Leaving the Honest Broker Myth Behind, and Looking Inward


When President Clinton bashed the Palestinians’ stand on Jerusalem during the Camp David II negotiations in an interview on Israeli television on July 28, many thought that even the politically anemic Palestinian Authority would now rather seek “mediation” elsewhere. The self proclaimed “honest broker” looked careless about his delusive image, when Clinton put the blame on Arafat alone for the failing “peace negotiations”, accusing him of lacking courage. Shockingly, despite the American administration’s revelation of its true colors, on September 26, The Palestinian negotiation team, lead by Saeb Erekat met with Israel’s foreign Minster Shlomo Ben-Ami, once again in Washington, and once again under US “mediation.”

It has been clear that past American governments up to the Clinton administration have invested very little effort to truly become a trusted and a worthy mediator between Israel and the Arabs. Israel, a country with the image of the outlaw in many parts in the world, is in the eyes of the United States , a true friend, a true partner, a partner who was caught spying on the US repeatedly, yet was rewarded with billions of dollars in aid every year.

Citing why and how the United States lost its legitimacy amongst Arab and Muslim nations is old news. If one doesn’t draw such conclusions from the dozens of vetoes produced by the United States in the UN, so that Israel can resume its violations of every law in the book, it is due to media bias, foreign aid, and uncountable statements made by US politicians, backing Israel and thrashing its Arab adversaries.

One must wonder, even angrily protest why the Palestinian Authority and other Arab governments see in the United States as a savior from Israel’s wrath? Why do Arab envoys seek the US’s intervention and mediation to halt the one sided Israeli war against Palestinians, even though the US has refused to condemn Israel in the United Nations and has arrogantly blamed Palestinians for “laying siege to Israel,” while labeling the death of innocent Palestinians as people dying in “crossfire” and Israel’s deaths as crimes that deserve harsh condemnation.?

Al Gore and George W. Bush, the two major Presidential candidates, were incredibly generous by telling us that even the future American administration is as biased as the past one, and maybe worse. This way, they saved us the hassle of waiting, wondering and hoping for a miraculous change. While both spoke of a “humble but strong America,” and adopting a “sense of mission to project what America is all about,” both spoke out strongly in support of Israel after nearly two weeks of “violence” and Israeli massacres against Palestinians.

This is what both said in their second televised debate on October 11. Gore was specific and detailed regarding his love for Israel. “Israel should feel absolutely secure about one thing: our bonds with Israel are larger than agreements or disagreements on some details of diplomatic initiatives. They are historic, they are strong, and they are enduring. And our ability to serve as an honest broker is something that we need to shepherd.” Before trying to figure out Gore’s puzzling finishing statement, read Bush’s, short but decisive. “I want everybody to know, should I be the president, Israel’s going to be our friend. I am going to stand by Israel.”

And how about Hillary Clinton, the energetic candidate for the New York Senate seat? Although Clinton claims to be a defender of children’s rights, she appeared little moved by the massacring of Palestinian children by Israeli army forces in the West Bank and Gaza. After many anti-Palestinian statements, accusing them of violence and even criticizing her husband’s decision to abstain from vetoing the UN resolution that condemned Israel’s use of excessive force against Palestinins, she led a pro-Israel protest on October 12 in New York. After all, she is a women of action, not mere words.

The mainstream American media, a classic perpetrator of hatred against everything Arab or Muslim, was a full time propaganda machine, in support of Israel in the last a few weeks, even more that it has been for the last a few decades. “Arafat’s War ..” is how New York Times described the bombardment of Palestinian towns and villages by one of the world’s strongest armies. Others found the inhumane bombing campaign and the shelling of an innocent nation, as an act of “retaliation”. Racist editorials flooded newspapers, and selective TV images made it sound as if Palestinian children with rocks were closing in on Israel from all directions.

The United States’ double standard is nothing new, its as old as Israel itself, and dare I say, it will always be there as long as the current political structure is in place. But why have the Arab governments forgotten such a truth? Clinton shamelessly vowed less than three months ago to move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem (to be built on stolen Arab land), and yet the United States is still being perceived as the fair outsider who is just trying to help. The US government’s support of Israel is arrogant, decisive and unconcealed, yet Middle East leaders continue to ask Clinton and his pro-Israel team to “interfere”, “to play a greater role”, “to ask Israel to halt its aggressions”…

It is time for the “honest broker” myth to die. Arab nations must begin looking inward, toward recognizing their strengths, and solidifying their unity. Justice for Palestinian children will never be granted through Washington, who itself is responsible for the killing of over one million Arab children in Iraq.

The Arab world is stronger than it thinks, if not because of their oil and other natural resources, because of the everlasting power of the people who are more determined that ever to support the Palestinian cause.

The demonstration of two-million in Morocco in the early days of the Palestinian uprising is much more significant than words uttered by Madeline Albright on “Good Morning America” or at State Department press conferences. The thousands of Egyptians who flooded Cairo’s hospitals to donate blood for wounded Palestinians is more assuring than a semi-positive statement made by Clinton. And the teary eyes of an Egyptian student who desperately tried to break the bars of his University’s gate so that he could chant for Jerusalem is a greater triumph for the Arab people than the holding of a summit in Sharm el-Sheikh where the “honest broker” can resume its ongoing episode of deceptive “peace mediation.”

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