Imagine sitting in a cafÃ©, sipping a latte on a hazy Wednesday evening. You look out into the street at passers-by when you are blasted backwards by an explosion from a suicide bomber who ran up and set himself off.
Now imagine you’re a little boy in a shanty house with your parents and four siblings. You’re sound asleep and awakened by voices screaming at you to get out. You stumble out sleepily moments before a great big bulldozer bowls over your home.
This is what happens, in some form, every day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the past 18 months, scenes of blown-out restaurants, helicopters firing rockets and rioting in the streets have peppered Western news programs.
Western leaders, the most prominent being our leader Fearless George, have gotten on television with long, concerned looks on their faces and called for peace in the region.
George has even sent special envoy General Anthony Zinni to calm things down over there. Zinni has gone and returned a couple of times, doing nearly nothing but racking up the frequent flier miles.
The truth is that neither Zinni nor Vice President Dick Chaney, who is in the region right now, is going to change anything.
This is because anytime Arabs see American leaders or diplomats, all they see is Israel’s only real friend and drinking buddy in the world.
Annually, we pump billions of dollars into the state of Israel, some of that money being used to purchase the same advanced weaponry that is pointed at the Palestinian camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Recently, George has refused to even meet with PLO leader Yassir Arafat until he stops the violence. Defribulator Dick will soon be eating dinner and sipping wine with top Israeli officials, some of whom are no doubt instrumental in the recent violence against Palestinians. Can anyone say double standard?
We were able to get away with this hypocrisy for many years. But then one sunny day in early September of last year that all changed.
Suddenly, there’s tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan and military advisers in the Philippines, Yemen and the former Soviet Republic of Georgia.
The Bush Administration is scampering about wildly to ally the world together against its Reaganesque “axis of evil.” While much of the Western world is on George’s side, he’s having a tougher time getting the Arab world under his cowboy boots.
The reason? They are not going to support a country that is backing Israel monetarily to persecute the Palestinians, let alone help that country with military action right in their backyard.
When the Israeli state was created in the late 1940s, it was created with land forcefully taken from the Palestinian people already in the region.
All the Palestinians want is their land back. Why should we keep from them the relatively small amount of their former land that they are asking for?
Because Israel was our only ally in the region, and the four horsemen would have to appear on the horizon before we didn’t put them as priority No. 1.
But that has changed. The world has been shrunk so much that it is no longer feasible to back Israel unconditionally. It’s time for the United States to support a Palestinian state and put a halt to the policy of solely backing Israel in the region.
- Joe Roma is a sophomore majoring in political science.