Christmas Message 2008 – It Is About Time To Boycott the US

To the U.S. Government: Where is the Promised Palestinian State?

The Palestinian people were promised an independent state 3 times in the last 15 years by successive U.S. government – first in 1998, then 2005, and most recently by the end of 2008. In all three cases, the promises went unfulfilled, and were intended to be unfulfilled when declared. In fact, all that resulted from these promises was more oppression, more killings, more prisoners, more theft of land, more separation walls, more check points, more apartheid segregation, more illegal settlements and more prejudicial facts on the ground. This has been the theme of U.S. policy towards Palestinian aspirations: engage in endless non-productive talks while supporting ruthless acts of expansion and aggression that ensure a viable Palestinian state will never come to fruition. It is time for the Palestinian and Arab people to clearly express to their own leaders and the U.S. establishment that “business as usual” is no longer an option.

We also call on the American people to take action and insist their government act immediately to rectify the injustices carried against the Palestinian people for over sixty years. These injustices have impacted not just the livelihood of the Palestinians, but humanity in general and also the American people in specific.

On September 20, 2001, in an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush stated “Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber — a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” Unfortunately, Mr. Bush insists on hiding the facts and the truth from the American people, and he is not alone in doing so among recent US presidents. The US economic collapse, which will result in a US military collapse and eventually the end of the US empire, has its roots in this very question. Why do many people hate the U.S. government? Simply put, they hate it because they hate the hegemonic polices of the US government, the policies that brought U.S. occupation to Iraq and sustain Israeli occupation in Palestine.

Following is just a few highlights of the over sixty years of U.S. meddling and intervention to control the Middle East and perpetuate Israeli aggression.

