanitarian
catastrophe, for which the UN and human rights organization around the
world have condemned Israel, is man-made. Our countrymen are being
intentionally starved! Or, as Dov Weisglass joked, "[Israel's] idea
is to put Palestinians on a diet."
Nor is Hamas innocent. They have put pride and power above the welfare
of their people. And so, Gazans go hungry, cold, and sick. Fishermen
are not allowed to fish. The sick cannot leave for medical treatment.
There are no antibiotics, vitamins, or vaccines in hospitals. Students
cannot leave for university. There is no work. No industry is
functional. Classrooms are as empty as the bellies of the children who
should be occupying them. Israel is cutting off electricity to Gaza
and so they live in darkness.
Is there no mercy for 1.5 million besieged souls? Have we not one
Arab leader with the courage to put a stop to this genocide? Not one
leader with courage enough to intervene in the internecine fighting
between Fateh and Hamas? To demand that the democratically elected
representatives of the Palestinian people be included in any summit or
negotiations? How is it possible that Arab men who command the
greatest natural resource ever known to man manage to be utterly
powerless to stop the wholesale robbery and rape of Palestine or Iraq?
Is attending such a farce as Annapolis the best they can do?
-Susan abulhawa is the author of The Scar of David
(www.scarofdavid.com <http://www.scarofdavid.com>) and the founder of
Playgrounds for Palestine