A Letter To Condoleezza Rice
Al-Hayat - 24/10/05
Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Department of State
Dear Dr. Rice
Please accept my greetings and best wishes for your personal and professional success.
First an admission: I am opposed to the U.S. policy in the Middle East. I am not opposed to the whole U.S. foreign policy, but rather to that part of it that concerns our region. As such I consider myself a closer ally of the U.S. than Tony Blair. Also, many members of my immediate and extended family are American citizens. My two brothers, sister, their children, my mother and son are all American citizens. And they are good citizens; they don't indulge in double loyalty.
Another admission is that I was not on your side when you burst on the scene at the start of President Bush's first term. I moved to your side gradually, seeing that you are highly intelligent and independent. I don't have many talents, but one of the few unimportant talents that I have is to see little things. I saw that you sided with your predecessor Colin Powell against the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal when the two sides quarreled over policy. Last month I saw that you did not mention the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza Strip in your speech at the U.N. General Assembly, and I understood that you did not regard it as an achievement for which Ariel Sharon deserved to be congratulated.
One last word before moving to the subject of this letter. For over two years now, I have been completely on your side, supporting your work and finding excuses for what I don't like. I also support the work of Karen Hughes and Dina Powell (and also John Negroponte). You see, I support or oppose with open eyes.
Now to the subject of this letter. As I want you to succeed I will offer you useful information to help you in conducting your work. My material is from primary sources, or the horse's mouth, and I insist it is more accurate than traditional diplomatic and intelligence reports. So here I go.
Mahmoud Abbas is a man of peace, and you won't find a better Palestinian leader to help you in the quest for peace. The Palestinians are split among those who want to resist, those who want to negotiate and resist and those who want to negotiate. Abu Mazen is of the third group. Yasser Arafat was of the second, and known Palestinian groups are still of the first,
For years now I have been party to every Palestinian ceasefire or calming effort. I carried (oral) messages back and forth, and used whatever influence I have to push all to stop suicide bombings. All the time Abu Mazen was on the side of peace.
If you help the Palestinian leaders you will help yourselves.
Ariel Sharon is the exact opposite, an enemy of peace who changed Gaza from occupied territory to a concentration camp. But enough of my opinion and some uncontested Israeli figures:
Between Sept. 29, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2005, or five years of the second intifada, 3330 Palestinians civilians were killed against 668 Israeli civilians. Of those 660 under age Palestinians were killed against 117 Israelis. The ratio is five or six to one, so if the Palestinian groups are terrorist once, the Israeli army and settlers are terrorist five or six times.
Other figures show that Sharon withdrew from 19 square miles in Gaza, while seizing, since July, 23 square miles of the West Bank. He withdrew 8500 settlers from the Strip and added during the same period, 14000 settlers to the West Bank. Expansion of settlements in the West Bank is running at break neck pace.
Madame Secretary, the security wall runs through the playground of the boy's high school in Anata, and the village land has been annexed by a nearby settlement.
Ariel Sharon is the proverbial sack of coal. We say in Arabic that however you hold a sack of coal you end up with dirt on your hands. Every time you engage Sharon you dirty your hands and increase enmity among 1.2 billion Muslims.
On Iraq, I completely agree with you that what we see there is terrorism, not resistance. I want all Arab and Muslim nations to support the U.S. in the war against terrorism, and accuse apologists for the terrorists of being partners in crime, exactly like the criminal class of neocons in your country who try to justify Israeli terrorism.
One piece of brotherly advice: refrain from actions that remind us of Israeli practices. A few days ago air raids against Ramadi killed 90 people. You said terrorists, but the local people insisted they were town folks.
Israel has always been in the habit of killing civilians and claiming they are terrorists.
On Iran, I notice that it says its nuclear program is for civilian use. Maybe it is now, but like you I suspect that the ultimate goal is a nuclear bomb as an insurance policy in a volatile region.
As a citizen of the region it is my wish and desire to see it free of all weapons of mass destruction. But if Israel remains the only nuclear power in the region then I'd support Iran and every other country in seeking similar weapons. In other words, I am with you for a nuclear free Middle East, and with Iran if it is singled out. By the way, the Iran-Syria alliance remains standing and strong. Hizbullah will not disarm. You and I will live and see. Please try to engage Syria. You will not get something for nothing. Try some bait. It works better than nothing.
My very best regards,