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Feb-24-2010 00:25printcomments

Getting Away With Murder

Why do we have two sets of laws and standards for Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors?

The father of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
The father of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh holds his son's picture. Mahmoud was a Hamas leader, murdered in Dubai on February 19, 2010 (photo: Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

(ABU DHABI, Dubai) - Check this out. Here’s a story of two countries from the Middle East. One is an ancient civilization with a rich history that goes back five thousand years.

It’s a functioning democracy with free elections held at regular intervals. It’s a huge country of 70 million people. It has remained within its borders and hasn’t attacked any country in the last 100 years. It is pursuing a nuclear power programme, which it insists is for peaceful purposes.

Second country also claims to be a democracy. In this democracy though you get citizenship and voting rights not on the basis of your origins even if you were born in this land but on your ancestry. This country was founded on the land stolen and forcibly taken from its original inhabitants. It has fought at least three wars and is locked in permanent conflict with its neighbors on all sides. It has a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons and other state-of-the-art killing machines. It pursues assassination as a state policy and regularly sends death squads around the world to take out people it doesn’t like.

Which country do you think is a real threat to world peace? The first country that has no history of aggression or the second state that has killed tens of thousands of innocent people in wars of aggression against neighbors and in coldblooded executions?

And no prizes, dear readers, for guessing that the two countries in question are Iran and Israel.

If anyone had any doubts about the evil and criminal nature of the State of Israel, they should have been cleared after what happened in Dubai.

Sending death squads into a five-star hotel in posh and peaceful Dubai using European passports and IDs – the whole business reads like a John Le Carre or Robert Ludlum potboiler. But, as they say, reality is more interesting than fiction. International media and diplomatic circles are buzzing with stories and theories about how the Israelis planned the whole thing and executed with professional precision.

Typically, the entire European press has been obsessing over the forged passports and fake IDs, totally ignoring the real issue at the heart of this unfolding crisis: another coldblooded murder of a top Palestinian leader by Israel.

The UAE authorities, especially Dubai Police, therefore deserve a pat on the back for not only cracking the murder but having built a solid case against the Israelis with credible and irrefutable evidence. They caught the killers with blood on their hands, thanks to their solid security structure in place. It was this watertight case that forced the British, Irish, German and French authorities to summon Israeli envoys to “explain.”

But is that enough? Imagine if such a thing had happened in any other city or country and the finger of suspicion had pointed at an Arab or Muslim country, not Israel. All hell would have broken loose and ambassadors of the concerned country would have been thrown out within 12 hours.

In fact, as the Guardian’s Seumas Milne argued in a brilliant piece this week, imagine what would have happened if it was not Israel but Iran that had sent in the killers and the assassination had taken place in a Western country using the passports and IDs of Western citizens?

By now the US and NATO jets would have bombed Iran back to the Stone age, just as they did in the neighboring Iraq, with the UN and its movers and shakers passing a dozen resolutions against the Islamic republic.

But, mind you, we are talking about the almighty Israel. And when it comes to Israel, there are different laws and rules of engagement. It can get away with anything – even with murder. And it repeatedly has. This isn’t the first time Israel has sent killer squads to take out its detractors and individuals who refuse to accept its tyranny and stand and stare while it kills at will a helpless and defenceless people.

Steven Spielberg’s Munich, a glorified version of Mossad’s murderous operations against Palestinian officials in 1972, is only one chapter out of Israel’s long history of crimes against Palestinian people and its Arab neighbors.

How can we forget what happened in Lebanon in the 1980s and as late as 2006? What about the carnage in Sabra and Shatila, Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon that killed at least 3,000 Palestinians? And what about Gaza 2008-2009?

Israel has gotten away with all that. And in all likelihood it will get away with the murder in Dubai as well, no matter how forcefully the UAE authorities demand the arrest of Mossad chief and action against the killers.

Hillary Clinton was in the Middle East when this whole thing blew up in Israel’s face last week.

However, the top US diplomat who would have been president remained focused on Iran’s ayatollahs. She repeatedly warned the Arabs against the “clear and present danger” presented by Iran, accusing Tehran of building nuclear weapons and “sponsoring terrorism” in the Middle East, a new charge to the long litany of charges against the Islamic republic. But we have been here before – and not very long ago – in Iraq.

And of course there was no reference to the threat Israel poses to its Arab neighbors. Nary a reference to its continuing persecution of Palestinians and the blaze it fuels across the Muslim world.

Madam Secretary Clinton couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate platform to launch the offensive against Iran. She chose the US-Islam dialogue forum in Doha to strike at Tehran, concluding it rather nicely in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It’s Iran, she warned the Arabs ad nauseam, not Israel, that poses a grave threat to peace and security of 
the Middle East.

So what if Israel is still squatting on Palestinian and Arab land! So what if Israel continues to send killer squads into Arab cities! So what if Iran hasn’t attacked any Arab or Muslim neighbour in a long, long time. The Shia Iran must be a threat to Sunni Arabs because the US, Israel and their Western allies say so. If this is a breathtaking example of hypocrisy and double standards, so be it! No matter what ordinary Arabs and people across the Muslim world think. What matters is what Israel wants and how far the West will bend over backwards to humour it.

