The Coastal Post - December, 1998

Wye River Tragedy

By Edward W. Miller

"For peace with disgrace and shameful cowardice...is the most infamous and harmful of all." - Polybius, Greek historian, 208-126 BC.

Back in the fall of 1994 as the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement was signed near their sandswept border, the world via TV saw only those colorful banners fluttering in the desert wind, waving amidst hastily-erected bleachers and TV saucers. Attending dignitaries and thousands of security guards, however, while straining to catch the words of the signers, suddenly heard the thunder of Arab anger, voices which roared across the Jordan sands, echoing south through Palestine and west into Israel. Palestinian Arabs, being betrayed for a second time by a Hashemite king, were speaking with one voice: "This peace with Israel is a dishonorable peace."

Older Arabs recalled that Jordan's King Hussein as a teenager had seen his grandfather, King Abdullah, gunned down in front of that great mosque in East Jerusalem by those Palestinians he had betrayed to Israel after the 1948 war. Abdullah had not only arranged an unholy accord with the new Jewish state, but had disarmed the Palestinians who were defending their land. Abdullah, who had promised to protect them, never did. He had also given away to the Israeli invaders the richest triangle of Arab farmland. In 1994, 45 years after Abdullah's murder, some of those same Palestinians felt again betrayed by Abdullah's grandson as they watched King Hussein hand over to illegal Israeli settlers 25-year renewable leases on Palestinian land captured in the 1967 war. As an added insult, Hussein, who had publicly renounced all claims to East Jerusalem and ceded them to the Palestinians, then accepted from Israel control of those same holy places he had already given to the Palestinians, a treasure Arafat dreamed of delivering to his long-suffering people. This October, in a sad deja vu on the White House lawn, the aging King Hussein, weakened by lymphoma and chemotherapy, joined with Netanyhu and Clinton to again tighten the noose around the long-suffering Palestinians with the Wye River Accord.

Many of us remember in Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland, the animals, after running the "caucus race" in a circle, were rewarded prizes by the dodo. When Alice stepped up to receive hers, there were none left, so the dodo solemnly removed the thimble from Alice's finger and returned it to her as her reward. Wye River is a replay: The dodo (Netanyahu), after Israel for thirty years has been rewarding illegal Jewish settlers with prized Palestinian land, now with over 90% already in Jewish hands, solemnly returns a pittance to Arafat (Alice).

The so-called Wye River Accord will, in fact, only slightly increase the land under total Arab control. Small areas, completely hemmed in by Israeli military patrols and crossed by US-funded highways, cut across prime Arab land, creating direct access from each illegal Jewish settlement west to Jerusalem. No Arab can travel on these highways, patrolled by Uzi-carrying Jewish settlers and built with US taxpayers' money.

With over 4.5 million Palestinians in Diaspora, in Jordan and other Mideast countries, and with many still suffering in refugee camps in Lebanon and elsewhere, those additional acres being offered Arafat's people are forbidden them in the Wye Accord. In addition, "green areas" set aside as well as nature preserve will be patrolled by Israeli military just to guarantee no Palestinian can return to what was once his own or his father's land.

This year Congress gave Israel $2.9 billion in military and economic aid, but Prime Minister Netanyahu is now asking Washington for an additional $1.2 billion just for pulling his forces out of the West Bank. After the Oslo agreement (on which Israel reneged), the US promised $500 million for the West Bank and Gaza over five years. Under AID, $375 has already gone for sewage systems and water installations. Of the remaining $175 due for investment, OPIC (Overseas Primary Investment Corporation) has provided only 46 million. "...No assistance without a willing private investor" reports Lawrence Spinelli, corporation spokesman.

As the New York Times noted (November 19), after the Israeli cabinet voted approval of the Wye Withdrawal Pact, they "gave the go-ahead for 12 new bypass routes serving settlements that will be left as enclaves within autonomous Palestinian territory" for a total of $28 million. "These bypasses almost invariably involve expropriation of Palestinian property, followed quickly by home demolitions, the forcible expulsion of local residents and angry street demonstrations." Though the Wye Accord clearly states there shall be no new Jewish building during negotiations, Netanyahu has said that, "It is as clear as daylight...the new peace accords will accelerate land seizures for the new bypass projects."

The Palestinians are also eagerly awaiting Israel's promise to let them open their own airport; however, as with all other arrangements with Israel, there are strings attached. Though the airport will represent the Palestinians first direct link with the outside world, there are obstacles. As the LA Times reported (November 19), "The airport's nerve center stands completely empty. Its state-of-the-art traffic and radar equipment are stuck at an Israeli port while the Palestinians figure out how to pay Israel $644,000 is customs and storage fees, and its furniture has yet to arrive from Germany... When the airport opens, Palestinian officials will carry out the preliminary passenger check-in, but a second inspection of luggage and documents will be performed in a joint Israeli-Palestinian section of the airport."

As for arms of all kinds, the Wye Accord outlines specific guarantees for disarming Palestinians. However, the illegal Israeli settlers are to be left with their pistols and Uzi machine guns. It is clear Israel intends an apartheid relationship with Palestinians as the designated second class. Netanyahu has already threatened Arafat with war if he announces a Palestinian state in May of this year. In the meantime, Israel still occupies southern Lebanon where she steals the Litani River's irrigation water and recently has begun stealing the Lebanese farmers' rich topsoil and trucking it into nearby Israel.

Nor has Netanyahu made any effort to negotiate a withdrawal from the Golan Heights, but instead is, with US' compliance, making military agreements with Turkey while encouraging Ankura to threaten Syria over Assad's Kurdish population, a million people quite content under Syrian rule.

Under Netanyahu, Israel presents an ever-present danger both to herself and to her neighbors. Israel's US agents such as Barbara S. Bergen of the ADL delight in calling critics of Israeli policies "anti-Semitic" under the pretense of quelling racial discord. (Coastal Post, November) However, the ADL never reins in such Jewish columnists as A.M. Rosenthal, William Saffire and George Wills, but allows them to freely spew forth their anti-Muslim, anti-Arab hate in the New York Times and associated papers. The ADL is presently in court to defend itself against charges of spying on US citizens for Israel). Meanwhile, there is hope: Barbara Bergen says she considers the First Amendment, "magnificent."

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