Mohamed Khodr’s Column
Millions of forgotten Palestinians have lived in squalor refugee camps for half a century enduring poverty, death, disease and humiliation in silence for one and only one hope: that God will allow their return to the land of their ancestors, a land expropriated as payment for the Holocaust. Now comes the eleventh hour solution of peace from Israel-America for these refugees: FORGET ABOUT IT.
After 5 wars, two intifadahs, countless Pro-Palestinian UN Resolutions, their existence denied, endless summits and conferences; Palestinians are given only days to accept Clinton’s “Plan” or forever hold their peace and risk the wrath of Sharon as Israel’s Prime Minister, although there is no guarantee that either the Israeli Knesset or the Israeli people will even support this plan; still the onus is on the weaker victims of the conflict—the Palestinians—who have worn the world’s Scarlet Letter–“A”–ANONYMOUS.
If it was indeed Clinton’s “Plan” where was it the last eight years? In reality this was Barak’s plan all along for no American President has the courage to submit a plan that is not approved by Israel. Shamelessly, Israel’s favorite American President is more interested in history than the future of millions of Israelis and Palestinians. Still, Barak expressed Israel’s histrionic pain at these most “painful, generous, but necessary” compromises. At no time has Israel ever made a concession without the world “feeling its pain” and extracting even more billions from an “ever-ready” compliant Congress. The history of any Mid-East peace agreement has been: Israel Demands, America Enforces, Arabs Accept.
Israel, despite world condemnation of its occupation, has never been coerced to accept an agreement it didn’t like, while the Arabs given their weak military, economic, and undemocratic leadership have had to swallow such agreements to win Uncle Sam’s approval, especially after the Cold War ended.
The parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have operated in two different political spheres and realities. The Palestinians, given the historical injustice of the west imposing Israel on their land for domestic political, religious, and bigoted reasons (Anti-Semitism), have turned to the logic of correcting an injustice, international legalities and U.N. Resolutions to redress their suffering. Thus they basked in dozens of U.N. Resolutions (with American support), the Fourth Geneva Convention, International Law, and the majority of the world’s lip service of support. Failing any accomplishment they formed their own “freedom fighting/terrorist” organizations to punish Israel and demand world attention.
Zionist Jews were more experienced politically, militarily, and economically (wealthy) than the amateur Palestinians. They knew that after World War II the keys to the western heart, mind, and pocket book rested on the Holocaust and on America’s support. They organized, formed powerful lobbying groups, understood the power of money, campaign donations, and the importance of dominating and manipulating the media, Hollywood, and public relations. They knew the culture and the language. To the credit of Jewish Americans, America’s institutions of government, media, academia, Hollywood and financial institutions are dominated by Jews in far greater proportion to their population representation of 2%. They developed grass roots support across the country, silenced any criticism of Israel, be active participants in all levels of campaigns and held Israel to be their Zion for living.
Palestinians won the world’s emotional support while Israel won the political, military, and public relations battle in the only country that counts–America, with its world and U.N. dominance.
To the world’s eternal shame (including the Arab/Islamic world) political reality for the Palestinians became limited to a “take it or leave it” compromise. Given their political and military limitations and a corrupt leadership, the Palestinian people must choose between bloody Intifadahs or reach a political settlement that must realistically accept that Israel will only allow a small number of refugees to return. In reality only a few Palestinians would consider returning to Palestine proper (Israel) to live under an Israeli Apartheid system as described by the Israeli government itself regarding its treatment of its own Israeli Arabs.
After 52 years of enduring exile, poverty, disease, and death, Palestinians must now suffer the greatest humiliation of their existence–a careless heartless world that says “tough luck”–Israel is too important a gateway to America. Still, Israel in should accept Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon , about 350,000 (less than ten percent of the total refugee population), to stabilize its northern border and enhance peace within Lebanon and Syria. Such a decision is in the long term interest of Israel and the United States while publicly and apologetically Israel must proclaim its moral, legal, and ethical responsibility for creating the refugees of 1948 and 1967 and for the massacres it committed. Israel and world Jewry never miss an opportunity to intimidate and demand a public apology from anyone who utters an “Anti-Semitic” remark, yet its atrocities against the true Semites of the Holy Land goes unquestioned.
Israel must pay compensation to all Palestinians who’ve endure the longest shame in the loudest silence and deepest wounds for six decades akin to its greedy thirst for compensation for anything Jewish in the world. East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount must be ceded to the Palestinians with free access to all faiths.
For fifty years Israeli and world archaeologists have dug deep around and underneath the Haram Al Sharif mosque looking for the elusive Second Temple and only found Islamic artifacts with some Romanian and Babylonian remnants. There is no scientific proof or study that links that area to the Temple Mount. Still, Muslims and Christians must respect the Jewish claim and tradition to the Wailing Wall and acknowledge and respect Israel’s control of that holy site.
For decades Israel has demanded from the Palestinians and all Arabs to recognize its “right to exist”, when it was granted, Israel reciprocated with its denial of the Palestinian “right of return”. In all of history no spoiled brat of a nation has ever existed as Israel.
Israel claims its viability and existence emanates from God who has ordained the legitimacy of Israel’s conquering, occupation, and expulsion of Palestine’s original inhabitants as a reward to His people; the most stubborn, disloyal, and ungrateful people to God’s many blessings, love, and stream of countless Prophets who similarly were killed or expelled. To understand Israel’s mindset one only needs to read the Old Testament. How ironic that after two thousand years of Christians butchering Jews while Islam protected that after the creation of Israel the two enemies have made the politically expedient peace of a “Judeo-Christian” tradition that now in unison battle Islam, the only true tolerant religion of the three due to its honoring and belief in the Torah and the Bible.
It’s time for truth and courage for both peoples to accept peace. Israel must realize that time runs against it demographically in America and the world. If Israel persists in its policy of “might makes right” depending on American support and ignores the historical innate demand for humanity and justice, it only will reap the consequences of its madness for history has a way of repeating itself in its unforgiving of injustice.
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.