Friday, July 25, 2003

While there is a lot of optimism among a lot for a success of the roadmap, the right is raising doubts. Congressman Tom DeLay will pay a visit to Israel, Jordan and Iraq.

As he travels next week through Israel, Jordan and Iraq, he will take with him a message of grave doubt that the Middle East is ready for a Palestinian state, as called for in the current peace plan, known as the road map, backed by the administration and Europe.

"I'm sure there are some in the administration who are smarter than me, but I can't imagine in the very near future that a Palestinian state could ever happen," he said in an interview today, as he prepared to leave for a weeklong official tour.

"I can't imagine this president supporting a state of terrorists, a sovereign state of terrorists," he said. "You'd have to change almost an entire generation's culture."

Instead, Mr. DeLay, one of the three most powerful Republicans in Congress, called on the administration to carry out a "Marshall plan" for Palestinian areas, with the United States paying to rebuild the economy there rather than giving aid to Palestinian leaders directly. He said he had been working hard to persuade the White House to support his plan, and intended to bring it up in separate meetings with Ariel Sharon and Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers. He will also address the Israeli Parliament and meet with King Abdullah of Jordan.
The first thing that disturbs me is that this man is even allowed to travel to an Arab country. Remember--this is the man that called for unconditional support for Israel after Bush criticized the use of excessive force to assassinate an Hamas leader a few months back.

Secondly, unless Tom DeLay actually wants an increase in anti-Americanism and Arab anger, it would be smart to support a Palestinian state. That the occupied territories have turned into a radical terrorist stronghold should not surprise anyone after 36 years of painful occupation and more than 50 years of statelessness. Shame is the most painful emotion in the Arab culture, producing the feeling that one is unworthy to live. Helplessness and shame gave way to anger that later poured into the streets as defiance, and later on: suicide bombings. These crimes against humanity and Islam cannot be excused nor condoned, but it should not be surprising.

What DeLay is suggestings is to take over the social infrastructure that's now in the hands of Hamas. They provide social services, but at the same time teach children hatred of Jews and to blow themselves up. Palestinian's culture is not defined on terrorism, but rather on the condition they live in. If you improve the economical situation, if you improve the living standard, if you end the occupation, than you get results and you get people on your side. That's how Hamas has worked without shame for the past few years. But, I have one question. Why not implement a Palestinian state and implement this so-called "Marshall Plan." Why delay the end of misery for both sides? This "Marshall Plan" should promote moral values, democracy and non-violent strategics, but at the same time should help Palestinians. Hamas' "summer camps" give everyday Palestinian kids to enjoy protections from Israeli tanks, but this is wasted when their doctrine is teached to these poor innocent kids. This "Marshall Plan" should do exactly do the same thing, but teaching Palestinian kids the right doctrine.

Unfortunatly, USAID is an increasingly biased and unsupportive tool in helping Palestinians and therefore Palestinians rely on isolated NGOs, working in inhumane conditions.

I became optimistic today, after the visit and red-carpet treatment of Mahmoud Abbas, the US-installed Palestinian Prime Minister. Some good points have been brought up, most importantly the seperation wall (dubbed 'security fence' by Israel and 'segregation wall' by Palestinians') and the issue of releasing prisoners. Israel has been delaying the process for a while, but I expect them to come to an agreement soon enough, probably just before Sharon's meeting with Bush, as a sign of goodwill. If Sharon fails to do this, he's mainly trying to restart the cycle of violence, something happening on the Palestinian's side by Yasser Arafat.

There are three main positive points about the cease-fire: a) Palestinians get used to peace and will advocate the continuation of it, b) minimal loss of life, at least on the Israeli side, c) it creates a situation where Abbas can continue to demand concessions from Sharon. Let's just pray for Allah to continue the peace and end the violence.

In a New York Times poll about gay marriage, there's this unrelated but important piece of information:
Thirty-eight percent said they would not vote for a well-qualified Muslim for president, compared with 10 percent who said they would not vote for a Jew and 8 percent for a Catholic.

Still, the poll found that a slight majority of those surveyed — 51 percent — said they held a favorable view of Muslim-Americans. Twenty-four percent said they held an unfavorable view.
The right has been complaining about anti-Semitism in Europe, in particular France. Yet, it's 38% of Americans who would not vote for a Muslim President. Compare that to the 10% against a Jewish president, I say that we should start at home when it comes to intolerance of religious freedom.

I cannot blame America for holding these views, excluding mainly Zionists hardliners, the Christian right and secular atheists. It's fair to say that 9/11 and biased and an unfair coverage of Islam is to blame.


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