New Year’s Resolutions

Edna Yaghi’s Column

The coming of a new year provides us with a challenge to better ourselves. Though, we should not need excuses to improve ourselves, many people resolve to do away with some bad habits or tendencies during the forthcoming year.

It does not seem that our American President George Bush is planning to improve American foreign policy during the coming year and the only resolution that seems to be on his mind is that of waging war against Iraq.

The Bush eras do not seem to be eras of prosperity but rather of war and recession. Junior’s era is worse than papa’s and frighteningly on the brink of a depression. The economic situation in the US is far from encouraging. Companies have gone out of business. Many employees have lost their jobs. People are spending less money. Perhaps this is because of the failing economy, perhaps also out of fear, fear of war, fear of what tomorrow might bring, fear that the world is heading towards an Armageddon.

The question is, if Bush is indeed leading us towards an inevitable Armageddon, who are the forces of good and who are the forces of evil? I seldom think of American foreign policy as a force of good. I do not see a reason for going to war with Iraq. There are other countries in the area, indeed in the world that have nuclear weapons, among these being India and Israel.

I fear Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s intentions much more than I fear Saddam Hussein’s. Is Sharon a more benevolent leader? Hardly not. The number of Palestinian dead is evidence of just what a malevolent person he is. Lest we forget, he is also responsible for more than 20,000 dead during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

Sharon’s extermination of the Palestinian people may have won him votes with the Israelis but does not make him a likely candidate for any peace prize. The Apartheid wall he is building on Palestinian land is illegal and deplorable. To make matters even worse, when around 100 to 200 peace activists from around the world tried to get closer to this 8 meter high structure, they were attacked by Israeli soldiers. These peace activists were clubbed, had tear gas thrown at them and were terrorized by Israeli forces.

It has long been a fact that the Israeli government is totally anti-Palestinian and has done much to not only take away Palestinian land from the indigenous inhabitants, but has done its best to wipe out the Palestinian population little by little on a daily basis. “If we can’t kill them off, we will drive them out through means of fear, intimidation, or brute force,” has long been the Israeli policy. Though we are shocked to see Palestinian civilians killed all the time, it is even more shocking that the Israelis are no longer trying to hide what they really are and that they have a total disregard for all human life as long as these humans are not Jews, or rather, pro-Israeli Jews. The international peace activists will return to their homes with quite a different image of Israelis. One that we do not see on our local TV stations.

That some Americans view Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East is pathetic because Israel is only a democracy for Jews. In the meantime, Israel busies itself with the taking away of Palestinian rights and lives. Palestinian school children are shot and killed on their way to school. Other children are arrested, thrown in prison and tortured for throwing rocks. And adolescents as well as the elderly are shot down in cold blood just because they are alive. Some teens are randomly caught and beaten to death.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians have been beaten to death or extra-judicially murdered. Those who perpetrate such heinous crimes against not only the Palestinian people themselves, but against all mankind, go unpunished. This is how the Israeli judicial system is structured and it is always legal to kill or maim Palestinians.

Collective punishment, beating and killing school children, bulldozing homes, desecrating agricultural land, destroying water supplies, implementing 24-hour curfews and attacking international peace activists is not a “war against terrorism” but terrorism itself.

Why is it ok for Israel to invade, occupy, drive out and exterminate those it wishes to and have nuclear plants while America plans to go to war with Iraq? On what criteria do we base our baseless discriminations? Who really serves to benefit from a war against Iraq? Certainly not the Iraqi people. Certainly not the American people who are already suffering from a failing economy. Perhaps a few companies who make weapons will profit, but the idea of sending American troops in to Iraq in order to topple Sadam Hussein is not only stupid but will cost many lives, some of which will be American. However, Israelis will be delighted if any Arab country is attacked, dismantled and crushed.

If one country is to disarm, then all countries should disarm. We Americans have already gone to war against Afghanistan. Have we really accomplished anything? Did we find Osama Ben Ladin? Have we made conditions better for the Afghan people? Have we even improved the lives of our own American citizens? Why is it that the lives of the American people are becoming more difficult at a time when they should be better than ever before? As long as we have a Bush in office, then we can expect war and a bad economy. What is much more pitiful than this is that some of us Americans somehow accept what is happening to us because we have been fooled into believing that this is the way things should be. And slowly, slowly, without even realizing it, we are losing our freedoms, the very freedoms that our forefathers fought and died for.

Bush should base his New Year Resolutions on spreading peace and justice all over the world instead of hate and war. His impending and imminent war against Iraq will be devastating for the whole world and could be the beginning of the end of the America we know.

One of the best and most pertinent places to begin peace is in Palestine. There can be no world peace until the Palestinian problem is solved, until the Palestinians have a state of their own and the oppression against them is stopped once and for all. Bush and Israel may be able to fool all of the people some of the time but they will never be able to fool all of the people all of the time no matter what tactics they use.

Happy New Year.