The Palestinians

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

  “If you want peace, work for justice” (H. L. Mencken).

Recent events in the news have prompted me to return to the issue of the Palestinians who are fighting for their right to self-determination, right to peaceful coexistence, and the right to statehood — all of which have been denied them by the state of Israel. The Israelis are getting away with their shenanigans mostly because the United States is not keen on seeing to an independent Palestine. As well, the situation the Palestinians find themselves exposes the limitation of the United Nations, the duplicity and complicity of the White House, and the role and place of race and religion in international politics.

Historically, the Palestinians have been very unfortunate. For instance, they came up short in regards to the Balfour Declaration, and they also received nothing out of the Camp David Peace Accord. Moreover, they were short-changed during the era of the Ottoman and the British Empire; and they certainly got nothing out of the French and the Germans. And not even their Arab brothers have stood (steadfastly) by them. At every turn, the Palestinians have been betrayed; at every turn they’ve had their hopes and aspirations shattered. In recent years, the Palestinians have done practically everything the West, and especially the United States, have asked them to do in order to gain statehood — everything but sell their soul and their birthright. After all these years and in spite of their bending backward to accommodate the request of the West, their dream of an independent state remains elusive.

Year after year, the White House goes through this deceitful motion of pretending to want a Palestinian State. The duplicity is more apparent in the George Bush’ White House. The Israelis and the Palestinians have signed peace accords, peace agreements, peace notes, memorandum of understanding, and whatever hogwash name they (the Americans) come up with in Oslo, London, DC, and countless other places. The situation seems hopeless; but the truth is that America can bring about an independent Palestinian state if they so desire. But so far, they have refused; and instead they engaged in secret campaigns to smear the late Chairman Yassar Arafat — blaming him for the collapse of talks and progress.

In any case, if the Americans won’t bring about a Palestinian nation-state what about the Arab League? The Arab League has enough political leverage to force America and the West to do what is right. But so far, they haven’t. As far as I can tell, the Arab League has outgrown its usefulness. It is a tiger without claws; a leopard without its colors; and a lion without sprint. That organization is a joke. And in so many ways, it reminds me of the defunct Organization of African Unity which was a clog in the wheel of progress.

Why do we have the Arab League if it can’t help in fending off the Israelis against the Palestinians? The League should disband. And why not; after all, it has outgrown its usefulness — if it ever was useful!

The Palestinians were blamed for scuttling the peace process. They get blamed for everything. When the MOSSAD and or the Israeli Defense Force hunt down the Palestinians the White House does not see it as extra-judicial killings. No condolence message is ever issued by the President or the State Department. Yet, as soon as a Palestinian organization succeeds in harming an Israeli the White House, the American media and their proxies act as though the Palestinians have just exterminated the human race. Who sings eulogy to a dead Palestinian? Nobody! Who send condolences? Nobody! Who sends letters of support? Nobody! Are the Palestinians not humans? Is it because they are “brown” and mostly Muslims therefore they are less humans — humans whose lives are worth less than that of a Jew?

Do I consider some of the organizations in Palestine nationalistic in nature, scope and function? Yes, I do. For at the heart of the struggle in that ancient land is the desire and the determination of the Palestinians to rid their land of invaders, territorialists, and expansionists. Are some organizations in Palestine engaged in terrorism? Yes, they do and continue to do so since it is the only legitimate weapon — “weapon of the weak” — they have to rid their land of foreign invaders.

The Jews did the same thing against the British; the Vietnamese did the same against French and American aggression; the Algerians did the same against the French; the African National Congress did something similar against Apartheid South Africa. Why not the Palestinians? And in fact, in order to have a free America, the Americans threw out the British. Logically therefore, it is in the place of the Palestinians to throw out the Israelis from a land that is recognized by the UN, the EU and the AU as Palestinian land.

The Israelis have a right — legally and God-given — to peaceful coexistence, security, stability, prosperity and freedom in Israel. No one denies that. No one can ever deny that. But Palestine is not Israel and Israel is not Palestine.

I guess killing with Apache helicopters, gunship, armored vehicles, and other high-tech military weapons is better and humane compared to killing by self-strapped bombs.

I guess it is humane when you bulldoze peoples’ home and peoples’ shelter and their refuge. And this the Israelis have been doing for decades on end without America and the rest of the world bringing Israel to task. I guess if you are a friend and or a relative of the United States you can disregard sixty or more United Nations resolutions. You can develop the nuclear weapon. You can belittle the leader of another nation; and when you hold him prisoner — you come to the Oval Office for kosher tea and kosher muffins.

Logic and common sense dictate that when you have two warring parties, you invite both sides to the table to iron out the differences. You may invite them separately or together. But still, you invite both; and you do so without preconceived notions and prejudices. That’s not the American style, I suppose. President W. Bush’s White House snubbed the late Yassar Arafat but invited the former Israeli Prime Minster, Ariel Sharon, to the oval office over and over and over. At every opportunity the president blame the Palestinian Authority or cast aspersions on the integrity of Arafat; and legions of Israeli-sympathizers religiously went on the attack at every opportunity to demonize Arafat. Good lord, is that how to settle disputes? Sooner or later, the reign of every empire comes to an end, and the world will remember these abominable actions.

The Western world’s duplicity manifested itself again after the HAMAS (“The Islamic Resistance Movement” or “Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyya”) won the most recent elections in the Palestinian territory. The West, under the guidance of the United States wanted democracy, wanted elections. But after the HAMAS won, they cried foul. They cut off funding. They cut off “peace talks.” What’s the message here: that a people can not freely elect their own representatives? Or that if they do, it must be those the United States sanctioned? Is that democracy?

Robert Dahl, in Democracy and Its Critics, called for citizen’s participation, free and fair campaigns and elections, inclusive suffrage, freedom of association and expression and viable institutions. That’s what prevailed in the Palestinian territory. And HAMAS won. So, what’s the problem?

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