Road Map to Peace Beginning with Justice
(An Open Letter to Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley)
By William A. Cook
Let me introduce myself lest you discard a letter from someone you do not know. I am a citizen of this nation having lasted beyond the biblical three score and ten with an ancestry that can be traced back to 1636. That’s not necessarily a positive thing as our own ethnic cleansing of the natives of this continent can testify. But as a professor who has written three books about the mid-East, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, The Rape of Palestine, and an edited work, The Plight of the Palestinians, all specifically focused on Israel and Palestine, and, let me add, a novella that drew its inspiration from Ariel Sharon, a morality tale The Chronicles of Nefaria, I do my best to find recourse in the moral premise that underlies America and its potential for good in the world.
I doubt that you have read these works or listened to any of the voices that write for Counterpunch, Antiwar, Media with a Conscience, the Pacific Free Press, the Palestine Chronicle, Intifada Palestine or all the other Internet publications that speak on behalf of the Palestinian people. If you truly want to solicit ideas that differ from those published in the main stream corporate controlled media then this is where you should look. I realize you have been seeking suggestions from Dennis Ross and Condoleezza Rice, indeed all the politicos that have hung around D.C. for the past four decades, the ones who have failed to bring peace to the mid-east because they have “unbridled loyalty to Israel.” Quite frankly Mr. Berger and Mr. Hadley, all of Clinton’s and Bush’s former employees should recluse themselves. And let’s be totally honest, any ideas that do not begin with justice, international justice, not Israeli justice or the justice promoted by the United States, will end once again in failure.
In March of 2006, shortly after the ascendancy of Hamas to power in Palestine, I was asked to give a paper at the 4th International Conference against the Occupations in Cairo. My proposal at that time suggested that both Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas leadership propose peace plans to the world that would engage the UN as principle broker for peace. Within two months Abbas had called for a Conference on Peace to be held in Oslo and Hamas representatives noted that the Saudi Prince’s Peace Plan proposed in 2002 could be a viable proposal. Neither Israel nor the U.S. responded to these initiatives. They were sent to the waste basket of lost opportunities. Now this administration seeks new ideas even as a more intransigently supportive Israeli Congress moves to Washington. There is one answer: remove the U.S. from the position as “peace broker,” it cannot be bound by “unbreakable acceptance of Israel” and be credible much less effective. History demonstrates this.
In July of last year, I wrote an article that presented this alternative and suggested that the issue of peace in the mid-east be given back to the UN. The Israeli government and our own will rant and rave at this traitorous act by the U.S., but the world community will rejoice; I speak here of the citizen of the world communities not the governments. The article was titled “Terrorists United against Peace: Illusion versus Reality.” I believe the proposal offered in this article bears repeating. This is a section from that article.
Because the US has veto power in the Security Council it can and it does negate any actions taken by the member states against Israel or the US. This is a structural problem inherent in the powers vested in five nations that have permanent status on the Security Council. Procedurally, there is little the majority of nations can do to prevent the US protection of the Israeli state. Since the UNGA has acted in over 160 resolutions to condemn Israeli actions, attempting to bring it in line with the UN charter and declarations, and since the UNSC has acted approximately 30 times to force some compliance, it’s obvious that the world communities have found the state of Israel to be wanting in its adherence to UN policies and agreements. Therefore one might conclude that the UN has attempted to hold Israel to the same standards as other member states, but has been thwarted by the US veto power to enforce its policies and compliance.
For virtually all of the past six decades, Israel and the US have acted as one against the wishes of the UN membership as those actions relate to Palestine and more recently to Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Today, Israel wants Iran’s ‘nuclear ambitions’ curbed, ambitions it has determined exist despite IAEA investigations to the contrary or the reality that Iran has signed the non-proliferation treaty and Israel has not. But what Israel wants, the US will provide according to Lieberman (Senator Joseph Lieberman, “U.S. Prepared to Strike Iran,” July 7, 2010) including pre-emptive strikes against a legitimate member of the UN that has done nothing aggressive against either the US or Israel. Israel on the other hand, during these same 60 years, has attacked Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine and continues to occupy portions of Lebanon, Syria and virtually all of Palestine. Curiously enough, during all this time, the United States has shamefacedly portrayed itself as the broker for peace in the mid-east. Nothing could be further from the truth. The US Congress and the Israeli Knesset are Siamese twins bound together by an umbilical cord of dependency through interlocking arteries of corporate and military budget lines that keep the complex alive while force feeding our representatives with blood money.
All of which brings us to this simple conclusion: Israel and the United States, the two states against peace in the mid-east, must be aborted from the decision process that determines peace in the mid-east. Consider the reality and not the illusion. Look through the eyes of the real victims not through the fractured lenses of the controlled media that fails to cover any perception but that offered by our Congress or the Israeli dominated international news. The mantra beats on—Israel has a right to defend itself and, therefore, must provide protective borders around the state of Israel. Hence it has a right to invade Lebanon to its north to ensure that no rocket, missile or person (terrorist) can enter Israel; it must blockade the sea on the west to ensure that nothing enters Israel (weapons or terrorist) from international waters; it must confiscate an eastern border from north to south to ensure that no weapons or terrorists enter Israel from Jordan despite having agreements with Jordan as a peaceful neighbour; and it must have a protective border with Egypt in the south despite having a like peaceful relationship with that nation.
