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A Shared Vision between Rice and Peretz: Total Darkness - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Every time, we in the Middle East, listen to the statements of Bush, Rice and Cheney and their “initiatives to make peace in the Middle East” we feel the desire to laugh and cry at the same time; to laugh because the top echelon of the only superpower in the world do not have any real knowledge of the issues they are addressing and a desire to cry because their decisions are having the most catastrophic consequences on millions of innocent and helpless people in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan, not to mention Afghanistan, of course. They seem to be exactly like Amir Peretz, the Israeli war minister who was supposedly following the military maneuvers on the Syrian Golan without taking the lids of his vernaculars off, yet he was shaking his head as if he was seeing something while all what he could see was darkness. The sight of Amir Peretz was truly telling not only of the arrogant and ignorant Israeli stand but also of the American attitude that is blindly following the Israeli dark vision and causing unnecessary and illegitimate horrid wars against the Arab people.

Condoleezza Rice’s last visit to the region was a total failure. She, who is coming to make peace, found the Mecca agreement which stopped Palestinian fighting, a troubling element, because what she pursues with the Palestinians is not peace but complete surrender to Olmert’s conditions. She, then, substituted her diplomatic endeavors by an unprecedented intelligence activity when she met in Amman with intelligence directors from four Arab countries which left everyone in the region in flabbergasted. Rice briefed the accompanying journalists by saying: “I do not want others to stand on the side of the road and say the U.S. has to complete the Road Map. These countries have obligations too and what I am going to say to the Arabs is that you have to play a role in order to complete the Road Map”. And the question is which road and which Map and who are the Arabs who should play a role in this? Does Rice mean the Map of the two states as they were identified in Security Resolution 181, or she means the road to the apartheid wall that grabs more Palestinian land by the day, or she means the road that has brought the Palestinian people to a state of starvation due to the international blockage against them which Rice promotes!

The question is did Rice read the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council about the Palestinians which was published on Jan. 29, 2007 and which states that Palestinian people are subjected to collective punishment in stark violation of Geneva Fourth agreement of August 12, 1949 and that the Israeli use of force against armless civilians and their daily killings of Palestinian children are war crimes? The report says that since 2000 the Israelis killed 500 Palestinians in targeted killings, most of whom are civilians, and the Israeli policies towards the Palestinians are akin to the apartheid policies which were used against black South Africans. Yet what Rice wants from the Arabs is to pressure the Palestinians to acknowledge the right of Israel and the security of Israel, but what about the rights of the Palestinians to live on their own land and their rights to be secure away from Israeli killing machine that chases them everywhere?

The real obstacle on the road to peace and security in Palestine is the Israeli occupation of Arab territories and the real obstacle on the road to peace and security in Iraq is the American occupation of Iraq, and what is most desperately needed in both cases is for Rice to take off the lids of her vernacular rather than to gaze into darkness pretending that she sees something and knows what she is doing. The result of American policy in our region has resulted in the displacement of 4 million Palestinians and 9 million Iraqis, isn’t that enough for the American administration to realize that they look and act in complete darkness?

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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