If this isn’t true, let Israel’s friends prove it. I would love to get corrected. The Sunday Times has disclosed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had personally visited the Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv to give his blessings for the Dubai operation. Just as his predecessors had blessed the killing of other Palestinian leaders including Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and, very possibly, Yasser Arafat, the tallest Palestinian leader.

The question is, how long will Israel get away with murder? And how long will its Western friends and allies protect it because of their own so-called historical guilt or whatever?

Why do we have two sets of laws and standards for Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors?

Secretary Clinton was confronted with these questions during a Q&A session with Arab students in Doha. Not surprisingly, Madam Clinton had no answers to offer. Instead she introduced her audience to new US envoys to the OIC and Muslim world, Rashad Hussein and Farah Pandit, both Indian Americans.

Why is it so hard for Washington to see that it’s not cosmetic gestures like this but real justice that can bridge the widening gulf with the Islamic world?


Special thanks to: intifada-palestine.com

Aijaz Zaka Syed is Opinion Editor and columnist of Khaleej Times, the Middle East’s oldest and largest circulated English daily published from Dubai. An award-winning journalist and widely published and read commentator, Aijaz comes from Hyderabad, India and has been with KT for more than seven years now. He writes a weekly column called View from Dubai. The column, which looks at and comments on the world affairs from a Middle Eastern and Arab-Muslim perspective, is published by prominent international dailies like Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Middle East Times (Cairo), Palestine Chronicle (the United States), The Turkish Daily News (now called Hurriyet), Dawn (Pakistan), New Nation (Bangladesh), the Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), Radiance, Etemaad Urdu Daily (Hyderabad, India) and others.

You can write to him
 at: aijaz@khaleejtimes.com




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imphalim March 1, 2010 2:12 pm (Pacific time)

To Aijaz Zaka Syed  Long Live Israel and may their boarders someday reach from the Mediterranean Sea (including GAZA strip) to the EUPHRATES. That is my hope and I know it will come to be in due time. DEAL WITH IT.  Blessings to MOSSAD and to ISRAEL! Thank you UNITED NATIONS for your deeds in 1948 that made Israel come to be. Their bones were left bleaching in the sun and now flesh has returned to their bones and are ALIVE imphalim

Editor: You Israeli's don't mess around do you?  This is what Americans need to grasp and understand; these guys are hateful and out to kill all Palestinians, all.  But now Americans are getting it figured out, and you can tell in this character's words, you can almost sense the paranoia that comes with world exposure.  Israel is expressly guilty of war crimes.  Experts say they are simply trying to murder all Palestinians, and here comes this moron to confirm and verify those allegations.  The bones left bleaching belong to women and children that Israel murdered.   


Jeff Kaye~ February 24, 2010 12:04 pm (Pacific time)

What happened to our country standing up for true justice and the underdogs fighting for true democracy (anywhere) in the world? Has it been sold to the highest bidder, Israel, or is it more complicated than that? The US is definitely on the wrong side of this. We should be defending Palestinians from these evil oppressors of everything good in the middle east. If we want revenge for 9/11, we need look no further than our own support for this out-of-control hate-based state. We support Israel, we are hated as much as they are by the people they denigrate, murder, enslave, imprison and torture. These are simple facts, "Madame Secretary Clinton", Obama and your house of Zionist imperialist sympathizers: Get a clue. The American people as a whole do not support genocide and generationally ongoing persecution of a people, nor their illegal ouster from and theft of, their rightful homelands. Bullies don't stop until they are confronted. We owe it to the world to stop these bullies; we've enabled their atrocities for far too long. There is no excuse for further sanctioning, aiding and abetting this type of "war criminal" rogue state. We don't need them -- they need us. Without our protection, they'd be overrun by righteous indignation in the form of revolt from within and without. Many of Israel's own people are disgusted with their leadership's bigoted audacity. Time to pull the plug on this political nightmare.


eddie zawaski February 24, 2010 11:27 am (Pacific time)

I have an answer to the question posed at the conclusion of this article: "Why is it so hard for Washington to see that it’s not cosmetic gestures like this but real justice that can bridge the widening gulf with the Islamic world?" The answer is that justice is not a factor worthy of consideration in the US. For America, only freedom counts, the freedom to do whatever you want when you want and with whomever you wish to do it. In this regard, Israel fits in nicely with the USA scheme of things. The USA/Israeli idea of freedom is all about my right to do what I want. Justice, my responsibility to others, has no play in this world view. If there is any mention of justice at all, it is something that comes out of the barrel of a gun, something closely resembling revenge or murder. Washington can't see because it is blinded by revenge, revenge for 9-11, the fall of America's world power status and for the crimes of the Nazis against the Jews. Unfortunately, Bin Laden can't be found, nobody can stop the corporations from eating up the world's wealth and the Nazis are dead. Thus, someone has to be the victim in the ongoing USA/Israeli vendetta. The Palestinians just happened to be where a victim was needed. America and Israel will continue to beat up on the Palestinians until the bullies run out of steam. It's sad but true.

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