Logic would suggest that Israel’s need for protection and, therefore, its need for these aggressive measures that results in stealing land from others, breaking international laws, and creating hostility throughout the region would apply to each of its neighbours. After all it is Israel that has weapons of mass destruction, though it does not reveal that reality transparently, has invaded its neighbours frequently over the years, and continues to occupy and oppress the peoples of Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. Consider what would happen should Iran or Syria or Jordan or Egypt move to strengthen their respective borders by applying the same tactics as Israel. Lebanon would invade northern Israel, Egypt would not cooperate with Israel in the south, Jordan would take Israel to the international court to object to its illegal acquisition of the richest agricultural land in Palestine given by Jordan to the Palestinians, and Syria would move to force Israel to comply with UN resolutions demanding that it return the Golan Heights.
Consider further the umbilical cord that ties the US to Israel and the 60 years of non-peace that has existed as each successive President and new Congress acts to bring a viable peace to the mid-east. It has not happened. Why not? Read Dr. Jeff Halper’s enlightening chapter, “The Problem with Israel,” in The Plight of the Palestinians: a Long History of Destruction, recently published by Macmillan. There the whole sordid history of intentional delays and deceits is laid bare for the world to see. The US does what Israel wants, as Lieberman so eloquently testifies. Unending war is good for the economy, at least for the elite that control it. The suffering of those destroyed by their wars is of no concern to them.
One need only consider the expansion of the American military throughout the nations in the mid-east and its placement of airbases and military installations that give it dominance throughout the region. Iran is literally surrounded by weapons of mass destruction, US weapons of mass destruction that coupled as they are with the desires of Israel to expand its borders to “greater Israel,” far beyond the boundaries provided by UN resolution 181 in November 1947, boundaries provided by an ancient g-d that served as real estate agent to Abraham, and the threat to Iran and all other mid-east nations glows like white phosphorous and is just as dangerous and life threatening. It is the US and Israel that are the terrorists acting out of concert with their neighbours and wreaking havoc on the world.
So what’s to be done? Precedent suggests a possibility; justice demands it! In November of 1947 the UNGA passed Resolution 181 partitioning Mandate Palestine into two parts, one for an Israeli state and one for the Palestinians. Despite the procedural reality of the UN this resolution was acted upon without having been acted upon in the policy sector of the UN, the Security Council. This would suggest that the UNGA has the implied power to act without concurrent UNSC action and have its resolution approved by member states subsequently. Since Israel was the benefactor of this process, it could hardly object today if the UNGA were to pass a resolution that would establish a recommending body of members, exclusive of the US and Israel, to bring forth a resolution that would effectively force a just solution to the illegally dismantled partition plan passed in 1947. Once such a group is formed, the UN could place a peace keeping body in Palestine along the green line to maintain order and provide security for both the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Should such a body give priority to the resolutions passed by its members since 1948, it would recognize that Israel would have to collapse its territorial acquisitions by approximately 31% from its current illegal possession of 86% of the original Mandate land offered to them by resolution 181. This would then provide a viable contiguous Palestinian state. Alternatively, Israel could and the Palestinians could decide to live together in one state with equal citizenship for all. Should the majority of UNGA member states approve the resolution offered by their committee, a solution to the crisis might be in the offing. On the other hand, should the Israeli government reject this offer, it would find itself isolated from the world community and subject to whatever sanctions might be imposed by the UN.
Understandably, not all the resolutions since 1948 have been favourable to the Palestinians. They, too, would be subject to the decisions made by the new committee deciding the fate of the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. In simple terms, the UN would have effectively removed the peace process from the two states that are, as they state themselves, one and “unbreakable” in their desires and intents and, consequently uniquely unqualified to be the arbiters of the fate of the Palestinians or of other states in the mid-east. To accomplish this end, the people of the world must view the reality of the mid-east through the eyes of those suffering the destructive power inflicted on them by the United States and Israel.
Every principle on which the United States rests from the Declaration of Independence to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution cries out against the actions of the United States and Israel as they inflict a merciless set of attacks, invasions and wars on the peoples of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, and now, Turkey and Iran. That statement recognizes the power of the Israeli lobbies on behalf of its client state, Israel, as it is more than complicit in the enforced dominance of the US in the world. No one can witness the enormous control asserted by Israel over the US Congress where almost 400 representatives and 100 senators vote in unison to support Israel’s destruction of Lebanon, its invasion of Gaza and its murder of Turkish citizens without recognizing their control. The people of America are no longer in control of their government; it has become a client state of a foreign power.
It is time for America to demand that its government respect equality of life, not destroy it wantonly through mercenaries and drones, reject wars of deception perpetrated by purported friends of the nation by seeking reconciliation with those we’ve destroyed, and, finally, withdraw support from the rogue nation of Israel that has severed America from the community of nations making it vulnerable to those who would use America for their own ends, and become once again a nation of the people and for the people not a nation of elites who use the people by inducing fear and phobia to control.
Virtually all members of the UN understand this reality as the above news items testify. As it becomes more and more clear that Israel and its compliant US Congress care nothing for the rights of other nations as their promotion of aggressive action against Iran proclaims, a virtual mirror process that brought about the war against Iraq, the world communities must face the reality that the US cannot control Israel nor its own policies. Therefore, the UN must assert its responsibility for all its member states and resolve a conflict that has plagued the world for the past 60 years. It’s time illusion gives way to reality.
– William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book, The Plight of the Palestinians was just released by Palgrave Macmillan in July. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.laverne.edu and www.drwilliamacook.com.