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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 19th, 2009 - 02:16:26

Who is responsible for Gaza blight?
By Dr. Akram Habeeb
Writing from the Occupied Gaza Strip

Jan 19, 2009, 00:18

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As a Gazan who is not affiliated with any political party, yet much concerned about what is taking place in my hometown, I meticulously track every piece of news related to the ongoing horrendous carnage which is perpetrated by the Israelis against the innocent civilians in Gaza.

I was shocked when key staff of Bush�s outgoing administration hold the Palestinian side, in particular, responsible for the recent onslaught in Gaza. I was also more devastated when some European officials and even few Arab leaders implicitly hold the same opinion. I am not sure though whether these officials do represent the voice and the good will of their peoples.

The most disturbing statement about the situation in Gaza was made by Dr. Rice, the American Secretary of State, when she declared that it was the Palestinian side who violated the truce and subsequently is responsible for what is happening in Gaza. Such a statement is easy to be made by Ms. Condi whose accomplishments in America�s foreign policy were spectacular! She promised that by 2008 the president�s vision of two states would be concretized. It seems though that she succeeded in having two Palestinian cantons, one in Gaza, and the other in the West Bank! Perhaps Dr. Rice was the most frequent visitor of the Middle East when compared with her predecessors. The normal expectation has been that Ms. Rice would have a deeper understanding of the Middle East crisis, in general, and the Palestinian side, in particular.

As Palestinians living in Gaza, we expected Ms. Rice to have done some research about the demography of Gaza. We also expected her to have done some investigations about the psyche of the true victims living in Gaza. We are not sure if Dr. Rice knows that more than 70 percent of the Palestinians living in Gaza are Palestinian refugees who had been kicked out of their towns and villages in Palestine . We are not certain if Dr. Rice knows that most of the Israelis who replaced the displaced Palestinians had come from far off lands, from diverse countries, to establish a state on the land of other people.

It seems that Ms. Rice is very happy to see the Palestinians suffer under siege; she wants them to sing for peace in a big cage called Gaza and if they protest by sending homemade rockets, she will hold them responsible for the mess! We hope, though, that Ms. Clinton, Condi�s successor, would be the one who would improve the image of America in the Middle East and the Islamic world. We are sure that Ms. Clinton would be more objective and realistic when she deals with the Palestinian Issue.

The Palestinians have also been greatly disconcerted by the statements of both President Bush and his deputy, Dick Cheney. Both of them gave Israel the green light to kill the innocent civilians in Gaza. The moment they declared that Israel has the right to defend itself and hold the Palestinian side responsible for what is happening in Gaza, Israel started mercilessly to target civilians. They started to kill complete families, small and extended. They started to target the unarmed civilians who mistakenly thought that UNRWA schools would be safe refuges for them.

History will witness that these two men had not done any good for the good Americans who elected them. They have successfully denigrated the image of America and the Americans in the Arab and the Muslim worlds. We in Palestine and in the Muslim world believe that Bush�s legacy would be a real burden for his successor, President-elect Obama. However, we strongly believe that Obama�s administration would do its best to regain the prestigious image of American in the Arab and the Muslim worlds; we are full of hope that the new administration would play the role of the objective peace broker in the Middle East. Hopefully it would be a very real and realistic vision different from Bush�s vision !

Gaza photos by Sameth A. Habeeb


Dr. Akram Habeeb is the father of photojournalist, peace activist, humanitarian and child relief worker Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.

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