A Tragic Reversal: Madeleine Albright's View of
By Dr. Hanan Ashrawi Secretary-General, MIFTAH
PLC Member, Jerusalem
In her interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" (Sunday, Oct.
8, 2000), US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
represented the epitome of the willful blindness, moral
vacuum, human insensitivity, political cynicism, and
strategic ignorance that have characterized the US handling
of the Arab-Israeli "peace process" and the Palestinian
Question in particular.When asked about the US abstention on
the UN Security Council's Resolution 1233 deploring the
[anonymous] "provocation carried out at Al-Haram Al-Sharif
in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000" and condemning [also
anonymous] "acts of violence, especially the excessive use
of force against Palestinians,"
Albright immediately waxed apologetic. She was defensive
not about diluting the text of the resolution and
eliminating any explicit reference to Israel's culpability,
not about abstaining when the US should have cast an
affirmative vote in condemnation of the horrific and tragic
loss of Palestinian lives (mainly children), and not about
American passivity before the very visible crimes against
humanity that are being committed by Israel with impunity
Rather, Madam Albright expressed contrition at not
casting a VETO on this hesitant, apologetic, and inadequate
expression by the international community of minimal
recognition of Palestinian humanity and suffering.
Why? Because the US wants to "safeguard" its role as an
"even-handed peace broker."
To the Palestinians, this came as a complete surprise
since the US has never been even-handed or fair or even
remotely human in its brokerage of the peace process.
Given the chance to atone, however modestly, for such
double standards and bias, the US once again insists on
failing the test of moral integrity and humanity.
Worse yet, Madam Albright (and with a straight face)
declares in a cold and deliberate tone that the Palestinians
have "placed Israel under siege."
I immediately assumed that she had confused her nouns,
and that she had inadvertently given the converse version of
In the next breath, however, and with the same dead pan,
expressionless, emotionless, glazed look, Madam Albright
repeated: "Those Palestinian rock throwers have placed
Israel under siege," adding that the Israeli army is
At the risk of tediousness and redundancy, it is
appropriate to remind Madam Albright of a few basic facts
that may have escaped her notice:
It is Israel that is the belligerent occupant
of Palestine (and not the other way around).
Israeli tanks and armored vehicles are surrounding
Palestinian villages, camps and cities (and not the other
Israeli (American made) Apache gun ships are firing Lau
and other missiles at Palestinian protestors and homes (and
not the other way around).
It is Israel that is confiscating Palestinian land and
importing Jewish settlers to set up illegal armed
settlements in the heart of Palestinian territory (and not
the other way around).
The settlers on the rampage in the West Bank are Israelis
terrorizing Palestinians in their own homes (and not the
other way around). The homes that are being demolished at
the hands of the Israelis are Palestinian homes (and not the
other way around).
The armed soldiers and Special Forces at checkpoints
throughout Palestine are Israeli (and not the other way
The more than a hundred murdered civilians and thousands
of injured are all Palestinians being shot by Israeli
occupation troops (and not the other way around).
It is Israel that has closed down the Palestinian airport
at Gaza thereby preventing badly needed medical supplies
from reaching the Palestinians (and not the other way
The crossing points to and from Palestine as well as
entrances and exits to and from all Palestinian inhabited
areas are manned and controlled by Israeli soldiers who have
completely prevented all freedom of movement (and not the
other way around).
To state the obvious once again, Madam Albright, Israel
is committing atrocities against the Palestinians with total
impunity, and yet you maintain "Israel is besieged."
To add insult to injury, you admonish the Palestinian
leadership for not ordering their people to "stop the
violence," as though you're entirely oblivious of the fact
that all it takes is an order from Barak to his
"disciplined" occupation army to stop killing Palestinians.
No, we will not lie down and die in silence, even to
accommodate you, Madam Albright, for cold-blooded murder is
not a phenomenon we condone.
May I suggest that the siege is in the minds of American
officials and apologists for Israel who willfully persist in
blaming the victim, in finding a false symmetry between
occupier and occupied, in adopting a double standard on the
value of human lives and rights while totally dehumanizing
the Palestinians, in treating Israel as a country above the
law and Palestinians as a people not worthy of the
protection of the law, in manipulating and inventing a peace
process that would accommodate such a racist and
stereotypical version of reality rather than a reality of
justice and evenhandedness, and in evading and distorting
moral responsibility towards the Palestinian victims rather
than celebrating the violence of the oppressor.
Granted, Madam Albright, Milosovic is a war criminal
(despite the fact that his army did not massacre the Serb
opposition that brought about his downfall), but what about
Ariel Sharon and even your good friend Ehud Barak. Whose
blood is dripping from their hands?
Granted, Madam Albright, "the people have spoken" in
Yugoslavia, so why don't you listen when the Palestinian
people cry out for justice?
As a woman, a mother and grandmother, you surely
understand the pain of children and their parents when they
get hurt; what about the agony of
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Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 11:25:27 +0100 (BST)
From: ary syahriar <email@example.com