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Bush - Blair - Olmert: Casting Wider the Dragon's Teeth PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Sunday, 13 August 2006 06:59
Bush - Blair - Olmert: Casting Wider the Dragon's Teeth

AG
- Rami G. Khouri - A new report issued Thursday shows that 170 Palestinians were killed in the occupied Gaza Strip in the latest Israeli military offensive between June 27 and August 8, with 151 individuals killed in July alone. This is the single largest monthly death toll in the occupied Gaza Strip since October 2004, when 166 Palestinians were killed.

www.agenceglobal.com

The good police work that prevented the latest revealed terrorist plot has saved an untold number of innocents. But until American, British, Israeli and Arab leaders address the ongoing oppression and helplessness in Arab societies these plots will continue.


Vulnerable Planes and Vicious Policies

Rami G. Khouri


Agence Global
August 11, 2006

Copyright ?2006 Rami G. Khouri / Agence Global
[Republished at PEJ News with AG permission]


BEIRUT -- Talk about wake-up calls. The arrest of 21 people in England who allegedly planned to blow up numerous airplanes over the Atlantic Ocean is about as dramatic and dangerous as it gets in the wake-up call department. Something is driving average young men to plan and execute deeds of brutal, almost unimaginable, inhumanity, targeting innocent civilians in the West who have nothing to do with whatever conflict may be at hand here.

Good police work prevented this alleged plot. Other such operations will take place, though, because whatever is driving these killers remains an active catalyst to their criminality. The likelihood is that the next wave of attacks will be directed at softer targets, where large numbers of civilians gather in a relatively relaxed security atmosphere, such as urban mass transit or sports, shopping and theater venues. Terror is a growth industry, because the fuel of cruel policies and human discontent that powers it remains so plentiful.

More important than good police work to prevent attacks is to take away the political, personal and other factors that prompt such extremism from hijacking the minds of otherwise ordinary young men. On that front, it seems that the prevalent political policies of Arab, Israeli, American and British leaders are contributing to terrorism, rather than thwarting it.

It is high time that people of influence in all these societies recognize that their civilians are being terrorized because opinion-molders in these societies have allowed themselves to be politically terrorized into ignoring the obvious links between conditions in Arab societies and the growth and spread of terror. There can be no doubt that events in the Arab world contribute significantly to turning middle class men into world class monsters.

The two most important cases are Palestine and Lebanon. Here is where Anglo-American-Israeli policies combine with the prevalent absence of serious Arab political leadership and responsibility to leave masses of ordinary Arabs feeling helpless and vulnerable. They see, feel and must somehow react to the mass suffering, death, displacement, pauperization and dehumanization that are now transmitted around the world on television.

The Israeli atrocities in Lebanon are merely the latest example of this modern legacy, but Israel's American-supported assault on the Palestinians is just as brutal, and much older. A new report issued Thursday shows that 170 Palestinians were killed in the occupied Gaza Strip in the latest Israeli military offensive between June 27 and August 8, with 151 individuals killed in July alone. This is the single largest monthly death toll in the occupied Gaza Strip since October 2004, when 166 Palestinians were killed. More significantly, the report by the Palestinian Monitoring Group reveals that 138 of the 170 Palestinians killed were civilians, and 25 per cent of civilian fatalities were children. Another 506 Palestinians were injured during that period.

This sort of sustained, institutionalized Israeli assault on mostly defenseless Palestinians is mirrored in a more vulgar way by Israel's aerial bombardment of entire civilian neighborhoods in Lebanon, including reported plans to literally bulldoze entire villages across a zone in south Lebanon along the border with Israel. When this sort of thing goes on decade after decade, and the initial response from the American president and British prime minister is to give Israel more time and diplomatic room to kill Arabs and destroy their societies in Palestine and Lebanon, something snaps in the minds of millions of ordinary men and women throughout the Arab world who simply cannot endure this chronic abuse for decades on end without reacting.

Well, that reaction now clearly includes the madness and crime of terror against civilians by small groups of men. Much larger numbers of ordinary people do not embrace terror, but rather cheer on and support those who politically or even militarily challenge Israel, Arab regimes, the United States and the UK, in arenas that include Iraq these days.

The issue is not whether Israel has a right to defend itself -- of course it does, as does every sovereign state and group of human beings anywhere -- but rather the fact that Israel tries to defend itself by ignoring its own role in provoking the battle, and by treating Arabs like sub-species of animals who can be beaten, killed, displaced and humiliated year after year.

The fact that Israel now simultaneously brutalizes entire civilian populations in Lebanon and Israel, largely with Anglo-American acquiescence if not active approval, does not go unnoticed by other Arabs, Muslims, Asians, Europeans, Americans and decent human beings everywhere. We can expect the inhumanity they see on television every day to result ultimately in two things: extreme reactions of terror against the West by a few enraged young men, and a willingness by political leaders everywhere to consider whether present policies may be fomenting rather than reducing terror.

We've had the spike in terror and greater resistance against Israel, the Anglo-Americans, and Arab regimes. But we have yet to see responsible political leaders here or there grasp the simple truth that ordinary men and women in this region have known for decades: Bad policies that chronically brutalize ordinary people in the Arab world inevitably transform some of those ravaged people into senseless death and revenge machines that only want to brutalize in return.


Rami G. Khouri
is an internationally syndicated columnist, and editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star.

Copyright ?2006 Rami G. Khouri / Agence Global
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Released: 11 August 2006
Word Count: 869
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Advisory Release: 11 August 2006
Rights & Permissions Contact: Agence Global, 1.336.686.9002, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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Agence Global is the exclusive syndication agency for The Nation and The American Prospect, as well as expert commentary by William Beeman, Richard Bulliet, Mark Hertsgaard, Rami G. Khouri, Tom Porteous, Patrick Seale and Immanuel Wallerstein.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2006 06:59
 

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