Bush's Balfour Declaration
by Prof. Hani Y. Awadallah
President of The Arab American Civic Organization
April 22, 2004
The Wholesale agreement of President George W. Bush with the Sharon plan of "disengagement" with the Palestinians reflects the real character of the man: an arrogant, ignorant, inept, brash, untrustworthy opportunist, who does not keep his word.
This behavior, in fact, has crystallized and strengthened the allegations of his detractors, who knew him closely like Paul O'Neill, his former secretary of the treasury, and Richard Clark, his former head of the counterintelligence agency.
Only two days before Bush stood beaming with Sharon in the White House, endorsing his outlandish ideas, he stood with president Husni Mubarak of Egypt in Crawford, Texas, declaring that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to come through negotiations between the parties themselves, as envisioned by the Road Map peace plan.
That peace plan was put forth by the so-called quartet: The United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.
So he did not only back off his promises to the Egyptian president of two days earlier, but embarrassed himself and our country, by standing diametrically opposed to his obligations in the Road Map, and all international treaties and resolutions regarding the Middle East, which all previous American endorsed. Not the least of these resolutions, United Nations Resolution 194, approved in 1948, which states that the Palestinian refugees (those expelled from Palestine by the Zionist gangs, upon the establishment of Israel), should be allowed to return to their former homes or receive compensation. The United States was a signatory to all of these resolutions. And now, with the president blessing the Sharon Plan, he is in fact, abrogating the responsibility of the United States to its international obligations. In the words of Yuval Steinitz, a Likud member of the Knesset who heads the foreign affairs and defense committee: "Although the Road Map is the American plan, the president agreed to endorse another plan which is inconsistent with the Road Map."
The president, not only infuriated the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, but his partners in the Road Map as well, the Europeans. That's why the next day after his declarations in Washington, the Europeans, in consort, announced that all the declarations from Washington are not binding, and that no government, or a leader of a government, has the right to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians, except the Palestinians themselves.
One would ask, how could the president be so shamelessly careless!? The answer could be: despair. Seeing his administration caught in all the lies about the reasons for the invasion of Iraq unraveling one after the other, and watching his ratings slipping day by day, after the Sep.11 hearing uncovered all the shallowness, the innuendoes and the spin which permeated his administration, before and after the tragedy, he determined to go all out for his hard core supporters, the neoconservative Christian right, and the most avid of intransigent Zionists, without paying any attention to our international commitments, let alone our moral obligations.
The president's unjust wholesale support for Sharon, if it stands, leaves the Palestinian people with no option for a solution but the armed struggle, since it will leave Palestinians with only 9.8% of British-mandated Palestine, which the Palestinians owned 98.3% of. Not even the most moderate of Palestinians would accept that, let alone the hard liners and the rejectionists.
In the words of the gloating Sharon, "The Palestinians were dealt a lethal blow." The declaration infuriated the 1.2 billion Muslims of the world to the point that a recent survey found only 6% of them view the United States favorably.
It's indeed sad, that the name of an American president, George W. Bush, who represents the land of the free, the land of Washington, Madison, Jefferson and Lincoln, would be associated with the despotic declaration of April 14, 2004. This declaration will always come back to haunt George W. Bush, just like the infamous British Balfour Declaration of Nov.2, 1917 in which " His Majesty's government looked with favor for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine." The irony, in both declarations, is that he who does not own, gave to whom who does not deserve, while the title-carrier of the land was left a homeless refugee, with no hope to regain his rights, but fight.