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Palestinians ask Bush, Why should we be happy?

by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Wafa Amr Thursday, Apr. 15, 2004 at 12:27 PM

"This U.S. administration is dealing with the world as if it's a Texan farm"

Bitter Palestinians lose hope at Bush's words
Reuters, April 14, 2004

GAZA -- Joyless Palestinians took bitter consolation from the prospect of ruling Gaza on Wednesday as the United States backed Israel's hold on chunks of West Bank land. Marking a historic U.S. policy shift, President George W. Bush implicitly recognised Israel's claim to some West Bank settlements and crushed the faint hope of Palestinian refugees that they might someday return to homes fled decades ago.

Even in Gaza, there was no celebration that the world's most powerful country also endorsed an Israeli plan to pull out troops and Jewish settlers from the desert strip. "Why should we be happy when they gave us Gaza and swallowed the West Bank," said Ali Khalil at a Gaza City cafe.

"When they cancel our right of return and abort the dream of a Palestinian state, why should we be happy?" Some cried, some just stared empty-faced at televisions beaming Bush's words from the White House as he stood beside Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Palestinians said they had not felt such loss of hope since the start of an uprising in 2000 when talks foundered on setting up an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza -- territories seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. "Sharon killed people's dream of a state," said 72-year-old Amenah Abu Sharekh.

"It was another Nakba," she said, referring to what Palestinians call the "catastrophe" of Israel's founding and the exodus of 700,000 Palestinian refugees during the 1948 war.

Sharekh -- like many of Gaza's residents or their forebears -- fled during the fighting. Some Palestinians compared Bush's words to the 1917 declaration of British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, which promised Jews a national home in Palestine and led to Israel's creation.

Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's security adviser Jibril al-Rajoub said the United States would reap only hostility from the Middle East as a result. "This U.S. administration is dealing with the world as if it's a Texan farm," he said in the West Bank.

Militants sworn to destroy Israel vowed to step up their war. But few Palestinians could offer new ideas for how they could challenge Israel with such firm backing from the United States.

In Gaza, Sharekh said she still guarded her dream. "We will return from where we were forced to flee," she cried, surrounded by 11 grandchildren. "The Jews will go and we will return."
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 9 posted about this article.
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There is no such ting as "the Palestinian People" Barney Thursday, Apr. 15, 2004 at 4:01 PM
Good Work, Barney Walker, Texas Plumber Thursday, Apr. 15, 2004 at 4:16 PM
Barney & Walker, Texas Plumber Ariel Sharon Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 at 4:03 AM
The "Palestinian Cause" is a con Barney Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 at 10:26 AM
Note to the 'fake' Sharon Walker, Texas Plumber Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 at 12:12 PM
Note to Walker (KOBE HQ) anti-kobe Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 at 2:46 PM
English lesson for the remedial group Walker, Texas Plumber Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 at 7:28 PM
^ ISI Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2004 at 4:14 AM
Walker, Texas Plumber Maxwell Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2004 at 9:25 AM

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