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by Robert Fisk
Saturday, Apr. 17, 2004 at 1:23 PM
By endorsing Ariel Sharon's plan George Bush has legitimised terrorism.
What better recruiting sergeant could Bin Laden have than the President of the United States?
liars_thieves.jpg, image/jpeg, 409x294
So President George Bush tears up the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and
that's okay. Israeli settlements for Jews and Jews only on the West
Bank. That's okay. Taking land from Palestinians who have owned that
land for generations, that's okay. UN Security Council Resolution 242
says that land cannot be acquired by war. Forget it. That's okay.
Does President George Bush actually work for al-Qa'ida? What does this
mean? That George Bush cares more about his re-election than he does
about the Middle East? Or that George Bush is more frightened of the
Israeli lobby than he is of his own electorate. Fear not, it is the latter.
His language, his narrative, his discourse on history, has been such a
lie these past three weeks that I wonder why we bother to listen to his
boring press conferences. Ariel Sharon, the perpetrator of the Sabra and
Shatila massacre (1,700 Palestinian civilians dead) is a "man of peace"
- even though the official 1993 Israeli report on the massacre said he
was "personally responsible" for it. Now, Mr Bush is praising Mr
Sharon's plan to steal yet more Palestinian land as a "historic and
Heaven spare us all. Give up the puny illegal Jewish settlements in Gaza
and everything's okay: the theft of land by colonial settlers, the
denial of any right of return to Israel by those Palestinians who lived
there, that's okay. Mr Bush, who claimed he changed the Middle East by
invading Iraq, says he is now changing the world by invading Iraq! Okay!
Is there no one to cry "Stop! Enough!"?
Two nights ago, this most dangerous man, George Bush, talked about
"freedom in Iraq". Not "democracy" in Iraq. No, "democracy" was no
longer mentioned. "Democracy" was simply left out of the equation. Now
it was just "freedom" - freedom from Saddam rather than freedom to have
elections. And what is this "freedom" supposed to involve? One group of
American-appointed Iraqis will cede power to another group of
American-appointed Iraqis. That will be the "historic handover" of Iraqi
"sovereignty". Yes, I can well see why George Bush wants to witness a
"handover" of sovereignty. "Our boys" must be out of the firing line -
let the Iraqis be the sandbags.
Iraqi history is already being written. In revenge for the brutal
killing of four American mercenaries - for that is what they were - US
Marines carried out a massacre of hundreds of women and children and
guerillas in the Sunni Muslim city of Fallujah. The US military says
that the vast majority of the dead were militants. Untrue, say the
doctors. But the hundreds of dead, many of whom were indeed civilians,
were a shameful reflection on the rabble of American soldiery who
conducted these undisciplined attacks on Fallujah. Many Baghdadi Sunnis
say that in the "New Iraq" - the Iraqi version, not the Paul Bremer
version - Fallujah should be given the status of a new Iraqi capital.
Vast areas of the Palestinian West Bank will now become Israel, courtesy
of President Bush. Land which belongs to people other than Israelis must
now be stolen by Israelis because it is "unrealistic" to accept
otherwise. Is Mr Bush a thief? Is he a criminal? Can he be charged with
abetting a criminal act? Can Iraq now claim to Kuwait that it is
"unrealistic" that the Ottoman borders can be changed? Palestinian land
once included all of what is now Israel. It is not, apparently,
"realistic" to change this, even to two per cent?
Is Saddam Hussein to be re-bottled and put back in charge of Iraq on the
basis that his 1990 invasion of Kuwait was "realistic"? Or that his
invasion of Iran - when we helped him try to destroy Ayatollah
Khomeini's revolution - was "realistic" because he initially attacked
only the Arabic-speaking (and thus "Iraqi") parts of Iran?
Or, since President Bush now seems to be a history buff, are the Germans
to be given back Danzig or the Sudetenland? Or Austria? Or should we
perhaps recreate the colonial possessions of the past 100 years? Is it
not "realistic" that the French should retake Algeria - or part of
Algeria - on the basis that the people all speak French, on the basis
that this was once part of the French nation? Or should the British
retake Cyprus? Or Aden? Or Egypt? Shouldn't the French be allowed to
take back Lebanon and Syria? Why shouldn't the British re-take America
and boot out those pesky "terrorists" who oppose the rule of King
George's democracy well over 200 years ago?
Because this is what George Bush's lunacy and weakness can lead to. We
all have lands that "God" gave us. Didn't Queen Mary die with "Calais"
engraved on her heart? Doesn't Spain have a legitimate right to the
Netherlands? Or Sweden the right to Norway and Denmark? Every colonial
power, including Israel can put forward these preposterous demands.
What Bush has actually done is give way to the crazed world of Christian
Zionism. The fundamentalist Christians who support Israel's theft of the
West Bank on the grounds that the state of Israel must exist there
according to God's law until the second coming, believe that Jesus will
return to earth and the Israelis - for this is the Bush "Christian
Sundie" belief - will then have to convert to Christianity or die in the
battle of Amargeddon.
I kid thee not. This is the Christian fundamentalist belief, which even
the Israeli embassy in Washington go along with - without comment, of
course - in their weekly Christian Zionist prayer meetings. Every claim
by Osama bin Laden, every statement that the United States represents
Zionism and supports the theft of Arab lands will now have been proved
true to millions of Arabs, even those who had no time for Bin Laden.
What better recruiting sergeant could Bin Laden have than George Bush.
Doesn't he realise what this means for young American soldiers in Iraq
or are Israelis more important than American lives in Mesopotamia?
Everything the US government has done to preserve its name as a
"middle-man" in the Middle East has now been thrown away by this
gutless, cowardly US President, George W Bush. That it will place his
soldiers at greater risk doesn't worry him - anyway, he doesn't do
funerals. That it goes against natural justice doesn't worry him. That
his statements are against international law is of no consequence.
And still we have to cow-tow to this man. If we are struck by al-Qa'ida
it is our fault. And if 90 per cent of the population of Spain point out
that they opposed the war, then they are pro-terrorists to complain that
200 of their civilians were killed by al-Qa'ida. First the Spanish
complain about the war, then they are made to suffer for it - and then
they are condemned as "appeasers" by the Bush regime and its craven
journalists when they complain that their husbands and wives and sons
did not deserve to die.
If this is to be their fate, excuse me, but I would like to have a
Spanish passport so that I can share the Spanish people's "cowardice"!
If Mr Sharon is "historic" and "courageous", then the murderers of Hamas
and Islamic Jihad will be able to claim the same. Mr Bush legitimised
"terrorism" this week - and everyone who loses a limb or a life can
thank him for his yellow streak. And, I fear, they can thank Mr Blair
for his cowardice too.
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