The Ugly American Double Standard

By Ray Hanania

11/14/97

Arab Media Syndicate: It is remarkable how ugly the American Double Standard can be. The American policy on Iraq is a perfect example of the sharpness in detail of this double standard and how it is applied differently elsewhere. But, let's keep it in perspective. Iraq's Dictator for Life Saddam Hussein got himself and his country into an international problem when he decided to send troops into a neighboring Arab State, Kuwait, murder its people, destroy its industry and pillage its assets and economy. Responding to the invasion, an American-led international force that included armies from several Arab countries who believe that no Arab country should ever attack another Arab country, pushed Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait. Iraq's army literally ran out of Kuwait fearing the assault, with many of its commanders surrendering without a fight. The United States, fearful that it might go too far, decided to end the war, rather than going further into Baghdad and capturing Saddam Hussein himself. The United States turned to the United Nations, which everyone in the world knows the United States controls. The United States then forced the UN Security Council to adopt several resolutions imposing excessively harsh sanctions that ended up hurting the Iraqi people, not Iraq's dictator. In the end, Saddam Hussein was able to pull himself together and strengthen his position at home because the original American policy failed in its goals. The hardships have forced the Iraqi people to rally around Saddam Hussein, and also forced many Arab countries to abandon what has amounted to a personal American vendetta against Saddam Hussein. American Congressman, most on Israel's payroll through Israeli-focussed campaign contributions, then adopted law after law to add acid to the sanctions against Iraq. Unhappy with their own failure, American congressmen now want revenge.

In contrast, we have American policy on Israel. For the past 50 years, immigrant Jews from Europe and elsewhere who were blocked from immigrating to England and the United States, settled in Palestine, an Arab country still in its national infancy. The Israelis, declaring their state in 1948, have broken every United Nations resolution including the very Partition Resolution adopted on Nov. 29, 1947 that called for the creation of "two states." Israeli forces "before" the partition date of May 14, 1948, invaded and captured almost 40 percent of the land that was designated to be a part of the "Arab State," and then captured half of Jerusalem, which was supposed to be an "International City." And, since then, they have expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians from the occupied territories, murdered hundreds of thousands more Arab resistors, and destroyed more than 400 Arab villages under their control to make room for settlements built exclusively for Jews -- Christian and Muslim Palestinians were told to "hit the road."

The United Nations, recognzing a legitimate international crime, adopted hundreds of resolutions condemning Israel's actions. And, who do you think stands up each time to prevent the passage of these resolutions or to make sure they will nto be effective? You got it, the United States. The same country that wonders today why so many counries oppose its policies in Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Always waving its double standard proudly, the United States has vetoed scores of resolutions in the UN Security Council that would have forced Israel to stop its illegal practices and to end its policies of hardships against Palestinian civilians. As you know, UN Security Council resolutions have power and are enforceable by the weight of international law. UN General Assembly resolutions, on the otherhard, are simply words that have no legal power.

The Untied States not only blocks the Security Council resolutions, it also even votes against the empty resolutions of the UN General Assembly. Why? As it has twice before, the United States voted against a General Assembly resolution that would have condemned the Israelis for building exclusive Jewish-only settlements in occupied Jerusalem at Jebel Abu Ghneim. The United States has blocked efforts to bring the resolution to the Security Council where its adoption would be legally binding on Israel. The United States has also been the constant voice against the once effective Arab Boycott against Israel, a boycott that is not even as broad in its scope as the embargo impossed by the United Nations. The "Ugly American" is an ugly double standard is the "ugly injustice" that prevents peace from coming to the Middle East.

(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian Arab American writer and author. His columns are archived on the Web at www.hanania.com).