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Lessons Not Learned 
by Kim Petersen
June 27, 2004

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It is a classic no-brainer. If one party decides to give your homestead to another party and that party then violently forces you and your family out, then by all means you are likely to resist and fight to regain what was rightfully your place of abode.


Palestine is a land that was promised by Britain to Zionist Jews, who proceeded to usurp the land for themselves and ruthlessly drive the Indigenous Palestinians out. It is little wonder then that the original inhabitants were not happy. Very few people would have been happy if it had happened to them.


Now when Saddam Hussein drove out the Kuwaiti royalty and annexed Kuwait, the US was quite perturbed and stated that this was unacceptable and it would take action against this territorial expansion; and it did. The hypocrisy was strikingly manifest when compared to the contradictory stand taken vis-à-vis East Timor years earlier. Official documents show that the US “offered full and direct approval to Indonesia’s 1975 invasion of East Timor.” (1)


The US reversed itself on East Timor and the Indonesian facts-on-the-ground were effaced. So it is galling that President George Bush saw fit to, in defiance of international law, approve the ethnic cleansing and annexation of territory seized in the war of 1967. UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 call on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territories and in return receive guarantees of security from Arab nations.


Bush’s move flies completely in the face of his strident challenge to the UN prior to aggressing Iraq. Bush said then, “All the world now faces a test ... and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding, or will it be irrelevant?”


But Bush’s fondness for Israel is not an aberration in the US. In Washington the Israeli land theft was congressionally approved by a vote of 407 to 9. The measure was understandably lauded in the Israeli government. (2)


The Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer in an ebullient flash of intellectuality chimed, “The president believes that this plan will make a real contribution toward peace and so do I.”


So a vision of the way to peace is laid out: invade, ethnically cleanse, occupy, and annex another’s territory and one will be contributing to peace. The anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon sought to demonstrate through a series of ten propositions the axiom that property (i.e., ownership of territory) is impossible. Among the propositions were property as homicide, the devouring of society, the mother of tyranny, and the negation of equality. Property in Proudhon’s thesis was summed up as theft. (3) Little did Proudhon realize that through theft comes peace.


Al Qaeda considers otherwise. US support for Israel is identified as a major issue triggering terrorist attacks against the US and its allies. (4) If Whitehouse officials were to give serious consideration to what fuels Osama bin Laden’s anger at the US other than Bush’s feeble proffering that the enemy hates freedoms enjoyed by American citizens (which Bush apparently does also as evinced by the Patriot Act) then the security sought by Americans as well as Israelis and Arabs might be addressed. Territorial theft can only exacerbate the justifiable outrage felt by those dispossessed.


The outrage culminated in a terrorist attack on US soil on 9-11. One can surmise that as long as the root causes that filliped the terrorism continue to fester that another backlash is in the offing. Violent theft is likely to be reciprocated with violence. For the violence to end the violence of the usurpers must stop and the theft must be undone. Bush doesn’t seem to have taken the wisdom of his favorite philosopher to heart. When Jesus was about to be arrested an apostle drew a sword and attacked a guard. Jesus reproved, “Put your sword back in its place, for all those who take up the sword perish by the sword.” By logical extension those who live by violent theft will also suffer violent theft. Israel and the US are the architects of their own insecurity.


Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. He can be reached at:




(1) Agence France Presse, “US Endorsed Indonesia's East Timor Invasion: Secret Documents,” Common Dreams, 6 December 2001.


(2) Haaretz Service and news agencies, “Israel hails House vote on Bush Mideast stance,” Haaretz, 24 June 2004.


(3) Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What Is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government p 3, 5.


(4) James Bamford, A Pretext For War (Doubleday, 2004) p 96, 138-139, 144, 210-211, 237, 239, 248.


Other Recent Articles by Kim Petersen


* A Tale of Two Ethnic Cleansings
* The Freedom Crusade (Part Three): Home of the Not-So-Free
* The Freedom Crusade (Part Two): The Four Freedoms
* The Freedom Crusade (Part One): Bush’s Mission

* The Progressive Paradox: Defining Viability
* The Shame
* The Wrong Direction
* The Pornography of War

* The Fairy Tale of Liberation
* The Lesser-of-Two Evils
* The Etiology of Hate
* The New York Times’ Search for Missing Friends
* Anti
* Canada’s Political Hypocrisy on the Palestinian Right to Live in Their Homeland
* The Ethnic Cleansing of Africville: Identity Politics in Canada
* Passion Against Anti-Semitism
* Thwarting the Democratic Will of Haitians
* Sports As War
* Rubber Numbers and the Sanctity of Human Life
* Same Shit Different Asshole!
* Clear and Present Danger: The War President Contextualizes
* The Pits of Cherry Picking: Bush and Blair Must Resign
* Distinguishing Neocon Commentary from Drivel

* Relinquishing Sovereignty: People Power or the Police State
* Parecon: Toward an Equitable Economy
* The Great Auks, Wild Salmon, and Money

* Toxic Farmed Salmon
* Necessary Chinese Illusions: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics
* CBC Newspeak
* Looking Back on Year 2003
* Rhetorical Absurdities
* Dreaming of an Imperial Christmas
* Canadian Government’s Looming Support for Son of Star Wars

* One China
* Shifting the Blame: Now it’s Mr. Chirac’s Fault
* Challenging the Justification of Killing