April 25, 2002
This is a reply to Hal Sundin’s commentary column printed in the Glenwood Springs Independent on Thursday April 18th.
Hal Sundin’s column, ” As I see it”, needs corrective lenses in order to bring some balance to his commentary.
His mathematical conjecture regarding killing is ridiculous, as he admits. Then why take up the space? Equally ridiculous is his view that the “Western Powers gave most of Palestine to the Jews”. As I understand the facts, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine, a British administered mandate. The UN acted to establish a legitimate homeland for Jews for which they were historically entitled, to be called Israel. Equally, the UN established a nation for the Palestinian people in the other half of the mandate. Israel declared itself a State and immediately the Palestinians rejected partition and declared war along with the surrounding Arab nations as allies and attempted to drive the Jews into the sea.
Eventually a truce was declared and enforced. The demarcation line now included parts of Israel on the Palestine side of the line. Future wars between the Israelis and the Arabs enabled Israel to reclaim land that was legally theirs as well as occupying Arab lands. Significantly most of these Arab lands were returned under peace agreements, most notably the Sini to Egypt.
The West Bank and Gaza were still occupied, yet the Palestine Authority, in agreement with Israel, controls most of this land. With no peace agreement, radical Arab groups such as Hazbolah, Jahid and Hamas launch attacks against Israel from these Palestinian-controlled areas. Israel does not lay claim to Palestine. It does not wish to occupy these lands. I don’t think the Native Americans received that kind of break.
I am puzzled by Sundin’s statement that after throwing sticks and stones the Palestinians were forced to turn to terrorist bombing. It seems by omission, you forgot to indicate that these bombings were murderous attacks against unarmed civilians in heavily populated shopping areas. You forgot to state the holiday Passover Seder dinner where 26 were killed and dozens maimed had no soldiers present.
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It is hard for me to understand how you can unilaterally convict Sharon as a mass murderer when in fact he directed his army to root out terrorism just as the US has done in Afghanistan. He has gone to war to defend his unarmed civilian population. Yes civilians get killed in wars, but it should not be a policy to seek out civilians.
When you need to look for a criminal, look at Arafat, the Terrorist. His actions over 30 years includes numerous atrocities, and his overt support for Hazbolah, Jahid and Hamas speaks volumes that you forgot to mention. Your simple conviction of Sharon undermines your argument.
Your scare tactics state blandly that Israel is the cause of Arab enmity against the US; that we will be a target of terrorism. You’re a little late. We have been targets for some time by radical elements not welcomed in their own countries. These groups don’t like the US. They don’t like our power; they don’t like us supporting friendly regimes in the Middle East or Far East.
Yes, they don’t like us supporting Israel. They have attacked us before 9/11 and they will try to do so again. Every President since Truman has supported Israel for the right reasons. You propose going against 50 years of American policy and what Americans support. Really, Israel does not control our government. Some Presidents have “urged” Israel to do it our way. They have complied. Under Iraqi Scud attacks, they did not respond because we asked. Even today they are leaving the West Bank because we pushed them. Otherwise they would remain there.
Your recommendation on Jerusalem as a international city is also behind the times. Even Arafat was accepting East Jerusalem as his capital a short time ago.
In order to maintain peace once it is established, why should Israel pay rent for something it is already entitled, a homeland, a sovereign state recognized by the world? Even UN resolution 242 recognizes the sovereign state of Israel with fixed boundaries. The only way to help the Palestinian Authority economy is to have secure and recognizable borders for Israel. Then a free capitalist economy without a dictator will encourage investment from around the world and from Israel. Israeli technology and know how can cause the Palestinian lands to flourish. The Arab neighbors should be required to accept Palestinians into their societies and should contribute dollars rather than weapons.
Israel already employees a great many Palestinians and collects employment taxes which they turn over to the Authority. Israel and Palestine will help each other flourish and be an example for the region by showing what peace can accomplish.
Ask Arafat to disarm the militant terrorist organizations, and stop the murderous bombings against civilians and Israel will step right to the peace table. The United States has brokered many ideas that take both sides views into consideration. Perhaps Hal Sundin could reiterate some of those ideas in a positive way which Americans can support.
George D. Shilrin