The contempt with which the Americans and their zionist allies regard the Palestinians is demonstrated by their latest “proposals” — “terms of surrender” would be a more apt description — presented to Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestinian Authority, late last month and elaborated upon in Washington on January 2. These are essentially the same old proposals first presented to Arafat last July, now repackaged with the added warning that they will not be available after January 20, when president Clinton leaves office. Arafat was also reminded that if Ehud Barak loses the Israeli prime ministerial elections on February 6, Arafat will have to deal with Ariel Sharon, a war-criminal who has earned the title of the “Butcher of Beirut.” The Palestinians are thus invited to help Barak “win” the election.
Who then is this Ehud Barak, whom the Palestinians should be so eager to embrace as a “partner for peace”? He is the man who ordered helicopter gunships to destroy Palestinian homes; who ordered Israeli snipers with high velocity rifles to shoot and kill Palestinian youth; who ordered the economic strangulation of Palestinian towns and villages in order to starve them into submission. Since the intifada began, Palestinian losses in monetary terms alone have exceeded US$1.5 billion. All this is in order to save the “peace process,” the cow which is more sacred than 400 Palestinian lives. More than 8,000 Palestinians have been injured, many of them permanently and deliberately maimed .
The western (especially American) media have also begun to chorus that Arafat should accept the latest proposals because Barak is being extra generous: he is offering “95 percent” of the West Bank and Ghazzah with only minor adjustments; he is prepared to accept Palestinian “sovereignty” over Masjid al-Aqsa (an ‘improvement’ over his earlier offer of a mere corridor to al-Aqsa); and Israel will accept some refugees but have the final say on numbers and their rate of return (Israel’s ‘Jewish character’ must not be diluted.) The rest of them must be “settled” in the new Palestinian entity and compensated by the International Monetary Fund, with money that would no doubt be squeezed from the Arab regimes as their contribution to the settlement of the ‘Palestinian problem’. Arafat has been told to accept these insulting proposals, or else. That the fate of more than five million people should be sacrificed for the sake of Clinton’s place in the history books, or to help Barak to win an election, is outrageous. Even more preposterous is the media’s assertion that these proposals constitute a reasonable basis for negotiation.
Let us compare Barak with Sharon. Barak, like Sharon, has spent his life killing Palestinians; both are products of the zionist militarist mindset, which specialises in terrorising Palestinians. The escalation of violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people in the curent Aqsa intifada is the result of Barak’s policies. In what way is he any better than the Butcher of Beirut? Barak uses an iron-fist with a velvet glove, while Sharon uses it without a glove: that is all. If there is any difference for the Palestinians, it is merely that Sharon reveals the true ugliness of zionism, which is easier to confront than Barak’s marginally more sophisticated approach. For Clinton to suggest that the Palestinians must choose Barak is insulting and criminal. Palestinians — Christians as well as Muslims — know full well that Barak is as much a war-criminal as Sharon. Both are military men; that also says something about the nature of the “only democracy” in the Middle East.
Now for the “95 percent” nonsense. For Muslims, the whole of Palestine is sacred, stolen by zionists from Europe, Russia and North America. It is not for Barak or anyone else to give away; it belongs to the Palestinian people. No amount of verbal or diplomatic contortion or distortion can change that fact, and nor can the right of return be denied to the Palestinians. Their inalienable right is being smothered by the force of zionist occupation and American manipulation. It will not work; it must not work. The argument that the Palestinians’ return to their homes and villages in pre-1948 Palestine would “dilute” the Jewish character of Israel is racist. It must be rejected and condemned.
The percentage calculations — tirelessly brandished by Israel to support its claim that it is willing to “give back” 95 percent of the West Bank — exclude Jerusalem, part of the Dead Sea and a no-man’s land. The plan also gives Israel complete control over large tracts of land, rendering the Palestinian state unviable by splitting it into cantons. Zionist settlers — “thugs and murderers” in the words of the Sunday Times of London — are to remain in occupation of the most fertile Palestinian lands.
Clinton’s proposals for Jerusalem are no less skewed in Israel’s favour; these would result in Palestinian islands within the city being separated from one another, while Israeli areas are to be contiguous. Land given to the Palestinians in Jerusalem would be deducted from their share in the West Bank. The Muslims already control Masjid al-Aqsa despite the zionist-imposed ring of steel and fire around it. On January 8, zionists held a huge rally in Jerusalem to proclaim their “control” of the holy city and to reject the offer even of crumbs to the Palestinians under the Clinton-Barak plan.
The zionists know that Muslims throughout the world, and not just in Palestine, will react if they were to encroach upon the Haram al-Sharif. It does not belong to the zionists to give away; it belongs to the Muslims as the true inheritors of Allah’s final revelation, who alone can guarantee the right of worship to all religions, as they did when they controlled the whole of Jerusalem. No amount of zionist chicanery can obfuscate these truths. The zionist record since 1948 has been marked by vandalism of the worst kind.
The secular leadership of Palestine fails to understand that the US is not an honest broker; it is an underwriter of Israeli crimes. Clinton in particular is beholden to the zionist cabal. Every Israeli crime has “Made in USA” written large all over it. When the Aqsa intifada started, Clinton rushed additional attack helicopters to Israel. Do Palestinian stone-throwers have weapons that need to be countered with helicopters? Nor has the US even considered cutting off American aid to the zionist state for its terrible crimes against humanity.
What the Palestinians must carry on doing is to increase the cost of zionist occupation. The settlers, in particular, must be confronted and the continued existence of their settlements made untenable. They should be made to feel the heat of battle, just as the zionists rain steel and fire from the sky, blasting Palestinians buildings and individuals to pieces in the West Bank and Ghazzah. All zionists are alien invaders in Palestine, but the settlers are their expansionist leading edge. Halting their expansion is the first step to reversing the zionist occupation as a whole. And once their exodus begins, there will be no stopping it. There is evidence that some settlers are already abandoning their positions while there is time. This process needs to be speeded up; only continuing the intifada can ensure that. It must not be undermined or bartered away for any price, however high.