MAP Member Opinion "Peace"  

Stand by Israel With "Tough Love"
by Florence Steichen
Star Tribune, Letter to the Editor, sent 7-11-04

In Short Cuts, Sunday, July 11, p. AA3, Bill Clington quotes his pastor and mentor, Dr. W. O. Vaught telling him, "God will never
forgive you if you don¹t stand by Israel." First, I¹d like to know where Vaught got his information. More importantly, I think it is time to consider what standing by Israel means.

Rather than unconditional support for all its policies, I strongly suggest that Israel needs tough love from the USA. We ought to insist that Israel work with the various peace initiatives that have been offered, including the Saudi proposal accepted by the Arab League of April 2002, in which all 22 nations of the Arab League would normalize relations with Israel in return for its compliance with UN resolutions 242, 338 and others related to ending the occupation of Palestinian land. AND/or the Geneva Accord, negotiated by Israelis and Palestinians in 2003. I strongly suggest that the US no longer stand with Israel against the international community by vetoing UN resolutions that call on Israel to act in accordance with international law and conventions, such as the Geneva Conventions to which Israel is signatory. This also applies to the decision of the World Court that the separation barrier built on Palestinian land is illegal.

The best thing we can do is convince Israel that it will be more secure, not less, when it acts justly toward the Palestinians There
will be no need for a security barrier when the occupation ends. That will be the end of the rage that fuels Palestinian resistance to the occupation. Then when that is accomplished, the US could wean Israel from it's $3b+ annual allowance because it will not need so much money for security.

Furthermore, another bit of reality: if the government of Israel continues its current policies of land confiscation, a viable
Palestinian state will be impossible. That means there will be one state, no longer a Jewish state, as Arabs will outnumber Jews in not too many years.

This is how I think the US should stand by Israel.

Florence Steichen, retired educator,
President, Middle East Peace Now of MN;
Registrar of Bethlehem University, 1987-1992

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