The international community has spoken: it opposes a unilateral withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. But it opposes a unilateral withdrawal much like I oppose Britney Spears having more children-it is not actually going to do a damn thing about it. Putting in your two cents is great when discussing whether Barry Bonds deserves an asterisk next to his name or whether Ohio and Florida should be allowed to vote in the next election, but when the international community infuses false hope into the minds of peaceniks and propaganda into the minds of Pro-Israelis, it is down right immoral. (Don’t worry Dershowitz, nobody is out to harm your tiny sliver of land-which coincidentally you have an “inherent right” to because you’re Jewish-while my dispossessed grandparents, as Semitic Palestinians, do not).
George Bush plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert the week of May 22. Shortly after the meeting, Bush will stare straight into the camera with that look on his face-you know, the “I’m about to kill brown people” look-and tell those in TV land how adamantly opposed he is to a unilateral withdrawal. If you recall, George Bush did the same thing when he discussed the Roadmap; the settlements were to stop expanding, Israel would tear down the illegal outposts and Bush’s Pollyannaish vision for the Middle East would come to fruition. Yet, after a few enlightening meetings with those in the Israeli Knesset-and Sharon himself-Bush decided there were “new realities on the ground.” These “new realities” were large settlements blocks in the West Bank that Israel would inevitably keep in a final agreement. The message Mr. Bush sent was clear: if you break international law long enough you get off scot-free (unless you’re an Iraqi leader, apparently that gets your people white phosphorus showers and depleted uranium in their soil). But seriously, you can’t just expel illegal Jewish fundamentalist squatters-even if they did dispossess the indigenous Palestinian population to make room for their lavish houses, swimming pools, “Jewish only” roads and pipelines that appropriated the Palestinian’s water supply.
The future is all too predictable-the US position will transform into a position even more in step with Israeli policy. George Bush will announce that he’s seen into Olmert’s soul, cheapening the memory for Putin and Merkel, while Europe stands dutifully in the back waiting for its cue to act. France will emerge first, proclaiming it opposes President Bush’s decision, while Blair will deliver his usual half-lecture about how such a policy “isn’t good for peace.” But one by one, the European states will fall in line with the US position-while “opposing” it on paper. The European Union will soon follow at the request of the US administration, while the US allies in the Middle East-Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia-will already have their lips moistened for a new round of ass-kissing and acquiescing.
Another option does exist. If Abu Mazen can get his strings in order, Israel would be more than willing to put on a puppet show. And let’s be honest, puppetry is more American than wire-tapping, more French than attitude on Air France, and more British than Prince Harry hangovers. Israel is less concerned with unilateralism as it is fulfilling its goal of annexing the West bank settlements and ensuring control of Jerusalem. Securing the international communities approval will be easier than passing tax cuts in a Republican controlled congress. The tricky part will be receiving a standing ovation, as Israel did with the “disengagement.” Regardless of the circumstance, whether unilateral or bilateral Apartheid, the plan will be sold to America, while Europe will give its loyal endorsement.
Nevertheless, I hope my predictions are wrong. Europe has played to the tune of the US for far too long. This could be a first step in challenging the empire and an introduction of sensibility and objectivity into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One hopes that Europe learned a lesson from the Nuremburg trials-following orders does not absolve one from responsibility.
Remi Kanazi is the primary writer for the political website www.PoeticInjustice.net He lives in New York City as a Palestinian American freelance writer, poet and performer and can reached via email at [email protected]