Can Colin Powell Take the Zionist Heat?

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By Hassan A. El-Najjar



The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was sent by President Bush to Palestine and Israel to achieve a ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli occupation forces from Palestinian areas. Everybody (Arabs and Europeans) told him that he cannot achieve one without the other. He announced from the beginning that he would meet with the besieged Palestinian President, Yassir Arafat. However, with rising Zionist pressures on him and on President Bush, he sounded unsure of his mission yesterday. He conceded to that pressure when he cancelled the Saturday meeting with Arafat. The cancellation was announced following the Palestinian suicide bomb in Jerusalem.

     The cancellation of the meeting turned to be a way by which the US government wanted to pressure the besieged Palestinian President. Powell, under pressure from neo-Zionists in America and hard-line Zionists in Israel, wanted Arafat to condemn the yesterday's suicide bomb in Jerusalem as a condition for the meeting to happen. Although Arafat has always condemned killing civilians of both sides, whether by suicide bombs or by Apache helicopters and F-16s, he did not want to voice his condemnation this time. The US government has neither condemned Sharon's massacres  in Jenin and Nablus nor criticized Israeli atrocities in other Palestinian areas. He felt that the US condition was unfair and, therefore, unacceptable. However, when he found out that this may put Powell's mission in jeopardy, he finally issued his usual statement, in Arabic as President Bush and Secretary Powell demanded. As a result, Colin Powell announced that he would meet with him on Sunday. He announced his decision while meeting with a delegation of Christian Palestinian clerics in Jerusalem. Now, Arafat may have to issue another statement if there is another suicide bomb.

    This is another evidence for the lack of an independent US policy toward the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. So far, US officials scramble to adjust their positions to Israeli positions, on daily basis and in an embarrassing way. It is so strange that the government of the United States, the superpower of the world, is helpless when it comes to stopping the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. This situation has been made possible because of the absence of checks and balances in government. While supporters of Israel occupy the highest positions in the US government, Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans are not appointed to high positions in the administration to counterbalance the influence of pro-Israel officials. There is no counterbalance to the influence of Paul Wolfowitz in the Department of Defense, Richard Haass in the National Security Council, or Richard Pearle in the Department of State, to name a few.

     With this absence of checks and balances, the US continues to follow and support the Israeli policy in the Middle East. While this serves the Zionist interests in that region, it does not serve the national interests of the United States. Actually, the more US support for the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, the more problems are created to the US interests in the Middle East and around the world. But, can Colin Powell resist the Zionist pressures on him to do just what the Israelis want him to do? He can if he wants to, but this incident shows that he could not help but submit to Zionist demands. But if he decides to be fair and take a stand, he will not be the first. President Eisenhower took the heat before when he ordered Israel to withdraw from Gaza Strip and Sinai, in 1956. Thus, the question is really not whether he can take the heat, it is whether he is willing to take it. But as long as he is trying to achieve peace between Palestinians and Israelis, he deserves support of Americans who care about the soul of America, Americans who are loyal to their country first and foremost, and Americans who love peace in the world generally, and the Holly Land in particular.

Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar is the Editor of and author of  "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness." (2001).