Outcry Over US Bombs to Israel
Siraj Wahab, Arab News
JEDDAH, 23 July 2006 — The report about the Bush administration’s decision to rush precision-guided bombs to Israel was met with an outcry in the Muslim world. Political analysts say it will only add to the raging anti-American sentiment in the region and strengthen the hands of the radicals.
The report, published yesterday on the front-page of The New York Times, feverishly circulated on e-mail circuits and was intensely debated on Arab and Muslim websites and blogs.
“When I was young I used to watch people burn US flags in rallies across the world. Now I know exactly why there is such an anti-American feeling in the Muslim world,” wrote one Saif Al-Adham on an Arabic website.
“It is no wonder that most Muslims consider Israel and the US to be synonymous words for terror. Do you think we will see an end to the war on terror? I don’t think so. This type of behavior encourages radicalism among Muslims the world over,” wrote another visitor on the same website.
The NYT report, titled “US Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis”, said that the news threatens to anger Arab governments and others who could perceive Washington as aiding Israel in the manner that Iran has armed Hezbollah.
The satellite and laser-guided bombs are part of a sales package approved last year, said the officials quoted in the report. But some military officers said the request for expedited delivery was unusual and indicated that Israel has many targets it plans to hit in Lebanon.
Reflecting the Muslim and Arab point of view, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Bush administration to adopt a policy of disengaging from the dictates of the pro-Israel lobby.
In a statement e-mailed to Arab News, the council called the Bush administration’s decision to rush delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel “unconscionable.”
Israeli attacks on Lebanon have already killed hundreds of civilians. Attacks by air, land and sea have destroyed bridges, roads, electrical networks, airports, port facilities, and other civilian infrastructure in an Israeli attempt to “turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years,” the council pointed out.
“It is unconscionable that our (US) government would rush weapons to a state engaged in vicious and indiscriminate attacks on the civilians and civilian infrastructure of a friendly nation. Thousands of our nation’s citizens also remain in Lebanon facing death or injury from these American taxpayer-supplied weapons,” said CAIR Board Chairman Parvez Ahmed.
“The baffling decision to assist in the destruction of a nation that has been held up as a model of democratic reform can only serve to harm our long-term interests in the region. Aiding attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon also calls into question our nation’s commitment to fighting terrorism in all its forms.
“America must disengage its Middle East policy from the self-serving dictates of the pro-Israel lobby. Failure to do so will allow Israel to once again drag our nation into its self-perpetuating cycle of hatred and conflict.”
However, in his Saturday radio address to the American people, Bush repeated his call for the disarmament of Hezbollah as a necessary step for a lasting peace in the region and accused Syria and Iran of complicity in the current situation.
The NYT report was being played on almost all the major Arabic news channels with guest analysts blasting the US for adding fuel to the fire.
The general thrust of much of the mainstream Arab broadcast media has been in support of Hezbollah “for staging a legitimate resistance against Israel.”
In the Arab print media too there has been much praising of Hezbollah for reigniting resistance against Israel.
There is much condemnation of Israel and accusations of double standards against the United States for not stopping Israel’s military offensive while denouncing any Hezbollah or Palestinian aggression.
“Look at the kind of weapons they are supplying to Israel in the middle of a war,” said an enraged Syrian expat in a Jeddah restaurant listening to an Al-Arabiya TV anchor reading the NYT report.
The US image in the region is at an all-time low. On Friday, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, took an indirect dig at the US when he asked in his sermon: “Why do people howl at the top of their voice to protest the silliest of matters but remain silent at the extermination of whole nations? Where are the people who sing hymns of freedom and human rights and against violations of sovereignty? What happened to those people who shout slogans of democracy and world peace? Are they all just propaganda and false statements to shed Muslim blood?”