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Desperate times
Israeli actions have gotten way out of hand, even for their best friend to tolerate

April 8, 2002
The Iranian

What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is wrong, amazingly cruel and counter-productive. But what policy makers in Washington are really concerned about is whether Israeli actions are helping or hurting American national interests? They certainly aren't helping.

In the past few days we have heard unprecedented criticism of Israel by senior American officials, including President Bush. The criticisms are mild by any standard. And they are made even less effective by blaming Yasser Arafat. But it's obvious that the Americans are worried. Israeli actions have gotten way out of hand, even for their best friend to tolerate.

There is no justification for killing another innocent human being. When a Palestinian straps him or herself with bombs and kills Israeli civilians, it must be condemned. No one who carries out suicide bombings has anything to offer humanity but death and destruction. But radicals flourish when every avenue for change is closed, when there is no hope, when solutions offered by moderates are ignored. We learned that in 1979, when Khomeini became a hero in a political wasteland.

These are desperate times. Palestinians have been stateless for more than 50 years. Their leadership has been trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement for more than a decade. They have accepted UN resolutions dividing what used to be their country. The Arab world has all but accepted Israel's right to exist. And yet the occupation and the misery continues.

What Israelis should understand is that they are as secure as any state can be. They have a state that's recognized by the international community at large. They have had the unconditional support of the world's most powerful country. They have the strongest military in the region with a vast arsenal that includes nuclear weapons. And they have neighbors who don't have the guts to follow up on their threats.

But what Ariel Sharon and hardcore Israelis are pushing for is more than what they should or can have. They are under the dangerous illusion that they can go on suppressing Palestinians forever, with brutal force. They think they can get away with it. They think America and the rest of the world will not intervene.

But America and Europe are smarter than that. What Israel is doing today is destablizing the entire region. It is threatening pro-West regimes who are under severe pressure from their populations to act against Israel. It is jeopardizing the world's most important oil and gas routes. The Middle East has never been closer to complete mayhem, if not all out war.

And worst of all, Israel's militarism is feeding Muslim radicals not stopping them.

Washington should be more forceful in expressing its concerns to Israel. It should resist the Israeli lobby that's doing a disservice to Israel AND the U.S. by ignoring legitimate Palestinian demands. Peace and security can only come when Palestinians finally get what everyone agrees they deserve: a state of their own. That's in the national interest of all concerned.

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Jahanshah Javid

By Jahanshah Javid

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