From walls to tunnels: More misery for the Palestinians [Archives:2004/748/Opinion]

June 21 2004

Of course, nowadays the news from the Holy Land is not “Breaking News” anymore, with the Iraqi quagmire snatching the spotlight. Yet, not much has changed on the ground in Palestine, or what is left of it with the Israelis carrying on at full throttle to change the facts on the ground in keeping with the ideological Zionist maps pursued by the Likud Party and its leader, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Even with hardly any meaningful resistance to speak of by the Palestinians and a full stop on suicide bombings, Israeli tanks and bulldozers carry on with their systematic drive towards elimination of any suitable grounds (physically and logically) for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Yes, the Israelis are having a field day, imposing curfews, blocking roads, demolishing homes, arresting students, killing a child or innocent civilian here and there, and wounding others, while the world is busy with the more colorful bloodshed unleashed by the irrational and unjustifiable American invasion of Iraq.
Sharon is not at all worried about charges of bribery or anything like that. He is too dear to the Zionist cause to be subjected to such annoying legal hassles. Just look at what he has done in the space of four years to the West Bank and Gaza. He has thrown out decades of diplomatic efforts to bring a peaceful settlement to the Arab-Israeli dispute and rendered all the treaties signed from Oslo, Madrid and those wonderful handshakes in the White House Lawn out the window. He has destroyed what meager infrastructure the Palestinians have attempted to build up to serve as the foundation for their long awaited mini-state and confined the whole idea to an incapacitated presidency in Ramallah, with even most of its edifices turned into rubble. The poor donors who financed most of this work saw all their investment in goodwill demolished before their very eyes, as Ariel Sharon's hate machine rumbled through the West Bank and Gaza reducing all these Palestinian assets to wreckage. As for the Palestinian right to life, well, that went out of Sharon's vocabulary a long time ago, and the death of thousands of Palestinians, a third of them children, is only a manifestation of a God ordained promise and it is more likely that it is probably going slower than what he wants.
Sharon is only doing the right thing that would be expected of him. He does not need to worry about reactions of other Arab states. The Arab world has been rendered ineffective in deciding any destiny for the region and the leaders have a hard enough time keeping their own constituents under repression to worry about the transgressions meted out on their brethren in Iraq or Palestine. There does not seem to be any hope in counting on the other fellow Arabs to come to the rescue of their Palestinian brothers. The Arab masses are heartbroken by their brethrens' plight in Iraq and in Palestine. However, even demonstrations of support or protest are liable to be clamped down severely by the rulers as the gap between the perceptions of the governed and those governing them in most Arab countries grows wider in just about every affairs of state, domestic and otherwise. For those few who still can give, contributions to the Palestinians would probably be classed as aid to terrorism, and all checks must be endorsed by the United States before reaching the beneficiaries.
So, no worry for Sharon from the region.
As for Washington, there is no hiding it anymore, Washington and Tel Aviv are seeing eye to eye on everything and it is now so difficult to see who is actually initiating the move of the other. In fact, all of Washington's policies and actions are working to the benefit of Israel and the venue created by American sloppiness in the region is exactly the kind of atmosphere people like Ariel Sharon like to have to proceed speedily with the Zionist agenda and eventually Eretz Israel. For the Palestinians, no hope can come from Washington, because George W. Bush views the Zionist agenda as evangelical dogma and at times gives Israel even more than it asks for. Even the American opposition to the “security wall” and settlements has become history, while the Road Map is just that, a “map” on a piece of paper, which does not seem to lead to anywhere.
But what about the “dramatic unilateral peace initiative” of Ariel Sharon? It has been watered down considerably by typical Zionist political maneuvering. The withdrawal has been altered to mean with the right of reentry and control of the skies and shores and a bloody rampage of the Israeli “Defense” Forces in Rafah. As for the settlements, the withdrawal from such settlements has been reduced considerably and phased to fit the political maneuvering that may be required; i.e., what is in return?. In fact they may not even happen at all. However, the mere idea has meant a go ahead from Washington for the Israelis to pursue their affirmation of the settlements in the West Bank with settlement construction activity now set at high speed again with the construction contracts being ratified for thousands of new homes to expand the existing settlements there. Furthermore, the obsession with “tunnels” has produced a new disguise for furthering the suffering and strangulation of the Palestinians systematically being pursued by Ariel Sharon. So, notwithstanding the fact that the Israeli bloody and destructive incursion into Rafah did not produce any concrete evidence of such underground threats as alleged by the Israelis, the idea was worthy of carry over to justify a new Israeli tactic to render life even more hopeless for the Palestinians of Gaza. The Israelis now come up with a plan to dig a trench to “block any tunnels” from being dug to Egypt. Note, that these “tunnels” have never been raised as a serious issue with Egypt, with whom Israel has normal relations, and one would expect should be cause for concern for both parties. One wonders if such tunnels, even if they may have existed, most likely for smuggling purposes, were posing such a threat to the Israelis so as to demand such a large investment and a serious threat to the environment. No matter, money is no object for furthering the demise of the Palestinians, by digging down deep to the water table of their groundwater sources and ensuring that the Palestinians of Gaza are barricaded as tightly as possible. The next move would probably be to simply put all the Palestinians in large cages or aluminum cans and hope that they would perish from lack of breathing space and access to the minimum requirements for a normal life, especially after all the olive trees have been uprooted.