A need of a honest broker,
by Rev. Labib Kobti
A need of a HONEST BROKER is an urgent need in the Middle East. This what the International, national, communitiesz and organizations say and wish. This is what the suffering people of the Middle East, Jews and Arabs, wish.
The Church also is praying, writing, taking stands and wishing for A REAL HONEST BROKER. In its critics the Church or the Churches say it clear that: the USA administration was not as hosest as it should be in dealing with the Midele East Peace process, I am just quoting:
1- The Honesty of the BROKER is in question:
a- Mr. President, Clinton, we appeal to you as representative leaders of the Christian communion and organizations in the Unites States with strong ties to the Middle East. We ask that in its role as facilitator to the Middle East peace process, the US. government place the question of Jerusalem higher on its agenda...We come to you because developments on the ground in the Jerusalem area leave less and less for negotiation in the last phase of the peace process...we are concerned that the administration is backing away from the long-term U.S. policy that East Jerusalem is subject to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 regarding territories occupied by Israeli armed forces in 1967; that the administration is failing to recognize and support Palestinian rights and interests in Jerusalem; that the administration is not using its considerable influence to halt Israeli constraction in East Jerusalem and continued expansion into Palestinian areas...that in contravention of international law, Israel is placing under its control by annexation, expropriation and private purchases, often coercive or of questionable legality Palestinain lands.... ( March 6, 1995 signed by Cardianl William H. Keeler, President National Council of Catholic Bishops; Kara Newell, Executive Director, American Friends Service Committee; Father Gerald L. Brown SS, President Catholic Conference of Major Superiors (CMSM); Archbishop Lakovos, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America; Bishop Edmond L. Browning, President Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church; Metropolitan Philip Saliba, Anthiochian Orthodox Christian Ardiocese of North America; Bishop Herbert W. Chilstrom, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Robert A Seiple, President World Vision)
Other Communities and Churches, national and international, wrote to the Great Sponsor of the Middle East peace process, the US governement expressing, the same frustration and concerns.
That was two years ago.
WHAT DID THE USA GOVERNMENT DID SINCE THEN?
More and more violence despite the peace process, and more people, organizations and communities, national and international, religious and political, are fustrsated and concerend about the HONESTY of the Great Broker, the USA.
b- In a letter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright,
on March 21, 1997, (three years after the first letter) Archbisop Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Newark, Chairman of the US Catholic Confernce on international Policy wrote: "...The U.S. veto of the Security Council resolution on Jebel Abu Gheim/ Har Homa and your recent reticence on the matter raises questions about the U.S. role as A HONEST BROKER in the peace process. Unless the U.S. leads in establishing genuine respects for the interests of both sides, no negotiation can expect to result in a just and lasting peace..."
Other Organizations, Communities, national and international, religious or political, are asking the same question: IS THE U.S. GOVERNMENT A HONEST BROKER? A lot said that they do not beleive so, in letters sent to the U.S. Administration, in meetinge with the Adminstration, in statements or on interviews.
Others like the Vatican, the Head of Christian Churches in the Middle East and in Jerusalem, The Churches for Middle East Peace, the Christian PeaceMaker Team, the Middle East Council of Churches, the Sabeel and many many others are asking the same question that the Latin patriarch, Michel Sabbah asked: "The confiscation of any land, in the Palestinian territories, can only provoke opposition to and endanger the peace process. WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND SUCH CONTRADICTORY MEASURES: from one side PALESTINIANS are requested to make peace, on the other side, THEIR LANDS ARE CONFICATED. These confiscationbs raise in all hearts frustration and despair and are ONE OF THE FACTORS which is exploited by extremists, and which lead to more VIOLENCE. Again, all, people and authorities, WANT VIOLENCE TO DISAPPEAR once for all; BUT at the same time, measures are taken by the responsabile authorities to GIVE MORE FUEL TO EXTREMISTS AND TO VIOLENCE..."
How did the HONEST BROKER answered those questions? By vetoing the U.N. resolutions.
2- Why the Honesty of the BROKER is in question?
a- For more than fifty years, the Plestinian people were considered as individuals without identity, refugees in the Arab Countries, aliens, bad people and terrorists, despite the millions of Palestinians in Isreal-Palestine, despite the historical facts etc. Then on Oslo the Palestinians became a nation, as if the world discovered a new people coming from an other planet. Israelis and Palestinians became PARTENERS of same the peace process; Palestinians were seeking to be treated at the same level as the Israelis: Two People, two nations, two parteners
b- For more than thirty years the OCCUPIED TERRITORIES, by the authority of the U.N. Resolutions, are considered as really OCCUPIED by the Israeli armed forces in 1967. The International Community know that, everybody knows that.
c- Our Dear BROKER did not work honestly on the terms of "The" Occupied Territories or "just" Occupied Territories. On the contrary the BROKER speaks, now, about DESPUTED TERRITORIES, a new term created for the occasion ignoring the internationally term "OCCUPIED TERRITORIES".
d- The Palestinians went to Oslo with the principle of LAND FOR PEACE, a principle created by the U.S goverment itself, with signed agreemants. Our Dear BROKER adopted lastly the Israeli Netenyaho governement principle: SECURýITY FOR PEACE. Since then confiscating Palestinian lands became an Israeli right and the Plaestinians for SECURITY REASONS should not protest. What did the BROKER do to stop what was giving fuel to violence? They tried to accuse the Palestinians and vetoed Security Council resultions on the Israeli confiscation of lands and building in Jerusalem, when the whole world were condamning the Israeli mesures and predicting and warning for violence and frustration if the work in Jebel Abu Ghneim/ Hama starts. Who was to be blamed for the violence, the Palestinians!
Will the HONEST BROKER oblige Israel to stop provoking violence, and stop building and confiscating lands?
3- If you look just in the Mirror
A lot of American say today: "I am ashamed to be American, my goverment brought a lot of suffering for the JEWS as for the Palestinians as well. My Country is not honost in dealing with the Midlle East and Palestinian isssues, we have to stop all kinds of violence, confiscation of lands is the first violence against the fundamental right of the OWNER... I feel so sad, so ashamed of my government".
In this terms, please, read with me again the excerpts that I quoted above. Those are very few excerpts, you may find a lot more, I did not want to make my article that big, in quoting everyone.
LOOK JUST IN THE MIRROR and ask yourself: is the U.S governement a real honest broker? Is the U.S. Governement helping Israel in the right way? The US is not the neighbour of the Israelis, Israel should live in comprenhensive peace and justice with the Arabs and especially with the Palestinians. Israel should make form them her friends and not her ennemis and the GREAT BROKER should help in building this freindship.
'Unless the U.S leadsin establishing genuine respect for the interests of both sides, says Archbishop McCarrick, Chairman of the USCC, no negotiation can expect to result in a just and lasting peace.
WE URGE THE U.S. GOVERNENMENT to show us as AMERICAN people that we can TRUST and BELEIVE that the U.S is the country of freedom, justice, and democrasy, the country that brought peace to the world and work for copmrehensive peace... we really feel ashamed of what is happening in the Middle East.