World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


US A Partner In Israeli War

US A Partner In Israeli War

By Jamal Kanj

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ON November 15, 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organisation's (PLO) National Council, a supreme body representing all Palestinians, declared an independent Palestinian state.

The metaphoric gesture did not change life for Palestinians under occupation or in exile, but that wasn't the intention.

The pronouncement was sugar coating major, unreciprocated political concessions, for the declaration also endorsed Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and implicitly recognised Israel - complying with US conditions to open communication channels between the two parties.

But why did these United Nations resolutions become so critical in America's political lexis?

More than a decade earlier, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger bestowed on Israel special powers over US policy in the Middle East.

In 1975, he pledged there would be no negotiation with the PLO as long as it did not recognise Israel and accepted UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

Since Jimmy Carter's presidency, PLO overtures to overcome Kissinger's concocted predicament were stonewalled in Washington.

In 1982, I was privy to one instance of backdoor negotiations when Ronald Reagan's administration and the PLO were on the verge of establishing formal contacts. That summer I was in Washington, DC, helping the national office of the Palestine Congress (PC) of North America.

The PC was an umbrella organisation representing Americans of Palestinian descent and we were in direct contact with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat's office during the Israeli siege of Beirut.

The Internet was still a proprietary of the US Army, but the telex machine allowed us instantaneous text-based messaging even during the heaviest Israel shelling on PLO centres in the Lebanese capital.

The long blockade and the wanton destruction, including cutting off power and water supplies to the city, prompted the Arab League to dispatch Saudi and Syrian foreign ministers to Washington to seek access for humanitarian support for the besieged city.

A secret delegation member was the late Khalid Al Hassan of the PLO Central Committee and a high ranking member of the Fatah organisation. He was allowed to enter the US despite a ban on PLO members.

Following the ministers' meetings with officials from the State Department, Al Hassan asked to relay an urgent communique to the PLO chairman's office. The message was for Arafat to issue a statement, recognising 242 and 338.

In return, the US administration promised to instruct the late Philip Habib, the American mediator in Beirut at the time, to negotiate directly with the PLO.

Within minutes, Arafat was dictating his response: "You are selling me fish in the sea." This Arabic proverb meant that the offer wasn't firm enough.

Regardless, Al Hassan must have established phone contact with Arafat - who the next day, and after a meeting with US Congressmen Pete McCloskey from California and Paul Findley of Illinois, declared his acceptance of all UN resolutions pertinent to Palestine.

However, the declaration - not mentioning explicitly 242 and 338 - was inadequate for the US government to overcome Kissinger's commitment to Israel.

Israel and its lobby became alarmed at the looming spectre of contacts between the US and the PLO. They responded by making it unlawful for Reagan or future American administrations to negotiate with the PLO.

The America Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) enlisted Israeli firsters in Congress to codify the pledge into US law. It passed in 1984 and to top Kissinger, Congress approved additional conditions on the PLO.

Kissinger's vow and AIPAC's irrational supremacy over Congress and the White House have turned America into an inferior partner in Israel's maniacal, bloody and political wars.

Today, US opposition to Palestine getting Observer State status at the UN is inseparable from Israel's continued attempts to drag America into the abyss of hate and conflict.

* Mr Kanj (www.jamalkanj.com) writes a weekly column on Arab issues and is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. This article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Julie Webb-Pullman: Palestinian National Unity Government

A national unity government. Elections. A new-look PLO. Community reconciliation. Big hopes, even bigger expectations as representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Hamas came to an agreement in Gaza today to form a national unity government and hold elections. More>>

ALSO:

Whaling: Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research In Defiance Of World Court Ruling

The ICR Today Filed Court Briefs Stating They Intend to Return to Antarctica to Hunt Whales in 2015-2016; Will Seek to Enjoin Other Sea Shepherd Entities from Obstructing Their Operations More>>

Ukraine: UN Urges 'Maximum Restraint' Amid Situation In East Ukraine

Deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in eastern Ukraine, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for maximum restraint and appealed to all sides to work towards calming the situation, which has the 'growing potential' to ... More>>

United Nations: Children Can Now Lodge Complaints With The UN

GENEVA (14 April 2014) – United Nations child rights experts have hailed a new treaty that allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights. More>>

India: Election But A Ritual In Nation Lacking Rule Of Law

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) congratulates the people of India for their participation to elect the 16th Lok Sabha. The process has attracted, as usual, considerable media attention across the world. Media claims the process to be 'the largest democratic ... More>>

Solomon Islands: Thousands Remain Affected After Flash Floods

An estimated 52,000 people remain affected in the worst-hit areas of Honiara and greater Guadalcanal following last week’s devastating floods which killed at least 23 people. More>>

ALSO:

World: Some 437,000 People Murdered Worldwide In 2012 - UN

Almost half a million people across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, with the highest murder rates logged in the Americas and Africa, and the lowest in Europe, Asia and Oceania, the United Nations Office on ... More>>

Central African Republic:: Security Council Establishes UN Peacekeeping Mission

Deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation and ongoing human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Security Council today approved the establishment of a nearly 12,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping operation ... More>>

ALSO:

Parliament: NZ Sending Aid Flight To Solomons

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has announced further support for the response to severe flooding in Solomon Islands. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news