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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 19, 2003

Arab purple prose

As obscene (seen) in the Lebanon Daily Star

Act now to save Palestinians from ethnic cleansing

An ugly process is in full swing in the corridors of Israeli officialdom, one whose cynical goal is to concoct yet another “existential threat” to the Jewish state in order to cover up a criminal enterprise of epic proportions: the mass deportation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. The project launched in 1948 and extended in 1967 is never very far from the minds of Israeli zealots and their accomplices in the United States, and they no doubt see a confluence of circumstances in play that might allow them to at last complete their dream of ethnic cleansing.

The disintegration of the Oslo Accords and the resulting Palestinian uprising against occupation, combined with predictably lopsided media coverage, had already served to rekindle anti-Arab sentiment in the United States, especially given the policies of a president beholden to radically pro-Zionist elements of the fundamentalist “Christian Right.”

Then came Sept. 11, when Osama bin Laden and his cohorts did more damage to Arab and Muslim interests in a single day than Ariel Sharon has in a lifetime: Their revolting actions removed whatever sympathy remained ­ either in Washington or on “Main Street, USA” ­ for any of our peoples and painted us all as terrorists.

Now George W. Bush’s administration is determined to make war on Iraq, and the die-hard racists who make up an increasing portion of the Israeli government sense a unique opportunity to “transfer” the Palestinians while attention is focused elsewhere. The potential pretexts are many, and Israel’s carefully crafted image as an underdog in American culture is being exploited to gather support for the coming outrage.

A quick scan of news reports emanating from the Jewish state on any given day reveals unmistakable signals that Israeli officials are already engaged in laying the groundwork for the justification of their evil scheme. On Wednesday, for example, an Agence France Presse dispatch explained that popular support for ethnic cleansing is on the rise among ordinary Israelis. In addition, The Associated Press reported the “fear” of Israeli security officers that a US war against Iraq would result in the Jewish state coming under attack by: 1. the Iraqis; 2. the Palestinians; 3. its own Arab citizens; 4. Hizbullah; and 5. the Syrians. (Sounds right to me but why the quotation marks on fear.) Finally, in case anyone had any doubts that Israel is actively seeking greater tensions as a prelude to deportation, another AP story carried the news that Infrastructure Minister Effie Eitam had banned Palestinians from drilling for water in the West Bank. It is no coincidence that Eitam, who represents the neo-fascist National Religious Party, is the Israeli Cabinet’s most outspoken proponent of ethnic cleansing.

The formula is being implemented. The Israelis have successfully sold Washington on the self-evidently false proposition that America’s “war on terror” and Israel’s on Palestinian civilians are one and the same. They have spent months intensifying their usual propaganda about being besieged by hostile forces who want to exterminate them. And just to make sure that an appropriate level of frustration is reached, they have accelerated the sowing of deliberate provocations.

Rightly or wrongly, the Arab world has resigned itself to the extreme likelihood that the United States will soon invade Iraq. Many Western countries are still hopeful that they can convince Washington to at least keep its options open, but the Arabs’ understanding of “face” might in this instance give them a more accurate perception of the US position. Having staked their reputations on the notion that Iraq poses a mortal danger to America and its allies, Bush and his more hawkish advisers have painted themselves into a corner from which they cannot easily exit without appearing to have backed down. (I think so too)
Arab regimes can and should pressure Baghdad to unreservedly comply with any resolution the Americans can get through the UN Security Council, but Saddam Hussein is even less amenable to logic and reason than Bush is. The real challenge is to contain the conflict by sounding the alarm about Israel’s latest blueprint for barbarity.

Heading off the looming disaster will not be easy. Arab rulers have been mixing legitimate complaints with preposterous conspiracy theories for decades, so accusing them of “crying wolf” is a simple matter. The only way for the Arab world to acquire credibility is to earn it by abandoning the failed ways of the past and present in favor of sober diplomacy and realistic strategy. There is nothing to be gained, for instance, by making even heavily veiled threats to attack Israel as a means of deterring deportation: Washington has seen to it that no combination of Arab countries can defeat or even seriously bother the Jewish state militarily, and any Arab action or statement that can be likened to warmongering would only bolster Israeli claims to “victim” status.

The ugly, evil Jews are at it again with their diabolical plan, criminal enterprise and cynical scheme to protect themselves.

Don't know whether to laugh of cry.