President Bush had ended his crusading trip through the Middle East to occupied Palestine (Israel), some Gulf States (Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia), and Egypt before returning home. The main goals of this crusade was to support and to legalize Israeli terror against the Palestinians, specifically against their democratically elected Hamas leadership in Gaza, to bully the Arab Gulf States to help oppress Palestinian resistance and to accept Israeli occupation of Palestine, to accept the un-needed billions of Dollars worth purchase of American weapons in order to buttress the falling American economy, and to help American, and Israeli, efforts to contain Iran and to limit its expanding power throughout the region. Secondary goals were to solicit Arab’s help to control Iraq and to increase oil production.
Bush started his visit in occupied Palestine (Israel) where he met with both Israeli and Palestinian leaderships. Acknowledging that Israel is a racist state “Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people” Bush, still, stressed his administration’s support to Israel “The alliance between our two nations helps guarantee Israel’s security as a Jewish state”. His support to Israeli racist state is defined by international law as apartheid and a violation of the UN’s International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid and the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination. This is a crime against humanity since it defines a state as a religious entity giving its citizens the right to treat other religious minorities (Christians and Muslims) as children of lesser gods. Where Americans had fought so long to separate church and state in order to make the US a country for all of its citizens regardless of religion, and where Bush, himself, demands Muslim countries to become secular, he turns around to acknowledge Israel as a religious state. He later contradicts himself when he spoke about the great new era that is unfolding, founded on the equality of all people before God.
Bush also talked to the Israeli leaders about what they perceive as the Iranian threat. He undoubtedly had encouraged the Israelis to attack Iran since he would not be able to convince his Congress to go to war against Iran especially after the American intelligence had revealed that Iran had halted its nuclear arms program long time ago. It seemed also that he approved and blessed Israeli plans to raid Gaza but after his departure. Israel had started its raids against Gaza since Tuesday 15th and until today Saturday had murdered 38 Palestinians and wounded more than a hundred. With the help of Abbas security forces Israel had orchestrated a suicide assassination plan to murder the elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haneyya while praying in the mosque on Friday. The would be suicide assassin was captured and confessed to the plot.
Although he re-iterated “America’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security” Bush, this time, played a seemingly more pro-Palestinian tune by stating that “There should be an end to the occupation that began in 1967” in order to accomplish the “vision of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine …Israel with secure, recognized and defensible borders … and ensure that state of Palestine is viable, contiguous, sovereign and independent”. He also called on Israel to remove “unauthorized outposts”, such as the two extremist Zionist settlers had set up near Ramallah and Bethlehem on the eve of Bush’s visit, yet definitely not the other major Israeli colonies in the Jerusalem and West Bank such as Ras Al-Amud and Jabal Abu Ghneim.
Bush’s statements do not reflect, and do not have any impact on actual American policies towards the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The policies had always been in violation of international laws and in violation of human rights by their unconditional support to Israeli terror and occupation of Palestine. They have not stopped the American military aid to Israel that was increased by 25% in August 2007 totaling $30 billion over the next generation in order to murder more Palestinians and to disrupt the peace in the Middle East.
Calling for a viable contiguous Palestinian state Bush had neglected to utter a word against Israel’s apartheid imprisoning wall that had usurped large Palestinian farm land, and separated Palestinian towns from each other. Did he forget that his administration had protected Israel from any legal and political consequences for erecting this wall when it submitted a 112-page statement to the International Court of Justice in Hague arguing against the court’s competency to judge the legality of the wall?
It is worth mentioning here Bush’s statement about the Bantustan Palestinian West Bank when he said “Swiss cheese isn’t going to work when it comes to the outline of a state”. This statement indicates the administration’s awareness of Israel’s plans to chop up Palestinian territories. This statement also takes us back to 2000 Camp David meeting when then President Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Barak, and Palestinian President Arafat met for what was supposed to be final status negotiation. The myth of then Israeli “Generous Offer” to Arafat is exposed as it is; a Swiss cheese Palestinian state. This acquits Arafat from the accusation of spoiler of peace process for rejecting an offer no leader in the world would accept for his people.
Bush’s phony call for the end of Israeli occupation came to light when he stated that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949” due to some fact on the ground; that is Israeli colonies with large Israeli population in the West Bank. So he proposed a bi-lateral Israeli/Palestinian negotiation concerning the adjustment of the armistice lines. Bush is trying here to fulfill his promise to Ariel Sharon that Israel will keep all its colonies in East Jerusalem and in the West Bank including the separation wall and all the Israeli-only roads to such colonies. This translates into a non-viable and non-contiguous Palestinian state.
Bush claimed that the United Nations had failed to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the refugees’ problem. He did not mention that this failure was the result of Israeli violations of UN resolutions that were encouraged and protected by the American military and political support. As a substitute (and negation) of UN resolutions Bush proposed a strong-Israeli/weak-Palestinian bilateral negotiation under the auspices of the American controlled Quartet. With the “everything for sale” business-man mentality Bush’s solution to the Palestinian refugees’ problem came as a financial compensation (bribe) for the theft of their land and the murder of their families. Such a call legitimizes the theft of properties and the destruction of lives as long as the right price is paid. Bush did not mention who would pay such compensations since Israel is a financial parasite on the US and does not have the financial resources to pay. Maybe he had oil rich Gulf States in mind to carry that burden. Palestinian refugees have the legal and moral right of return accompanied with financial compensation for their loss and suffering, and not an either or proposition.
Bush is claiming here the authority to cancel UN resolution 194 that guarantees Palestinian refugees’ right of return, and to negate the basic human right for any people, not just the Palestinians, to return to their homes. Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: (1) “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” and (2) “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”.
