Most Israelis and Palestinians are convinced that the situation in the Holy Land has become unbearable on all levels: political, economic, humane or security-wise.
No doubts exist as to the person responsible for this ghastly situation: it is President Bush, who repeated relentlessly that he “wants deeds and not words”, even though he himself has not proven to people in the Middle East, particularly to Palestinians and Israelis, that he follows his own words with deeds. Quite the contrary. Palestinians and Israelis see him swallowing back his own words when faced with the rigidity and tight-wing extremism of the Israeli government. How many times have we heard President Bush asking Israel to stop its incursions in Palestinian Territories and to withdraw its army from the areas it reoccupied? How many times have we heard him ask Israel to stop using military planes against Palestinian cities and villages, and to put an end to extra-judiciary assassinations? How many times has President Bush repeated that he means what he is saying?
The fact that President Bush’s words are not followed by deeds has handed a severe blow to his credibility and to that of his administration and his country. It has badly harmed the USA in the Middle East, and even in the world in general, where the USA has some very close allies.
The cycle of violence in the Holy Land is similar to a vicious circle; the Israeli government is not acting wisely. It has turned its back to good judgment and the law. It is committing war crimes on a daily basis, aggressing Palestinians and imposing both individual and collective punishments on a helpless, armyless and peaceful nation. The successive American administrations have committed themselves to peace based on international legitimacy and to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state. But President Bush’s position vis-Ã -vis the situation in Palestine is both unreasonable and irrational.
One needs not say that President Bush’s policy is useless and is harming American interests (even though it really is). What one must simply say is that it is a policy born out of ignorance of the Middle East. This policy, in which Arabs and Moslems are always urged to embrace democracy and to respect human rights has backfired and ended up by soiling these very noble concepts of democracy and human rights.
Indeed, we do want democracy, but one that makes the Arab citizen feel that he has rights that protect him from police, security and intelligence agents. We want to build a future where the Arab citizen would feel that these agents are there for his protection and not to harm him. We want the Arab citizen to be able to express his opinion freely without this constant fear of policemen or security agents.
This is why we support all programs and projects that would render us more cultivated, that would promote freedoms and liberties and disseminate democracy. We want to elect our own leaders and not have them imposed upon us. Meanwhile, one must say that President Bush’s administration is causing great harm to democracy, freedom and human rights, and to us too, due to the stupid policy it has adopted vis-Ã -vis the Israeli occupation of Arab land, and Israeli violations and oppression of the Palestinian people.
How does the US administration expect Arabs and Palestinians to consider its programs aiming at enhancing democracy, freedoms and human rights as serious if it continues to support Sharon’s government, a government that commits daily collective war crimes against Palestinians? This is indeed a schizophrenic contradiction from which suffers the American administration which is greatly harming both US interests and very noble concepts such as democracy and human rights.
The situation has become unendurable in the Middle East. President Bush’s administration must now restore some credibility to the road map, which Bush says he is committed to. But again, we hear words but we do not see deeds.
The Middle East wants President Bush to “mean what he is saying”. We want him to implement the road map and international resolutions. Sharon’s policy is both aggressive and irrational and has proved that this man suffers from a serious disorder and that he has not yet abandoned the old mentality of settlements and colonization. That is why we urge the USA to convince Israel (and God knows it has all the means to do so) to withdraw immediately from the West Bank and Gaza. This is how the USA will salvage the noble values embedded in principles such as democracy and freedom.
The Middle East is on the verge of being reborn. Powerful popular movements, thirsty for freedom, democracy and modernity have appeared. But these movements will not succeed so long as the US administration continues to support Israel in its aggressions and occupation in Palestine.
The change towards a new Middle East that is democratic and free will start from Palestine. If the US administration does not comprehend this fact and act accordingly, the situation in the Middle East will degenerate and undermine peace and stability not only in the region, but also in the whole world.