“Dozens of people claim to have seen Mr Sharon on the roof of a nearby block of flats, watching the killing through field glasses. ” (Suzanne Goldenberg , The Guardian, 1/ 30/ 2001). The roof overlooked the killing fields in Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Sharon has always boasted of being in the thick of the action, so his presence would not come as a surprise. The massacre was a three-day ordeal planned and supervised by the Israeli Army. If you think the scene at the night club in Tel Aviv was gruesome, multiply it by a hundred and that gives you an almost precise picture of what Edward Luttwak admiringly calls “Sharon’s talent”. On the 34th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the editors at the Los Angeles Times found nothing better to do with their space than to publish a Sharon worshipping lunatic like Luttwak. “Sharon will now turn to his earlier talents to direct the most effective uses of force, rather than confining himself to the least provocative.” (Los Angeles Times, 6/5/2001).
William Safire, a vicious anti-Arab bigot, urges “Sharon to be Sharon” (Arafat’s Arsenal of Missiles, NYT, 6/4/2001). He wants Sharon to do an encore of Qibya and Sabra and Shatila to avenge the Tel Aviv suicide bombing that claimed 19 young Israeli lives. He can’t handle the “incredible restraint of Ariel Sharon” who snuffed thirty thousand Palestinian and Lebanese lives during the siege of Beirut in 1982. It is fortunate that Sharon has low life deviant friends in high places. They will come in handy as character witnesses in War Crime trials now taking place in Belgium.
Perhaps Safire and Luttwak would be content with a little vengeance on the scale of Qibya, which claimed 69 lives in 1953. If you think I am exaggerating Safire’s blood lust, consider the tone of satisfaction which accompanied these words “And at that point we may just hear from the Israeli “street”. With doves turned to realists and pressure from Bibi Netanyahu to defend the nation, and Israelis unwilling to further expose their children to lives of terror, Sharon will let Sharon be Sharon”. Safire and Thomas Friedman love to use the pet names for every Israeli war criminal dog that happens to be Prime Minister of Israel. Deborah Sontag also loves to take in stray war criminals, like Arik, if only for a little bounce on her knees. They love their Jewish war criminals at the New York Times. Don’t ever expect Safire to notice that the Israelis have already wasted nearly 500 Palestinian lives in ‘retaliation’. He works for Sulzberger’s Daily Ruse. Among the Palestinian victims of Israeli terror, nearly one hundred were under the age of sixteen; murdered by Israeli snipers aiming for the head.
Not to be outdone by Safire, an archrival in the sport of hating the Palestinians, Robert Luttwak openly calls for a return of the old familiar Sharon. Hell, Sharon already has a rap sheet as long as Idi Amin’s. Adding a few more acts of mass murder to the list would hardly taint his reputation for being a cold-blooded thug. His plane is already grounded in Ben Gurion Airport due to concerns about his war crimes trial in Belgium. He no doubt recalls that Pinochet was in his eighties recuperating from surgery in an English hospital when he was summoned to justice by a majestic Spanish court.
While Luttwak and Safire are braying for Palestinian blood, Sharon is biting his nails over the potential consequences of the war crimes case in Brussels. He thought Sabra and Shatila and Qibya had been safely buried by Arthur Sulzberger, Kay Graham, Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch. As of this writing, all major American media outlets are ignoring the Belgian trial. Which is sort of curious considering they pay such rapt attention to every little word uttered by Haider in Austria. These are the same journalists who hounded Waldheim out of office for failing to report his service as an information officer with the German army in occupied Greece. The very same publishers who buried the war time record of Senator Kerrey are pretending they know nothing of a Belgian trial.
Moving on to America’s ‘constructive engagement’ with this internationally recognized war criminal. When Powell was asked if he had urged Sharon to avoid retaliation he responded “I have not given that direct comment to the Israeli government”. (NYT, 6/4/2001). Powell and Bush have seen fit to consider cutting all connection to the Palestinian authority. To threaten Arafat with dire consequences, Powell had a senior administration aide deliver the message that “We’re not going to tell Israel what not to do to take care of their own interests. That’s going to be their decision”. In other words, go kill them, Arik. Lest anyone miss the significance of this new Powell policy (he seems to have one a week), it not only sanctioned violent collective punishment against the Palestinians but also implicitly gave approval to Sharon’s previous war crimes.
