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The Israeli Envoy's Trip - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As president Bush was getting ready to his trip to the Middle East the Israeli forces were preventing the Palestinian negotiator from crossing to the West Bank, as he had afterward to go and meet with Tzipi Livni to discuss the way to move forward with negotiations. In the mean time the right wingers in Israel were putting up posters in the streets of Israel of Bush, Olmert and Perez, wearing the Palestinian Kofiah (head cover) with the caption “accomplices of Terror”; it is self-evident here that the Kofiah is displayed as a symbol of terror, which means that all Palestinian people are stigmatized as terrorists to justify killing them and cleansing them. Once Bush was received as a grand emperor in Israel, he was then handed a list of idioms and phrases which he has to announce to the press in order to prove that he supports Israel and its security.

First among such idioms is that Israel is a Jewish democratic state; hence racism and apartheid against all other ethnicities and followers of religions, including the indigenous people of Palestine, do not contradict the spirit of democracy which Bush recognizes. The other important concept dictated to Bush is the stand against “illegal” outposts’ but not to mention at all the settlements which are considered legal by occupation forces. The irony here is that it is the occupation who decides which is legal and which is not legal in total negligence of the fact that this occupation is illegal in its entirety. The third concept is that Bush will acknowledge that any future agreement should be based on “facts on the ground” regardless what occupying Israeli forces have done of confiscating Palestinian land, destroying their fields and way of life. Hence, buying time through failed peace efforts aims at changing the reality by violent means and then acknowledging this reality as de facto and unchangeable.

What was totally absent from the agenda of President Bush is the crimes perpetrated by the Israelis against the Palestinians and the daily killings of Palestinian men, women and children. Hence, the aim of this visit is not only to urge the Arabs against Iran but also to ignore the rights of the Arabs and the dignity of the Arabs and present Israeli occupation of Arab territories as a legal and final state with only few illegal “outposts” which could be removed.

The other flip of this image of Israel as democratic, legal state is that those who are resisting occupation are accused of violence and terrorism. In light of this obvious partnership between President Bush and Israel I wonder how some of the Arab could speak about friendship with the U.S or alliance with the U.S.

The Right wing Sanherdin also sent a letter to Bush asking him to declare that Israel belongs to Jews and to urge American Jews to leave to Israel. Israelis are also asking President Bush to urge “the Palestinian Authority president to implement his responsibilities under the road map, such as eliminating the infrastructure of terrorism”. Bush responded by saying that the first thing he would ask Abbas is “what are you going to do about the rockets”. To support this way of thinking, the Herald Tribune has published a huge article with a picture about the suffering of the people of Sederot from Palestinian Rockets “Israeli town reels under rocket fire” (HT, Jan.9). But the paper did not hear of 160 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli occupying forces since Annapolis. The Israelis also considered the “Right of Return” for the Palestinians as code for Israel’s destruction. This is because the Israelis have used the right of the Jews to return as the core means to destroy the Palestinians. The Israelis add: “Abbas must tell his people the truth: a Palestinian state requires giving up the dream of Greater Palestine, making peace with the Jewish democracy of Israel, and building a state alongside it in most of the West bank and Gaza”. (The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 9, 2008).

Hence, the aim of the visit of President Bush is to normalize occupation and to negate the rights of resistance of people under occupation and to call upon the Arabs and the world to accept the reality on the ground. What is interesting was that while I was reading about all these Israeli demands from Bush I read an article by James Carroll in the Herald Tribune in which he spoke about the suffering of black people in America and injustices inflicted on them and commented that: “African-Americans have not been Passive victims of this heinous tradition. Blacks led the resistance to it, culminating in the triumphs of the civil rights movement preparing the way for leaders like Obama” (HT. Jan. 8, 2008). Neither the visit of President Bush, nor the Israeli misleading terminology can undermine the rights of the Palestinian and the Arab people to resist occupation until they secure their freedom, independence and integrity.

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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