-Caveat Lector- http://www.ameu.org/page.asp?iid=249&aid=358&pg=1

Why did The New York Times deliberately screen its readers from the knowledge that the Medreco oil refinery that Israel deliberately attacked on five occasions during the July 1981 bombardment was American owned and operated? Was The Times sensitive to the adverse reaction that might be aroused in its readership and advertisers to news unfavorable to Israel? Did the Jewish ownership of The Times and/or its support of Zionism play a role in suppressing unfavorable coverage of Israel? While it may be impossible to resolve such questions, the episode shows the complicity of the media in support of Israel’s goals and against the larger interests of U.S. policy and presumably against the interests of most Americans in a stable Lebanon and a peaceful Middle East. Significantly, a year later, as part of the fallout from the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Secretary of State Alexander Haig was forced to resign apparently because he was seen as placing Israel’s interest in “fighting terror” ahead of America’s interest in reducing hostilities in the Middle East.

A Road Map to ?

The resignation of Alexander Haig in 1982 is evidence that the Reagan administration’s irresponsibility in raising no effective objections to Israeli excesses in Lebanon had limits. The U.S. government at that time was sufficiently flexible and rational to pull back when it was necessary and was able to focus on the simple idea that a peaceful Middle East was in American interests. Today, a similar awareness is evidently lacking. The disappearance of the Soviet Union as a counterweight to U.S. interests in the Middle East has allowed the current U.S. regime a free hand to ally itself completely with the Sharon government’s repressive and brutal policies.

Prime Minister Sharon has used his political skills to unite the Israeli public behind dramatic restrictions on the ability of the Palestinians to pursue civil life. Despite the current incarnation of the “peace process,” inaptly named the “road map,” never have the Palestinians been so threatened by Israeli policies. Through a combination of intimidation and effective use of the Israeli lobby in the U.S. and the complete subservience of Congress, Ariel Sharon, for example, has not been called to account for the March 2003 bulldozer murder of Rachel Corrie, a U.S. citizen, who was one of three international peace activists killed or seriously wounded by the Israeli army within a month’s time.

Palestinians cannot get to schools, businesses, or pursue normal economic life. They must face checkpoints without end, “targeted assassinations,” tanks, sharpshooters, F-16s and Apache helicopters in their population centers. A “security wall” currently being erected in the West Bank is gobbling up thousands of acres of Palestinian olive groves, farms, factories, and is affecting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in a hundred villages or communities located in between the wall and Israel’s 1967 borders or nearby. 45 All this while the world focuses on the “Road Map” which many observers view as little more than a distraction and a public relations ploy. 46

It seems clear that the Israeli government will continue to do everything it can to prevent the replacement of Palestinian infrastructure destroyed by the IDF in the West Bank during their Spring 2002 campaign. Without reconstruction, without a viable economy, what can the future possibly hold for the Palestinians? An indication of what the Israelis have in store for the Palestinians, is the uninhibited talk of “transfer” even by a member of Sharon’s cabinet.” 47 As prime minister, Sharon knows better than to espouse such views. However, in 1988, as trade minister and member of the inner cabinet during the first intifada, he warned that the Palestinian uprising “would lead inevitably to war with the Arab states and the necessary expulsion of the Arabs from the West Bank, Gaza and the Galilee.” 48

Many observers feared that the war on Iraq might have provided a sufficient screen for the mass expulsion of many of the more than 3.5 million Palestinians living in the occupied territories. But Israel was not attacked and the American advance on Baghdad was so rapid that no opportunity was provided for mass expulsions. Nevertheless, time is on the side of the Israelis and they are masters of creating and making use of opportunities. After they were forced by President Eisenhower to return the Sinai and Gaza in 1956, they waited until the political scene was primed in 1967. Once again time is on their side as the “war on terror” continues and U.S. policy makers continually make threats against Iran and Syria, both high on Israel’s enemies list.