The State Department has the full un-edited manuscript on how Sharon violated the Habib agreement so that he could orchestrate the massacre at Sabra and Shatila. They have comprehensive files on Qibya in 1953 and the killing of Egyptian POWs by Sharon’s troops in 1956.
What exactly is America’s official position on Qibya and Sabra and Shatila? Are they properly classified as war crimes? What about an official American paper on the expulsion of the Palestinians in 1948? Or an explanation of why Powell is accepting Israeli dictates from a war criminal like Sharon? Who exactly gave Powell the authority to pardon war criminals, anyhow? Is there classified information available to the State Department to assist in the Belgian case against Sharon? It is my understanding that an American official obstructing legitimate inquiries into a well-documented war crime is breaking domestic American statutes. Do these laws not apply to the President and the Secretary of State? Do they not apply to Congressmen and Senators who pass bills in honor of Sharon to demonstrate their fealty to the Israeli lobby? How come 60,000 American journalists and editors never ask these questions? Where do they hire these guys and why do they keep them on the job? Moving on; Powell should consider sending an American official to attend the trial before consummating his affair with ‘Arik’.
As if a spineless Powell is not enough of a disaster, the Arab governments have wasted eight months and failed to formulate a coherent policy. Their failure and their lack of competence deserve scorn from their people and the history books. So, forget them. It is now time for individual initiative. Those who love the Palestinian people need to send both the Americans and the Israelis a message. We can start with boycott of American and Israeli goods until Sharon is delivered to justice and the Palestinians are delivered to freedom. Avoid transacting in the American dollar. It is a seriously overvalued currency that gets half its value from being an accepted international means of exchange. So, It makes good financial sense to participate in this challenge to the arrogance of this racist American foreign policy. Lets see if making the almighty dollar a less acceptable means of exchange reduces the penchant of American officials to demonize and torment the Palestinians.
The size of American trade deficits and the serious irregularities that have plagued the American stock market makes abandoning the dollar an easy and profitable way to protest American injustice in the Middle East. The Wall Street racket is nothing but a ‘dot.scam’ confidence game propped up by our deceptive media titans, who manipulate the market even as they fleece the retirement and pension accounts of the American worker. If you are not motivated by compassion for the Palestinians, you are a bloody useless human being, but you can help anyhow by simply putting good advice to use and investing your money in other more fairly valued markets. This is easily done with ADRs which are traded as shares on American exchanges. Also check foreign Bonds. The Australian and New Zealand markets offer excellent alternatives. And their currencies are at historic lows. To protest American policy, Arab governments should also be encouraged to diversify their hard currency holdings so as not to be hurt by the inevitable decline of the dollar. They can start accepting Euros instead of dollars for their oil.
On the political front, Arab-Americans should permanently desert both major political parties and encourage others to do likewise. The mid-term elections are coming up and it is time to cut loose from a two party Mafia that has disfigured our political system to the point where a small ethnic minority can insist on controlling the State department and bully the White House into coddling a war criminal. It is also time to reach out to the minority of American Jews who still care about justice and equality, and ask them to take another look at their arrogant ‘community leaders’ who would have all Americans be complicit in Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people. Vote Libertarian, vote Green, and abandon forever the parties that have actively participated in the repression of an innocent people. Let Arab Americans be among the leaders in dismantling these relics of our racist past that we may build a better future for all Americans, regardless of color or creed. Be certain of this truth; the politicians who support a policy that favors a war criminal over a people fighting for their freedom are worthy only of contempt and disdain.
Finally, never ever accept that this President or this Secretary of State should have the option to pick and choose which war criminal gets indicted and which war criminal gets to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom. We need one standard for handling war criminals. Sharon needs to be treated like Milosovic and Pinochet. If Powell and Bush have a problem with that, we can always challenge both these lads in court and prove to them that they are not constitutionally entitled to have amorous relationships with war criminals.
The most urgent thing we need to do is collect funds for class action litigation against Sharon in America and in Europe. So, lets start sending some serious messages to the American and Israeli government that we will leave no stone unturned until those who have committed war crimes against the Palestinians get a taste of justice. The cause of Palestinian freedom demands that we strip Safire, Luttwak and Israel of their arsenal of war criminals.
Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of NileMedia.com in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN)