Firas Al-Atraqchi: Humiliation As Palestinians Die
By Firas Al-Atraqchi
In the past 12 days more than 159 Palestinians have been killed with some 1200 wounded. Israeli Defence Forces reported 'holding' some 1200 to 1500 men between the ages of 18 and 45 for questioning.
On the Israeli side, some 58 Israelis have been killed with nearly 200 wounded. In a striking blow to Israel's mistaken military might, nearly half of the casualties have been from the military.
This is the peace and security Israeli Prime Minister Sharon promised his people. This carnage speaks of the new Sharon, the old-time Zionist general who claimed he had grown softer in his barrelling old age.
Sharon is a liar. He has not only lied to his people, but to the Europeans, the United Nations, and lastly, to the United States. On March 7, 2002, a grim-faced President Bush faced the nation and announced that he was sending General Zinni back to the Middle East to negotiate a ceasefire. Zinni has not yet arrived in the Middle East. In fact, Zinni will not arrive until March 15. A whole week of further bloodshed and murder.
Secretary of State Powell delivered a strong condemnation of Sharon's strategy last week. The Israelis, in true arrogant fashion, bit the hands that feed them and retorted that no one can tell the Israelis how to defend themselves. Not even the Americans. The Israelis have forgotten that it is U.S. military paraphernalia and expertise that they employ to massacre the Palestinians. They have also forgotten that it the U.S. veto that keeps world condemnation at bay.
The Butcher of Beirut will fail. The more he strikes at Palestinians, the more Israelis wind up dead. If Sharon is unleashed from the yard, there will be no more Palestinians, and no more Israelis. Just death and ruin. This is the Zionist dream.
CNN's Ben Wedeman, visibly scared and traumatized, tells anchorwoman Paula Zahn that Israeli troops fired directly at journalists in a hotel in the Jebaliyah refugee camp, where some 100 Israeli tanks invaded late Monday. Wedeman lifts up a camera which he says was riddled with 5 Israeli bullets. When pressed, the Israeli government says the soldiers made a mistake, shooting at areas where they had spotted gunfire. Wedeman dismisses that charge: "There was no firing from our hotel," he says.
The Israelis don't want the massacre of Palestinians reported to the world. This is chillingly reminiscent of the Nazi massacre of Jews in the Polish ghetto. Now, the world is witness to Israeli Nazism, a term never imagined by any person of letters. In light of recent events, the words Israeli and Nazism become blurred, emerging as one.
Then reports emerge in graphic detail the Israeli execution in Jerusalem of a Palestinian activist accused of carrying a bomb (See… http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0203/S00086.htm). Pictures taken of the incident reveal that Israeli claims of shooting the suspect because he refused to undress are incredibly refuted by the clarity of the images. Two Israeli soldiers hold the Palestinian down as another approaches to shoot him in the head. The Palestinian was stripped to his drawers before he was shot. The Israelis lied. Again.
This is the democratic nation that people of morality and fair judgement are expected to defend.
Suicide bombing after suicide bombing. North American media is aghast at how merciless and inhuman these bombings are. They do not report the Palestinian tragedy. If the U.S. were under occupation, one wonders how they would react. Rape, murder, pillage and plunder will not be taken lightly. Sharon's brutal policies are legitimizing the use of suicide bombings. The Israelis strike with F-16s, Abram M-1 Tanks, Armoured Personnel Carriers and the Middle East's most elite fighting force. The hapless Palestinians, some in shoes, some barefoot hit back in the only way they can at whomever they can.
Death begets Death.
And then the tragic comedy. While Palestinians are being forgotten in pools of blood, the U.S. launches a media-supported diplomatic blitz to rally support for strikes against Iraq. Someone, somewhere is laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. Analysts have predicted in recent days that Vice-President Dick Cheney's 10-day, 12-nation mission to rally the 'troops' against Iraq will meet with abject failure.
Meanwhile, the Arabs, in all their might and fury, in all their gold-plated toilet seats and entourage of prostitutes and wide-open casino suites, announce that the decrypt Saudi peace initiative is Israel's last chance for peace and security in the Middle East. Give the Palestinians a homeland and we will give you full diplomatic relations and security, cry the Arabs. It is surprising that these same Arabs are not running over Palestinian carcasses, as they rush to deliver another ultimatum, another hope for peace to Sharon.
We are Muslim nations, they tell us. Islam is a religion of peace, they remind us.
Not so. Islam is not that but far more. A religion of peace and justice. No peace without justice. No justice without peace.
- Firas Al-Atraqchi is a
Canadian Journalist living on the Pacific