The Road Map to Peace?

Avatar for cl_mssugaree
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Registered: 03-22-2003
The Road Map to Peace?
6
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 6:53am
Wrong Turn

The "road map" won't lead to peace if it bypasses the causes of war.

BY ABRAHAM D. SOAFER


http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110003437

Warning: This may be difficult for some to read!

Avatar for lmanney
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 10:34am
You have to give this to WSJ, they do try and stay editorially consistent. While balanced on the whole and equally critical of most parties, I suspect Mr. Soafer felt, shall we say, "compelled" to whitewash Israel's failings? While I applaud this administration for pulling it's head out of the sand on this issue, and new people and energy must always give us hope, I doubt this "roadmap" will bring the two sides any closer to peace than the attempts of previous administrations, Republican and Democrat. Soafer makes a very good point in that so long as Palestinian extremists beleive that violence is the best method to win their cause, then violence will be their preferred method. Arafat simply must go as he no longer has much legitimacy and frankly holds too much baggage to carry the cause of Palenstinian statehood. At the same time, and I suspect he would have written this if he wasn't writing for the WSJ, Israel must also have leaders that need to reign in Israeli extremists. Israel has done nothing to stop the creation of new settlements as per Oslo. Certainly Israelis have not organized terror groups as have the Palestinians, but the lack of action by the gov't gives little reason for Palestinians to hope that an Israeli gov't is remotely interested in their needs. And if the Palestinians have nothing to lose, and no hope that the rule of law will provide justice, then they turn to violence.

BTB, I am waiting for the editorial cartoon of Bush driving in a car, saying, "I know where I'm going." with the roadmap flapping in the breeze. Again, I don't think he will have any more success than the Republican and Democratic presidents that have come before him, so the cartoon would not be a pun on his abilities. Rather, I think it would be a stereotypical pun on men and their fabled navigational abilities. I know, I should take it to the feminism board.....

Leah

Avatar for cl_mssugaree
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Registered: 03-22-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 7:36am
Actually Leah, the piece was originally written for Commentary, a so-called 'neo-conservative' (whatever that is) journal which has been around since 1945, whose online welcome reads as follows:

"America's premier monthly journal of opinion. COMMENTARY is renowned for its incisive essays on politics, history, foreign affairs, science, movies, religion, books, music and the arts. It takes a special interest in Jewish affairs, and its letters section is famous the world over."


You can check it out online at:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/index.html

Just a note on what Oslo does or does not say about settlements:

Neither the Declaration of Principles (DOP) of September 13, 1993 nor the Interim Agreement ("Oslo 2") of September 28, 1995 contains any provisions prohibiting or restricting the establishment or expansion of Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

In fact here is a quote from Yitzhak Rabin when he presented the Oslo 2 accords before the Knesset on October 5, 1995, " I wish to remind you, we made a commitment, meaning we reached an agreement, we made a commitment to the Knesset not to uproot any settlement in the framework of the Interim Agreement, nor to freeze construction and natural growth."

Under Article XXXI(5) of Oslo 2, the issue of Jewish settlements is to be addressed in the final status negotiations. According to an internal Israel Foreign Ministry legal analysis prepared on March 18, 1996 by Joel Singer, the Foreign Ministry Legal Advisor under the Labor Government, Israel rejected Palestinian attempts to bar new Jewish settlements in the context of the Oslo process. According to Singer, "In the course of the negotiations on the DOP, the representatives of the PLO tried to obtain a clause prohibiting Israel from establishing new settlements. Israel rejected this demand." Thus, Yasser Arafat agreed to the Oslo Accords despite the fact that he failed to achieve a halt in settlement activity in the interim period.


http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/settlements.html#dontth

Here is a link to the Oslo Accords and Oslo II, I don't think you will find anything supporting the widespread myth that Oslo calls for the halt of new settlements-in fact you will find it defers this and many other issues till a later date.

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/dop.html

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Peace/interim.html

Also, I wonder how many people are aware the Ariel Sharon was the person put in charge of dismantling Israeli settlements in the Sinai in 1982 to effect the commitment to return the Sinai to Egypt in accordance with the Camp David Accords. YET, he is sooooo committed to settlements???????????????????????????

Avatar for lmanney
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 5:01pm
I read an interesting article, I honestly can't remember where, saying that for the mainstream leaders of both sides, the issues of settlements and statehood were only fringe ideals held by the extremists on both sides. By ignoring them, the mainstream suddenly woke up to find that these issues were very central and that they had essentially been hijacked into making these issues key to resolving the conflict. In otherwords, the early leaders of both sides were NOT concerned about settlers because the settlers were the political and social fringe. Early leaders of the Palestinians weren't concerned about the idea of a Palestinian state because people like Arafat were again, in the social and political extreme. Failing to give these parties a seat at the table early on and ingnoring what was going on in the streets, allowed both sides to harden their positition such that today, an Israeli leader cannot talk about peace without being forced to take into considerations the views of the settlers while a Palestinian leader must tell his people that statehood is the ultimate goal.

Leah

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 8:35am
We all know that A.Sharon is not a "man of peace".
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 6:43pm
Here's my comments on parts of Soafer's piece (of fluff):

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Or maybe they've admitted that if they can't get Israel, whom they give about $5 billion US tax dollars a year, to cooperate with some very basic American requests, then it's really unlikely to expect the Palestinians to take a different tact for practically nothing.

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Those concessions primarily being to follow the Geneva Convention and stop using US funds and weapons in such a way that we violate our own laws by giving them aid

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Benefits like being allowed to live in their own homes without the threat of missiles or bulldozers killing their families? Benefits like being able to grow and harvest their own crops without being sniped at or having their water sources diverted or sabotaged? I find the fact that the Israelis consider basic human rights to be "benefits" that they are entitled to withdraw or extend to be repulsive. Especially in light of Israeli cheating, stealing, vandalizing and killing.

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He's a fool to mention Lebanon, a sovereign country that the Israelis invaded and occupied, resulting in a bloody and gruesome mark on Israel's history as a country.

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"nullifying Israel's existence"? It sounds good, but what does it mean? And why, given the fact that the Israelis are OCCUPYING THE PALESTINIANS, rather than the Palestinians are occupying the Israelis, would anyone give that comment any validity whatsoever?

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I'm not sure what he wants here. As an Israeli, he's been given tens of billions of US tax dollars, unlimited support by the US in the world community and US CITIZENS have paid the economic and political price. Apparently, it wasn't enough for the Israelis, who want MORE, MORE, MORE from Americans like you and me.

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Translation: "Only a public slam against the entire dispossessed, brutalized and swindled Palestinian people will do."

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The United States portrays itself, properly, as leading the world-wide effort to combat terrorism. Some longstanding American policies, however, have contributed to terrorism, and especially to terrorism against Israel. Although steps have been taken to rectify matters in the wake of September 11, terrorists and supporters of terrorism continue to be abetted by the U.S. in their determination to control the destiny of both Israelis and Palestinians.>>

bin Laden stated straight out that one major reason he was targeting the US was due to our support of the Israeli state. In other words, our support of the Israeli state has "contributed to terrorism" against the United States to the tune of over 2,000 Americans. Let Soafer put that in his pipe and smoke it.

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Palestinian refugees are Israel's problem, since Israel created the refugees. I'm not paying to fix that too.



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The US taxpayers will pay. The Arab states will deal with the unrest and stress of the absorbtion. And the Israelis will have a final solution to the refugees they created without having to "compromise" personally. Good deal.

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Maybe we should have some Jewish settlers rewrite the curriculum. After all, they're soft-spoken, tolerant individuals, right?

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Why should the US be asked to make the Palestinians "accept Israel"? Maybe the US should be asked by the Palestinians to rewrite the Israeli school curriculum in hopes of preventing vandalism, theft and war crimes of Israels against the Palestinians.

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Oslo was a joke. That is why the Israelis wanted to see the "negotiations resumed". Soafer should remember that we paid, in violation of US law, for the Israeli military machine to murder Palestinian civilians. Before he gets too concerned about us funding the PA.



