In his USA Today article, DeWayne Wickham argues that the root cause of Muslim anti-American violence is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. This old theory, long since disproven by the events of the past decade, and by the statements of terrorist leaders themselves, is revived periodically by those who will not allow themselves to countenance the possibility that Muslim terrorists are not simply trying to regain Muslim land or gain a voice internationally- they are attempting to destroy the Muslim and Western regimes that stand in the way of their establishing Sharia rule in as many places as possible.
Wickham sees the world through a typical post-colonial paradigm. In 1999, he enjoyed a six hour dinner with Fidel Castro. After visiting with the President of the Cuban National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon, Wickham served as his mouthpiece in an article he in the USA Today legitimizing Cuba’s paranoid fears of a U.S. invasion. His 2004 piece on Brown President Ruth Simmons showed his sympathy for reparations.
It is no surprise that he views the Israelis as he does the U.S. in Iraq or America as it relates to African-Americans – a rich power that maintains control by exploiting the non-white minority. He buttresses his view of the Middle East by relying on Daniel Levy, defender of Oslo and Walt/Mearsheimer. Levy’s intellectual dishonesty and willingness to run roughshod over the facts of the Middle East conflict were documented in an article by Noah Pollak. Levy consistently sees Palestinian violence as the understandable reaction to Israeli aggression:
In 1994 there is the attack [by Baruch Goldstein on February 25th, 1994] at the Hebron tomb of the patriarchs. Until that moment there has been no Palestinian use of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. … That’s when the suicide bombings first started. There is a hiatus, the suicide bombings end. Israel during the period of quiet then assassinates admittedly a terrorist, the guy known as The Engineer, in Gaza. Then you have a spate of suicide bombings. The suicide bombings during the current intifada don’t begin in September 2000, they begin several months after the intifada started. When do they begin? They begin after Israel carried out assassination policies, targeted killings, so again, I just think that if you see this outside of a historical context, you can’t understand it.
Wickham and Levy make a very happy, very mistaken intellectual couple.
Linkage of two conflicts key to peace in Mideast
By DeWayne Wickham
If Daniel Levy is right, the way out of the morass the Bush administration has stumbled into in the Middle East is through the Palestinian territory.
To drain the swamp in which al-Qaeda and other U.S. adversaries operate and make it harder for this nation’s foes in the Middle East “to speak above the heads” of moderate Arab leaders, Levy says, a way must be found to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territory.
The long-running struggle between Israel and the Palestinian people “is the mother-of-all grievances” for many in the Muslim world – and the United States’ backing of Israel is the root cause of the antagonism that many in the Muslin world harbor for this country, Levy argues.
He should know.
Levy is no backbencher when it comes to trying to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An Israeli citizen, he’s director of Prospects for Peace Initiative, a group based in Washington that seeks to bring “new think” to the quest for Middle East peace. Levy was an adviser to former Israeli prime ministers Ehud Barak and Yitzhak Rabin, and a member of the negotiating team that tried to broker a peace agreement with the Palestinians in 2001.
New peace proposal
Last month, Levy helped draft an open letter from a bipartisan group of U.S. foreign policy experts to President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It urged them to back a peace agreement that returns Israel to its 1967 borders and creates an independent Palestinian nation. It also called for Jerusalem, which both the Palestinians and Israelis claim, to serve as the capital of both states.
These proposals are a hard sell with right-wing Israelis who oppose sharing Jerusalem with the Palestinians – and with Hamas, a militant Islamic group that has seized control of the Gaza portion of the Palestinian territories and calls for the destruction of Israel. To forge such a deal, the United States will have to do a lot of arm-twisting to get Israel to accept this version of a “two-state solution.”
Read that last paragraph again. After comparing Israelis who oppose sharing their capital with the Palestinians with Hamas, Wickham portrays Israel as the party that is obstructing peace, not Hamas.
That won’t be easy. Even as a peace conference took place in Annapolis, Md., last month, Israel pushed ahead with plans to build more than 300 housing units in East Jerusalem, an area of the city that the Palestinians claim.
No mention of Palestinian rocket attacks, slightly more problematic than building houses on empty land.
Resistance to linkage
If Levy is right – and I think he is – the unsettled Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a rallying cry for this nation’s enemies in the region. But many pro-Israel groups, such as the American Jewish Committee, objected to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group’s conclusion that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is key to broader Middle East peace.
Certainly, in getting Palestinian and Israeli leaders to restart peace talks that had been stalled for seven years, the Bush administration made a move in the right direction. But the Annapolis conference ended with no great sense of urgency to fashion a peace agreement. Nor did it produce a Bush administration acknowledgement of a linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and broader Middle East challenges.
“Our purpose here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather, it is to launch negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. For the rest of us, our job is to encourage the parties in this effort – and to give them the support they need to succeed,” Bush said in his opening address at the conference. That sounds more like the talk of a spectator than the leader of a nation’s whose fate is linked tightly to the outcome of this effort.
“The Israeli road to thorough acceptance runs through Palestinian statehood,” Mary King, a distinguished scholar with the American University Center for Global Peace, writes in her book, A Quiet Revolution: The First Palestinian Intifada and Non-violent Resistance.
So when the Palestinians get a state on all of the West Bank and Gaza, then Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Hamas, and Hezbollah will no longer consider the rest of Israel occupied Muslim land? And Palestinian children will not learn that Jews are the sons of apes and pigs, and should be killed at every opportunity? I wonder what evidence she has for this.
And so, too, does the road away from the mounting hatred that this nation’s response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has produced in the rest of the Middle East.
Some of this site’s illustrious commenters might consider posting a few comments on the USA Today site in response to this piece.