by Zafar Bangash (Occupied Arab World, Crescent International Vol. 32, No. 12, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1424)
The zionists continue to build a wall cutting off Palestinian villages and towns from each other under the excuse of "security." The same excuse has been advanced in the past for Jewish settlements– i.e. for stealing the Palestinians’ land. When the thieves, most of them from North America, Europe or Russia, are resisted by the rightful inhabitants (the Palestinians), more military assaults are made, ostensibly to "protect Israeli civilians"; in such attacks more Palestinians are killed, and others expelled to make room for even more zionist outposts. After the settlements come the exclusive roads, more land-theft, and now the wall. There are several motivations for the wall, but security is not one of them; it is merely a smokescreen for the zionists’ real agenda.
The wall is cutting through Palestinian lands, and its construction has also led to the isolation of villages from each other, the separation of farmers from their farms, and the division of the whole of the West Bank into Bantustans such as were not witnessed even in the worst days of apartheid South Africa. As the now-dismantled apartheid system promoted a racist concept of separate development, in which the choicest lands were reserved for the whites and the worst given to the blacks, so the zionists are pursuing a similar project. They are far more successful than the practitioners of apartheid ever were, although zionism is much more crude. In essence, the zionists refuse to coexist with the Palestinians. Such blatant racism passes on the pretext of Israeli "security"; that the Palestinians have never had any security in their own homes is seldom mentioned.
It is also not surprising that a war criminal like Aerial Sharon should embark on the "apartheid wall" project; what is astonishing is the brazenness of the zionists. A character like Sharon is projected as a peacemaker; this truly takes audacity. The zionists are masters at telling lies with a straight face. Whenever they perpetrate crimes, they trot out a soft-spoken representative, usually an attractive woman or a well-groomed man, who gives a soothing explanation of zionism’s human face and how it was such a terrible mistake that innocent people were killed.
This is part of the zionists’ expertise at manipulation of public perceptions; the western media dutifully give them a platform from which to cover up such crimes. Sharon himself is a disaster on television, yet the zionists have become so hardened that they barely care about image now. In a telling reflection of the zionist mindset, the Israeli army radio picked up a conversation last October between Sharon and his then foreign minister Shimon Peres, who was concerned about upsetting the Americans. Sharon told him not to worry, because "we control the Americans."
There is ample proof of this. The removal of Yasser Arafat from effective control of the Palestinian "national" movement and the imposition of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as prime minister were demanded by Sharon but achieved through US president George Bush, who nowadays is the Israeli prime minister’s poodle. As part of his strategy to crush the Palestinian resistance movement, Sharon has long wanted to provoke a Palestinian civil war. First Arafat was assigned this task under the Oslo accords (September 1993), but the Islamic movement in Palestine did not fall into the trap; while they endured much hardship at the hands of Arafat’s thugs, they felt that the larger Palestinian interest demanded they show patience.
The split between Arafat and Abu Mazen runs a much greater risk of fulfilling Sharon’s wish because nationalists have a far lower threshold of tolerance. Such a policy, however, admits the zionist war machine’s failure to crush the Palestinians with tanks, missiles, helicopter-gunships and the prison-like conditions in which they have been quarantined for more than 18 months.
Throughout his life Sharon has pursued the twin objectives of civil war among the Palestinians and confining them to refugee camps or Bantustans. The Oslo accords and the so-called roadmap are meant to achieve the first objective; the Israeli military onslaught on the Palestinians, zionist settlements and erection of the wall are part of the second. Both the first intifada (1987-1993) and the second (2000-2003) have shown that the Palestinians can frustrate the zionists’ first wish; they have also valiantly resisted the second, but there are limitations to what they can humanly do. Taking on the heavily-armed settlers, backed by the most powerful military machine in the Middle East (and ultimately by the world’s hegemonic supierpower), the Palestinians have brought the zionists to a standstill in the military arena. The martyrdom-seeking operations have brought home to the zionists the realization that the Palestinians are prepared to exact a price regardless of how much suffering they are subjected to.
The zionists and the western media (and so their mouthpieces in the western world) have tried to discredit the martyrdom-seeking operations by branding them as "suicide missions," but the Muslim masses and fair-minded people in the West are resisting such propaganda. The sacrifices of people like Rachel Corrie, the American peace-activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian house in Ghazzah on March 16, or members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Palestinians, have shown that they sympathize with the Palestinians.
Sharon’s rehabilitation as a world statesman rubbing shoulders with other world statesmen– his visit to the US last month was the eighth since Bush became president – reflects the West’s double standards more than Sharon’s elevation. He remains an indicted war criminal, branded by an Israeli commission, headed by Justice Kahan, then chief justice of the supreme court, as culpable for the massacres in September 1982 in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Beirut. Similarly, there are many countries in the world where Sharon remains an international pariah, but Muslims must stop relying on others to do their job. Sharon is indeed a war criminal, and must be dealt with as such, even if he is accepted in the West as an elder statesman.
Equally revealing is his political popularity within Israel. Nobody should advance the excuse that the Israeli masses are not culpable for Sharon’s crimes. His war machine continues to kill civilians, among them many children, in a relentless drive to crush the Palestinians’ spirit of resistance. Even while there is supposed to be a "ceasefire" between Israel and the Palestinians under Bush’s "roadmap" scheme of June 4, the zionists continue to kill. Four Palestinians were murdered when Israel fired missiles at a Palestinian neighbourhood on August 9. Despite these crimes, Sharon enjoys unprecedented popularity at home. He has brought Israelis no peace or security, as he promised, but that has not diminished his standing; almost all the Israelis enjoy and support his policies.
The zionists have realized that the creation of a Palestinian state is inevitable, so their aim now is to cut Palestine into such small pieces that it will not be viable, and will be permanently dependent on the zionists for its survival. Meanwhile, Israel will be able to maintain its "Jewish purity" uncontaminated by Palestinian intrusion.