Facts have never deterred governments bent on war to change their minds.
Why not face facts at least here in Canada?
The recent push toward war against Iran rises from the attacks against New York and Washington, organised by the Bin Laden Group. It was in response to this attack, that president George Bush presented the doctrine of pre-emptive strikes in Iraq. A doctrine that is against accepted international law.
Bin Laden terrorist activities are primarily caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Without this highly emotional issue, Bin Laden would never have been able to attract thousand of devout followers.
The presence of American troops on Saudi soil is not an issue that drives people to suicidal attacks!
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been festering for decades and has poisoned the souls of Arabs and Moslems in the Middle East and elsewhere.
The origin of the conflict is not the hatred of Palestinians for the Jews or of the Jews for Palestinians.
A few thousand Jews lived for centuries in Palestine when governed by Moslems (Arabs or Turks). Similarly the Zionist movement’s leaders were not anti-Arab. The founding father of Israel, Ben Gurion, always preached the need to respect the Arabs and live with them – most historic leaders of Israel spoke fluent Arabic.
The roots of the conflict and the hatred between the two groups are to be found in the actions of two Western powers (with willing cooperation from others).
During the First World War Great Britain promised to Arabs and to Jews control over Palestine (or part thereof). The war over, Great Britain betrayed the promise to both parties.
After the Second World War, to atone for the disgraceful lack of action in support of the Jews during Hitler reign, the Europeans at large and the Americans in particular, supported the creation of an independent Jewish state – Israel – on territory which had not been under Jewish control for over two thousand years and against the wishes of the Arab inhabitants. The Arabs paid for the sins of the West.
This is not the kind of action likely to create friends.
The Arabs states foolishly attempted to destroy the new Jewish state by military means: after three wars, in 1967, Israel – armed with Western weapons – prevailed and gained control of all of Palestine.
Since then, the United Nations have repeatedly, with several “resolutions” requested Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories. While lengthy negotiations have taken place the only fact is that Israel has built over 400 settlements on Palestinian land and that some 500,000 Israelis now live in the occupied territories, against international law.
For whichever reason, sympathy for the Jewish settlers, racism, feelings of guilt, the West and the USA in particular have failed to enforce the United Nations resolutions. The US and Great Britain are however eager to use their armies to enforce UN resolutions against Iraq.
The war is needed to protect us against Iraq.
Are we talking of that Iraq which fought a 10-year war in the eighties with Iran without gaining one inch of land? The Iraq which invaded Kuwait, which has the military power of Nova Scotia, and conceded defeat in 1991 after 7 days of land war? The Iraq who wanted to build a one km long gun (designed by a Canadian) to send rockets into space? Iraq is no threat to the West and hardly a threat to neighbouring countries!
But we are told that Iraq will co-operate with al Qaeda.
Iraq cannot co-operate with Al Qaeda. Iraq is a secular country, Al Qaeda is a fundamentalist organization, and cooperation between them is as likely as an alliance between the Ku Klux Kan and Martin Luther King.
However small the threat of Iraq, however big the threat of Al- Qaeda, to reduce them and eventually eliminate both we must resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
Both parties have accepted the solution in principle: two independent states. But they cannot disengage from their hatred and blood baths. They must be pulled apart, and kept apart for several years.
A great opportunity for those leaders who having avoided military service, now like to play soldiers and use the armies in the Middle East to separate Israeli from Palestinian territory physically. Why not give both parties the aid they need to build and rebuild their economies?
When we have regained credibility in the West, only then can we encourage democracy in the Middle East.