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Soafer will be happy to hear that, no only has Israel continued it's "extra-judicial" killings without our support, but that it has also announced that it will perform "extra-judicial" killings on American soil, in violation of the rights of Americans and the sovereignty of the United States. Repulsive.

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"We"? Is this guy an American? Scary. He had better decide if he's loyal to America or Israel.

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The IDF systematically destroys and vandalizes property with absolutely no connection to terrorism, so this entire paragraph is silly.

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We don't know what happened in Jenin because the Israelis stopped any international investigation for weeks after their invasion.

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Syria has openly acknowledged giving shelter to terrorist groups driven from Israel and the Palestinian territories, although it claims that the facilities are not being used for terrorism. Even if that were true, such support is illegal and subject to appropriate remedial action. As for Iran, former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres identified it as long ago as March 1996 as the source of support for terrorist activity in Israel. More recently, Iran supplied the arms on the Karine A that had been purchased by the Palestinian Authority for terrorist operations; it has also supplied Hezbollah in Lebanon with some 10,000 short-range rockets, as well as Iranian-made Zelzal-2 and Fajr rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

In 1986, when the Iranians were mining the Persian Gulf, we warned them to stop; when they persisted, and we caught them in the act, we destroyed half their naval vessels. They stopped. We cannot expect Israel to go on accepting state support of terrorists without acting in self-defense. If we are serious about peace in the Middle East, we and the other members of the quartet should be placing far greater emphasis on convincing Iran and Syria to alter course.>>

What Soafer would probably like is for the US to send our military servicepeople off as a mercenary force to take out nations that are a threat to Israel, as we just did in Iraq. When the Iranians have weapons that can reach New York, then we'll talk. I'm not an Israeli and don't see any reason why my country should go to war for TEL AVIV. Once again, I am sorry that Soafer appears to be an American. He is deeply disloyal to his own country if he is.

I'll try to address the rest of this editorial later on.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Tue, 07-08-2003 - 11:56pm
<<• Jerusalem. Every successful presidential candidate since at least Ronald Reagan has promised that, if elected, he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's capital city of Jerusalem. Yet, once elected, every president has breached this promise, announcing that current conditions do not yet favor such a move. Sometimes Congress has attempted to cut through the issue by mandating a move to Jerusalem, only to be instructed that it must not intrude on an area of presidential prerogative.>>

This is a striking example of the power of the Israeli/American Jewish lobby over American life. Why would a US president make a campaign promise to move a foreign embassy from one city to another? What relevance does that have to the average American? Once again, I want to stress that Congress and the President are servants of American citizens as a whole, not of AIPAC and certainly not of Israel.

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The issue of Jerusalem as a negotiating chip is clearly the reason that we, as Americans, are expected to obey Israeli opinion and move our embassy. My response to that is that the United States is not a trained dog going to obedience class with AIPAC and Israel holding the leash.

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The only "compromise" the Israelis want appears to be total domination. One has to admire the Palestinians for having more backbone than the US Congress.

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The issue of Jerusalem is a religious one, and Americans have no obligation to enter into a holy war for Israel.

<<• Right of return. At the Camp David negotiations in the summer of 2000, American diplomats were surprised by the fierceness with which Palestinian representatives insisted upon a "right of return" for all Palestinian refugees to Israel proper. If acted upon by the millions claiming to be refugees, such a right of return would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state. The Palestinian position was especially stunning in light of confident predictions by Yossi Beilin, Israel's former deputy foreign minister, that no such right would be invoked, but only a right to appropriate compensation for property and other measures of relief.

The U.S. bears some responsibility for encouraging Palestinians in this regard. Specifically, we backed the Arab interpretation of a 1949 General Assembly resolution, No. 194, that has no legal weight, that was originally rejected by all Arab states, and that is but one small item in the great mass of anti-Israel declarations by that body. More recently, we were among those welcoming a February 2002 Saudi peace "initiative" that explicitly invoked a right of return.>>

I am proud that the United States "bears some responsibility" for supporting the Palestinians right to return. It shows that we have turned from ethnic cleansing based on racial, religious and ethnic supremecism. The Israelis clearly have a long way to go.

