Enter Collin Powell

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In his long-awaited speech on the Middle East on 19 November, US Secretary of State Collin Powell spelled out the Bush Administration’s “vision” for a final and comprehensive peace between the Palestinian people and the apartheid Israeli state.

The speech, which contained virtually nothing new, was lauded by Israel and the Palestinian Authority and America’s other clienteles and proxies in the region.

The Israeli apartheid regime, headed by a nefarious war criminal, breathed a sigh of relief because Powell placed the onus on the Palestinians for ending “violence and terror” while gently and hesitatingly asking Israel to reconsider its occupation of Palestinian territories and enduring repression of the Palestinian people.

For Sharon, who should have been dumped behind bars decades ago for committing crimes against humanity, that was a necessary alibi to evade the paramount issue of Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian land.

Sharon, everybody knows, doesn’t believe in peace with the Palestinians; he rather believes in shredding the West Bank into pieces.

It was Sharon, if we remember, who urged the Jewish settlers two years ago to seize as many hilltops in the West Bank as possible, and as soon as possible, because “if you don’t get them first, the Palestinians will.”

This means that Sharon is a hopeless case, and pinning any hope on him for a genuine peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is like expecting Adolph Hitler to embrace the ideas and ideals of Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sharon is Sharon, an unreformed and unrepentant war criminal who brazenly claims that the occupied territories are “disputed territories.”

Such a man, needless to say, will never ever agree to withdraw his occupation troops from the areas that Israel seized in 1967 or dismantle the settlements, as stipulated in UNSC resolutions 242 and 338 upon which the entire so-called peace process is based.

And to obfuscate his real political and ideological attitudes, the mendacious war criminal, employs all sorts of evasion, equivocation, prevarication and stalling tactics, from Palestinian “terror and violence” to anti-Israeli references in Palestinian and Arab school textbooks.

Deception is his modus operandi, lying is his way, and the perpetuation of oppression, apartheid and occupation is his ultimate goal.

Now, could it be that the Americans, with all their means and abilities, don’t know the truth about and his criminal gang of racists, chauvinists and former street hoodlums?

It is absolutely unlikely that they are ignorant of the man and his way of thinking and especially his criminal actions and records which should have landed him in jail along time ago.

Don’t they read the reports coming out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip? Don’t they take a quick look at the reports of B’tselem, Amnesty International, the Christian Peace-Making Team in Hebron?

Don’t they take note of the murderous oppressive acts against the helpless Palestinians by Israeli occupation soldiers and paramilitary Jewish terrorists as documented by such courageous journalists as Amira Hass and Gedeon Levy?

It may be that I am being naéve, expecting the American establishment which perpetrates wholesale massacres of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, sorry collateral damage, to ask Sharon to stop his own carnage of the equally innocent Palestinian children.

Is it not utter illusion to expect the Bush Administration, which has so callously and so blithely shed so much innocent blood in Kabul, Jalalabad, Qandahar and Mazar al Sharif (and asked the media not to show it lest Osama Bin Laden and Taliban score propaganda points) to condemn the murder by Sharon’s soldiers of Palestinian school kids at in Khan Younis, Rafah, Ramallah and Hebron?

And a word to the gullible Palestinian leadership which hastily welcomed Powell’s speech, giving it vacuous descriptions such as “historical” and “representing a turning point” in US policy toward Palestine.

What makes you think that Powell’s speech is historical or representing a turning point in US policy toward the enduring Palestinian plight?

Did Powell call for the total withdrawal of the Israeli occupation troops from the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip? The answer is NO.

Did Powell say unequivocally and unmistakably (as, indeed, he reiterated America’s traditional iron-clad commitment to Israel’ security and well-being) that Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are illegal and ought to be dismantled? The answer is again NO.

Did Powell, the new false messiah, say anything about the “viable Palestinian state” beyond what Sharon the criminal had been saying? The answer is again, an absolute NO.

And, finally, Did Powell say, even allude, that the miserable refugees dumped, like crowded, caged animals, into squalid and wretched refugee camps for 53 years now, should be repatriated to their original hometowns and villages from which they were expelled at gunpoint.

No, he didn’t, and I dare say he wouldn’t ever.

If so, why is the euphoria, the rhapsody, the unfounded hopes?

Indeed, Is the Palestinian people now in a position to re-enact the Oslo jolt once again?

It is essential, therefore, that we adamantly refuse repeat the disastrous Oslo nightmare. One nightmare is enough.

As Palestinians, to whom the world has always been unkind and unjust, we must hang on and cling to our rights and inviolable red lines.

We must make sure that any proposed settlement or new American ideas be in full harmony of human rights and international law, not a mere reflection of the scandalously lopsided balance of power between an occupied and vanquished people and Israel, the bastion of insolence and imperialism in this region.

If our rights are not guaranteed, we can wait, we are not in a hurry, as we have virtually nothing to lose. There is nothing in the Qura’n or the New Testament saying that the Arab-Israeli conflict must be resolved during the George W. Bush’s term of office.

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