  • Successive U. S. governments played a major role in supporting the Israeli dispossession of the Palestinian people. Since 1947 the Zionist terrorist gangs and later the Israeli government wiped out over 400 Palestinian towns and villages from the world map (see All That Remains By Prof. Walid Khalidi ), thereby ethnically cleansing Palestine from two thirds of its people. These war crimes were the result of UN General Assembly resolution 181, called the Partition Plan, which the US government played a major role in getting passed by pressuring other UN members to vote in favour of the resolution. Then US Secretary of Defence, James Forrestal stated: “The methods that have been used … to bring coercion and duress on other nation in the General Assembly bordered closely onto scandal”. And US Congressman Lawrence H. Smith stated, “The pressure by our delegates, by our officials, and by the private citizens of the United States constitutes reprehensible conduct against them and against us.” During the debates in the U.N. on the Partition Plan in 1947, the representative of Pakistan, Zufrallah Khan, warned the Western powers that pushed for the partition plan “to remember that you may need friends tomorrow, that you may need allies in the Middle East. I beg you, not to ruin and blast your credit in these lands.” Words that were obviously ignored.
  • In May 1948 when Israel declared its so-called independence, the US government recognized it after just ten minutes, highlighting the level of coordination and complicity of the US government with the Zionist project.
  • On June 5, 1967, with US financial, intelligence, military and political support, Israel attacked Egypt, Syria and Jordan with the aim of crushing the progressive, nationalist and socialist policies of the Syrian and the Egyptian governments. By doing so the US dashed the aspirations of the whole Arab nation for self-reliance, independence, progress and unity.
  • In September 1970, the US built a military bridge between Washington and Amman to help King Hussein in liquidating the Palestinian national movement in its infancy. This was accomplished with the assistance of other local agents such as Pakistani Brigadier Muhammad Zia-al-Haq, who later became president of Pakistan, and Hardan El-Tikriti, then Iraqi Defence Minister, who ended up with two suitcases full of CIA dollars as a reward for neutralizing the 12,000-strong Iraqi “Saladin Force” stationed in Jordan at the time.
  • In the October war of 1973, the US shipped 22,325 tons of military hardware in a strategic airlift operation called “Operation Nickel Grass” to save Israel from what many viewed as impending defeat by the Arab armies.
  • In 1978, under then-president Jimmy Carter, the US succeeded in negotiating the Camp David Accords that was signed at the White House by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin on Sep. 17, 1978. This effectively froze Egypt out of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thus ensuring the balance of power in favour of Israel.
  • In June 1982, the US Secretary of State Alexander Haig gave the green light to Israel for its invasion of Lebanon (this resulted in his resignation after it became public in July 1982). At the end of the war, the US envoy Philip Habib guaranteed the safety of the Palestinian refugee camps and promised that Israeli forces won’t enter Beirut, all in exchange for the evacuation of the Palestinian resistance forces from the capital city. Both promises were broken and the final result was the horrible Sabra and Chattila massacre.
  • The US- Israeli objectives of the Oslo accords in 1993 were to again liquidate the Palestinian national struggle and stop the growing Arab and international support for the first Palestinian intifada. The Oslo accords promised a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza by 1998, at the end of that first so-called interim period. However, instead of fulfilling this promise, we saw more oppression, more brutality and more than doubling of the illegal Israeli settlement units.
  • Similar to June 1982, in March 2002, the Israelis got the green light from U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney to re-occupy the Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank, in what is known as area A in the Oslo accords. This was in direct violation of the Oslo accords that were signed in front of US President Clinton. The Washington Post reported on March 25, 2002 that “Shimon Schiffer, arguably Israel’s best-connected political reporter, wrote in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth today that when Vice President Cheney visited Israel last week, Sharon ‘reached an agreement’ with him that if Zinni’s mission fails, Washington would support Israeli strikes on the Palestinians. U.S. officials did not deny the report.” (see: Israel Plans Big Assault If Truce Talks Fail )
  • “Long-time and now recently deceased confidant to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Uri Dan, published a book in France…titled Ariel Sharon: An Intimate Portrait in which he accused the former prime minister of assassinating Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasser Arafat by poisoning him. Dan claimed Sharon got approval from George Bush [our emphasis] by phone early in 2004 to proceed with his plan”. (Stephen Lendman in Counterpunch)
  • The U.S. supported the 2006 war on Lebanon politically, diplomatically and militarily, Israel devastated the Lebanese infrastructure, committed unspeakable war crimes and dropped four million cluster bomblets near the end of the war.
  • While the U.S. government uses the weapon of boycotts frequently against any country that does not comply with U.S. dictates, nonetheless the United States adopted two “antiboycott” laws in the 1970s, primarily to protect Israel from any boycott campaigns. Aside from the massive US military and economic assistance given to Israel on a yearly basis, the US also grants tax-deductible status to many of Israel’s institutions, including the racist and supremacist “Jewish National Fund” via the “United Jewish Appeal”.
  • The U.S., Israel and other Western countries decided in early 2006 to punish the Palestinian people for practising their democratic rights and electing a government the West and Israel did not favour. They imposed sanctions, cut humanitarian aid and then in July 2007 imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip, locking up 1.5 million Palestinians in a huge ghetto, committing crimes against humanity in the process, according to the UN and various human rights organizations.
  • From September 10, 1972 to Nov. 11, 2006, the US vetoed 42 resolutions in order to protect Israel from any serious and substantive action by the UN. In doing so it encouraged Israel to continue with ethnic cleansing, war crimes, and occupation thereby sabotaging any chance for peace in the region. Without US financing, Israel cannot exist as a state, let alone continue its brazen atrocities and war crimes. The US is therefore enabling Israel in all its crimes against humanity.
  • The U.S. and Israel wanted the “Palestinian Authority” to be a puppet for them or a carbon copy of the earlier Israeli collaborators, the “Village League”, as predicted by the late Israel Shahak in an interview in Nov. 1993 with the Voice of Palestine, Canada. This was not possible to achieve until after the liquidation of Yasser Arafat. Following his death, Mahmoud Abbas took over the PLO in November 2004 and the PA Presidency in January 2005 and for the past four years, closer security ties with the U.S. and Israel have been established. Of particular concern for all Palestinians is the $161 million mission of U.S. General Keith Dayton, started three years ago, involving the direct training of the Palestinian security forces. In a recent statement Gen. Dayton stated: “Nothing I or my team do here will jeopardize the security interests of the State of Israel. Period. Full stop. … It’s not what we do as Americans.” (Interview with the Jerusalem Post Dec. 11, 2008.)
  • Since 1990 and the first Gulf War, through the deadly U.S.-led sanctions against the Iraqi people and followed by the second illegal aggression against Iraq in 2003, around three million Iraqis have been killed and four million Iraqis have become refugees. The sole objective is the control of Iraqi oil and the installation of a pro-US regime.
  • All over the Arab world and globally, US policy objectives have been to install and maintain dictatorships loyal to the US through covert operations, economic sanctions and brutal military interventions, for the sole purpose of serving US interests. This is done with total disregard for other nations’ human rights, political and economic interests, sovereignty, democracy and dignity.

