Demanding Peace and Justice for All


Time for Mideast Policy based on Peace and Justice for All

Hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians are being killed. The civilian infrastructures of both areas are being systematically destroyed. And what is our nation's response? We refuse to call for a cease-fire, and instead expedite the shipment of bombs to Israel so that they are better able to carry out their brutal attacks.

A Lebanese or Palestinian life is no less valuable than that of an Israeli. Yet when confronted with a choice in determining America's course of action in the Middle East, one administration after another has kowtowed to the dictates of America's pro-Israel lobby. The tragic results of this one-sided policy can be witnessed every day in the shattered lives of ordinary people throughout the region.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell once commented about Iraq that if we break it we own it, implying long-term occupation of a sovereign country. We made a mess of Iraq, and now we want to attempt the same failed experiment in Lebanon.

Current Secretary of Sate Condoleezza Rice's comment that these are the "birth pangs" of a new Middle East is just as bizarre as it sounds. Once again, our policy seems to be that we have to destroy a village in order to save it.

Many in the international community, including the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, view Israel's actions as possible war crimes. A number of legal experts say Israel is also in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, which requires that foreign governments receiving American weaponry use it solely for internal security and legitimate self-defense.

Israeli attacks on civilian infrastructure and the intentional targeting of population centers with artillery-fired cluster munitions, phosphorous bombs and "bunker busters" clearly goes beyond self-defense. Despite these apparent breaches of international and U.S. law, our government remains silent.

More than 600,000 Lebanese refugees have been forced to flee their homes as Israel's war machine rains death and destruction from the sea, land and sky. Intentionally uprooting civilian populations to achieve political goals constitutes state-sponsored terrorism that deserves condemnation, not diplomatic cover.

American politicians take every opportunity to speak out in support of Israeli rights and Israel's national security, yet they seem content to leave the Palestinians and Lebanese with neither rights nor security.

The right of self-defense is not limited to Israel. The UN Charter as well as a number of UN resolution including the UN General Assembly Resolution 31/34 of 1976, affirm the inalienable right of "Palestinian People and of all peoples" to seek liberation from "foreign domination and alien subjugation."

Armed conflicts are not without rules of engagement. The concept of proportionality in all armed actions is mandated by the Geneva Conventions. The International Red Cross, the recognized guardian of those conventions, says that Israeli attacks on Lebanon violate this important principle.

People of all faiths, races and national origins have the inalienable right to live in peace, freedom and dignity. This timeless moral value ought to guide American policy in the Middle East. Otherwise, once again, we will be complicit in plunging the Middle East into a multigenerational conflict.

The Bush administration can take some positive steps to bring us all closer to peace with justice in the Middle East.

  1. Call for immediate and unconditional ceasefires in Lebanon and Gaza. This will not only facilitate the evacuation of the thousands of American trapped in Lebanon, it will also allow humanitarian aid to reach innocent victims of this disaster.

  2. Cancel the unconscionable expedited delivery of bombs to Israel.

  3. Implement all relevant UN resolutions without picking and choosing those we like and those we wish to ignore.

  4. Seek the immediate establishment of a viable, independent and sovereign Palestinian state.

  5. Send former Presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter to mediate not just ceasefires and delivery of humanitarian aid, but to also bring all parties to the negotiating table.

God tells us in the Quran, Islam's revealed text: "O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another (not that you may despise each other)." (Quran 49:13)

Driven by the convictions of our faith and convinced of our rights and obligations as American citizens, we will do whatever we can to achieve a just resolution to this long-standing conflict.

The late Pope John Paul II had perceptively reminded us all: "No peace without justice, no justice without forgiveness." As Americans, we extend a hand to help our nation defend its interests and improve its image worldwide. There is no better time than the present to begin this historic task.

 

Dr. Maher Hathout is a Senior Advisor for Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
Dr. Agha Saeed is the Chairman of American-Muslim Task Force (AMT)
Dr. Parvez Ahmed is the Chairman of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)


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  6 Comments   Comment

  1. nazer from uae

    this is war against islam , we have study properly why

  2. Peace from USA

    I agree with post Ref: 39099. As long as hypocrisy is the norm in the so called Muslim world there will be no peace!

    As long as Muslims continue to call on the pseudo gods(and we all know who they are) to liberate them and remove the harm, the suffering and the humiliation would continue! This is guaranteed by their own Book and I quote the transaltion to remind us all:

    17:22 Take not with Allah another object of worship; or thou (O man!) will sit in disgrace and destitution.

    17:56 Say: "Call on those - besides Him - whom yo fancy: they have neither the power to remove your troubles from you nor to change them."

    If we look at our state and reflect deeply with the intellect that we all pride ourselves in a fair conlcusion would be "the fault dear (Muslims), is not in our stars, but IN OURSELVES that we are underlings".

  3. Jable from UAE

    If only all Arab and Islamic country change from dollars to euro or gold over night the war will stop. We are 1.5 billion people. If our leaders fail they are only less then 20,000 of them. All Muslim can make a change without fighting, hostility or buying single weapon. What we need is to get the message across to all Muslim. Why should the Muslim support paper dollars that's worth 4 cent for every 100$, that kills them.

    If every Muslim sells USD a dollar a day that's 1.5 billion a day surely we can do better than that.

  4. khan from USA

    Demanding Peace and Justice for all ???.

    DEMANDING PEACE and JUSTICE for ALL?

    Muslim countries ? Ha..Ha

    (You have no military industries, cannot defend your own countries, have no unity,let your muslims neigbors atttacked-providing bases and headquarters, do not follow real Islam, have no Islamic Union, do not treat your own muslim brothers equally,you are controlled by westerners, have no permnent seat in UN,you love Money and palaces,You treat muslims from other countries as your slaves and so on.....list goes

    DEMANDING PEACE and JUSTICE for ALL?

    FROM WHOM: ?? : the people who invade and occupy your countries, have the bases, write your unislamic constitutions, army is immune to local laws, forcefully take your resources, freeze your assets, cancelled your port contracts, use veto power for anything in UN, harmed our holy books, use your bases to attack your muslim brother countries, supply weapons to countries for holocast of muslims, use your leaders as puppets/slaves/employees, so on and list goes..

    Expect nothing ...You have to stand on your own, become strong DEMAND.

  5. Asmahan S from USA

    I totally agree with this essay.

    It is time for a true and just peace in the middle east. No more one sided U.S. Policy. a fair and justice for all people in the region begining with a state for the Palestinians.

  6. Nasir A from US

    In this world, peace and justice for all, you must a western be white and christian or jew to have peace, justice.

    Demanding peace & Jutsice is up to the white christians/jews.