April 21 2004
"Speaking of the Palestinians, they were dealt a lethal blow," exulted a
jubilant Ariel Sharon, "It will bring their dreams to an end."
Sharon was bragging about his trip to Washington where he bullied Bush into
selling out the Palestinians as thoroughly as Neville Chamberlain sold out the
Czechs at Munich.
"Sharon Got It All" blared a banner headline in Israel. Indeed, he did.
And Raging Bull celebrated his diplomatic victory by ordering up a Saturday
night hit on Abdel Rantisi, the Hamas leader who replaced Sheik Yassin, whom
Sharon had assassinated by Apache gunship in March as the crippled sheik was
being wheeled out of a mosque after dawn prayers.
As he surely intended, Sharon left the Arab world with the clear impression
that the Americans had given a green light to his "extrajudicial" killings.
Sharon seeks to make his war on the Palestinians America's war. If Bush lets
him succeed, we are finished in the Middle East.
But how did Sharon, under a cloud of scandal and corruption, at the end of his
tether, badger Bush into abdicating our role as "honest broker" of Mideast
peace, and into signing on to a "Sharon Plan" even a Palestinian quisling
According to the New York Times, Sharon threatened not to come to Washington
unless Bush, in advance and in writing, agreed to capitulate. "In a moment of
diplomatic brinkmanship," writes James Bennet, Sharon threatened to cancel his
trip if Bush refused to give him "the guarantees he wanted in exchange for his
plan to withdraw settlers from the Gaza Strip."
Still, one must marvel at Sharon's savvy in sizing up Bush, and at the man's
chutzpah. Look at what he got for giving up less than nothing.
Gaza was captured from Egypt in 1967. Though almost all Israelis wish to be
rid of it, 7,500 Jewish squatters have moved into the enclave that is home to
1.2 million Palestinians. Israelis now occupy 20 percent of Gaza, though they
are but one-half of 1 percent of the population.
However, under the occupation, Hamas has flourished in Gaza and Israeli troops
have been tied down there. About to be forced out of Gaza by Hamas, as Israel
was forced out of Lebanon by Hezbollah, Sharon decided to get Bush to reward
him for doing what he had to do.
Sharon's ultimatum: In return for giving up Gaza, Bush must give him title to
more desirable Palestinian lands on the West Bank.
Bush, who once traded Sammy Sosa away, agreed. Only this time, he traded
America's reputation for honest dealing for a few words of fatuous praise from
Sharon about what a great battler against terrorism he is. All to help Bush
and Rove carry the south Florida condos.
But John Kerry is not a man easily out-pandered.
"That Bush's move was good politics," writes Dana Milbank of the Washington
Post, "was evidenced by Democratic rival John F. Kerry's quick move not to let
Bush outflank him among pro-Israel voters."
"I think that could be a positive step," said Kerry of the Bush sellout of the
Palestinians. Our first presidents were George Washington and John Adams. Now
we have on offer George Bush and John Kerry. Does that not tell you something
about what has become of the old republic?
What did Bush give up? None of the Palestinians driven out of their homes by
the Irgun massacre at Deir Yassin and during the 1948 war will ever be allowed
to return. Palestinian rights in that 78 percent of Palestine that is already
Israel, and in the sectors of the remaining 22 percent Sharon plans to annex,
are forfeit forever. At Camp David, Ehud Barak offered Arafat a more generous
peace than Bush – under Sharon's direction – is willing to give the
Second, major Israeli settlements on the occupied West Bank, planted by Sharon
in violation of international law, which every U.S. president has called
"obstacles to peace," are now deeded to Israel. Like Lord Balfour, Bush is
surrendering title to Arab lands he does not own and surrendering Palestinian
rights that are not his to give up.
As for the Sharon Wall that snakes in and out of the West Bank, incorporating
Palestinian fields, olive groves, homes and villages, Bush no longer insists
it be confined to Israeli territory.
What does the mini-Munich mean? The great Zionist land thief has gotten
America's blessing to keep his stolen goods. George Bush has outsourced his
Mideast policy to Tel Aviv. The custodian of our reputation for decency and
honor in an Arab world of 22 nations is now Sharon. As for Palestinians who
put their faith and trust in the United States, they have been exposed as
Can anyone in the White House believe that Bush's capitulation is anything but
a formula for endless war and enduring hatred of an America that cannot say no
to Ariel Sharon?
Any Arab leader who signed on to this Sharon-Bush plan, which cedes huge
swatches of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem to Israel and leaves
Palestinians in bantustans walled in with Israeli concrete, would be regarded
as a traitor to his people, and deservedly so.
© 2004 Creators
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