Hits lists will not bring peace to Mideast
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has drawn up a Hamas "hit list" in response to the attack in Tel Aviv.
The Tel Aviv attack was headlined in the American media and attention was drawn to the "plight" of the poor Israelis who have to "endure" terror attacks from "Islamic Groups". The same American media downplayed the massacre by an Israeli-American citizen and termed him as a "madman". Nobody said he was an Israeli-American terrorist.
The "hit list" is being drawn up at the same time that President Clinton is preparing for his Middle East trip. Clinton will leave the golf cart for Air Force One and Democrats are nervous that the President will be away from the United States at a time when mid-term elections are only precious days away.
Clinton should come to the Middle East with an open mind. Unfortunately, his many Jewish advisers have clouded his intellect, causing him to speak of "peace between Israel and her Arab enemies".
Not a whimper from the Arab states. While everyone wants peace in the area, the Arabs don't want a Versailles Treaty forced down their throats.
Already many concessions have been made. The brazen attitude of the Israelis and their ill-concealed arrogance and contempt for the Arabs does not bode well for the future of an abiding peace.
While the American establishment will go gaga over the signing of peace treaties with individual Arab states, they will remain totally indifferent to the plight of thousands of Arab prisoners ranging from nine year old boys and girls to 96 year old men and women, all languishing in Israeli jails.
The horror inflicted by Israelis on the Arabs in Israel and the Occupied Territories is an enormous scale and their cover-up creates a sense of helplessness.
The Israelis have mastered the art of blowing up Arab homes. The ancestral home of the family of an eight year old boy who threw stones at an Israeli army vehicle was recently blown up before their eyes.
Thousands of other homes are sealed. Atrocities continue with trigger mad Brooklyn Israelis to using Palestinian children for target practice. Not a whimper again.
Human Rights Organizations that are quick to condemn and criticize others for alleged "human rights" violations keep mum over the issue.
Jerusalem remains an Occupied city with the descendants of Salahuddin its prisoners. Judarization of the city continues unabated and the Arab quarter is being virtually torn down and stripped of its identity.
The Israelis are in fact a repressive occupying force bent on eradicating the Arab character of Palestine.
But how can the American delegation know this? For they themselves have taken sides in the conflict. Schools have been forcibly closed, water supplies stopped. There are no licenses issued to Arab businessmen in the Occupied Territories. Yet at the same time new Israeli settlements financed by American Jews are sprouting like mushrooms and thousands of acres of Palestinian land is being confiscated with a voracious appetite by Israeli land grabbers.
The Israelis seem to take delight in demanding punitive measures against Arabs in the Occupied territories. Their rabid right wing organizations fed and nourished by the Bnia Brith Organization and the American Jewish league are openly clamoring for Arab blood. They are trying to hold the PLO responsible for even drop of Israeli blood. But they themselves do not feel officially or morally obliged to put the reins an Israeli militants and settlers who continue spilling Arab blood. But then as the Arab sayings goes, "who is going to tell the ogre; your eyes are red".
Peace is a two-way street. Unfortunately, the Arabs are not playing with a full deck of cards.
That is why many people in the Arab world with an ounce of patriotism left in them are wary of these peace processes. While they want peace, they expect it to be a peace with honour and not humiliation.
How can the peace process continue while an economic and social war is being waged against the Palestinians?
Those who want to mediate in this conflict should realize that there is a sense of despair, not only among Palestinians but also among others at this lopsided peace process.
The international media should portray a balanced picture of the prevalent situation in the West Bank rather than constantly attacking "Islamic Terrorism".
The United States wants peace in the region for two reasons. Firstly, Israel's security will be insured and, secondly, American companies will be able to take part in what has been called the "economic uplift" of the region.
Again, no right-minded Arab would disagree with Washington's aims because the Arabs can in no way threaten the security of Israel, with its huge arsenal, of nuclear weapon which it will not hesitate to use. So us not fool ourselves. On the other hand peace in the region will bring economic benefits, especially to the Palestinians crammed in Gaza and Jericho.
However, the Western countries who are quick to enforce UN Security Council resolutions in many places should also demand that Israel comply with all UN resolutions on the Occupied West Bank.
They should demand a speedy Israeli withdrawal from all Occupied Territories so that, as Mr. Marwan Kanafani, a PLO spokesman said, "Palestinians are given a sense that they have a better life ahead after more than 25 years of Israeli occupation".
Only then will there be peace of mind and heart and not peace on a piece of paper.