News Release

Interviews Available: Perspectives on Arab Summit

AS’AD ABUKHALIL
Associate professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus, and research fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, AbuKhalil is author of the just-released book Bin Laden, Islam, and America’s New “War on Terrorism” and The Historical Dictionary of Lebanon. He said today: “The Arab people are not holding their breath over the results of this summit. Twenty-five Arab summits have been held in the name of ‘liberating Palestine’ while the plight of Palestinians continued to worsen and while Israeli occupation expanded. The U.S. government may be holding its breath, however, because it is heavily present in the summit, looking over the shoulders of the kings and princes, expecting nothing less than blind loyalty and full subservience…. Arab rulers thus will pay lip service to the cause of the Palestinians but they have to be sure to not antagonize the U.S. government, which has been crucial in preserving the thrones of many of those ‘moderate’ dictators. The final resolutions will praise ‘the steadfastness of the Palestinians’ and they will pledge money — that they rarely if ever actually eventually pay — to the Palestinians…. Successive Israeli governments have always shown their desire to negotiate with the Saudis, the Moroccans, etc., in order to avoid dealing with their primary victims.”
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STEPHEN PELLETIERE
Author of Iraq and the International Oil System and a retired senior professor at the Army War College, Pelletiere said today: “Just recently, U.S. government officials were saying that Arafat was irrelevant; now Bush is making appeals to Sharon to let Arafat go to the summit — and be allowed back…. On Iraq, there’s clearly a campaign underway in the U.S. to use old atrocities to justify another massive attack. If there is an outright war against Iraq, there will be a further spike in oil prices just as we might be coming out of a recession.”
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LAMIS ANDONI
Currently in Washington, D.C., Andoni is an independent journalist and analyst who has been covering the Mideast for more than two decades. She said today: “Over the last few days, there have been large demonstrations throughout the Arab world demanding unequivocal rights for the Palestinians and against another war on Iraq. The Saudis, to help protect their image in the U.S., seem to be trying to produce a sort of ‘Arab cover’ for intensifying Israeli and U.S. pressure on the Palestinians. Similarly, Arafat might be looking for some sort of Arab cover to make a compromise on Jerusalem. But these are myths because they ignore what the people of the region think. Look at the ‘cold peace’ that Israel has with Egypt and Jordan. The governments have signed agreements with Israel, but so long as Israel is oppressing the Palestinians, Arabs will not have normal relations with Israel. There was a non-governmental organization summit meeting in Beirut yesterday which reflects the popular will of the Arabic people — highly critical of U.S. government policy — far more than the rulers’ summit. What’s needed now is international protection for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression, not more Arab League resolutions.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378