Mohamed Khodr's Column

Americans Count Ballots While Palestinians Count Bodies


by Mohamed Khodr
While we should commend Egypt and President Hosni Mubarak for his decision to recall his Ambassador from Tel Aviv Mr. Mohammed Bassiouni to protest the latest savagery by Israel (the only true rogue state) upon the Palestinian camps and security buildings, in reality this is a case of "too little too late".
One can only contemplate how many Palestinian children would still be alive today to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan if Egypt, Jordan, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Conference had any real courage and took strong measures against Israel at the beginning of the conflict.
Their delay and weakness only emboldened Israel to continue to lay waste to an Arab and Muslim population while the Islamic world watched in silence and apathy. In our apathetic responses that promote "civilized" dialogue and the continuation of a failed "peace process", the Arab League and Islamic Conference are just as guilty as the Israeli sharpshooters who aimed at the hearts and heads of fearless Palestinian children willing to die for their land.
None of our fearless leaders were even willing to sacrifice their "diplomatic" relations with Israel lest they upset Clinton. They waited too long and have nothing to show for it except more Palestinian funerals.
How ironic that the Arabs and Muslims are reacting to Israel's atrocities in the same fashions the West reacted to the Nazi Holocaust.
Egypt must take the bold leadership and sever its diplomatic relation with Israel. Barak, like previous Israeli Prime Ministers, has deceived Mubarak with talk of peace and American rewards.
Mubarak, like the hapless Arafat, enjoyed and believed America's psychological strokes that he is a true friend and promoter of peace. For $2.2 Billion in annual American aid, Egypt, the recognized military, social and cultural leader of the Arab world sacrificed its faith, dignity, honor, and the will of its people.
Is this American aid worth it in the end when America sends Israel even greater aid to slaughter Palestinians and divide and conquer the Arab world while allowing the desecration of our holy Islamic sites? No reasonable person could answer that in the affirmative. No billions can compensate a mother for the loss of her child or the loss of her husband killed in the olive fields.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf must develop an immediate fund to compensate the Arab countries for any losses incurred from severing ties with the Zionist state. HRH Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia demanded that Arabs cut relations with Israel, now its time for he and the Gulf leaders to financially support such steps.
How embarrassing that the Emir of Bahrain would boycott the OIC meeting in Qatar over a border dispute with Qatar when Muslim children are being massacred. It is high time for the Arab and Islamic leaders to put up or shut up.
President Mubarak, with all due respect, nothing short of cutting your relations with Israel, recalling your Ambassador from Washington DC, refusing the cheapening of American aid, and leading the Arab world in one cry for peace and justice based on the only solution before Israel: UN Resolutions 242, 338, 476, and 478.
Jordan must follow suit and cut its relations as well. Jordan's King has hurt himself politically by shooting at his protesting citizens and bending to America's will to sign a Free Trade Agreement that now may not even pass Congress.
All Arab and Islamic countries must recall their Ambassadors from the U.S. and England for consultation.
President Mubarak was further embarrassed by Israel's arrogant and defiant response to the recalling of Egypt's Ambassador. Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben Ami told Israeli Radio: "It is a very serious issue. I think that recalling the ambassador will hurt Egypts ability to continue to fill the very important role it has in the process here."
A veiled threat that the only reason the United States values Egypt and gives it annual aid is that it's fulfilling a purpose in the peace process, i.e. helping Israel achieve its agenda. It won't be long before America's Congress, another Israeli occupied territory, will begin to salivate and take some retribution against Egypt.
This is the most opportune time in modern history for the Arab and Islamic world to take decisive actions against Israel. The sympathy of the world is with the Palestinians while America is paralyzed with a lameduck President and an unsolved election. This is the time for a cohesive strategy among the 56 Islamic nations to take political, diplomatic, economic and public relations steps against Israel.
A second piece of that strategy is to clearly and publicly declare that all Islamic nations will begin to reassess their long-term relationship with the United States and the West.
Arafat is committing yet another strategic mistake by involving Russia in a mediation role to bring him and Barak to the negotiating table to end this Intifada. Arafats poor snub of Clinton and his willingness to meet with Barak will only mean dragging the dead peace process further into the grave without any semblance of a definitive outcome favorable to the Palestinians.
Arafat is once again sacrificing the will of his people and their hundreds of martyrs for no objective or possible end of the occupation based on UN Resolution 242. Arafat has never understood that no nation will sacrifice its relationship with America for the sake of the Palestinians, not even the Arab and Islamic countries are willing to do this, much less economically poor Russia.
He (Arafat) is squandering the best opportunity the Palestinians have ever had when a confluence of political circumstances is favorable to their cause.
Barak is desperate to end this conflict and project a peace process favorable to his reelection, Clinton is weak and maybe desperate for a bold initiative, the Palestinians are dying for the sake of their total independence and willing to continue the Intifada.
