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[casi] Palestine Betrayed

Last week the US administration squashed UNSC resolution 1405, which
authorized the investigation of Israel's assault on Jenin. The projected UN
investigation threatened a protracted international scrutiny over Israel's
brutal offensive in occupied Palestine. Israel's open defiance of the UNSC
mandate provoked demands from Arab states in the UNSC to take further
measures against Israel. The possibility of an extended confrontation over
Israel's noncompliance with UNSC resolutions posed a serious political
problem for the United States and its ally.

To resolve this dilemma the US simply eliminated the United Nations Security
Council resolution.

The May 3, 02 New York Times* describes the behind-the-scenes intrigues of
the US State Department with Israel's Prime Minister Sharon. The US-Israeli
deal arranged to scrap the UNSC authorized investigation, in return for
Arafat's "freedom." The following day the UN General Secretary Kofi Annan
provided an air of legitimacy by announcing that it was his decision to end
the investigation into Jenin. The twelve days of Israeli obstruction had
forced his surrender.

Directly on the heels of his startling announcement, Annan and the US
launched a new initiative with the "Quartet" for a peace conference later
this summer in Turkey. The New York Times called it a "surprise" peace plan.
In the wake of this diplomatic feint came a flood of vague platitudes for
some future Middle East "peace" that upstaged the international furor over
abandoning the UN commission. The well-orchestrated diplomatic distraction
was only relatively successful.

The Tehran Times reports Lebanese parliamentarian Fares Boyez, "Criticizing
the double-standard policy of the United States in dealing with international
issues, he added that it is 'shameful' that the United States uses its
influence to press for UN resolutions against Iraq while at the same time
supporting Tel Aviv's horrendous atrocities in the Jenin Refugee Camp." The
Saudi newspaper, Al-Riyadh called on Islamic states to "threaten to withdraw"
from the United Nations in protest at its impotence. This recent
collaboration between US and UNSC in betraying the besieged Palestinian
people will not be soon forgotten.

It should be remembered that it was only in March of this year that the Bush
administration altered its longstanding disregard for the Palestinian
question. The spectacular failure of Vice President Cheney's Middle East war
diplomacy forced the administration to take up the issue. Cheney's proposal
to join the US-led war alliance against Iraq was unanimously rejected by Arab
leaders. Instead, the Arab leaders pointed to the open warfare in Palestine,
and insisted on a "US engagement" as the key component for peace in the
region. The administration adopted a new strategy pledging a renewed
commitment to the Palestinian issue as a means to develop regional support
for its war with Iraq. As the New York Times explained, "the administration
is seeking to assure Arab leaders that it is not insensitive to the backlash
in Arab public opinion that might follow an American effort to install a new
regime in Baghdad. To dampen Arab resentment, Washington says firmly that it
is working actively to stem the violence between Israeli and Palestinians."
(NYT 3-13-02) With this twisted motivation the administration sponsored a UN
resolution in the UN recognizing the right of the Palestinian people to

In the subsequent weeks the US administration has certainly not succeeded in
"dampening Arab resentment." On the contrary, Washington's bloody alliance
with Israel has shocked and polarized the region. Egypt's Mubarak was a
leading proponent of "US engagement" in region. He refused to meet with US
Secretary of State Powell at the end of his last tour of the Middle East.
Oman has announced that it will not allow the US to use its bases to attack
Iraq. According to STRATFORD, this "could severely impede efforts to begin a
military campaign against Baghdad. The country earlier this year seemed to be
positioned as an alternative to Saudi Arabia, another important location for
U.S. forces that has also reportedly refused to allow an Iraqi strike from
its territory. This leaves Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey as Washington's
remaining options for bases of operations." (May 2, 02)

The US support for the Israeli offensive in the West Bank has made the US
prospects of winning Arab leaders to a US war against Iraq more remote than
ever. The US administration's continuing resolve to proceed with the war
irrespective of regional sentiments functions simultaneously as a boast of
its extensive military prowess and an admission of its political bankruptcy.

Bob Allen
Campaign to End the Sanctions
Philadelphia Pa



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