Saturday, January 17, 2009

It’s the American Money and Weapons

By Saeed Qureshi

For almost three weeks now, Israel is mercilessly butchering the defenseless civilian population of Gaza Strip ostensibly with the American money and weapons. The toll of dead and injured is increasing as the time passes. Israel receives every year almost $ 4 billion in aid from US. Additionally, it receives another $ 4 billion from other sources such as donations of the wealthy Israelis from all over the world. The United States is a willing partner to the latest and even the earlier military incursions of Israel; a bully in the Middle East, for spelling doom on the people of Palestine. The Palestinian glibly declared as terrorists have no right of defense and are entirely at the mercy of the brutal war machine of Israel that enjoys the support of the western countries and America to go to any length in killing the people living in the beleaguered land of Palestine.

The world is witness to the frequent breach of accords by Israel, signed between Israel and the Palestinian for durable peace. Based on the land for peace principle, the famous Oslo Accord concluded between the Israel and Palestinian in 1993 has been shredded by Israel with stubborn impunity and a kind of slap on the mediators’ face after it forced the captive Palestinian to recognize Israel besides extracting a host of other concessions.

The problem of the impoverished Palestinians is that they are stung and stabbed not by Israel alone, the inveterate usurper of their land, but by the traditional hereditary dynasties that are the vestiges of the by-gone times. These family dynasties that negate and resist the march of the new era and its attendant tidings to their lands such as democracy, human rights and education, depend up the foreign powers to keep them in their authoritarian saddles. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Iraq, Muscat, Kuwait are all Muslim states and all have autocratic system of governments.

The Saudi Arabia is one state among the whole lot that is wedded to a mix of relgious orthodoxy with the despotism of a monarchy. It professes to be the custodian of Islamic heritage yet by its system of statecraft; it cannot be termed as a truly Islamic state. All other Islamic states in the Arab world and in part of North Africa are apparently looking secular but don’t have a system of secular democracy. These are either family based despotic dispensations or monarchies that run counter to the democratic and egalitarian spirit of Islam. These monarchies, barring superficial proclamation of Islamic faith, can be equaled to the dynasties of Pharaohs several thousands years ago. But still Pharaohs dynasties were better than these present day autocracies, because those ancient societies were secular and progressive in nature.

The Arab despotic rulers care for their personal or dynastic interests and therefore they keep away from such movements that carry the print or label of freedom. That is the underlying reason for their lack of interest in the liberation movement of Palestinian for a homeland. Mired in luxury and extravagance, these orthodox dynastic or secular despots would prefer to side with a strong country against their own people for avoiding a conflict and for keeping the status quo intact.

The rulers of these states are as ruthless and retrogressive as their forefathers were for centuries. Some of them are sitting on heaps of wealth increasing by the day due to oil exports. All these states are islands of oppression and backwardness as the people there are also kept as captives and like subjects of monarchies and dictatorial regimes. These countries don’t have civilian societies. These states are still plagued by an array of mediaeval concepts and moribund traditions.

The Arab league that was created in 1945 has failed to bring about the political unity among Arab states. The internal dynastic, economic, individual and tribal rivalries within the league have restrained it from effectively spearheading the Arab nationalism. The Arab societies as divergent despite a common cultural background as these are blighted by myriad of contradictions such as the gap between rich and poor, tradtionalsits and progressive, man and women, town dwellers and countrymen. It is therefore too early to expect of these orthodox regimes to come to an equal or reasonable level with the western democracies and the civil societies.

Pointing out to these glaring contradictions in the Arab world, Professor Roma Landau in his book “Islam and the Arabs” writes “The traditional tribal frictions, feudalism, and the accumulation of wealth in a few hands ,the most piteous poverty and rampant individualism, relgious obscurantism deliberately cultivated by those in power, all represent weakness in the Arab system”

Therefore, quite unmindful and indifferent to what havoc was being wrought on their brethren of faith in their vicinity by a power drunk Israel, these rulers attired in rich robes, ignore the miseries of the people uprooted from their ancestral homes by a powerful and deceitful enemy some sixty years ago and which still keeps them in bondage at the barrel of gun and by using a disproportionate use of force.

Israel is quite aware of the obstructions in the way of Arab unity that if achieved could become a starting point for unified action against her blatant, ruthless, unwarranted and excessive violence and use of force against the ill equipped and poor Palestinian people.

While America believes in democracy it refuses to do so in case of Hamas which has a legitimate and democratically elected government in Gaza. This double faced policy of the United States earns for it a big chunk of blame and flak along with Israel for the relentless suppression and denial of the rights of Palestinians to have a promised homeland. Of late, Israel breached the Egypt brokered peace accord of June last year by not completely lifting the blockade of Gaza Strip and opening the cross border entry and exit points for unhindered flow of food, fuel, medicines and other similar commodities of daily use. Instead, in retaliation to the firing of obsolete warning rockets against the violation of agreement by Hamas, it has gone on rampage in Gaza Strip by raining bombs and missiles on civilian population.

Let Israel not forget that if it has to face another holocaust, the world at large would look the other way by recounting the barbarities it is inflicting upon the population in Gaza. And this is not the only show of wild force and indiscriminate killing of the people of Palestine. Israel’s past history after its creation in 1948 is full of such savagery.

Israel very cunningly attacked Gaza Strip at a time when neither the outgoing president Bush nor the incoming president Obama is in a decisive position to take a stand on the carnage. For over twenty days now the death and destruction are stalking the tiny strip of Gaza without any indication on the part of the mass murderers to halt this ghastly and diabolic game. The human civilization is being put in a reverse gear by the modern barbarians. The peace loving segment of humanity is aghast and helpless.

It is only the United States that can bridle Israel from this madness of mobilizing a ferocious military onslaught against a people who should be at least given the right to live. But will the new US administration pick up the over due courage to catch this monster by horn and prevail upon the preachers of Zionism within the state of Israel to honor peace agreements with the Palestinians and enter into an era of peace and reconciliation in the region?

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