It’s been ten years since Gary Hengstler and I sat in the bar at the
American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem putting together a piece on what a
Palestinian judicial system might look like, someday. Hengstler was
publisher of the American Bar Association Journal and I frequently
freelanced for the ABAJ, winning several awards.
Hengstler has since left the ABAJ. I got bounced for writing about things
such as the INSLAW/PROMIS affair. I used “Reganite” to describe former UPI
and Hadron president Earl Brian. Norton Webster, a Cleveland lawyer and then
chair of the ABAJ board, said that showed bias and killed the INSLAW piece,
which eventually appeared in the premier issue of WIRED.
What Hengstler and I found was a mix of fatigue, hope and cynicism.
Surprisingly the hope seemed to come for the Israeli sector. They were tired
and worn by the fighting, which wasn’t going to end with a victory for anyone.
There was in fact some hope from almost every sector, almost. As we all
know, Oslo failed.
Ten years later George W. Bush is stomping around the global stage thinking
his “roadmap to peace” will untie the east Gordian Knot . The clown from
Crawford can’t understand why people won’t play so he can win.
Anyone in Jerusalem ten years ago, and there’re plenty who were, could
or should have told this diplomatic bumpkin that Ariel Sharon is NOT his
friend, is NOT in the peace business and is as much a part of the problem as
Yassir Arafat ever was, or will be.
It was NOT a Palestinian helicopter that launched seven rockets into a
crowd in occupied territory killing bystanders and reigniting the fighting.
Watching CNN one can’t help but wonder if Hamas knew something when
they walked away from negotiations ....that Sharon’s idea of peace is very
different from the Bush idea of peace, which is ---we do it George‘s way.
Hamas also knows, Bush can’t walk away from Sharon.
Just because you can lie yourself into a meaningless military invasion
proportional to Slipperyrock playing the Green Bay Packers does not mean you
are smart or even lucky, and it damn sure does not mean God is on your side.
It can, however, provide a rather exaggerated view of one’s self.
What brought to mind Jerusalem of 1993 wasn’t the “roadmap to peace.”
It was Sharon making Bush his personal bitch barking threats of “war on
terrorism” to the Palestinians, then provoking more violence with helicopter
attacks on the Hamas.
Here’s how it works. Back in 1993, before the ink dried on the Oslo
accords, Sharon and then traveling companion Bennie Netanyahu made no
secret that they intended to sabotage the Oslo peace plan. These guys were on
television and in all the press howling that they would never support the
agreement. Funny how the O’Reillys and Matthews of the world forget
that part, Al Franken you’re on.
That is not to say Arafat wasn’t dining on roasted dove. Arafat can be
and often is a pain in the collective butt, and is not without his own self
serving agenda. But, he is also an old fox and he knew the Lukuid would
never allow peace to break out as long as there is an Arab within shouting
distance of the Wailing Wall.
History will record that they did in fact provoke the situation, I
especially like Sharon’s----just an old Jew going to pray, with an armed
escort into the heart of Palestinian territory, which is what started this
latest round of violence.
Havoc on the civilian population should be condoned. But, from the
Palestinians point of view havoc is a way of life, a life controlled by Israelis
who make the rules, have the helicopters, rockets and for the most
part a U.S. President willing to do black face in Harlem for an KKK
fundraiser to further his political agenda. That presupposes he is
capable of actually formulating an agenda.
Again 1993 creeps to mind, United Nations workers would drop by the
American Colony trying to create interest in the Israelis using medicine to
encourage mothers to be informers in order to get medical treatment for
their children. When the information was tested in Gaza it was found to
be true, but America was not interested in stories about Israeli abuse of
Arabs. They can however dine for hours on stories of Arab atrocities on
One seldom sees stories about American “settlers” living in Israel on land
taken from Palestinians for reasons of “national security.“ Typically the
Palestinian home is bulldozed and rebuilt a fully modern Israeli home.
Nor has it been widely discussed that every facet of Palestinian life is
in some way governed by Israelis, even Palestinians living abroad can not
out distance Israeli law.
Bush does not understand this and that is why he was knocked on his
Caligulan ass when Sharon launched his attack. Equally, Bush does not
understand that the attack was Sharon’s way of letting him know who
folds the laundry in this relationship.
Sharon’s attack provides Hamas all they need to wreck the “roadmap
to peace.” He can now, is now, saying the Palestinian Authority must rid
the land of terrorism, until he is satisfied.
Bush can stomp, rant, rave, make phone calls, ask Ashcroft to confer
with the deity or divine entrails, he can do all sorts of things. But, his
global credibility on Iraq is gone via the WMD’s that never were, it is now
openly discussed that he lied to his own people, no one really believes in his
economic plan and now Sharon has literally torpedoed his peace plan.
All the Arab world knows, as Hamas knows, he can not separate from Sharon
because the Israeli lobby is too great. What was apparent in 1993 is apparent
in 2003, Sharon has a vision of peace, and Bush will join if properly
encouraged by Arab “terrorist.” Yes, Sharon has a solution, a final solution.
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