What We Require from Miss Rice …

AS we examine carefully the specter of civil war looming in Palestine, and throw in the conflict between Israel and Iranians, Israel and the Syrians, and finally between the Kurds of Iraq and Turkey … we can get some idea of the incredible challenges facing U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she arrives in the region, where America’s enemies seek to undermine its policies and prevent victory in the war against terrorism.

Rice is no longer in primary school, nor is she taking her first courses on the issue of terrorism in the Middle East. … By now it should be crystal clear to her: the terrorism now raging is a result of America’s foreign policy and its habit of seeing the region through Israeli eyes.

Rice must certainly have taken note of remarks made by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Saudi King Abdullah Ben Abd Al Aziz, and tomorrow in Cairo she will no doubt here nearly identical comments, when she meets the Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation countries along with Egypt and Jordan. The talk will be of how escalating terrorist activity is directly linked to the behavior of Washington, and of pleas for an overhaul of those policies.

Perhaps the moderate Arab countries will be persuaded to ally themselves with Washington in its war against terrorism, but not before an agreement is reached on its root causes and its original guiding ideology. In this regard, one must acknowledge that terrorism first found justification 58 years ago, when American and Western policies created such pain and suffering that they spurred the emergence of the Palestinian cause.

The justifications for terrorism are based on this pain, which is used to play upon people’s emotions and to imply that America supports Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, including the Arab and non-Arab holy places. Therefore, because America is the primary enemy, it is the duty of all Muslims to fight against it. It is America, the Great Satan, which is the most powerful protector of Israel, who continues to “rape” the land of Palestine.

In view of all this, Rice should realize that the terrorists have no interest in seeing peace established between Israel and its neighbors; and they certainly don’t want to see the doves of peace flying in the Middle East sky, be they white or black. This new Middle East would put them out of business, show their rhetoric to be hollow, eliminate their justifications for existing and force them to “close up shop.”

The Hamas movement, for example, justified its resistance and its right to terrorize people by pointing to Israel’s arrogance and its starvation and siege of the Palestinian people. But the population now sees that the fictional slogans of Hamas have not resulted in better living conditions and have not provided their children with a single loaf of bread.

In its quest to establish new alliances in the region, we notice that in addition to its pro-Israel bias, the American administration doesn’t listen to the advice of its allies, and instead relies on a group of theorists who view the Middle East from a distance and who know little about the history and issues that make the region what it is. These are issues the British were well-versed in, and they dealt with them quite successfully. The French too were somewhat aware of these issues, but the British were more successful and were much more astute at knowing how to remain in the region and more importantly, when to leave it.

All we require now from Condoleezza Rice is that she benefit from past experience and stop giving further justification for terrorism to snowball, and that for the last time she puts the Palestinian issue on a path toward a final, just and comprehensive resolution, with the establishment of a viable Palestinian state living side by side with the Jewish state. And she must do this with a clear understanding of those who oppose peace, which is something the Israelis also understand.

Continuing the tension and unrest and maintaining the threat of war that hangs over the region is in the interests of those who use terrorism as a form of blackmail and a way to incite corruption. If Rice understands these truths and wishes to establish a peace front with the Gulf States, Egypt and Jordan, then she will have to take heed of their advice on how such a peace can be achieved.

The most important advice for the United States is to stop viewing the region through Israeli eyes alone, and bring back some balance to the American perspective. The bottom line is this: To stop the growth of terrorism and eliminate its root causes, America must listen to the views of other nations in the region.

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