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It is quite astonishing that the first European-Mediterranean Summit concluded with rejecting peoples” right to resist occupation and with an unprecedented bias towards Israel. The British &#34highjacked the code on combating terrorism and refused to recognise the right to resist occupation in the final draft.&#34 In short, the whole story is one of exaggerating the campaign of combating terrorism in order to deny the right to resisting occupation. The beneficiary is not very hard to recognize, when Israel is the main occupier of Arab lands. Instead, a European strategy for combating &#34terrorism inciters&#34 and censoring imams and extremist websites was announced. At the same time, the United Nation failed in drafting an international treaty on combating terrorism. The failure was due to the insistence of some parties on denying Arab”s right to resisting occupation in Palestine, the Golan Heights and the Shabaa Farms.

After the Barcelona Code, President Bush, in his latest speech, emphasized that he will not settle for less than complete victory in Iraq. This will be achieved only when terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten democracy. Of course, Bush didn”t mention that the American secret prison will continue to accommodate more Muslim youths until he makes sure no terrorists are left amidst the billion Muslims on the planet. In the meantime, the Israeli government reaffirms that it will not withdraw to the lines of 1967, that the apartheid wall will demarcate the future borders of the &#34temporary&#34 Palestinian state, and that there is no peace partner in the Arab world. The latter statement is surprising when 22 Arab states have documented commitment to peace with Israel as soon as it withdraws to the lines of 1967. Meanwhile, the European Union, conveniently, and with Italy”s request, decides to delay reviewing the British Foreign Office”s document accusing Israel of subverting the Arab identity of East Jerusalem through constructing illegal Israeli settlements, to prevent it becoming the capital of a future Palestinian state.

With these events and documents in the background, one can only wonder what &#34combating terrorism&#34 and its strategies are. More important for Arabs especially is to investigate how those strategies have become interrelated with their right to resistance in the occupied Palestinian lands, the Golan Heights and the Shabaa Farms.

They need to ask why their right to independence has all of a sudden been postponed until Bush has accomplished complete victory on terrorism. The United States should not run away from terrorists, as President Bush has said. The United States, however, should not be increasing space for terrorism through occupation, discrimination, looting, and violation of civilian rights. As for those who count on speeches and documents, it might be worth remembering that resistance is neither instigated, nor ended, by speeches and documents.

By all standards, terrorism should be eradicated. However, it should first be defined, distinguished from legitimate resistance, and separated from religion and ethnicity. Then, we should all cooperate in combating terrorism. To succeed, we need to consider facts. It is quite telling that the British Muslim youths have expressed their determination to combat terrorism, while at the same time stood critical of the British policies in combating terrorism. It is also telling that, statistically, in advanced countries, the number of deaths resulting from traffic accidents is 400 times the number of those resulting from international terrorism.

Fighting terrorists until complete victory is like battling the number of road accidents until there are no more. It is due time that the current strategies for combating terrorism are reconsidered. Politicizing the strategies of combating terrorism to disfavor a certain nation, religion or race is self-defeating to those very strategies. Documents and terminologies based on erroneous perceptions neither change facts nor improve reality.

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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