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In other words, if Israel lets too many Palestinians become Israeli citizens with voting rights, then it will threaten the ability of Israeli Jews to control and shape Israel. Once again, the United States has no right to support a nation like Israel that is discriminating against ethnicm, religious or racial groups as a national policy.

<<• Settlements and borders. Although the road map leaves the final borders of Israel and a future Palestinian state to final-status negotiations, it does insist on a complete cessation of all settlement activity by Jews, including "natural growth," beyond the Israeli side of the pre-June 1967 borders. State Department officials have long adhered to the notion that Security Council Resolution 242, issued in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six Day War, requires treating those borders as final; if, they say, Israel wishes any adjustment in them, it will have to compensate the Palestinians with some additional concession, probably in the form of land on Israel's side.

The State Department's interpretation of Resolution 242 is not only mistaken--the literature on this point is formidable--but it could end up presenting at least as great an obstacle to peace as Israel's policy of building settlements in areas heavily populated by Palestinians. In Israel's history, settlements have a central and necessary place. The road map disregards both this history and the plain legitimacy of building places to live in what Israelis regard as their historic (though not exclusive) homeland. The road map also errs in treating every Israeli settlement as equally troublesome, even though some are obviously defensible on security grounds and minimally disruptive to Palestinian inhabitants of the territories. It thereby once again creates unwarranted expectations among Palestinians.>>

The aggressive settling of the West Bank is linked to a religious premise that the land from the river Jordan to the sea belongs to Jews. Sometimes this concept of "Greater Israel" is taken further, and includes parts of Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. The settlements have caused untold grief to the Palestinians and the rest of the world community. It is land theft and illegal by international law. The US position on settlements is correct and should be enforced by a complete cessation of US aid and support to Israel until all settlements are removed. Our only fault is that we have not been firm enough in protesting the settlements.

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A small number of settlements are illegal; Israel has ordered them closed, but it has not always enforced the order. If, however, these particular communities may be regarded as a genuine obstacle to peace, the same cannot be said of the largest settlements, which lie virtually adjacent to the pre-June 1967 lines and contain some 80% of the settler population. Nor would "natural growth" in or close to these settlements be a serious problem, since it is widely recognized that the areas will become part of Israel in some appropriate exchange. As for the many other settlements that exist in the territories, while some Israelis would struggle to retain control over all of them, they would be unable to prevail if the government considered it in Israel's best interests to act otherwise. Ariel Sharon, it should be remembered, removed the settlers from Sinai to implement the 1978 peace treaty with Egypt. Nor should the road map or any other plan preclude Israel and the Palestinians from developing methods for preserving some settlements under Palestinian control, or under joint administration.>>

More nonsense from a state department advisor who appears to have a racist disregard for the land rights and ownership of a particular ethnic group.

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The "onus" is on Israel, because they created the settlements in the first place.

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"Accepting" Israel how? Lip service? Revising school curriculum? Being forced to include Israel in Arab state coalitions? What?



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How nice to know that we are "generous" and "indespensable". We are good servants to Israel, but not quite good enough...

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<<• The U.N. Nowhere is this more salient than at the U.N. itself. There, Israel has been refused a place in the regional grouping of Middle Eastern states and hence an opportunity to serve on the Security Council and other U.N. bodies--an opportunity afforded to every other member state. In addition, U.N. members have prevented Israel from serving in any important role on virtually any functional agency or body. The number of Israelis serving in significant U.N. positions has always been small, even relative to Israel's size; after a series of votes against Israeli candidates, that number is now down to a single person whose term is scheduled to expire within the next year.

The notion that the U.S. and other friends of Israel can do nothing about this outrageous situation is simply wrong. For years, the State Department agreed with the U.N. legal office that the 1975 General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism could not be repealed. Once a resolution has been adopted, the argument went, it can only be modified in its effects by some subsequent resolution. The first Bush administration put the lie to this idea when Secretary of State James Baker developed a plan for repealing the resolution, thus marking the beginning of the end of that infamous chapter in the history of anti-Semitism. During the current Bush administration, similarly, the president and Secretary of State Powell refused to go along with the racist attacks on Israel at the United Nations conference in Durban in the summer of 2001; Mr. Powell canceled his appearance, and the U.S. delegation withdrew when it became clear that the conference had been hijacked by anti-Semites.>>

The US has lost the respect of many UN countries by being a lap dog to a nation the size of New Jersey. We have supported them in war crimes against the Lebanese, Palestinians and others. We have sacrificed our integrity. For what reason? So a man like Soafer can accuse us of "not doing enough" to help out Israel.