We might have waited and given U.S. president-elect Barak Obama the chance to “change” the US imperialist policies towards the peoples of the world including Palestine. Regrettably, many of his actions and appointments so far indicate that he will continue with business as usual. We also draw our conclusions from two distinguished Arab American leaders. Firstly, RALPH NADER in his “Open Letter to Senator Obama and former US senator JAMES G. ABOUREZK in his article “How to Vote Against Your Own Interests“.

On Nov 26, 1938 the great Indian leader Mahatma Ghandi stated about Palestine: “…it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart…There are hundreds of ways of reasoning with the Arabs, if they will only discard the help of the British bayonet. As it is, they are co-shares with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them.”

Also on May 18, 1947, he stated: “If it is a religious longing then surely terrorism has no place. They should meet the Arabs, make friends with them, and not depend on British aid or American aid or any aid…” (See: Jews and Palestine, by Gandhi)

In the footsteps of Gandhi, we have the chance now to use the non-violent means he taught to end one of the most immoral empires in history. Economic boycotts and civil disobedience are both legitimate and necessary against any and all governments’ oppressive and dictatorial decrees and actions.

The Palestinian BDS campaign against Israel, known as the boycott Israel movement, is a good example to follow. We should increase our efforts on that front but also supplement and expand it to include a broader boycott where possible. Consequently, we call on the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples to boycott US products. We call on them to pressure their governments to reduce oil production and impose an embargo on Israel, the US and all those who support US and Israeli occupation of Arab lands. We call on the Arab peoples to hold their regimes accountable for their massive betrayal of the resources and aspirations of the Arab masses. After all the military, economic and infrastructure destruction inflicted on the peoples of the world, why should anyone in the third world want to buy U.S. cars or products from greedy multinationals? And why should they invest in or support big US companies that profit from the occupation and misery of other people? Why should anyone help and empower businesses that turn their profits into missiles and instruments of subjugation of the Arab people and the third world people in general, simply to increase their profit margins? A boycott against the US is an act to free the Arab and the world’s people from the yoke of imposed dictatorships, and is an act of genuine peace and concern for the future of humanity.

To the American people: For the past century your leaders lied and deceived you, and it has brought you to the economic and ethical dilemma you are now facing. For the past century, your leaders send gifts of bombs, destruction and misery to the Palestinian, Arab and the world’s peoples. We call upon you to help the people of the world end these immoral policies that your government has been conducting in your name.

The world will not have security and prosperity until injustices are rectified everywhere, for an injury to any part of humanity is indeed an injury to ALL.

We wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Canada Palestine Association

Open Letter to Gilles Duceppe Regarding the CIC

CPA sent the following message to Gilles Duceppe questioning him about Canada Israel Committee’s claim of investment in the Bloc. As of March 1, 2009, we did not receive even an acknowledgment from Mr. Duceppe

Dear Mr. Duceppe:

Here in BC, on Dec. 19, 2008, the “Jewish Independent” quoted Moshe Ronen, the chair of the Canada Israel Committee (CIC) and the vice-president of the World Jewish Congress as saying that: “the Bloc Quebecois’ Gil Duceppe ‘is a strong friend of Israel, who identifies more with Israel than with the Palestinians.’ The two were in Israel recently and ‘he [Duceppe] agreed not to make Israel a wedge issue in Canadian politics’.” Ronen also said that the CIC had “invested in all of the political parties.”

We in the Palestinian support movement invest only in our principles, truth, and the Quebecois and the Canadian people and would like to ask you whether Ronen’s statements are true or not, and whether you will speak out when Israel violates human rights and the Fourth Geneva Conventions? Also could you tell us what kind of investment, aside from free trips to Israel, did the CIC allocated to the Bloc? And when you were in Israel, did you visit Gaza the largest ghetto in the world? Did you see the illegal colonies Israel built on stolen Palestinian land and the Palestinian communities affected by the illegal Apartheid wall? For that matter did you visit any Palestinian city or refugee camp under the brutal Israeli occupation?

We would like to draw your attention to Mr. Ronen’s statement about what kind of peace plan he envisages for the Palestinian people, and what kind of humiliation he has in store for the Palestinian people when he says “the Palestinians will be talking to a wall for a long time.” For your information the same paper in an editorial on Dec. 12, 2008 under the title “Coalition cold comfort” stated: “Whether it was the idea of a separatist party propping up the federal government or the vision of the notoriously oppositional NDP sitting on the government side of the house or simply the idea of the Liberal party, so recently and so roundly rejected by voters, leading a government, there was something in the coalition plan to disgust everyone.” Dec08/archives08Dec12-13.html

We hope you will not be deceived by Ronen and the lobby he represents. As a Palestinian from Christian background, who was born and raised in Bethlehem, Palestine, it is very difficult to accept the betrayal of universal human rights from progressive parties or parties that claim to represent the true interest of their people and those of humanity. I believe, especially at this time of year, that respect of all peoples’ human and national rights worldwide is the only path to peace.

Waiting to hear from you
Yours Truly Hanna Kawas
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association
Co-host, Voice of Palestine

Open Letter to Jack Layton Regarding the CIC

CPA sent the following message to Jack Layton questioning him about Canada Israel Committee’s claim of investment in the NDP. Again, as of the posting date of this letter March 1, 2009, we did not receive even an acknowledgment from Mr. Layton.

Dear Mr. Layton:

Here in B.C., the “Jewish Independent” quoted Moshe Ronen, the chair of the Canada Israel Committee (CIC) and the vice-president of the World Jewish Congress as saying that New Democratic party leader Jack Layton has, along with Gil Duceppe, “agreed not to make Israel a wedge issue in Canadian politics”. He also asserted that the CIC have “invested in all of the political parties..” 8/archives08Dec19-01.html

We in the Palestinian support movement invest in principles, truth and the Canadian people and would like to ask you whether Ronen’s statements are true or not? And whether you will speak out when it comes to Israeli violations of human rights and the Fourth Geneva Conventions? We would like to draw your attention to Mr. Ronen’s statement about what kind of peace he envisages for the Palestinians and what kind of humiliation he has in store for the Palestinian people when he says “the Palestinians will be talking to a wall for a long time.” Interestingly, the same paper in an editorial on Dec. 12, 2008, under the title “Coalition cold comfort” described your Party as “the notoriously oppositional NDP”, claiming that “there was something in the coalition plan to disgust everyone.”

We hope you will not be deceived by Ronen and the lobby he represents. As a Palestinian from Christian background, born and raised in Bethlehem, Palestine, I believe, especially at this time of year, that respect of all peoples’ human and national rights worldwide is the only path to peace.

Waiting to hear from you,
Yours Truly Hanna Kawas
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association, Vancouver
Co-host, Voice of Palestine