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In Wake of Qana, Israel and U.S. Seen As Terrorists
August 08, 2006
THE ghastly human carnage at Qana, Lebanon, should awaken everyone to the grim reality that our nation's attachment to Israel is bad news.

It entangles America in one awful mess after another: first 9/11, then Afghanistan, then Iraq, and now Lebanon. None would have occurred if our government had refused to support Israel's long subjugation of the Palestinians.

Instead of continuing to ignore this entanglement with near-total silence, our citizens should now seek a way out through civilized open debate and discussion. If so, Qana will be a silver lining--although a bloody one--in this otherwise engulfing cloud.

Striving as usual to live by the sword, Israelis seem unwilling to face the stark fact that they will never be truly secure until Palestinians feel secure in an independent state of their own. Hezbollah's recent border skirmish was motivated partly by leader Hassan Nasrallah's desire to show solidarity with the Palestinians in their lonely, desperate struggle for survival in Gaza.

Using the skirmish as a pretext for war, Israel is now trying to wipe out northern resistance to their colonialism. The initial goal is the destruction of the Hezbollah, a popular Lebanese Shi'ite organization that has long provided social services for local citizens along with armed resistance to Israeli occupation policies. Six years ago, Hezbollah handed Israel its only battlefield defeat in history by forcing it to withdraw its forces from South Lebanon. Perhaps Israelis believe that bombing Hezbollah and much of Lebanon back to the Stone Ages will ease the memory of defeat. Israel's major objective in its latest war-making is the installation of a compliant new regime in Beirut.

The U.S. government is not a bystander in this gruesome enterprise. President Bush strongly supports Israel's invasion and publicly opposes an immediate ceasefire until Israel finishes its long-planned schedule of killings and destruction. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleessa Rice smilingly calls these horrors the "birth pangs of a new Middle East."

If past is prologue, with the help of Congress, Bush will provide further evidence of U.S. complicity by sending Israel a U.S. Treasury check big enough to cover Israel's expenses in this latest of seven invasions of Lebanon. Our government has already expedited a new supply of laser-guided missiles to Israel and donated $150 million worth of aviation fuel, a gift that will help finance, among other ugly missions, the deliberate recurrent terrifying sonic booms that deny sleep for hapless Palestinians in Gaza.

The Bush team may seriously view Hezbollah as a bunch of evil terrorists, but the organization rides high as heroes in the Arab/Muslim world and far beyond. Polls show close to 90 percent support throughout Lebanon, even in government circles and among Christians, and strong majority "street" support in other Arab/Muslim countries. Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas, a similar group recently elected to leadership in Palestine, are broadly admired for standing tall against Israel, the United States and other Western powers.

In the wake of the ghastly tide of blood at Qana, the people of the Middle East--except in Israel--view Israel and Washington as the real terrorists. In recent years, anti-American passions have focused mainly against President Bush and his team, but the recent near-unanimous approval of congressional resolutions endorsing Israel's war in Lebanon now put Americans generally on the hate list. Only eight of the 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives—self-styled as "the people's" branch of government—had the courage and decency to vote no. No wonder Americans are hated as never before.

Surely, the American people are wise and resolute enough to elect a government that will suspend all government aid until Israel sheathes its sword, lives by the rule of law, and vacates all Arab territory it has illegally held since the June 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

America's dangerous attachment to Israel must end. We should have made a clean break from this warrior state years ago, but better late than never. -0-

(Paul Findley, Member of Congress 1961-93, lectures widely and is author of three books on Middle East Affairs. One, "They Dare to Speak Out," is a bestseller. He resides in Jacksonville, Illinois. E-mail: )