Monday, May 13, 2002

The current lull in the middle east I fear is about to explode into violence and unrest once again, as Likud rebuffs the idea of a Palestinian state. This article in the NY Times covers the full story. It's a very depressing development. Why must this go on? Why does each side, blinded by hatred, continue to want to prod the other into voilent action? If the atmosphere doesn't change, life in the region will continue to decay into extremist violence. I was struck this weekend by the appearance of King Abdullah of Jordan watching a tape of his father Hussein I talking on Meet the Press almost 30 years ago. Hussien I spoke seriously of Israel needing to abandon a policy of force in the region, that it should recognize the human rights of the Palestinians, and that they have a right to exist also in peace and security. Amazingly his words are just as pertinent today as they were in 1964. But sadly it's not the whole story because radical elements on the Palestinian side also threaten to destabilize the region with their insistance on violence as a method of bettering there position. I've said it in the past, both sides need to lay down their weapons and rhetoric for peace to have a chance. For our part, I would like the U.S. to be more engaged in the political process but seriously concider the use of our econimic aid to countries in the region as leverage to move the peace process forward. While we need to support Israel we also need to start supporting true dialog and relations with the Arab nations and with Islamic countries such as Iran. While we can't afford to abandon Israel we also can not afford to let the radicalized Islamic groups to dominate the world stage and the way the Islamic world looks at the U.S. The world is certainly bigger than U.S. and Israel. We're going to have to realize this to make a difference.

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