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Why Do They Hate Us? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The report of the UN secretary General, Ban Ki Moon caused a shock to all those concerned about justice and human rights. In his report to the UN General Assembly of February 5, 2010 on the Israeli war on Gaza, he says: “No determination can be made on the implementation of resolution 64/10 by the parties concerned,” pointing out that he has “called upon all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the Gaza conflict.” The Secretary General does not live on the moon, of course; and, unlike American officials, he visited Gaza and saw for himself the hundreds of homes and schools, some of which are UN schools, shelled by the missiles and phosphoric bombs fired by Israeli warplanes.

TV screens all over the world had shown the dead bodies of children, women and unarmed civilians killed by Israeli bombs. He saw for himself the smoke of white phosphor in the sky over Gaza. In order to ascertain himself of the credibility of the Palestinian narrative, he only has to look at the disabled people who lost their limbs, eyes and members of their families. Putting the Israelis and the Palestinians in the same category implies a great deal of injustice; and ignoring the tragic conditions imposed on the Palestinians for sixty years as a result of occupation and blockade is an injustice and a shame that will haunt those who committed it and those who condone it.

Although human life is sacred and must not be subject to the litany of figures, it might be useful to remind Western politicians who ask idiotically “Why do they hate us?” that Gaza was destroyed a year ago, not by earthquake as in Haiti, but by a war launched by Israel that killed over 1,400 Palestinian civilians and wounded over 8,000 other civilians, most of them seriously. The war destroyed the infrastructure; agricultural land was flooded by sewage water; and Israel continues to use collective punishment and blockade on over 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza where over 300 civilians have died as a result of the blockade. Still, Western officials ignore this horrible tragedy. The same is done by the UN Secretary General, who is supposed to represent international conscience. He equates Israeli generals with their unarmed civilian victims. He and Western officials ignore the testimony of Israeli soldiers who revealed that they were ordered not take any account of the life of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli organization “Breaking the Silence” has revealed new facts about Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza. So, why this cover up of the crimes of those generals and why equating criminals with their victims by politicians and journalists who repeat the question: “Why do they hate us?”

Ban Ki Moon’s report, which reveals the international community’s failure to condemn war criminals if they were not Muslim or African, came days after President Obama made the State of the Union address, in which he ignored the Middle East completely.

The fact is that hundreds of millions of Muslims all over the world have been watching for decades the behavior of Western leaders towards tragedies caused by their policies, particularly their support for the Israeli occupation, settlement and blockade. They see that international institutions dominated by the West do not care about the killing and displacement of their brothers and sisters and depriving them of freedom and human rights. If anyone makes a move to insure that justice takes its course, the American veto is there to thwart this effort. After all this, Western politicians still ask: “Why do they hate us?”

Even news of what is happening to Arabs and Muslims in terms of injustice, imprisonment, starvation and torture have been prevented from reaching international conscience. Here is the United States, which boasts about the freedom of the press, banning satellite TV stations en mass if they try to uncover the depth of the human suffering of a people under occupation, while the occupiers enjoy unprecedented international immunity. They commit war crimes, and no one has the right to demand that they should be deterred and punished, as if the lives of Arabs and Muslims are not equal to the lives of other humans in Western standards.

This ignoring of human suffering as a result of occupation, injustice and oppression increases the indignation against this wide gap between this painful reality and the double standards of the powers which control international media and politics.

The enquiry involving Tony Blair shows the fragility of the logic which turns the lives of millions into a daily tragedy. But if Tony Blair, like the Prime Minister who did not notice the racial segregation wall which is destroying the life of the Palestinians, because he does not care about them, cannot see the millions of orphans, widows and handicapped produced by the war on Iraq, how is he supposed to regret supporting that disastrous war on the whole Iraqi people? Such trials have no significance and are no longer able to polish the image of Western democracy which has revealed its reality through its stances regarding the events in the Middle East.

Violence is the result of using unjust force instead of trying to achieve justice in Palestine. And whether Western politicians understand that or not, Palestine, the cradle of Jesus Christ, is the bleeding wound which will never be healed until the United States, Europe and international bodies take a just position which restores to the Palestinians their freedom, rights and dignity. These countries and bodies, by funding and arming Israel, are responsible for depriving the Palestinians of their freedom and human rights; and when they grant immunity to its war criminals, they become accomplices in Israeli wars and blockades. When the American administration, and with it Europe and the highest international body, ignore atrocious documented war crimes committed by the occupation forces, only because the war criminals are Israeli, and turn a blind eye to the cruelest forms of suffering imposed on a whole people, only because they are Muslim, there will always be Jews, Christians and Muslims in America, Europe and even in Israel who will support the oppressed against their oppressors.

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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