Sharon's Fifth Visit: 


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More Palestinian Bloodshed and Suffering

          The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, has arrived at the United States in a four-day visit. He will meet with President Bush as well as supporters of Israel in Congress and outside government. Sharon's visit to the US, the fifth since he became the ruler of Israel, in March 2001, comes at a time when Israel has more support in the US than ever before. The two chambers of Congress have just passed two resolutions in support of Israel, that can be described as pledges of allegiance to a foreign nation. The President and his advisors have never stopped praising Israel, and even Sharon himself who was described as "a man of peace." The main media, particularly CNN, Fox, New York Times, US News & World Report, have been cheerleading for Israel and damage-controlling for its aggression against the Palestinian people, with unprecedented one-sided coverage. All this gives the impression that the Israeli Prime Minister can easily defeat any other candidate for president in the United States. And if it is up to Congress, George W. Bush may be impeached and Sharon may be chosen as president, in his place.

        Every time Sharon visited the US, he got what he wanted with full support from the Bush administration. He was allowed to use all conventional weapons that the US has provided Israel with against the Palestinian people. He used American-made F-16s, Apache helicopters, tanks, and other kinds of American-made weapons and equipment. The Bush administration gave Sharon the time he needed to extend his military campaign to all the targets he wanted to attack in the West Bank. The US representative in the UN insisted on that UN resolutions that called for Israeli withdrawal would be void of any immediacy. The Bush administration also helped Israel reject the Jenin massacre fact-finding UN Committee, which led the frustrated Kofi Anan to cancel the Committee. So, what does Sharon want after returning the Palestinian-Israeli relations to the 1967 level?

        From what Israeli government officials have been saying in preparation for the visit, which was blindly echoed by US officials, it seems that the Israeli Prime Minister is coming to tell, not to consult with or persuade, the Bush administration that he is not interested in anything other than the continuation of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. He wants to tell President Bush that he has crushed the Palestinian Uprising, and there is no need for any changes. All he wants is help in diverting the world attention from the Israeli occupation to issues that will make people forget about the occupation. From Sharon's viewpoint,* the Bush administration, its Arab allies, and the Palestinians should focus on the following issues, and forget about ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine. First, there should be one Palestinian security chief, instead of several ones as it is now. This will be easier for the Israeli government to deal with. Second, the Palestinian Authority should be more plain, financially speaking. So, Israel can control Palestinian financial resources and use them as a weapon against the Palestinian people. Third, Israel will allow a period of construction in the Palestinian territories, so Palestinians can rebuild their infrastructure that Sharon has destroyed during the previous three months. This will also help the Israeli economy, as Palestinians have to buy all reconstruction supplies from Israel. Fourth, Sharon prefers the replacement of President Arafat, although he does not insist on it, as long as the Palestinian leader complies with the US and Israeli pressures. Finally, Sharon insists on that there will be no change in the status of settlements as long as he is the Prime Minister of Israel.

        In Short, the Israeli Prime Minister is in the United States to have the Bush administration's cooperation in helping him get away with everything he did against the Palestinian people. He wants the administration's support for the continuation of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. But, is he going to get the help he expects? On basis of the Bush administration's performance toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the answer is most likely, yes. Palestinians will resume their resistance of the occupation, sooner or later. Then, more bloodshed and more suffering may be on the way.  God, help the Palestinian people.  

Hassan A. El-Najjar



* Alquds daily newspaper, Jerusalem (5/6/02).