Friday, July 21, 2006

'Out of control?'!!!!!

June 29, 2006

WARNINGS after warnings are being issued that the situation in Palestine will spin out of control if the two sides involved do not exercise restraint in the crisis sparked by Sunday's Palestinian attack on an Israeli border post and capture of an Israeli soldier. Facts on the ground clearly show that the situation is already out of control.
Israel's arrest of eight ministers ofthe Hamas-led Palestinian cabinet and 20 members of the Palestinian parliament, and the Israeli seige of the Gaza Strip and destruction of infrastructure there that has heralded a humanitarian crisis are bad enough. Add to that Israel's
threat to kill Hamas leaders living in exile and "punish" Syria for harbouring them and the Israeli military flights over the home of the Syrian president coupled with a warning that any cross-border attack by Lebanon's Hizbollah would trigger military action against Syria. The sole world power which could make a real difference contends that Israel is only exercising its right to self-defence — meaning a carte blanche endorsement of whatever Israel finds fit to do. (Well, it should not be surprising since the US itself claims that the war it wages in Iraq is in exercise of its right to self-defence, although it beats common sense to figure out how Iraq posed a threat to the US in the first place).
On the other side, captors of an Israeli settler have already killed him. and those who have captured the Israeli soldier on Sunday are refusing to release him without Israel freeing Palestinian women and children in detention in return. Indeed, the decision is no longer in the hands of the captors because the families of the 8,000 plus Palestinian prisoners in Israel insist on their loved ones being freed in return for the Israeli soldier, a demand the Jewish state is highly unlikely to meet, particularly now that it has eight Hamas ministers in its custody who could be used as bargaining chips (not to mention the others detained in Thursday's sweep).
And we are still told the situation in Palestine "could spin out of control."
Whatever the explanation, the fear is high that Israel has found the conditions right to create a situation where it could dictate terms with help from the US. It seems a certainty that it would use this opportunity to corner the Palestinian and Arab side with a view to weakening resistance to its hegemony and military ambitions and imposing its will not only on the Palestinians but on the broader Arab and Muslim worlds. If that is indeed the case, then any solution to the crisis triggered by the capture of the Israeli soldier would only serve Israeli interests and objectives.
The need of the hour is for the Arabs to put their heads together and come up with a collective strategy aimed at dealing with Israel's broader agenda. Condemnations of Israel are not enough. Emergency meetings have to be called and urgent and sound decisions have to be taken. That is the real challenge facing the Arabs today.