Al-Ahram Weekly Online   4 - 10 November 2004
Issue No. 715
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Covering for Sharon

By Nader Fergany

The purpose of Sharon's planned disengagement -- approved by the Knesset -- is to bury the peace process the Palestinian Authority naïvely inaugurated in Oslo. Sharon acts with the blessing of the current, and perhaps future, US administration. Nor is it any secret that Palestinian figures are actively involved. What Sharon is doing he is doing with the complicity of world powers, including Arab regimes.

Continued talk about the peace process, repeated references to a return to the negotiating table, nostalgic invocations of the roadmap -- these are what boost Sharon's chances of implementing the plan. They pave the way for the catastrophe that is about to befall Palestine and the Palestinians, and that will impact on the entire region. And yet Sharon's plan continues to attract the support -- explicit or implicit -- of those who should know better.

Sharon's intention is to grab the entire West Bank while turning Gaza into a collective prison for the Palestinians. The prison warden will be handpicked by Israel. Its gates -- land, sea and air -- will be under Israel's control. Sharon's plan allows for the creation of a Palestinian state to which all Palestinians may return if they wish to enjoy the full benefits of collective incarceration.

And there are those in our midst who seek to provide cover for the impending catastrophe.

The answer is simple -- they want to please the United States. They render services to Israel so that Washington overlooks their own excesses. They need to humour Israel and the US because they have abandoned the causes of national liberation, because they have deprived the Arab masses of freedom and good governance, and because they are transforming republican regimes into monarchical dynasties through a historical sleight of hand.

This week's Soapbox speaker is head of Almishkat Centre for Research and the lead author of the Arab Human Development Report.

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