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<<• Normalizing relations. Arab states--even the few that have concluded formal peace agreements--have refused to normalize relations with Israel. Egypt, for example, has created many obstacles to trade, and although it has opened its doors to Israeli tourists willing to brave the pervasive anti-Semitic climate in that country, it has severely restricted tourism from Egypt to Israel. Our State Department has rejected the idea of working to alter this behavior. Not that it opposes greater openness; it simply regards the issue as subordinate to the "peace process" with the Palestinians, and has not wished to irritate the Egyptians.>>

What is the state department supposed to do? Force Egypt to enter trade relations with Israel? Frankly, it is the right of Egypt to do business with whomever they like. Egypt is a relatively poor country. Israel is in the top twenty wealthiest-per-capita countries in the world. Maybe it is not in the best interest economically for Egypt to enter into trade deals with Israel. Maybe they feel more comfortable trading in a culturally similar environment to their own. Who knows?

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I love the way that the fate of the stateless, impoverished Palestinians is contingent on the behavior of the Arab nations.

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The question is: Can the US taxpayer afford to bribe every Arab nation into buddy-ing up with Israel and picking them first for softball?

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Are we Israel's mommy? Why do we have to bribe the other kids on the block to play with them? Israel is a first world nuclear power who has shown no ability to get along with its neighbors. The kindest thing we could do is to let them learn how to get along without Uncle Sam holding their hand and alternately bullying and bribing everyone on the playground.

<<• Israel as ally. In 1990, as we prepared to confront Saddam Hussein over his seizure and occupation of Kuwait, we built, under the authorization of the Security Council, a coalition of forces in which every state willing to participate was welcomed, except one: Israel. During the ensuing conflict, when Iraq fired 39 missiles at Israel in an effort to draw it into the conflict, the U.S. asked the Israeli government not to respond; in deference to us, and in violation of its cardinal principles of self-defense, Israel agreed.>>

Not really. We refused to give them the military codes that would have allowed them to identify their planes as allied aircraft. Therefore, they could not enter the air without risking a strike by coalition forces who couldn't know for certain that they were on our side. Soafer should know this fact, but maybe he prefers to represent the situation differently.

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Nice of them to oblige, as we went in and took out one of their greatest military threats for them, expending US lives, safety and tax dollars.

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Actually, Soafer knows that this tactical decision was absolutely moral, effective and necessary to prevent a total disaster. Here, he is trying to lay a fraudulent guilt trip on America.

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We inflicted a big boo-boo to Israel's legitimacy in the Gulf war? Too bad. American citizens fought, bled and died in that war. Let's start concerning ourselves with their problems rather than moaning over a blow to Israel's ego.

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Israel, our ally? The one that attacked and napalmed a US military vessel? The one whose former prime minister reacted to 9/11 by saying that it would be a nice boon for Israeli objectives? The one who has been given military technology from the US which it promptly sold to China, one of the greatest threats to our security? Some ally.

<<• The Jewish question. Some one million Palestinian Arabs--a fifth of Israel's population--live there as citizens. Jewish settlers in the West Bank number, at most, a tenth of the area's population--but the guiding assumption of all international efforts to achieve peace is that no Jew should be allowed to reside in any Palestinian area.>>

Let Soafer refer to his own comments on the "right to return". The doors of Israel are open to any Jew who wishes to come in, but Palestinian who can prove they were born in or have deeds to property in Israel are not allowed to return. Soafer is the pot calling the kettle black here.

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I've seen the settlers of Hebron walking through the markets with Uzis as the terrified population looks on. They are notorious for their violence and fanaticism. I am not surprised that the Palestinians have reacted to their aggression with aggression. Actually, in my opinion, the Palestinians need to be given Uzis too--it would probably create a much more peaceful situation.

