Jordan's crown prince gives his government's view of what must happen now in the Mideast.
Nine weeks after the eruption of the Israeli military action in Lebanon, the United States, after exerting long-awaited pressure upon Israel, has brought about a halt to the fighting and contained the immediate violence. Yet there is nothing more temporary than the temporary.
The time has now come for the American public to realize that the unquestioning support given by successive U.S. administrations to Israel in financial and military assistance helps, by definition, to promote the past and present outrageous actions of the Begin/Sharon government, as well as the fait accompli of Israel's expansionism. As we all know, this has led to the horrifying human suffering inflicted upon Lebanon and to the continuing violent repression of the Palestinian Arabs in the Arab-occupied territories of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.
The time has also come for the American public to realize that no amount of financial and military support for Israel will enable Israel to wipe out the aspirations of the Palestinians, or to destroy the PLO as a political force. A durable and comprehensive resolution of the Palestine question has remained the crux of the Middle East issue since the beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict of more than 34 years ago, the longest human tragedy in modern history.
The time has now come for the American public to realize that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East can no longer be dictated by a small, though powerful, one-sided pressure group. It should be impartial in its genuine desire to secure a just and durable peace.
The PLO leadership has shown moral courage in identifying the next phase of the political struggle by moving toward recognition of all political initiatives in the region, including the King Fahd plan and U.N. resolutions. It therefore seems a natural starting point for any peace process that further recognition by the United States of the PLO, following its indirect and implicit recognition demonstrated during the Lebanon crisis, should ensue. Surely if this hurdle could be crossed, the PLO, on its part, would be able to recognize the right of the people of Israel to exist free from armed threat.
Security for states and justice for peoples are indivisible principles. It is also a foregone conclusion that total security for Israel implies total insecurity for its neighbors. In other words, the right of all states to live in peace and within secure boundaries cannot be enjoyed exclusively by Israel (the world's fourth-largest military power, as well as the region's only nuclear force), but should apply equally to the Palestinian and Arab people, whose desire to live in peace and dignity has yet to be respected by the United States. Surely the human problems of the region, whether in Lebanon or the West Bank and Gaza Strip, cannot be resolved by the United States without its demonstrating recognition of the fact that they exist.
The past nine weeks of Israel's war in Lebanon have diverted international attention from developments in the occupied territories.
The Israelis have opened prisons to detain those opposed to Village League leadership imposed by the occupation authorities; elected mayors and cooperative leaders have been imprisoned or expelled, and patronage of day-to-day life has been channeled through the Israelis into the hands of their home-grown Palestinian leadership in what has become a caricature occupation.
If the Israelis claim, a priori, that the PLO does not represent the Palestinians, why should they then unilaterally impose their "quisling leadership"--as one Israeli opposition spokesman has described it-- upon the Palestinian Arabs. The stimulation of civil strife, in the colonial formula of divide and rule, is intended to serve the World Zionist Organization Plan to reduce the Arabs in the occupied territories to minority status by 1985.
The American public is fully aware that there can be no moderation without recognition. Double standards must cease in dealings with the Arabs and the Israelis.
It should not be forgotten that the Palestinians can only realize their legitimate political aspirations on Palestinian soil through the exercise of their right to self-determination and statehood, a right recognized by the majority of the international community of states. Israeli extremism, whether in Lebanon or in its support of Iran in the Gulf war, has been matched by the extremism of some radical Arab states who seek zones of influence in both these theaters of conflict. Yet the obvious trauma for Palestinians and Arabs alike is the indentured servitude forced on the hostage inhabitants of the territories occupied since 1967. In other words, the specter of the de facto annexation of these territories will be a sequel to the status quo of zones of extremism in Lebanon.
Respect for United Nations Resolution 242 involves us all, if the search for peace in this region is to be envisaged. The alternative of militant fundamentalism and ethnic balkanization could be the fate for the cradle of the three Abrahamic religions.
The time has come for the aspirations of the dispossessed Palestinian people for full and free self-determination, not anywhere but on the Palestinian soil of their forefathers, to become a reality.
If Israel continues to ignore the fact that politics in the region can only be exercised when people, and not only resources, matter, then the words of an Israeli university professor will still ring true: "Deep in our hearts we know we only bought time."