to news accounts, officials in the Israeli government
have refused to meet with Sinn Fein president,
Gerry Adams, during his visit to the Middle East.
The ostensible excuse for this snub is that Mr.
Adams accepted an invitation to meet with members
of the democratically elected Hamas government
in occupied Gaza. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist
organization whose members deserve not to hold
public office but, rather, to be blown to bits
in their cars and houses, shot down in the streets,
arrested, tortured, and left to rot in prison.
If innocent people die when Israeli tanks fire
into crowded Palestinian neighborhoods, that's
unfortunate but the dead and injured brought these
attacks on themselves. They voted "terrorists"
into office and, therefore, they are terrorists
by association. If Gaza is a free fire zone in
which the Israeli military has killed more than
200 Palestinians in recent weeks, the world should
understand, indeed applaud, Israel's commitment
to fighting the "war on terror."
As an American citizen, my tax money pays for
the attack helicopters and drones and tanks Israeli
uses to kill Palestinians. I helped pay for the
150,000 bombs Israel dropped on Lebanon, destroying
60,000 homes, killing more than 1,000 people,
including children trapped inside of their houses
or attempting to flee saturation bombing raids.
I helped pay for the cluster bombs that left 100,000
bomb-lets lying in the rubble and fields and streams
of Lebanon, waiting to kill children and farmers
and construction workers. I helped pay for the
munitions that the Israeli air force dropped on
a power plant in Lebanon, spilling thousands of
gallons of oil into Mediterranean sea.
I will never have the opportunity to ask officials
in the Israeli government why they made the decision
to destroy Lebanon's roads and bridges, power
plants and apartment buildings. Or why they felt
justified in committing mass homicide in a small
nation that had not attacked their country. I
suspect that the resident in the White House not
only knew about, but sanctioned, Israel's campaign
to teach Hezbollah and its supporters in Lebanon
a terrible lesson. I'm quite certain that the
Central Intelligence Agency played some role in
this latest fiasco in the Middle East.
In the United States, the national media doesn't
dare challenge Israel's daily assaults on the
Palestinian people. American politicians who wish
to remain in office dare not criticize the Israeli
military's recent massacre of innocents in Lebanon.
Guests on national news programs do not challenge
Israel's campaign to terrorize the Palestinian
people into accepting an illegal, brutal, occupation.
Those who summon the courage to speak openly about
Israel's calculated brutality in the occupied
territories are labeled "anti-Semitic,"
and accused of aiding and abetting terrorism.
As we approach the fifth anniversary of the attacks
on September 11, 200l, it seems to me that the
way to honor those who died in the World Trade
Center, in the Pentagon, and on the airliner that
crashed in Pennsylvania field, would be to open
an honest dialogue about the "war on terror."
Do some nations have the right to terrorize others
in the name of fighting terror? Do the men and
women who are running the American empire really
expect people to accept the notion that torturing
human beings in the name of freedom and democracy
will, somehow, spread goodness and defeat evil?
Does it make sense to expect people whose homes
have been demolished, whose friends and neighbors
and family members have been killed by an occupying
army, to feel gratitude toward their oppressors?
I really hope Gerry Adams gets the chance to ask
Israeli government officials why they continue
to imprison more than a million people in Gaza,
destroying an electrical plant so that Palestinians
now have little or no water, terrifying and traumatizing
Palestinian children, creating conditions in which
they go hungry, turning their world into a living
hell. Perhaps Mr. Adams will point out that the
British spent 800 years hanging, jailing, torturing,
assassinating and exiling Irish freedom fighters.
Nothing worked. Just when Britain thought it had
terrorized Ireland into submission, the Irish
would rise up again, and then again. Mr. Adams
might also want to tell his hosts that after the
Vietnam war ended, communist officials in Hanoi
revealed that they had been prepared to fight
for another 100 years, or longer, to defeat the
I doubt that anything Gerry Adams might say will
penetrate the Orwellian arrogance of Israeli officials
who fret and strut under the protection of the
American empire. Like their counterparts in Ireland,
Vietnam, and other parts of the world, the Palestinian
people will never stop resisting colonialism and
imperialism. And until the United States government
stops funding campaigns to terrorize people in
Gaza, the West Bank, and now Lebanon, there will
never be peace in the Middle East or the world.