The positions of Zinni and Cheney show a policy which is biased, one-sided, incomplete, wholly tendentious, factious, divisive and intrusive, one based upon self-interest and exclusion of parts. The United States of America is not a peace-maker in the Middle East, but rather, following this policy, takes a position which facilitates the perpetration of violence and a perpetuation of the conflict.
The Israeli newspaper Maari quotes Anthony Zinni, the retired General who until now had performed an excellent task in brokering a peace deal in the Middle East, as having made totally unprofessional declarations at a private dinner in Washington DC.
The newspaper claims that Zinni called Yasser Arafat “capo di tutti capi” (Head of all the Godfathers in Mafia Organisations) and an “incorrigible liar”. Maari adds that Zinni went on to say “During my meetings in the Middle East, he told me so many obvious lies that I came to the conclusion that he could not be trusted at all” (sic).
However, regarding Sharon (currently under investigation for war crimes in Belgian courts), Zinni was more deferential: “Everyone had warned me about Sharon but when I got to know him, I discovered a sort of daddy bear, always positive towards me, always ready to help me immediately and always proposing constructive solutions”.
Meanwhile, Richard Cheney made public statements on the same theme, on ABC TV channel on Sunday. Regarding the incident in the Eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of January, in which 50 tonnes of arms were found about the ship Karine A, supposedly shipped from Iran to the Palestinians, he accused Arafat of being involved in arms trafficking and called him a liar for denying implication in the case.
Cheney went further, accusing Arafat of involvement with terrorism. “We do not believe him. He is currently involved in an operation which leads him to work with terrorist organisations, Hezbollah, and with Iran, a state which is intent on torpedoing the peace process”.
That anyone in a United States administration should have the nerve to mention Iran, after the Irangate scandal, when the US itself shamefully involved itself in the Iran-Contra case, in which arms trafficking from Iran to Nicaragua’s oppressive fascist regime was undertaken by Washington for use in the civil war, which incidentally cost around 30,000 lives.
Whether or not Arafat was involved in arms trafficking or not, and it would not be beyond the realms of the imagination for Mossad or the CIA to stage anything (it would not, after all, be the first time), it appears that certain members of the US administration have yet to understand how simple the situation is to resolve.
If the Palestinian Authority does not fulfil its international obligations, then neither does Israel, a State which reaches new lows in world public opinion by the day. The lesson to be learned from September 11, although the methods were totally unacceptable, was that there are two sides to the Middle East story and the USA takes one side (due to the important Jewish lobby in US society).
Traditionally leaning more towards the Arab side, contrary to the position of the Democrats, the Republicans now appear to be following the same path and are switching to Israel.
A more constructive approach would be for the USA to encourage Israel, using its considerable economic and diplomatic clout, to honour its international obligations, namely respecting the UN Resolutions on the Occupied Territories. Building colonies on stolen lands is only going to exacerbate the issues. This is what Israel does, and arrogantly refuses to leave.
That the USA can take this side and not understand that the Palestinians have no other option but to defend themselves, gives the likes of Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein claims to the moral high ground, whether or not they deserve it.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru