Bible-Belt Forces Middle-East Dilemma On Bush
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Forces Middle-East Dilemma On Bush
published on Spectator.co.nz…
By Selwyn Manning.
States’ fundamentalist Bible-belt considers Israel as "God's
Own People" as holding the “promised land” handle and as
such believes any nation that damns Israel or even its
actions will be doomed. This is what the Bush Administration
is confronted by - a highly organised middle-America centred
lobby headed by the likes of Jerry Falwell and his extreme
rightwing gang of pro-Israeli bashers and a powerful United
Nations backed humanitarian solution. Decisive leadership is
A 100-page document allegedly containing proof
that Yasser Arafat is linked to terrorists is being
delivered to the Whitehouse – Is this a cleverly worded
red-herring or an Israeli justification blueprint for human
rights abuses in the West Bank?
US President George W
Bush is about to receive the document. Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon is delivering it in person on Tuesday.
At this meeting, those subscribing to United Nations
proposals where a multinational force be deployed to the
Middle East to settle tensions between the two sides, want
Bush to dictate such solutions to Sharon. The measures
gleaned from meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and
point-by-point plans accepted and agreed to by the United
States at United Nations security council meetings will not
be welcomely received by Israel.
Early this morning
[New Zealand time] the United States said it was committed
to a Palestinian state with Yasser Arafat as its likely
leader. That’s a start. Much more will be required.
The statement countered the pro-Israeli New York
Times Sunday report that Sharon would try to discredit
Arafat based on documents Israel has seized in raids on the
West Bank. Sharon said the documents prove the Palestinian
Authority presides over a terrorist network that finances
and plans attacks.
Sharon arrived in Washington this
morning and is scheduled to meet with Bush Tuesday [US EST].
Palestinians say Sharon has nothing new, just the same old
garbage on Yasser Arafat and a right-leaning Israeli bias,
promoting Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and
justifying forced Palestinian confinement in settlements and
camps. Sharon insists he will deliver a vision of peace that
cannot be accomplished while Arafat leads the Palestinian
Authority. He wants him removed – a line Congress advanced
in its politico-dabble into mid-east affairs late last week.
But US Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican,
was interviewed on CBS's "Face the Nation" this weekend. He
insisted Sharon must deal with Arafat around the peace-table
but should prepare "for other contingencies" should Arafat
be unable to stop suicide bombings and terrorist strikes
Clearly, US diplomacy has created
itself an ironic twist: The Whitehouse is caught between
Arab nations, the majority of nations in the international
community, the United Nations, and its own pro-Israeli
Congress. The US media is predominantly pro-Israel, except
for independent media. Its population appears anti-Arab so
therefore perceived pro-Israeli – especially so while Israel
peddles the ‘let’s get those terrorists’ rhetoric line.
Domestically Bush needs to say ‘go get em Sharon’.
Clearly this is Bush’s natural position. The international
community however insists Bush use his relationship with
Israel to bring the rogue Middle East state into line with
accepted human rights laws and internationally determined
and accepted self defence strategies. Israel views such
demands as ‘restrictive’ and indeed the United Nations as
anti-semetic. The US’s fundamentalist Bible-belt too
considers Israel as holding the “promised land” handle and
as such believes any nation that damns Israel or even its
actions will be doomed. This is what Bush is up against - a
highly organised middle-America centred lobby headed by the
likes of Jerry Falwell and his extreme rightwing gang of
Falwell, made famous in New
Zealand for losing an Oxford Debate in the UK against former
New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange on the pros and cons
of Nuclear deterrence [Falwell of course is pro-nuclear]–
said in a petition to the mayor of Jerusalem: “As a
concerned Christian in America I hereby issue this Petition
of Support to let you, Mayor Ehud Olmert, know that I
support your efforts to KEEP JERUSALEM FREE. I believe that
the Palestinian terror MUST stop and that Arafat and his
militant Palestinian groups must never be allowed to claim
Jerusalem as their own. I recognize, as Jew and Gentile
alike have done for 6,000 years that Jerusalem is the
capital of Israel and should remain so for generations to
come. I will do my part by pledging to pray for an end to
the senseless violence and bloodshed that claims the lives
of innocent men, women and children everyday and I will do
whatever I can, as a God-fearing America to KEEP JERUSALEM
Amazing it is how a faith supposedly promoting
peace on earth and goodwill to all men can disregard the
slaughter that has occurred at West Bank and Gaza
territories, whatever the provocation.
Falwell’s [and the Bible-Belt’s] believe-generated-opinion
are humanitarian organisations, the United Nations, European
Union and Arab states.
The Saudi Crown Prince last
week delivered Bush a stern warning that Arab nations expect
and demand that the US take a more reconciliatory role, a
less pro-Israeli role in Middle East diplomacy. Countering
the Bush Administration’s moves to appease the Saudis – a
country crucial to the United States should it embark a
military offensive against Iraq - US Congress moved swiftly
to destabilise this. Congress delivered a strong endorsement
in favour of Israel and the storm-trooper-styled military
offensive through the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
was clearly an embarrassment for the Whitehouse.
What’s the way out? As Republican McCain said on CBS:
"The fact is that Mr Arafat has got to take some very strong
steps to prove that he is interested in a peaceful
resolution.” And last night Whitehouse officials said, Bush
planned to assure Sharon the Palestinian Authority would
have to take significant steps to stay at the peace table.
It appears the Whitehouse will attempt to use
friendly Arab nations to force the Palestinian Authority to
the peace-table, and then to accept measures that
accommodate the Israeli-line. These nations include Egypt,
Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The European Union is also
being called upon to increase pressure on Arafat, possibly
through cuts to economic aid, to consider terms deemed
unacceptable during the Arafat/Barak peace negotiations
brokered by former US President Bill Clinton in the dying
moments of his presidency.
These issues include the
contentious question of Israeli settlements in Palestinian
areas. Should such measures be accommodated the territories
would likely flare again into violent pandemonium, this time
against Arafat from Hamas and Hezbollah.
of State Colin Powell, also on television, said officials
would “listen” to Sharon's proposals but stressed that
"something has to be done" about the settlements. Powell,
sceptical of a "security fence" between Israeli and
Palestinian areas, said: "I don't know if you're going to
solve the problem with a fence unless you're solving the
underlying problems of the Palestinians feeling
disenfranchised," he said.
Meanwhile the killing
continues. Israel launched its March 29 sweep for militants
in the West Bank and Gaza areas after Palestinian suicide
attacks killed dozens of Israelis. Israel forces have
withdrawn from most West Bank cities and towns, but a cloak
of terror remains. At least 1,340 Palestinians and 459
Israelis have been killed since the Palestinian uprising
began in September 2000 after peace talks
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