Visiting the American/Israeli stooge Abbas and his undemocratic hand picked assigned government in Ramallah Bush repeated his bullying and threatening statements “There will be no Palestinian state unless the PA leadership and president Abbas decisively fight terrorism … Peace won’t be achieved unless terrorism stops”. By terrorism Bush meant the legitimate Palestinian self defense and resistance against the Israeli terror. Bush denies the Palestinian right to defend themselves and legalizes Israeli terror as self defense. He breaks his solemn pledge to fight every country that supports terrorists while his administration supports and protects terrorist Israel, who uses American made weapons against Palestinian civilians and perpetrates gradual genocide through the imposition of economic siege against millions of innocent Palestinians in Gaza denying them access to food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity.
Contradicting his own vision of advocating democracy in the New Middle East, Bush had ignored the legitimate democratically elected Palestinian government in Gaza and labeled them terrorists and recognized Ramallah’s unelected and assigned Fayyad’s government. He wants to uproot such democratic seed that might spread throughout the Middle East threatening all the tyrant leaderships, who serve American interest rather than the interest of their own people.
Bush’s contempt to the Palestinians was exhibited in the way his security entourage had literally occupied the PA headquarters, the Muqata’a, kicking out all the Palestinian security personnel. They have also imposed partial curfews on residents of Ramallah and Bethlehem during Bush’s visit. Visiting Ramallah Bush emerged from his car and walked straight into the presidential office not giving the Palestinian band the chance to play both the American and the Palestinian anthem; a customary protocol performed for heads of states, nor did he visit the grave of President Arafat next to the office. On the other side he stood attentive at Ben Gurion airport listening to both American and Israeli anthem, and he made a special effort to visit the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.
Besides drinking bitter Arabic coffee and dancing with the sword next to the Gulf leaders, Bush had tried to bully these leaders into supporting Abbas against Hamas, and to develop full diplomatic relationships with Israel. He also tried to scare them by portraying Iran as an extremist regime threatening the stability of the region. “Iran is today the world’s leading state sponsor of terror” supporting Hamas and Hezbollah against Israeli occupation. “It (Iran) seeks to intimidate its neighbors with ballistic missiles and bellicose rhetoric … Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere”. It seems that Bush is describing here the actions of his administration rather than Iran’s. Iran is keeping its army within its borders, while the US had sent most of its armies across the globe to invade and to destroy Afghanistan and Iraq, and to support terrorist groups within these two countries. Iran had not threatened to attack any country while Bush administration had shot its own bellicose rhetoric of nuking Iran. The American navy had conducted its largest war games in the Persian Gulf few miles across the Iranian borders in an intimidating gesture towards Iran. The whole world considers Israel and the Bush administration, not Iran, as the biggest threat to global security. Iran does not have nuclear weapons, Israel does. Yet none of the coward Arab leaders dared to ask Bush to shut down Israel’s nuclear weapon programs that pose threat to the whole region the same way he is trying to shut down Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.
With the many American military bases in the Gulf states, Bush portrayed the US as the protectorate of the (despotic) ruling regimes there, and protecting freedom of oil navigation in the Gulf from any threats such as Iran. The fact is that the American bases in the Gulf are controlling oil Gulf States and navigation in the Gulf for the interest of the American oil companies. To protect themselves from the perceived Iranian threat Bush offered (imposed on) the Gulf States arms deals worth $11 billion. Since 1940 the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, have been buying stock piles of American weapons that had never been used against any enemy except during the first Gulf War in 1990. The rest of the weapons were stored to rust in desert warehouses. A Raytheon mid manager acquaintance of mine had told me that Raytheon (previously Hughes) had been selling Gulf States obsolete technologies and mostly nonfunctional equipments.
In an Iran-phobic symptom Bush kept warning Iran, and Syria, to stop meddling with the Iraqi affair by sending weapons to the insurgents. He ignored the fact that Iran and Syria have legitimate rights and even obligation to deal with the American imposed chaos in Iraq, for whatever happens in Iraq has a direct impact on the security and economy of its neighboring countries. One can clearly see the crippling effects of the Iraqi refugees, forced out of their country into Iran and Syria, on the economy and security of these two countries. If Bush had felt the duty to invade Iraq for what he claimed its threat to the US half the globe away, does he have the right to stop its neighboring countries from protecting themselves from such a threat?
Besides selling American weapons Bush’s trip had succeeded only in inciting more Arab rejection and hatred towards his administration. As soon as he departed Kuwait the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Salem Al-Sabah flew to Iran to meet Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki to foster the relationship between the two countries. Also, as soon as he departed UAE the French President Nicola Sarcosi arrived to sign a treaty with the Bahraini officials to build the first French military base on the Gulf and to exchange peaceful nuclear technology.
The Gulf leaders tacitly rejected Bush’s incitement against Iran when they declared that they do not harbor any ill feelings towards neighboring Iran and want to see good relationships with all Gulf States. As for normalizing with Israel the Saudis declared that Israel had rejected the Arab peace initiative that guarantees Israeli security and establishes full diplomatic relationships between Israel and all the Arab states.
Unlike their leaders Arab populations in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, and Egypt had received Bush with angry demonstrations and unwelcoming banners describing him as butcher, world #1 terrorist, war criminals, and biggest liar among others. People understand that Bush is Israel’s partner in its terror against Arabs as was blatantly seen in its war against Lebanon in 2006. The actions of a president, whose two terms in office were the bloodiest years in world history since World War II and were filled with war crimes, massacres, human right violations, violations of international laws, support for Israeli terror, and threat for the peace of the Middle East and thus the whole world, are really anti-Christian as were described by the Palestinian Christian Orthodox Bishop Atallah Hanna, who refused to receive Bush during his visit to Nativity Church in Bethlehem.