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Israel escalates the terror
Washington's favored ally in the Middle East

By Eric Ruder | October 15, 2004 | Page 6

THE U.S. has done more than any other country to fund, arm and back Israel's war on the Palestinian people. But that didn't stop U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell from giving his advice to Palestinians on the fourth anniversary of the Intifada, or uprising, against Israel's occupation.

"What has [the Intifada] accomplished for the Palestinian people?" asked Powell. "Has it produced progress toward a Palestinian state? Has it defeated Israel on the battlefield?" Powell concluded: "It is time to end the uprising."

Ever since Israeli paramilitaries used massacres and terror to drive 800,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948, Israel's boosters have urged the Palestinians to surrender once and for all--even as they're forced to live as second-class citizens and subjected to all manner of humiliation and oppression in their own land.

In the decades since the massive 1948 episode of ethnic cleansing that led to Israel's founding, memories of al Nakba--the catastrophe--haven't faded. Instead, these memories have been reinforced as Israel added more atrocities to the list of injustices carried out against Palestinians and Arabs in the region generally--the 1953 Qibya massacre by Ariel Sharon's infamous Unit 101, the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, the 1970 invasion of Jordan, and the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila.

The spirit of resistance to these crimes hasn't waned. "As the ongoing resistance, both nonviolent and armed, demonstrates every day, the Palestinians are not close to defeat, nor are the Israelis close to victory," wrote Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah. "Despite all of Israel's killing and cruelty for decades, the Palestinians are unbroken; they have neither abandoned their rights, nor resigned themselves to living permanently under Israeli dictatorship."

In the U.S., pro-Israel politicians argue that the 1993 Oslo peace process might have already led to the creation of a Palestinian state if only the Palestinian Authority hadn't rejected the mythical "generous offer" made by Bill Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David in 2000.

In truth, Israel didn't offer a viable state, but dozens of disconnected parcels of land that represented no more than 15 percent of historic Palestine--and would not have provided Palestinians with any realistic control over their borders, air space, economy or water resources. "Although the four cantons (northern West Bank, central West Bank, southern West Bank and Gaza) may have been called a 'state,' the requirements of nation-states were sorely missing," Palestinian writer Nasseer Aruri told Socialist Worker in 2002. "In fact, it would have consisted of 64 clusters as islands in the midst of Israel--a 'state' existing within Israel, but not alongside Israel."

The second Intifada erupted after seven years of a "peace" process produced no tangible steps towards statehood--but instead resulted in the strangulation of the Palestinian economy, and growing poverty and desperation in the Occupied Territories.

Washington politicians explain that massive U.S. aid to Israel--roughly $5 billion a year in military aid and loan guarantees--is a consequence of a "special relationship" with Israel that stretches back for decades. But in truth, the U.S. sent less than 1 percent of this amount to Israel when it was a fledgling colony.

Only when Israel decisively proved its military ferocity during the 1967 war did the U.S. increase its aid dramatically, realizing that Israel could serve as a crucial pillar in its drive to dominate the Middle East by undermining rising Arab nationalism and controlling the flow of Middle East oil.

U.S. officials describe Israel's occupation of Palestine, like the U.S. war on Iraq, as another front in the U.S. "war on terror." This means backing Israel's state-sponsored terror--and denying the right of Palestinians to resist, a right guaranteed under international law to all people living under foreign occupation.

Though pro-Israel politicians in the U.S. still cling to the myth that Palestine was "a land without people for a people without land," even some high-ranking Israeli government officials admit the truth. "The Intifada is the Palestinian people's war of national liberation," wrote former Israeli Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair two years ago. "We enthusiastically chose to become a colonialist society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the Occupied Territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities...We established an apartheid regime."

The antiwar movement can't oppose the U.S. occupation of Iraq without also supporting the Palestinian demand for liberation.

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