Prospects for peace seem slim and growing slimmer. One indicator of the difficulties that lie ahead is National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice’s comment in Tel Aviv in mid-May 2003. Ms. Rice said that the “security of Israel is the key to the security of the world.” As one close observer of right wing influence on U.S. policy put it, this goes far beyond even the “neocon claim that the security interests of the U.S. and Israel are identical.” 49

End Notes
1For history of Zionist conquest and occupation, see Norman Finkelstein, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict;” for documentation of specific acts of Zionist terrorism, e.g., letter bombs, kidnapping, bombing cafes, theaters, markets, see Issa Nakhleh’s “Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem,” pp. 65-230.
2Stephen Green, “Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations with a Militant Israel,” pp. 38-40.
3Baylis Thomas, “A Concise History of Israel,” p. 93, note 39.
4Green, “Taking Sides,” p. 40.
5Written by Prof. Yehuda Lapidot, on the Irgun Website: http://www.etzel.org/english/index.html.
6Thus, according to Irgun accounts, when the attack took place on July 22, the Haganah had officially withdrawn its approval.
7According to the Irgun, from the time of the first call at 12:10 pm, 22 minutes were allowed for the evacuation.
8R. Curtiss in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs: www.wrmea.com/backissues/031885/850318011.html.
9Livia Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” pp. 5-6.
10Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 11.
11Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 13.
12Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 13.
13Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 29.
14Rachel Corrie in e-mail to her family, cited in Harper’s “This Happens Every Day,” June 2003.
15Green, “Taking Sides,” pp. 94-123.
16”A dangerous liquidation,” in Yediot Achronot, Nov. 25, 2001.
17Donald Neff, “Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower takes America into the Middle East,” p. 33.
18Ehud Ya’ari, in Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 62.
19Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” pp. 39-40.
20Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p.47.
21Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 47.
22D. Neff, “Warriors at Suez,” pp. 365-68 and 371-76.
23Nasser Aruri, Preface in “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. xiv.
24Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 22.
25Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 26.
26N. Aruri, Preface in “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” pp. xiv-xv.
27Rokach, “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” p. 59, Note 6.
28Rosemary Sayigh, in “Too Many Enemies: The Palestinian Experience in Lebanon,” writes that 110,000 Palestinians were forced to flee northern Palestine in 1948, and the PLO was forced to relocate to Lebanon from Jordan in 1970-71. 29Noam Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle,” 1983 edition, p. 191.
30Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle,” p. 191.
31Oded Yinon, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties,” published in Hebrew in “Kivunim,” Feb. 1982, by the World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem, and in English as “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East,” by the Association of Arab-American University Graduates, with Foreward by Israel Shahak. Available at: www.geocities.com/roundtable_texts/zionistplan.html.
32Shahak, Foreward in “The Zionist Plan.”
33Stephen Sniegoski, “The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel,” Feb. 2003, at: www.thornwalker.com/ditch/conc_toc.html.
34For discussion of the estimates, see Benny Morris, “Righteous Victims,” p. 727, fn. 247.
35Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle,” pp. 198, 199.
36Chomsky, “The Fateful Triangle,” p. 200.
37Stephen Green, “Living by the Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East 1968-1987,” p. 155.
38Green, “Living by the Sword,” pp. 155, 156.
39David Shipler, The New York Times, April 18, 1981, quoted in Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 157.
40Confidential State Department telegram, July 16, 1981, cited in Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 158.
41Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 161.
42Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 162.
43Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 163.
44Green, “Living by the Sword,” p. 164.
45Neve Gordon, “Can bad fences make good neighbors,” Guardian Weekly, May 29-June 4, 2003.
46See Jeffrey Blankfort, “AIPAC Hijacks the Roadmap: How Israel’s U.S. Lobby Is Stacking the Deck,” May 27, 2003 on the web: http://www.counterpunch.org/blackfort05272003.html.
47Benny Elon, Israel’s tourism minister, in Jordan Times, Feb. 7, 2003: “We must not fear bringing up again the idea of a transfer and of open discussion of the various possibilities that it offers.”
48Quoted in Ralph Schoenman, “The Hidden History of Zionism,” p. 10.
49Stephen Sniegoski, e-mail head note to news article in Jewish Press: “Rice: Israel’s Security Is Key to World Security,” May 18, 2003 (www.jewishpress.com/news_article.asp?article=2380).

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