George, we have been more than patient

George W. Bush (Photo: Eric Draper/White House)

George, we have been more than patient. Let us know what we can expect from you before we waste our efforts. The roadmap will be a lost cause when you find out that in order to establish two states side by side one really needs to see some action on the ground. In fact, chances of this outcome diminishes every single day. The more homes Israel destroys, the more fences and walls it builds, the more settlers occupy the land and the more anger is created, the less chances for success. Consider this: to overcome apartheid we need regime change.

George, I know that you’re in touch with Ariel on a daily basis. You’ve listened carefully when he spoke about the semantics of colonialism. You talked about a “pre-emptive strike”, as he did when asked about Israel’s motives to occupy the West Bank and Gaza Strip. As your administration did when it invaded Iraq, Israel claimed that it invaded the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a “defensive” measure.

We all know that the people in place in your administration, your father’s friends, were planning for this war as soon as the Supreme Court decided to stop the recount of votes in Florida on December 9, 2000. Israel began planning the invasion of the Sinai, the West Bank and Gaza Strip as soon as they had been forced to withdraw from the Sinai in 1956. As Israel, you also understood the need for a sophisticated propaganda campaign to convince Western public opinion that your offensive was an act of self-defense. Israel’s propaganda campaign was two-pronged: that the Arabs attacked Israel and that Israel was in danger of annihilation. In your case, Saddam Hussein defied Security Council resolutions and you only needed yet to proof the presence of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Iraq in order to make the world believe that the United States was in danger of annihilation. You and your friends in Israel did not bother providing the evidence before you started war.

Today, you still haven’t provided evidence of Iraq’s ability to use weapons of mass destruction, nor that Iraq posed a threat your country. Likewise, Israel couldn’t find the evidence that it was in danger of annihilation. On April 19, 1972, Israeli Air Force General Ezer Weizmann declared bluntly that “there was never any danger of extermination” and five days earlier, Mordechai Bentov, a former Israeli cabinet minister, dismissed the myth of annihilation: “All this story about the danger of extermination has been a complete invention and has been blown up a posteriori to justify the annexation of new Arab territories.”

As ludicrous the claim that Iraq posed a threat to the United States of America, so was the claim that in 1967 the Arabs were going to invade Israel. One third of Egypt’s army was in Yemen and therefore quite unlikely to start a war. On the Syrian front, Israel was engaging in threats and provocations, something you try to do today.

George, on more than one occasion you’ve said that you would fight terror. Your message was that “those who do business with terror will do no business with the United States —or anywhere else the United States can reach”. You’ve also called on other nations to suppress the financing of terror. However, Israel remained the largest recipient of US bilateral aid. Under the provisions of the 2002 Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill, Israel received $720 million in economic support, $60 million assistance for new migrants settling in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, $2.04 billion in military financing, and an unspecified amount under the heading “nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, demining and related programs.” You provided the weapons used by Israel to terrorise the Palestinian civilian population. Your Apache and Cobra helicopters, F-16 fighter aircrafts, munitions and M-16 automatic weapons killed and maimed Palestinian civilians, including women and children. In September 2002, with one signature you approved an extra $100 million in military aid to Israel and only half of that amount $50 million for Palestinian emergency disaster relief projects. Do you sleep at night?

George, in your speech to the U.N. General Assembly on September 12, 2002, you challenged the world with the following questions: “Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?” Should we believe you when you say: “We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the world’s most important multilateral body to be enforced.”

The Security Council passed more than 175 resolutions condemning Israel’s “premeditated” attacks on neighbors and civilians, illegal confiscation of land and property, illegal Jews-only settlements, and ongoing human rights violations. Thanks to unconditional backing from the United States, Israel has succeeded in skirting every single one of these resolutions.

Moreover, the United States has vetoed over 70 resolutions critical of Israel, apartheid South Africa or US activities in Central America.

The United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court, Rome, Italy, 15 June 1998 (Photo: UN/DPI/Evan Schneider)

On August 5, 2002, you signed a treaty with Ariel preventing your citizens from facing charges in the International Criminal Court. Both you and Israel have expressed no interests in becoming a party to the statute. On May 6, 2002, you effectively withdrew Bill Clinton’s signature of the treaty and started a campaign to undermine the International Criminal Court. First you sought a Security Council resolution providing an excemption for your personnel operating in UN peacekeeping operations.

Then you began to pressure states around the world to enter into bilateral agreements requiring them not to surrender US nationals to the court. Finally, your congress backed your efforts to undermine the court by passing the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act which prohibits US cooperation with the court, authorizes you to “use all means necessary and appropriate” to free US personnel detained or imprisoned by the court (the so-called “Hague Invasion provision”), refuses military aid to states parties to the treaty (except major US allies), and prohibitis US participation in peacekeeping activities unless immunity from the court is guaranteed.

Faced with only verbal censure, Israel’s policies and practices, including those that breach the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitute war crimes, remain unconstrained. Through your vetoes in the Security Council, the United States continues to block the deployment of an international protection presence.

George, you are a member of the Quartet, the famous four. Back in September you agreed to intensify your efforts in support of achieving a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement based on a vision of two states, Israel and an indepedent, viable and democratic Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. Before you hit the roadmap, I just wanted to inform you that when you don’t act swiftly, the chances of this outcome dimishes every single day, if not, has already dimished, rendering a two-state solution virtually impossible. The choice is yours: do you back apartheid or democracy? Do you bring the torturer to the prisoner, whose hands are tied behind his back and punishes the prisoner when he tries to undo his handcuffs and strike back, or do you prevent the torturer from approaching the prisoner? Regime change doesn’t start with replacing Yasser Arafat with Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Shaath, or Saeb Erekat. Regime change requires dismantling apartheid. George, we have been more than patient. You wouldn’t try sanctions and you wouldn’t try the carrot and the stick. Israel has resisting efforts you won’t even consider trying. Let us know what you will consider. Something has to change.

Related Links:

  • Arming the Occupation: Israel and the Arms Trade, CAAT
  • CICC: United States of America