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The entire region should be encouraged to respect human rights and international law.

In a Palestinian state, Jewish "settlers" should be required to live under the same laws as the inhabitants, or leave. The Jewish "settlers" would have to submit to Palestinian authorities and abide by all established laws. I do not think they are willing to live under those terms, do you?

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It is no more excruciating than the question of Jewish anti-Arabism. I'm not sure what our government can do about either one, or why we are responsible for doing anything at all.

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A strange statement coming from a Zionist.

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Rhetorical fripfrap.

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Israel kills unbelievable numbers of civilians and seems to have practically no regard for innocent life. Maybe that was what the government officials were concerned about.

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This ethnic supremicist with no apparent loyalty to the citizens and military of his own country is lecturing us about a "lack of moral compass"!

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More rhetoric on the anti-semitism of everyone who doesn't sufficiently support Israel's agenda.

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Israel is at present capable of defending itself against any conventional armed threat; it may also be expected to deter any overt attempt to attack it with weapons of mass destruction. But such capabilities are no longer sufficient to ensure security. An attack by an extremist group, secretly supported by a state capable of providing it with weapons of mass destruction, can no longer be ruled out of the question. Alternatively, a state could act irrationally, driven by fanatical beliefs or by leaders prepared to absorb grave punishment in exchange for wreaking irreversible harm on Israel.

That is what is meant by an existential threat--a threat to Israel's very existence, fueled by a radical and uncompromising hatred of that existence and by the implacable determination to liquidate it. Some Arab and Muslim states, along with private and religious groups around the world, have adopted the destruction of Israel as official policy. Others give sanctuary and active help to groups committed to that end. With support from Germany, France, Russia and other nations, states controlled by Islamic extremists or Arab radicals have acquired or are acquiring nuclear devices and other weapons of mass destruction. The former Iranian president Hashemi Rafsanjani--who has been described as a "moderate"--has declared that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground"; Pakistan's retired intelligence chief, Gen. Hamid Gul, now a "strategic adviser" to the Islamist parties that control the Pakistani legislature, has asserted that "we have the nuclear capability that can destroy Madras , surely the same missile can do the same to Tel Aviv.">>

As I have previously stated, Israel sold important US nuclear and aviation technology into the hands of one of the greatest threats to US security: the Chinese. I have no interest in hearing about this kind of whining. Israel has betrayed us repeatedly in terms of military information and US security, and now they are complaining about Arabs getting European technology? What a joke!

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The Israelis eject Palestinians from their land, place the Palestinians on the West Bank under an indefinate period of military occupation, blatantly discriminate against Arab Israelis both culturally and legally, destroy or steal vital resources such as olive groves, divert and take water from farms and villages, destroy or vandalize millions of dollars worth of infrastructure, homes and equipment, and Soafer has the nerve to call the Palestinian culture "violent" and "anti-semitic"? Here's a word of advice: "Whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap." If the Israelis want to dispossess, brutalize and dehumanize a population so they can get land and the upper hand, they will reap anger, bitterness and violence. Moaning and groaning about their victimhood is not going to help them. I am not going to help them. Hopefully, the US is not going to help them. They need to do right, and set right some of the wrongs they have committed that has provoked the indigenous people against them.

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to the effort to destroy the Jewish state;>>

This interested party would like to see an end to the murder of all people of the region, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion or creed. The fact that Soafer only concerns himself with Middle Eastern Jews speaks to his own biases and his disregard for the lives and rights of Middle Eastern gentiles, and, apparently, US citizens.

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Actually, if we are ever to see any peace over there (and I'm not holding my breath), the US will have to cut people like Soafer loose from the decision-making process. We must then issue an ultimatum to Israel: Stop settling the West Bank and disengage militarily from the West Bank, otherwise we will not give you foreign aid, trade benefits, support in the international community, support in the public relations arena of the US media or any other benefits of being our "ally". That will leave Israel with a very simple choice: comply with the demands of the United States, or sink into a desperate state economically, politically and militarily. Faced with the option between real extinction and making peace, the Israelis will probably choose to make peace. Whaddya think, mssugaree?