I am appalled at the perspective that Mr.Powell might be wasting time and losing an opportunity to make himself useful for the purpose of peace. We all know what the Secretary of State did since he left Washington, who he met with in Morocco, in Spain, in Cairo, in Jerusalem, and in Ramallah. We heard him talking to the reporters after each meeting, and between the meetings. These are hard times for him, indeed. But it is in such times that another “star” of the American diplomacy earned world fame and much a disputed glory. I mean H. Kissinger, who might be relishing right at this very moment the unbelievable stumbling of his remote successor over the obstacles he had himself widely contributed to creating and anchoring in the Middle East quagmire. Would anyone pretend that this is another stage or another period or another administration? OK. Yet, just observe that the region is still the same, with the same problems, and the same causes. Kissinger has gone away, but the arrangements he made, though they are still tying the Arabs’ hands as it seems, did not make the Israelis any more thoughtful in respect of their commitments. Mr. Bush recently said that Yasir Arafat has only to blame himself for what happened to him! Did that mean he should regret all the steps he made towards the Israelis, Oslo included? For if Arafat has listened to those who criticized Oslo, he would never have found himself thus trapped into his own compound at Ramallah. And he would certainly never have heard a Secretary of State adopting so shamelessly the position of a war criminal, and calling for an International Peace Conference, without the Chairman of the PLO! An International Conference for what? Peace? So, Sharon is now for peace? Just after burying hundreds of corpses in the common graves? Peace Conference to cover up the repeated massacre of Sabra and Shatila in the West Bank?
Just what happened in Jenin? What do Mr.Powell and his boss in Washington think of that? They could not ignore what the Israelis did, since even some Israeli papers have é indirectly- acknowledged it? For if we believe Haaretz (April 13): “The High Court ordered the Israel Defense Forces not to remove the bodies of Palestinians killed in fighting in the Jenin refugee camp until a hearing is held on the matter. The decision came in response to a petition presented by attorney Jamil Dakaur from the “Adala” organization (é) The Court also ordered the State Prosecutor to respond to charges that the IDF buried the bodies in a huge mass grave, as Palestinian sources claimed Thursday, and if so, why.”
Mr. Powell could not ignore what happened, for his spokesman, Richard Boucher was asked about it in Jerusalem on April 13:
“QUESTION: Did the Palestinians tell you that they wanted to see a statement – a strong statement from the Secretary about the humanitarian situation?
MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary had already made strong statements about the humanitarian situation. (Cross talk). We mentioned the situation in Jenin last night in our statement, we were concerned about it. We mentioned it again this morning in the statement after the UN meeting, we met with the UN representatives because we are concerned about it, and in fact they are as well, that’s one of their responsibilities to take care of people in that camp. And that was one of the things that they talked about quite a bit.”
Mr. Boucher repeated twice the word “concerned” in this sentence; but he did not explain in what consist that concern? How does it show itself on the ground? Is it in helping Sharon clean his hands from the Palestinian blood and propagating unscrupulously his immoral call for an International Conference without the PLO leader? Then if the American officials are really concerned, why did we not hear anything about their pressure on Sharon? We know Powell’s conditions to meet Arafat: the latter had to condemn the suicide bombing, which he did. And when he met him, Powell asked him for a cease-fire!!! A cease-fire from the besieged! No joke! This is really something new in the records of military strategy and world diplomacy! I suggest that this situation (i.e. asking the besieged for a cease-fire) be added as a lesson of strategy and diplomacy to the American manuals! Maybe it would help the future generals and would-be-diplomat to be as cogent as Mr.Powell!
But forget about this. What did the Secretary of State say to Sharon when his tanks were still firing at the Palestinian homes? Has he traveled so far just to tell us that he was unable to hinder Sharon from doing more harm? Then, if America, with all its means, is powerless, why should Mr. Bush blame Arafat for being helpless? What means did Bush give Arafat to implement cease-fire, which have been rejected by the latter? After all the destruction Sharon has achieved in the Palestinian territories, police and security forces’ compounds included, who will help Arafat to implement a cease-fire that has been é that is still é continually violated by the mere fact of the Israeli occupation?