Apr 15, 2002
The reaction of the Bush administration to the Israeli invasion of the West Bank has been a case study in cynicism and hypocrisy. On April 4, President Bush shook his finger and pretended to order Sharon to withdraw his forces immediately. He even commanded that the Israelis show “compassion” to the Palestinians (while they were massacring them no doubt)!
Massacres there have been, even if the press in this country says very little about them. The European press is more honest about what is going on in Israel. Whole villages and refugee camps have been leveled to the ground. Water and electric supplies have been cut off, and food supply lines have been blocked. Under the pretext of killing terrorists, the Israelis are killing men, women and children who are not terrorists. They are using the classical methods of terror, including torture, to terrorize a whole population.
Bush pretended to give orders to Sharon not out of concern for the massacres of Palestinians in the West Bank. His play-acting was prompted by the large demonstrations and protests rocking many of the Arab countries, which threaten that gang of Arab dictators, kings, princes, generals and sheiks who keep the lid on the impoverished populations of the Middle East for the U.S. and the other big imperial powers. By pretending to lecture Sharon, Bush was hoping to calm things down in the region.
Bush dispatched his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, on what he called a “peace mission.” Of course, the Bush administration made sure that Sharon and his troops had plenty of time to do their dirty work. Powell took a full week to lazily make his way to Israel. And while the Israeli army made a gesture to Powell’s “peace” mission by withdrawing from 24 villages it had already destroyed, at the same time, it went on to occupy others. Sharon proclaimed that much more work – in other words more killing and more destruction – remains to be done. There was barely a word of protest from Bush or Powell.
Why should the U.S. protest? Israel is the most staunch defender of U.S. corporate interests in the region. Its army is today smashing a section of the Arab population, the Palestinians, who for decades have been a symbol of defiance and militancy for all of the oppressed and impoverished people throughout the region. For the big imperialist powers, starting with the U.S., which are sucking the wealth out of the region and impoverishing hundreds of millions, any show of defiance has to be smashed, massacred and demoralized. How else can a tiny, corrupt minority rule over the entire world of misery that they have created?
This is why Bush has given Sharon the green light, despite his pretense of being upset. Without Bush’s okay, Sharon could not continue his deadly mission. The Israeli military is little more than an extension of the U.S. military, a kind of mini-U.S. army in the Middle East. Its main funds come from the U.S., as do its high tech weapons.
What Sharon does today against the Palestinians is not in the interest of the Israeli people. It gives them no prospects other than a permanent state of war. The long term policy of Israel is what created the climate in which the Palestinian terrorist organizations gained influence in the Palestinian population.
The same thing is true for us. What Bush does today, just as presidents before him have done, is engage us in a permanent state of war with hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.
We are not served by Bush’s war in Afghanistan, his threats against Iraq, his use of Israel as a U.S. cop in the Middle East. We are not served by a U.S. military apparatus which sits on top of vast parts of the world. This only creates more enemies for us, more people who look at the United States and its people with loathing. To the extent that we support what Bush does, we are helping to create more enemies for ourselves, people who are ready to kill themselves if they can also harm us.
If we want to live in this world, we have to live in it with other people, accepting to let them live too.