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A Road Less Traveled in Palestine

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The situation in Israel and Palestine it at its most crucial point in decades. Unfortunately at a time when an American president could take meaningful action in bringing about a just and meaningful two state solution, Bush is abandoning all sense of fairness concerning the Palestinian people to advance his agenda against Iran and shore up his base. Make no mistake they are all tied together.

Olmert, the new Prime Minister of Israel has been given the go a head to ask for concessions that no Palestinian leader can accept, and then impose a unilateral solution when they refuse. The Palestinian people through the actions of Israel, the Arab nations, the U.S. and at times their own leaders have suffered from some of the worst kind of exploitation, apartheid and repression committed in the last century. Palestinians have and do suffer from forced evictions, theft of their homes and land, imprisonment without charge or trial, search without cause, disruption of their homes and businesses, repeated humiliation at checkpoints, torture and death at the hands of Israeli security forces. These are conditions that no American should condone. Their crime, trying to salvage a part of a country that was once theirs.

Forget the fact that before the restoration of Israel, it was Christian crusaders that slaughtered and drove Jews from Israel or that for centuries, Muslims provided asylum to Jews escaping persecution in Europe. Lets avoid the fact that Europeans and American governments who wouldn't accept Jews escaping Nazi Germany were quick to give someone else's land to Zionists and refugees. Muslims are the favorite political victim of the moment and unfortunately for them Palestinians are mostly Muslim.

Even though Jews only invaded and controlled the "land of Israel" for about 1200 years of over its 5,000 year history of human settlement, Zionist elements claim it on the basis of their Religion. Right wing Christian churches who support George Bush have supported this claim because they believe that when Israel is restored Christ will return. Olmert now has been given a free hand by Bush to further divide the West bank into three large prisons and take the rest for Israel resulting in a permanent state of repression for the Palestinian people which will feed terrorism forever.

This fits however with the Bush and Neo Con agenda. Bush will push for a military confrontation with Iran in order to dominate Mideast oil supplies, a Neo Con dream since 1991. Hamas has received support from Iran. Bush's refusal to push for a just settlement and Israeli land seizures will cause an increase in terrorism that will allow both Israel and Bush to justify further aggression against their supposed enemies. The U.S. will proceed against Iraq and Israel will destroy the integrity of the Palestinian state.

Bush does not believe in democracy when people who resent American collaboration and support of repressive policies elect groups such as Hamas. The support of Hamas by 75% of the people threw the slow nibbling away at the West Bank by Israel to a halt. Bush failed to recognize that it is U.S. support of Israeli expansionist and human rights violations that caused the overwhelming support of Hamas and a rejection of the corrupt, ineffectual and failed leadership of Fatah and the PLO. The reaction of Bush has been to try and cut off all aid to the Palestinian people for their democratic reaction. Israel is refusing to pay taxes due to the Palestinian government. The result is even more unemployment, shortages of basic goods and services including fuel and hospital supplies. The Palestinian people are being cruelly punished for expressing their opinion.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) ruled by Fatah under Yasser Arafat was corrupt, ineffectual and bumbling most of the time. Their new leader Abbas, has no support from the Palestinian people but refuses to step down and is propped up by U.S. and Israeli interests. Bush could be a hero and probably win the Nobel Peace Prize if he would push a settlement that would require 1) Recognition of Israel's right to exist, 2) Restoration of a Palestinian state that included Gaza, all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem (the pre 1967 borders), 3) no right to return but fair reparations to Palestinians who lost their homes and land, 4) Recognition of a free, independent and viable state of Palestine.

As a President who has enormous control over billions of dollars of aid sent every year to Israel let alone millions in donations that are raised by Americans to support Israeli encroachment through "settlement" expansion he could exert pressure to bring about a just and permanent conclusion to this mess. But that would require Bush to stand up to the Zionist lobby, the Christian Right, the American arms dealers and reach a rational, reasonable settlement with Iran. It would require an interest in justice and human rights, a farsightedness about geo politics for the common good, an ability to place world peace above political interests. Sadly all characteristics missing from our current administration.
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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas
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