Kosovo European West Bank? Hardly!

Consider two bits of news for April 23, 2004: First, we learn that the White House has issued on this Friday a stern warning to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that he must abide by a past promise not to harm Palestinian President Yasser Arafat after Sharon said he was no longer bound by the pledge. Fresh after two successful assassinations (often endearingly called “targeted killings” by the US media) of Hamas leaders, first the half-blind paraplegic Shiekh Ahmed Yassin, then his successor Dr. Abdel-Aziz Rantisi, Sharon may be contemplating an even bigger kill. Plagued by speculations that it gave green light for the killings of Yassin and Rantisi, the White House is making sure it is appropriately on the record in the event Arafat soon gets blown up by yet another Israeli missile.

In an apparently unrelated news story, the International Crisis Group, a self-proclaimed do-gooder organization concerned with avoiding international conflict has made yet another recommendation regarding the troubled province of Serbia, Kosovo, and Metohia. However, this Soros-bankrolled think-tank, contrary to its self-serving, self-misrepresentation in fact favors a perpetual-war-for-perpetual-commerce technique of conflict “resolution.” What is more, ICG is a well-known warmongering and Serbophobic organization designed to promote the murky interests of its even murkier “philanthropic” founder.

If Kosovo had any real resemblance to the West Bank you’d have a bunch of destitute, oppressed people pushed out of their land by infinitely better armed occupiers, unconditionally backed and supplied with money and arms by the only super power. You would also have those people desperately blowing themselves up in order to kill a few, in their view, oppressors. But, Kosovo Albanians are not Palestinians, and Serbs are not Israelis! Serbia is not (and was not even under President Slobodan Milosevic) engaged in targeted killings, i.e., assassinations, of Albanian terrorist and “political” leadership, and would not have enjoyed a US blessing if it tried to do so, let alone be rewarded with billions of dollars and the most modern weapon systems.

In fact, Kosovo is the West Bank put on its head. It is the West Bank where the US, thanks to Clinton administration’s old guard that is, incomprehensibly, still running key posts in the American embassies in the region, supports the Islamists who aid and abate bin Laden terrorists. It is the West Bank where the US prevents Israel from conducting any defensive maneuver to prevent murder and ethnic cleansing of Jews from their lands. It is the West Bank, where Israel gets bombed into stone age for 78 days as punishment for trying to destroy terrorism on its own territory. Unlike Palestinians trying to regain their land they lost in war, Kosovo Albanians were aided by the US in their land grab of Serbian territory richly populated by Orthodox churches and monasteries. Unlike the Israeli army that operates with impunity on Palestinian territory, the Serb army is not allowed to even think about returning to the sovereign Serbian territory and protect Serbs and other non-Islamic peoples from repeated pogroms. Kosovo, to continue the ICG dis-analogy, is a West Bank where Synagogues get burned to the ground by the hundreds while UN, US, and EU officials can repeatedly only muster meaningless gestures of expressing dismay and regret. IGC are apologists for the Albanian land grab since their preferred conflict resolution technique in Kosovo and Metohia is to supplant the NATO occupation with full independence for Albanians. How would this “solution” look if applied to the real West Bank?

We could go on and on with descriptions of this reverse image of West Bank that Kosovo represents. ICG’s ongoing campaign of disinformation about Kosovo (and everything else Balkan) continues, and it is time for them to take the theme of Kosovo and the wider Balkans out of their concern and perhaps devote their “expertise” to targeting some other geographical region for a welcome change. They have produced too much nonsense about the Balkans as it is already!

Obviously, somebody needs to watch the do-gooders.

The author is Professor of Philosophy and Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. He is editor of War Crimes and Collective Wrongdoing (Blackwell 2001).