The Fateful Triangle of America, Israel, and Palestine: A Wishful Scenario

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Hassan El-Najjar 



        The fateful relations between America, Israel, and Palestine could develop in a way that leads to peace and justice in the Middle East. It could also develop into more injustices, wars, and instability in that region and the World. A third possibility is that the interaction between them could lead to catastrophic consequences to Arabs, Israelis, and Americans.

        The first, the wishful scenario may lead to peace and justice in the Middle East, to more prosperity in the United States, and to peace in the world as a whole. The first factor in making this scenario possible is the reaction of the US Vice President, Dick Cheney, to what he has heard from Arab leaders during his present visit to the Middle East. They have been telling him that there is no need for the US imminent attack on Iraq. It is not going to contribute to stability in the region. It will lead to more suffering, destruction, and injustice, which will feed another cycle of violence in the region and the world. Iraq is no longer a threat regionally or globally. If Cheney listens with his heart and mind, and comes back home briefing the President and recommending a change in policy, then it may become the breakthrough that will facilitate the work of other factors. The Iraqi government is willing to allow the UN inspectors to return to the country, if there is hope for ending the embargo and the economic sanctions. Moreover, Iraqis said several times that they would respond with cooperation for any UN or Kuwaiti concerns related to various aspects of the problem. However, they want to be assured that the integrity of their country is guaranteed and the U.S.-British air attacks and violations will stop. All this can be achieved if the United States gives priority to peaceful means than to force, in resolving its problems with Baghdad.

        The second major factor is the reaction of the Sharon-led Israeli government to the US envoy's mission. The previous three months have convinced even Sharon that there is no military solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Palestinians reached a point of suffering from the Israeli military occupation that they started to retaliate for every Israeli attack. They know that they are taking heavier losses, but they also know that they are more capable than ever before to inflict heavy losses on Israelis, on daily basis. With all the military might that the United States has provided the Israelis with, they know now that everytime they make Palestinians suffer, this leads only to strengthening their resolve to fight until they get their rights. The wishful scenario will be much facilitated if the Sharon government acts out on its public announcements. It has acknowledged that there is no military solution to the problem. Several Israeli leaders, including Sharon, have expressed their recognition of the right of the Palestinian people for an independent and viable state. If the Sharon government acts out on these announcements, then Zinni's efforts may give fruits faster than anyone may expect. Palestinians are willing to cooperate because they know that they will benefit from any changes in the status-quo, particularly after the UN resolution 1397, which has recognized their right for such as state. Final-status negotiations may be resumed as soon as Palestinians get rid of the oppressive Israeli occupation forces. This could be a matter of months.

        The third factor, that may help the wishful scenario to materialize, is represented by the Arab position. Arab leaders will meet on March 27, in Beirut, to discuss ending the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all. They will use the Saudi peace initiative as a background for their discussions. It is expected that they will incorporate the UN resolutions 242, 338, and 1397 into the Saudi initiative. The main new element in that initiative is the Arab readiness to recognize Israel and normalize relations with it, if it withdraws from the Arab territories it occupied in 1967, recognizes the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and agrees to solve the refugee problem. The initiative is so promising that the Israeli President offered to travel to Saudi Arabia to discuss it. Even Sharon couldn't reject it.

        There is a real chance for genuine peace in the Middle East. The United States can show the Arab and Muslim worlds that it cares about peace and it looks for friendly relations with them. For Israel, this is the time that Israelis have been looking for, i.e. to be accepted in the Middle East. It is within the reach of their hands. They have to be realistic and relinquish their Zionist dreams of enslaving Arabs by extending their state as much as they can until one day it reaches from the Nile to the Euphrates. They have to realize that this will never happen because Arabs are a nation that has the longest continuous civilization in the world and they will not allow themselves to be enslaved by any power, even if it is the superpower of the world.

Is this scenario possible? Absolutely, it has all the requirements that make it possible. But, is it going to happen? That is a different story ... a different scenario.  

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