War Fatigue in Gaza by Mohammed Ataur Rahman (JANUARY 17, 2009)

Mohammed Ataur Rahman on the situation in Palestine in the final hours of the immensely forgettable George W. Bush presidency.

One of the abiding shames of America’s 43rd presidency would be its terrible legacy in Iraq and neighbouring Palestine. The victims of this malicious policy, the Arabs, know that the Iraq war was, and the Iraq occupation is, not about the lofty ideals of democracy, but about dividing and weakening Arabs to strengthen Israel.

In Iraq that purpose has been fulfilled, even before anything like phased withdrawals begin. The other face of the same PNAC project, the battering and disempowerment of Palestinians, has been going on simultaneously with the destruction of Iraq. The Arabs know it, the Muslim world knows it. The Muslim world has another reminder in Afghanistan. Of course, the US allies, partners in the crime, know it from the beginning.

And what about the monumental lie about WMDs of Saddam Hussein? Or, for that matter, about his imagined links with terrorists? Or, (even more outrageous) claims about his association with Islamists? We are not supposed to raise these issues as the United States has the Divine right to lie through the presidential teeth.

Now, in the final hours of the ignoble Bush presidency, we are hearing that Israel, which has scaled down its attacks on Gaza, is planning a unilateral ceasefire. Why unilateral? Because there will be no obligation on it to maintain it if it does not want to. Another reason for this unilaterism is that it is not prepared to accept some of the conditions that Hamas has laid for the Egyptian-mediated truce.

There is an interesting side story here. Only a few weeks before the savage bombing of Gaza began, an article released by the Inter Press Service indicated the Israelis would attack Gaza in the dying days of Bush presidency and conclude it by the time the next administration took over. Such period of transition is a preferred window for vicious deeds like the “Gaza war”. One has to stretch one’s imagination to call what has been going on Gaza as a war, though. How can we call it a war when side A has flattened entire swaths of a city, killed more than 1100, and seriously wounded thousands, while the other side has managed to kill 15, wounded only that many and flattened not even a small village?

It is fashionable in American political and media circles to ask the question, “Why do they hate us?” The “they” here refers to Arabs in particular and Muslims in general. For the simple reason that as you kill people in Iraq and Afghanistan you provide all the weapons, including aircraft, bombs, shells and assorted hardware to Israel to kill Arabs. Not only that, you provide Israel with the required money, intelligence and diplomatic support to carry on with its deeds. That’s why “they” hate you. There is no other reason.

How do they interpret the fact that 14 out of the 15-member UN Security Council voted for a cease-fire as America abstained under pressure from Israel? Let us hope the next administration is able to see things more clearly.


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