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Thursday, June 06, 2002

REPRINT: On Palestine

I have followed at great length the happenings overseas with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the lands of their ancient brethren, doing so because this issue is of vital interest to me as an American. As of yet, our leadership has yet to properly gauge this situation and assess it honestly. On the one hand, American economic interests (a.k.a., oil) are threatened. On the other, we have debate over moral obligations to restore peace, and effectively choose sides. However, the average person is left asking, "Who's right, and who's wrong?" and consequently, "What should America do?"

It should be understood that the Palestinians have a valid quarrel over the treatment of refugees in the area, as well as the intrusion into their daily lives by a sometimes authoritarian Israeli regime. Arabs all over the world are affected by this, and where there is an Israeli association, there is often an American one. Does this mean the US should establish a homeland for Palestine to the chagrin of its Israeli ally? Not necessarily.

First of all, there has never been a literal "Palestine". Not even the Bible mentions such a nation. Palestine has technically been a part of ancient, and modern Syria. Even their representatives to the UN have said so. Palestinian statehood has become a rallying cry for one reason: to galvanize the Arab constituency.

Secondly, Israel heeded the public outcry by its Middle Eastern neighbors almost two years ago. They offered Arafat and his legion the vast majority of the West Bank and Gaza, offered diplomatic recognition, and even offered to negotiate a division of Jerusalem. This, however, would not accommodate the Palestinian leaders, nor many of their subordinates. Arafat has shown that even a return to the pre-1967 borders is not satisfactory.

Should Israel even be required to relinquish this land at all? Consider that the lands in question were obtained through a defensive war in 1967, and later in 1973. The United Nations Partitioning resolution from 1947 essentially left Israel with indefensible borders. This has proven to be the case as they have constantly been harassed and harangued by militants from all sides. The acquisition of territories in question has been paramount in the Israeli ability to keep itself free from occupation, and further hostility. Each time a withdrawal has been negotiated, anger and strife has reappeared, and Israel has returned to its warlike posture. For those of us in America, we must realize the goal of these theocratic states is one-dimensional: eradication of the Jewish state. It has proven itself throughout history, and continues to do so today.

So, how does the US mediate this quarrel? We must find an amicable solution without seizing Israel's ability to defend itself. We must encourage Arafat to condemn all terrorist violence, and to do to directly, in Arabic (a condemnation carries little weight unless delivered in the native tongue). We must also cut off the hand that feeds the "intifada": Saddam Hussein. His funding of suicide bombings must come to an end. The Bush doctrine as spelled out after September 11 was "you are for us in this war on terrorism, or you are against us." The current situation is testing that premise, as well as our credibility, and our resolve. We cannot give in to terrorism, nor should we force other nations to cease retaliation for terrorist acts. If we are to eliminate the evil purveyance of terrorism from our society, we must act together now to facilitate its demise.


.: posted by Dave 12:51 PM

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