Is it merely a coincidence that prior to the US led invasion of Iraq in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction, that Israel, only a few years earlier had carried out a similar invasion into the occupied Palestinian territories under the same pretext, claiming that the Palestinians were manufacturing and hiding illegal weapons, and weapons manufacturing facilities? The Israeli incursion into Jenin refugee camp resulted in the wrongful deaths of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, who had rights that were supposed to be protected by the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Later, Israel invaded other refugee camps, killed civilians, assassinated political leaders, destroyed private property, poisoned livestock and carried out other crimes, including the purposeful destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure.
Today, the Jenin massacre is mostly forgotten, and ignored, because no one, not even the United Nations has sought to fully investigate that criminal act, or to explain to the world why Israel can massacre people, civilians, women and children without accountability. International law and specifically the Geneva Conventions have been routinely violated by Israel as a matter of political and military strategy even before Abu Gharaib and Gunatanamo Bay, and the world was silent. When we turned out heads and allowed Israel to commit war crimes against the Palestinians, we, the so-called civilized people of the world, along with the United Nations, set the stage for what is possibly occurring in Cuba and Iraq.
Is it a coincidence that prior to the Israeli invasion of the occupied territories and Israel’s declaration of war against the Palestinian people, that just like the U.S. in Iraq, Israel argued that these people are without rights, and are all terrorists, even though the people detained, and killed had never been tried, and their guilt had never been proven in a court of law, and that the US employed this same argument in respect to the prisoners of war in the war on terrorism? If they are not prisoners of war, they are civilians, and either way, they have protections and legal and human rights under the Geneva Conventions.
Israel declared war against a mostly unarmed Palestinian people, a people who under the Geneva Conventions Israel is obliged to protect, provide basic needs for, and recognize and abide by their human, and legal rights. Instead we have a humanitarian crisis in Palestine that other nations, including the US have had to respond to. Without question, Israel has repeatedly violated international law, more than any other country in the world; they have as a matter of policy ignored every UN resolution condemning its illegal acts, which include continued settlement building and also illegal land confiscation. Neither the US, nor the UN ever sought to sanction Israel, or to stop Israel from the genocide carried out against the Palestinian people. It is very difficult for the world to understand why we should be concerned and appalled by what is taking place in Darfur, when we turned our heads to the years of crying and pleas of the Palestinian people.
Now, we have learned that the same people, who crafted the Israeli military and political strategy towards the Palestinian people, also crafted the strategy for a US war against Iraq. Years prior to the actual invasion of Iraq, a document called “Clean Break” was written that laid out an Israeli strategy for domination and expansion in the Muslim world, to be achieved through US military action against Iraq, Syria, and Iran. This plan of action was not drafted during the Bush Administration ; it was drafted during the Clinton Administration, as was most of the anti-terrorism legislation that began the undermining of the US Constitution that has become increasingly popular among US lawmakers since the Oklahoma City bombing.
Richard Perle, who was one of the authors of the Clear Break document and also one of the so-called “neo-conservatives” who are actually neo-liberals who created the WMD hoax and who also, pushed the US into Iraq using false and misleading information, has attested to the role that the Clean Break strategy played in the build up to war in Iraq, and our emphasis on Iraq as part of the war on terrorism, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. It is very likely that these same people developed the policies that led us to the prisoner abuses in Gunatanamo Bay, and Abu Gharaib, policies, and ideas that had previously been tested on the Palestinians, perfected, and later employed in Iraq.
Even if Mr. Perle had not been honest enough to admit that indeed Israeli loyalist within the US government orchestrated and provoked a war actually began in Palestine when Ariel Sharon desecrated the Al-Aqsa mosque and set off the intifada, the similarities between US and Israeli actions are too striking to any longer ignore. It has become clearer with each accusation of US criminal action, or human rights violation in respect to the war on terrorism, that the approach, attitude and tactics employed are not American. They are not originating in the US, and they are not displays of US values. It is not likely that American soldiers are concocting these evil and vicious methods of interrogation and humiliation on their own, and that is also becoming increasingly clear. Just as Israeli soldiers have began to come forward and to confess about the evilness of the orders they are given, and the crimes they are ordered to carry out against the Palestinian people, we see these patterns of behavior in Gunatanamo Bay, and also in Iraq.
The National Association of Muslim American Women (NAMAW) is here today to call for a cease fire in the war on terrorism, and a moratorium on violence. Our nation needs to reassess our political and military strategies, and policies toward the Muslim world. I am here today to ask that my country return to the ideas and principals upon which we were founded, and that we turn away from the evil, and racist ideas that have poisoned our nation’s conscience, ruined our credibility, and diminished our countries international prestige.
It is time for the United States to take a new approach to the war on terrorism and to begin, we need Congress to establish a civilian panel of people from varying religions to conduct independent investigations of complaints filed by prisoners and former prisoners at Gunatanamo Bay, and Abu Gharaib prisons. There are also other steps that should be taken to turn this situation around, and I am sure that there are people more qualified than myself to determine what those steps might be.
The people of the Muslim world must be patient and use great wisdom and restraint, as US Muslims seek to get more involved in attempts to resolve very delicate and potentially volatile issues related to US/Muslim relations. We can have peace in the world; it will take the courage and commitment of the people of peace if it is to be achieved. We pray that these people will come to the forefront in our country and make their voices heard over the voices of aggression and war. I pray that our governments and international institutions will hear their voices, and respond to the people of peace, and not follow the voices of the people of war, and hatred and racism, and that we will study war no more. Thank you.