Clinton’s Middle East Legacy

The President of the United States wants a legacy and for whatever reason, he has chosen Middle East peace. He is, I’m afraid, as blind to the essentials of peace as he was in the private affairs that defamed him. Evidently, he is a man who has no understanding of truth. After three weeks of the Israeli militarized atrocities against distraught stone throwing Palestinian boys, Mr. Clinton calls on the Palestinians to stop the violence. I wonder as I hear his statement if he actually means to say that Palestinians should stop dying. 

Under the cover of diplomacy, he asks Palestinians to bring hatred to an end. Yet he has failed to criticize Israelis, who act against Arab Israelis, and against Palestinians they once claimed they could not see. Rarely, if ever, is criticism launched against the Gush Emunim, the Jewish settlers who use their version of God’s right to take whatever they’ve decided God has given them. There are individuals waging that now famous Arab word, “jihad” on all sides of this issue. 

Clinton supported Mr. Barak who is quick to “punish” any Palestinian deemed radical. Yet I don? recall hearing of an Israeli settler jailed or moved from his or her illegally acquired home or punished for waging a provocation against a Palestinian. While the settlers swim in their backyard pools and water their lawns, we barely have enough water to take a bath. When Israelis send their children to well-funded, well-staffed Hebrew University, we have to go through check points manned by Uzi carrying Israeli soldiers to get to our Palestinian schools, most of which are ill-equipped. 

Our three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, have given us all much of the secular and religious morality most of us follow today. Human interpretations of the three great monotheistic religions have left us with the scene on the Holy Land’s streets today. Does Mr. Clinton, a Southern Baptist, side with those who use religion for good or those who conceive the evil that harms us all?  The United Nations condemned Israeli use of heavy weapons against the unarmed. The United States objected. If it did not carry out evil, it just held the door open for those who would. 

Clinton publicly denounced the killings of the two Israeli soldiers, and along with the American media, depicted them as having made a ?rong turn.?Yet this peculiar story of two soldiers ?ost in Ramallah?was never questioned, even though Ramallah is very small. Only the blind or mentally disabled could get lost in Ramallah. And the world did not question why these two Israeli soldiers, who came dressed in Palestinian garb, were driving a car with Palestinian plates with a trunk full of weapons. 

A US congressman recently said, “We provide aid if the Palestinians to promote peace, but we give nothing for their violence.” His remarks are not too different from those of his president. It indicates a bribe, an insult to any Palestinian, because we all know the “peace” Israel and America want for us is actually systematic oppression. 

Was it the need for Israeli “security” that Mr. Clinton so often mentions that made settlers open fire at a Palestinian family picking olives in their own groves? It is painfully evident that many Zionist and even now, many secular Jews around the world deny Palestinian suffering because they believe they have the copyright on that. 

If Mr. Clinton was living in my home now, would he be saying “God willing” and throw up his hands while glancing the other way, or would he have the courage to leave a great inheritance, the gift of truth, for all of us? 

Consider if Mr. Clinton chose the latter he would leave a tainted office with a new virtue, with the stature of a man of grace, and his legacy would be the greatest of all, love. That would be revolutionary, wouldn’t it?

(Samah Jabr is a freelance writer and medical student in Jerusalem. This article was written with the assistance of Elizabeth Mayfield.)


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