By Azmi Bishara
"If the US proceeds on the basis of the conviction that, after its failure in Iraq and Afghanistan, it needs to score a success in Lebanon by rolling back the opposition through the application of international resolutions, and another success in Palestine by feeding the West Bank and starving Gaza in the hope of compelling the Palestinians to accept anything Israel offers, the only thing it will accomplish will be to propel these two countries to civil war and destruction.
For America's friends and allies in these countries, this is their moment to shine. If they have an ounce of patriotism, they should be able to picture the possibility of national reconciliation and agreements that will spare their countries death and devastation. They can give the Americans some sound advice. They can tell them that no amount of outside support or money will resolve the domestic conflict, that a Hamas desperate enough to initiate resistance in the West Bank, for example, will frustrate the projects dreamed up by various research institutes for a Western-financed social safety net to take the place of the Hamas- run philanthropic societies along with all the economic initiatives conceived in the course of a businessmen's convention in Tel Aviv. They can say that only national reconciliation will work, that local balances of power are one thing and the balance of power in the Security Council another, and that forcing the former to mirror the latter has only succeeded in inflicting on the region an endless train of disasters.......
At some point in the recent past, such concepts as "the battle of Arabism" and the Arab "fight for survival" against Israel have become objects of derision, a kind of adolescent joke among teenagers who have just discovered the signs of puberty and who already show signs of never being able to grow up. The fact is, however, that these were not airy slogans but rather the substance of an actual phase in Arab perception of a peril that is now looming closer than ever. This understanding has eluded those to whom "national liberation" was never more than a slogan, who tout the pragmatism of any settlement with Israel at all, and who blame the Palestinians for holding this up. Regretfully, their reading of reality, their knowledge of Israel as based on this reading, and their total dependence on Israel's good intentions, has only worked to whet Israel's appetite for extorting more. Their take on reality lets them operate on the assumption that the US is prepared to use its influence to get Israel to back down and that Israel is eager to help them save face when needed. It is a take that is certainly not founded on facts, but then facts and information are not this generation's forte. Indeed, I would suggest that the generation of Gamal Abdel-Nasser and the old Baathists were far more informed, far more realistic, and immeasurably less corrupt........"