Serving foreign interests
When our leaders serve foreign interests, everyone loses
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD*
*A US citizen who just returned from occupied Palestine and is a member of the steering Committee of the US Campaign to End the Occupation (endtheoccupation.org). Personal website qumsiyeh.org
The gap between facts on the ground and Mideast coverage in many mainstream US media is harmful to US public interest. The fruits of Israeli militarism in the past two weeks included over 500 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians killed (including entire families), 20% of Lebanese civilians displaced, over $4 billion of Lebanese civilian infrastructure destroyed, and whole neighborhoods flattened by US-supplied weapons. The Israeli army (already 4th or 5th strongest in the world) will see its budget increased by nearly $500 million and the US is rushing delivery of aviation fuels, bombs and munitions all funded bu US taxpayers. Meanwhile, 1/3rd of Israeli children and 2/3rds of Palestinians live below the poverty line. Yet, many TV and newspapers simply regurgitate lies generated in Tel Aviv and parroted by a well-funded network of lobbyists for Israel in the media, on Capital Hill, and in the White House.
The fictional narrative goes something along the lines that "the troubles started" when Hamas "abducted" an Israeli soldier and Hezbollah “kidnapped” two Israeli soldiers. As to why this happened, it is argued that Hamas and Hezbollah are fanatical terrorist groups genetically predestined to make trouble unless crushed by massive military force. But Israel is a colonial and occupying state that has left 2/3rd of the 9 million Palestinians as refugees or displaced people by a systematic process of ethnic cleansing, land grabs, and attacks on civilians, all perpetrated well before the establishment of Hamas (acronym for Islamic Resistance Mo0vement) in 1987. In fact, the first suicide bombing came only in the mid 1990s after the massacre by an Israeli settler of 29 worshippers in the Ibrahimi mosque in Alkhalil (Hebron).
The Israeli government (backed by the US) responded to the massacre not by punishing the colonial settlers but by rewarding them and punishing the native Palestinians (clearing whole Palestinian neighborhoods to satisfy the few settlers). In our visit to that ancient city two weeks ago, we observed how 400 fanatical colonial settlers (supported by nearly 4000 Israeli occupation troops in the area) have displaced thousands of native Hebronites and kept nearly a hundred thousand as virtual prisoners. Hamas skirmished with the occupation forces resulted in the capture of an Israeli occupation soldier, an act of resistance supported by all existing International laws (Gaza is still occupied, even by UN standards). By contrast, nearly 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners are held illegally in Israeli jails. They were kidnapped from their own homes and towns and illegally transported to Israeli jails.
Similarly, Hezbollah is an indiginous Lebanese resistance force that formed AFTER the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. For those with short memories, it is important to recall that tens of thousands of Lebanese and Palestinians (the latter refugees from 1948) were massacred by the Israeli occupation forces in Lebanon in 1982 alone. Hezbollah earned wide popularity and support among all sectors of Lebanese society (including its Christian population) for its success in ousting the Israeli brutal occupation machine from most Lebanese territory. Ofcourse Israel remains illegaslly occupying Gaza, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Sheba Farms, and the Golan. Israel also continues to deny international law by preventing Palestinian refugees from returning to their homes and lands. All Arab countries agreed in Beirut three years ago to a comprehensive peace plan based on International la but Israel, backed by the US rejected the deal.
Why does the US government refuse to call on its client state to accept a ceasefire in Lebanon let alone peace based on International law? Why does the US veto UN resolutions critical of Israel even when the vast majority of countries support such resolutions? The answer can be glimpsed from the reaction to a paper on the Israeli lobby authored by two respected professors at Harvard and University of Chicago (Mearsheimer and Walt). There was a paranoid overreaction about this research simply because it showed that Zionists push their interests at the expense of US interests. The reaction proved the paper's thesis. Zionists positioned themselves and their supporters at the levers of power in the US and are pushig for a war on Islam, an endless war under the guise of a "war on terrorism". In the process alienating most of the world and wrecking the US economy.
Hundreds of millions around the world look in horror at the US complicity in Israeli war crimes. Campaigns of boycotts, divestments and sanctions on Israel by civil society are now picking steam. The 21st century is not turning out as hospitable to Zionist racism as its proponents had anticipated. The only question is not whether racist Zionists will succeed, it is rather how much more suffering it will inflict on humanity until it is finally vanguished. Europe is now moving away from ethnocentric chauvenistic nationalism (blamed for WWI and WWII) and its so far timid skirmishes with Zionized American governments should develop into a more principled stand for justice. But even if this does not happen (for Europe's and America's sake, we hope it happens), the end results will still be the same. Merely taking a bit longer.
There are really two outcomes of this struggle for freedom and self determination in the Middle East and around the world: the Zionists can succeed in the short term in keeping US media and Congress subserviant or they fail. In the former scenario, the long term outlook is clear: Americans will continue to die and suffer to serve Zionist special interests but ultimately (perhaps after the US economy is devastated), America and Zionism will lose. In the second scenario, America will shake itself free from Zionism and Zionism will lose and Americans (and Palestinains and Israelis) will be able to build their lives and future in a world together not separated by physical or psychologicl apartheid walls. Under both scenarios, arriving at a world without separation, segregation, and racist ideologies is inevitable. There si no third alternative. The question is a matter of how to intensify our activism to reduce the time interval to get there (that is what will save lives). After touring several European countries and coming back from the occupied areas, my optimism is validated.