By Edward W. Miller
As I write this December 20, one day before
the winter solstice, CNN from eastern Afghanistan shows a cold, dirty-white
mist hanging over the peaks of the Hindu Kush, a mist soiled by the awesome
debris of exploding bombs. Far below, but purposely avoided by their reporters'
camera, struggling through the frozen valleys and narrow mountain passes, tens
of thousands of starving Afghans, their few belongings on their backs or in
horse-drawn wagons, are marking their tortuous way towards a military-sealed
Pakistani border many will never survive to cross.
After almost three months of some of the most intense bombing the world has seen, not one of the so-called "objectives" of Bush's "War Against Terrorism" has been met. Osama Bin Laden remains at large as does the Taliban's leader, and while our so-called "specialized forces" have rounded up a few Al Qaeda fighters, no significant military or political figures have been captured. Rumor has it that most have either escaped into nearby Pakistan or, as is the Afghan's custom, been forgiven, to disappear into those masses of Northern Alliance fighters and mujahadeen who have been fighting that country's internecine battles ever since the exhausted Soviets withdrew. Just what we are going to do in Afghanistan is anybody's guess.
Bush's war against "international terrorism" is placing many protest groups around the world, including the Palestinians, in jeopardy. Israel's Sharon, after consultations in Washington, now declares Intifada II a "terrorist operation," and our President, kowtowing to America's Zionist lobby, has warned Arafat to reign in his suicide bombers. Israel, however, feels no such restrictions, so the strafing of innocent civilians, selective murder of Palestinian leaders, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, the shelling of Arafat's police officers, continues unabated. Meanwhile, illegal Jewish settlements are expanding.
This Christmas week, the little town of Bethlehem lies silent beneath the stars. While Christians around the world celebrate its gift to the world, Israeli soldiers patrol its empty streets. Most hotels are closed, shelled, or burnt, and the usual rejoicing crowds of Christian pilgrims are nowhere to be seen. At night, instead of stars, Christians and Moslems still living in Bethlehem can watch the blinking lights of Israeli helicopters.
The entire West Bank and Gaza are military enclaves wherein Palestinians cannot travel from one village to another without the insolent, purposeful delay or outright refusal from Israeli soldiers. Roads have been made impassable with Israeli-made 100 meter-long trenches and even countryside and mountain passes are closed. Palestinians attempting to bypass these obstructions are shot and killed and ambulances forbidden access. These blockades provide no security for Israel's Jews but rather increase the anger, frustration, and resulting radicalization of Palestinian youth, thus giving Sharon his excuse to murder at will. The present Zionist government of Israel intends to destroy any hope of a Palestinian state.
Those in Israel's government who control foreign policy are divided into two groups. One, championed by the more liberal members in the Knesset, favor the so-called "Alon Plan" which was expressed to a considerable degree by the "Oslo Accord." The Alon Plan envisions a series of bantustanized Palestinian enclaves, surrounded by armed Israeli checkpoints, with quisling Arafat supported by Israel as nominal head of a pseudo "Palestinian State." There would be some minor adjustment of those Israeli settlements most expensive to defend, but essentially the Palestinians would accept a considerable reduction in their anticipated "State." This plan the Palestinian Authority had rejected at the Madrid Conference, but at Oslo, Israel secretly maneuvered a weakened and politically inept Arafat to accept.
Israel, with widespread access to the American media, has made much of Arafat's rejecting Barak's "generous offer" of 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. A closer look reveals that offer to be "90 percent" of what remains after the Jews subtract their huge expansion of East Jerusalem into the Jordan Valley, plus tens of thousands of dunums of Arab land underlying both the illegal settlements and bypass roads forbidden Palestinians. Thus Barak's "90 percent" turns out to be only 17 percent of the homeland promised the Palestinians in both the original 1947 UN division and reinforced by UN Resolution 242.
The more dangerous political group now headed by Sharon and supported by Barak is best described by Professor Tanya Reinhart of Tel Aviv University in a recent article, "Evil Unleashed" (see [email protected]). Professor Reinhart says Israel's recent "retaliatory acts" were carefully planned..." "In October 2000... military circles were ready with detailed plans to topple Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. This was before the Palestinian terror attacks started."
"A document prepared by the security services at the request of PM Barak, October 15, 2000, stated that, 'Arafat, the person, is a severe threat to the security of the state (Israel) and the damage which will result from his disappearance is less than the damage caused by his existence'." The 60 page operative plan known as "Fields of Thorns" was released in a meeting with the press on November 20.
Professor Reinhart notes: "The 'Foreign Report' (James Information) of July 12, 2001 disclosed that the Israeli army... was updating its plans for an 'all-out assault' to smash the Palestinian authority, force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain its army." Its blueprint, titled "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces" was presented to the Israeli government by chief of staff Shaul Moraz on July 8th. The assault would be launched at the government's discretion, after a big suicide attack in Israel, causing wide-spread deaths and injuries, citing the bloodshed as justification."
"Israel's moves to destroy the PA... is a calculated plan long in the making. The execution requires, first weakening the resistance of the Palestinians, ...through killing, bombing of infrastructure, imprisoning people in their hometowns, and bringing them close to starvation. All this while waiting for the international conditions to ripen for the more advanced steps of the plan. Now the conditions seem to have "ripened." In the "power-drunk" political atmosphere in the US, anything goes. If it first seemed that the US will try to keep the Arab world on it side... as it did during the Gulf War, it is now clear that they couldn't care less... those US hawks who now push to expand the war to Iraq and further view Israel as an asset... as Professor Alan Joxe, head of French CIRPES put it in Le Monde," the American leadership is shaped by dangerous right-winged Southern extremists, who seek to use Israel as an offensive tool to destabilize the entire Mideast area." (December 17, 2001) The same hawks are also talking about expanding the future war zone to targets on Israel's agenda, like Hizbollah and Syria.
In view of Israel's obvious intent to prevent a true Palestinian State, plus the power exerted over Washington by international Zionism, it is easy to understand why terrorized and oppressed Palestinians again resorted to an INTAFADA, meeting Israel's everyday terror with suicidal retaliation.
Considering the political unwillingness of either Catholic or Protestant organizations in the US to tackle the Zionist machine, plus the fragmentation of the Muslim world, the likelihood of a cooperative rescue of their Holy Places from the infidel, Israel, seems dim at best.
Meanwhile, President Bush, enthralled by the perceived power of his crusade against "international terrorism," influenced by AIPAC's political money, and enticed by his Christian Right's fascination with Armageddon and "Rapture," may land us in a dangerous Mideast conflagration. Hopefully, critical voices from Europe plus cautionary advice form both China and Putin, may still restrain Washington. 2002 will be an exciting year.