|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
19 - 25 July 2001
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Stuck on self-destructionSir-A way to describe the predicament of the United States vis-à-vis Israel is as follows: the US finds itself stuck in a barrel of gum. It is a dilemma because the US would like to save Israel, in spite of Israel, as it were -- and in spite of Sharon, and those who came before him, and in spite of a political entity, represented by Israeli citizens and settlers, that has demonstrated it neither wants peace nor respects international agreements.
After billions of dollars spent over the past 53 years on Israel, US policy in the region has run amok. The latest indicator of the US failure was the shuttle diplomacy of Colin Powell that ended in disaster: a Palestinian negotiator called Powell everything but a liar, while Hizbullah's actions, as Powell was exiting the region, spoke louder than words. A more humiliating way to serenade Powell to Europe could not have been staged, with Hizbullah's attack on the Israel Defence Force, which occupies the Shebaa Farms. Nor was Powell's duplicity missed by Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official, who said: "You put the two things together, what Powell said in Ramallah and Jerusalem, and it's unbelievable. We are supposed to accept American guarantees for what will take place here when they keep changing their minds?"
All of this points back to the US blunder on implementation of UN Resolution 242. It is a mistake that can no longer be papered over. Acting like the candy man instead of the parent, the US opted to believe, at Israel's behest, that the Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian areas occupied as a result of the 1967 War were "disputed," in contradistinction to "occupied." Were the US in accord with the rest of the world, the occupation would have ended in 1967. (In addition, this might have ensured a future for Israel as a political entity in the Middle East.) Calling them disputed perpetuates the conflict -- by definition.
Thus, despite legal and diplomatic nuances over the past 34 years, the signal fact remains pristine in its clarity: US policy enables Israeli aggression. The double standard is not lost on the Arab masses. Iraq, ten years post-Kuwait, still punished; Israel, still protected. Sheikh Obeid, whom Powell never brought up to Sharon, kidnapped and still imprisoned, and still incommunicado, versus the three Israeli soldiers and one Mossad agent captured by Hizbullah, with Powell falling over himself to profess his interest in them. It is not about principles, but about power. And the consequence is that the Palestinians, and Hizbullah, have told Israel, and the West, the inverse of Archbishop Desmond Tutu's famous description of how Africa became colonised: "You keep your bibles now; we shall use our guns."
Given US actions in Vietnam that resulted in over 2.5 million murdered, maimed and tortured Vietnamese by US forces and their agents, who employed agent orange, napalm, B-52s, helicopter gunships, people being thrown out of helicopters, etc., it would be out of character for the US to do anything but stand idly by as the IDF continues its barbaric atrocities against Palestinians, invades Lebanon again, bombs Damascus again, and who knows what else. The US, stuck in a barrel of gum, fails to grasp the implications of the Palestinian revolution, and that the consequences of the coming Israeli invasions will be quite different this time. Nor has the US asked itself a fundamental question: what has Israeli terror accomplished, 53 years along? The answer is no longer opaque: Israel is trapped. When all the snow has finally melted, the Arabs may not win, but Israel will have vanished into thin air.
Weymouth News, US
Grade inflationSir- All Egyptians were eagerly anticipating the results of the Thanawiya Amma exams. As we all well know, under the revised examination system students -- and by extension their families and therefore also millions, literally millions, of Egyptians -- now suffer for two long years before they are awarded their high school diplomas, which are the equivalent of their passports into not only higher education but eventually the formal workforce and respectable society!
As a mother of two boys I have been suffering too these past four years to be able to save enough money for my boys' tuition fees and for the private tuition that has become vital to pass the exams. Both their father and I work and we have been saving every extra pound these past years and depriving ourselves of even the simplest "luxuries."
And now the results are out. My eldest son scored 93 per cent on his exams. But we can't rejoice. He won't let us. Because even this honourably high percentage does not guarantee that he join the Faculty of Medicine, his lifelong dream, or any of the most sought after colleges. It seems that economic inflation has also affected grades. And with this new type of inflation, what are families supposed to do? And then we wonder that the country seems to be experiencing a national form of depression.
Recommend this page
© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved
Letter from the Editor
|WEEKLY ONLINE: www.ahram.org.eg/weekly
Updated every Saturday at 11.00 GMT, 2pm local time