"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because
of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything
about it." --Albert Einstein (1879�1955)
"For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and
experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the
facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is
because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political
Action Committee and the absence of any significant and contrary voices."
--Former President Jimmy Carter
"When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the
terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups like AIPAC that to
be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American
politics." --Henry Siegman, former head of the American Jewish Congress
attempts to bury the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the rubble of Baghdad,
this intractable and open-sore conflict is now back on the agenda since the December 6, 2006, Baker-Hamilton commission
report stated the obvious, i.e.,
that settling the precarious fate of the Palestinians in the hands of
Israel is crucial in stabilizing the entire Middle
East and even the entire Muslim world: "The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East
unless it deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and regional
Indeed, there are
strong links between the on-going Iraq war and the long lasting Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
as it relates to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in the West Bank and in
Gaza. Most observers agree that the center of discord, resentment and conflicts
in the Middle East is the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a
festering sore in the body of international geopolitics. As the president of
reminded the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, 2006, "peace and
stability in Lebanon will be attained only when the Israel-Arab conflict will
be settled in a just and permanent way."
Such is the case
also for most Middle Eastern countries. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf
pretty much said the same thing on September 26, 2006, stressing that the world
should urgently address the Palestinian issue, because it is this issue that
lies at the root of all conflicts between the West and the Muslim world. We
have an indication how immoral and dangerous the entire Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is when a recent headline announced that the Israeli Supreme Court
upheld a policy of the Israeli government
to kill Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin. Therefore, it would seem to be
logical that if you address the root cause of grievances and resentment in
Palestine, this would reduce the violent reaction that many people in the
Middle East have against Israel and its mentor, the United States.
November 13, 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a similar appeal in
favor of a �whole Middle East strategy� centered around a fresh focus on resolving
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is an assessment that is nearly
unanimous, with the notable exception of the unconditional advocates of Israel
within and outside the United States. The latter is the all-powerful pro-Israel Lobby, and, in the past, it has defeated all the plans to solve
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, always succeeding in placing
Israel's interests ahead of the interests of the United States.
conflict is a politico-religious conflict, and that iswhy it is so difficult to solve. It has lasted for nearly 90
years, that is to say since the British minority government of Lloyd George
decided to open the ancient Ottoman province of Palestine to Jewish settlement.
It is a conflict that pits three monotheistic
religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism)
against each other and which involves the political and economic interests of
Jewish Zionists, Arab fundamentalists and Western Christian politicians.
Indeed, when the
government of Lloyd George issued its Balfour declaration in 1917,
expressing its support for "the establishment in Palestine of a
national home for the Jewish people" it probably did not realize it
was opening a Pandora's Box that would spew out its disturbing consequences for
a century to come. Indeed, after the War World I collapse of the Turkish Ottoman Empire,
Palestine was among the several former Ottoman Arab territories that were
placed under the administration of Great Britain, under the Mandates System
adopted by the League of Nations. Ultimately, all
but one of these Mandated Territories became fully independent States. The
exception is Palestine, which is still an occupied colony of Israel.
for independence have been frustrated for more than half a century. To its
credit, the government of Great Britain did try to implement various formulas
to bring independence to Palestine, but could not succeed because of the
endemic terrorism and violence that has been a hallmark of this land since its
removal from the Ottoman Empire. That is why, in 1947, Great Britain turned the
problem over to the United Nations, and the General
Assembly quickly passed its Resolution 181 (II)on November 29, 1947. In it, the United
Nations affirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to
self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and proposed the
partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and
the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized.
unilaterally severed its ties from Great Britain, and became independent on May
14, 1948. Nearly 60 years later, Arab Palestine is still not independent.
Worse, a large part of Arab Palestine was, over the years, appropriated by
Israel, leaving Palestine with an uneconomic base to survive and prosper.
Therein lies the problem that has festered in the Middle East for so long.
[to be continued]Rodrigue Tremblay
lives in Montreal and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He is the author of the book 'The
New American Empire'. Visit his blog site at thenewamericanempire.com/blog.