Fundamentalists don't want peace

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

I'd like to respond to Jody Liliedahl's letter and then, respecting your new policy against filibusters, pipe down.

True, I am critical of Israel since the 1967 war when they kept the land they took from the Palestinians and, if that's a bias, then I'm biased.

Since 1967, I think Israel has become more arrogant and brutal toward the Palestinians, who could have been dealt with more fairly. Though I do feel Israel should coexist peacefully with an independent state of Palestine (something most Israelis are against), I don't think "our moral constitution would be forever altered, if not broken, by a fallen Judeo/Christian motherland," as Jody writes. The state of Israel started in the late 1940s. The United States was born in 1776 and we were as moral when Arabs ruled Palestine as we are today.

But the main point of my letter was that Israel doesn't really want peace with the Palestinians, other than by driving the Palestinians out of their homeland (Israel) and into Jordan. The United States has really NOT used its most "forceful attentions" to insist that Israel make a fair deal with the Palestinians. The violent hatred between the Jewish fundamentalists and Muslim fundamentalists has been nurtured by our lopsided policy favoring Israel over the Palestinians.

I agree with Jody that Israel is a tiny country surrounded by hostile neighbors, but I don't think the neighbors must remain hostile. Here are some examples: In 1970, "President Nasser of Egypt declared 'it will be possible to institute a durable peace between Israel and the Arab states, not excluding economic and diplomatic relations, if Israel evacuates the occupied territories and accepts a settlement of the problem of the Palestinian refugees." In 1971, Anwar Sadat "offered Israel a full peace treaty on the pre-June 1967 borders, with security guarantees, recognized borders, and so on and was promptly rejected with the statement that Israel would not return to the internationally recognized pre-1967 borders." This rejection was backed by the United States. Also in 1971, Jordan made the same offer of peace. Other peace offers have followed (from the Palestinians) and been rejected by Israel. (From "The Fateful Triangle" - Noam Chomsky.) The Palestinians, other than a minority of violent zealots, are no longer committed to Israel's elimination. They can see the writing on the wall.

Israel is here to stay. Justice might be more effective than bullets in dealing with them, but it has rarely been tried. They want a piece of Israel, the land that for almost 2000 years has been theirs. Is that strange? Israel, with its vast military superiority backed by the United States, should be amply able to defend itself against a Palestinian state. Peace could be possible if the United States economically pressured Israel to make a deal, unless of course, in Israel we now have a tiger by the tail.

Lisle Hebert


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