The masses of Arab and Islamic nations are finally and passionately supportive of the Intifada pressuring their leaders to act, the European Union desires to formulate its own identity separate from American and is willing to play an active role, the U.N. may see this conflict as an opportunity to assert itself free from Americas hegemony, the African and Non-Aligned Nations are supportive, the Vatican and Christian leadership is supportive, and even the American public from the little media coverage it sees is beginning to question Israels savagery.
The time now is for unity of purpose based on UN Resolutions, a massive diplomatic and public relations by all 56 Islamic nations, and a relentless Intifada until Palestinians achieve their independence, their state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
An important yet difficult caveat is that all 56 nations must put aside for now any inter-Arab or inter-Islamic disputes. Most importantly Arab leaders must convince Saddam Hussein, easier said than done, that a stumbling block preventing any successful strategy against the U.S. is his non-compliance with UN Resolutions.
Saddam's lack of cooperation is a bonanza for the United States in that it gets to maintain its huge military presence in the Gulf under the pretext of protecting the Emirs from Saddam providing the West with an enormous public relations advantage in the U.S and in the United Nations.
Saddam withstood America but he must sacrifice for the common good of the Arab world and Islam and join the Ummah in its stand against Israeli aggression. Palestine is the direct foundation for the conflict with Israel but the larger issue is Arab lands, self-respect, honor, dignity, and most importantly, a defense of our faith required of all of us by Allah (SWT).
The Islamic masses will totally support their leaders in this effort. The question is as always: Do they have the courage and leadership to tell the world collectively that---Since 1979 Egypt has sacrificed its own standing in the Arab world for peace with Israel-----Since 1991 the PLO entered into a peace dialogue with Israel and after ten years of lies and delays Israel is determined to implement its "Final Solution" upon the Palestinians for Zionistic principles adhered to by 200,000 fanatical American Jewish settlers----Since 1994, Jordan entered into a peace agreement with Israel and so far has nothing to show for it-----Qatar, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunis, Algeria, and Oman established diplomatic relations with Israel and have nothing to show for it but empty promises------The Palestinians have agreed to surrender 80% of their original land to Israel and accept West Jerusalem as its capital in return they were led to believe that Israel would withdraw to the 1967 border based on UN Resolution 242, 338.
Israel, as Shamir said in Oslo after signing the accords, "we screwed the Palestinians", never had any intention of living up to its signed commitments in the Oslo accord as time has clearly shown.
Now the world must know that 56 Arab and Islamic nations have no choice but to demand the implementation of these resolutions and to demand protection for the Palestinian civilians from Israel's free hand to kill at will otherwise this Ummah will have no choice but to look at alternatives to deal with Israel and any of its supporters worldwide.
Contingency political, economic, and military plans must be developed as Israel historically has shown it has no qualms at launching pre-emptive strikes.
A strong public relations campaign not only within the West but also with specific countries worldwide whom now, and in the future, can play a stronger role in supporting the Palestinian cause. Countries such as China, India, Japan, South Africa, Nigeria, Ireland, the Vatican, the Eastern and Greek Orthodox Churches, Poland, Czech Republic, and Hungary (the last 3 are future NATO members), friendly European countries such as Italy and Spain, and the forgotten Latin American community with their huge immigration presence in the United States.
In the U.S., we must reach out to the minority community in earnest such as the African American, Latin, and Asian communities to develop bonds and a support system.
Many may think this is a utopian untenable idea but I repeat that, despite the horrific deaths of Palestinians, this is a golden opportunity to show strength, unity, and resolve. America and the world accept Israel's yes or no decisions as final and unalterable. They look at Arab and Islamic decisions with contemptible ignorance and arrogance.
If we don't act now when Al-Aqsa is being stepped upon by Sharon, if we don't act now when Israel daily kills innocent Palestinians, if we don't act now when America is distracted, if we don't act now when winter is coming in the West and the price of oil becomes a political issue, if we don't act now when its our Arab and Islamic duty to do so--then when--when Mecca is attacked?
Arab and Islamic countries have broken diplomatic relations with each other at the drop of a hat and for the least important of reasons, isn't it honorable to do it now when a much greater fate is at stake? May Allah (SWT) guide us and show His mercy upon His people of faith.
May He unite us to defend our faith, lands, and honor and may He grant our peoples and their leaders to wisdom and action. Islam is the key and we must never dismiss it to appease the West or sacrifice it for the sake of modernity.
Allah Akbar and Ramadan Mubarak to all.
Mr. Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim physician and a native from the Middle East. He has worked in Academic Medicine and Public health with national and international health experience. He is a freelance writer who often writes columns on the Palestinian cause, Islam and on America's Foreign Policy in the Middle East. He lives in the Washington DC area.

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