It’s not that simple
The situation in the Middle East is tragic and complex, defying the simplistic name-calling evident in the letter “Are we without sin?” (March 31). Leaving the Bariloche issue to Aspenites, I feel compelled to comment on the reference to the only democracy in the Middle East as “the terrorist state of Israel … headed by a man charged with the 1982 massacre of civilians in the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.”
As facts blur in propaganda phrases, the impression is that Sharon personally led troops in to massacre civilians in those camps. In reality, it was Lebanese Christian militiamen who entered the camps and did the killings, in the wake of which 300,000 Israeli citizens protested their government for not anticipating these actions. Sharon would never have been elected prime minister in 2001 had not the olive branch Barak offered Arafat at Camp David a few months earlier been countered with the Second Intifada.
Drawing a comparison between the Wall Israel is now building on the West Bank to the one the Nazis built around the Warsaw ghetto is as cruel as it is inaccurate. The purpose of the West Bank wall is to keep out terrorists, now as young as 11, from blowing up buses and cafes. The Warsaw wall was to keep the Jews in the ghetto until they could be sent to Auschwitz.
The Israeli peace movement, recovered from the shock of its disillusion over the failure of the Camp David talks, is protesting the wall as putting too much additional hardship on Palestinians. These are the anguished debates continuing in beleaguered, democratic Israel.
And what of the Palestinian people, held hostage now for over half a century to the rivalries, ambition and greed of Arab potentates and dictators, and of their own corrupt Fatah leadership? Finally, a few of them have summoned the enormous courage to defy the terrorists in their midst and to publicly speak against the enlistment of their children to be walking bombs.
Peace-loving people should be praising those brave souls while expressing compassion for Israel, where the majority of the people yearn for peace yet are afraid to take steps toward it in the face of terrorists pledged to the destruction of their country.
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