|Al-Ahram Weekly Online
3 - 9 January 2002
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
The truthSir-- I am an American citizen residing in North Carolina, USA. I read your article titled "The trouble with America" by Osama El-Ghazali Harb (issue no. 566). Articles like this exemplify the one truth about the Middle East: there will be no non-military solution to the Palestinian dispute. Israel cannot negotiate its right to survive and the Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims will not take less. Your vague suggestion that somehow US foreign policy is to blame for the September 11 attack suggests that somehow our foreign policy should be changed. Just what do you suggest that change should be? Clearly you believe we should abandon our friend and ally Israel. The reality is Israel is an independent country and it has the right to exist. It has the right to negotiate its own disputes. It has the right to determine how to protect itself. How many of your fellow Arab and Muslim countries have accepted these rights of Israel? And if they do not accept that these rights belong to Israel, how can you expect Israel to trust them. How can you expect Israel to concede anything. Yet, despite this distrust Israel offered to Arafat incredible concessions on the question of the state of Palestine, which Arafat rejected and instigated the present terrorist campaign. Now in some distorted sense of logic you expect because of the September 11 bombing that America should turn against Israel. You are wrong to state that our leaders told us about the September bombing: "the Arabs and Muslims did it. We're going to get them." Such a statement demonstrates your own sense of personal bigotry and racism. Although out of a country of over 200 million people you might find a handful of people who are unable to separate the terrorists from the average Arab or Muslim, the citizens of this country by and large reject such childish bigotry. Those who think somehow the September 11 bombing hurt America are deluding themselves. Our Country is bigger than a few buildings. American people were killed, but they die every day in tragic accidents and murders. Our lives are not so innocent that we are shocked into changing who we are and what we believe in. Those who are directly responsible for the September 11 attack are dead too. Most of those who aided them will be found and killed or jailed. If the motivation of the persons behind the attack was our support of Israel, maybe next time they will attack us because of our support of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan or one of the many other Arab or Muslim countries we support. And if they do attack us, do not expect us to run from the support of our friends because of it. Israel will have to decide on its own what is best for its security.
Those wishing for peace and economic prosperity in all parts of the middle east need to focus on the plow and not the gun. They need to accept Israel's right of self preservation. They need to understand that the United States will go to war alongside Israel if it is attacked by neighboring countries, just as it would assist its other friends if they were attacked. Right now Israel is being attacked by the Palestinians and other Arabs trained and supported by neighboring countries. The step between a full war and tit-for-tat military operations is becoming shorter. Should it become necessary for Israel to take aggressive military action against those countries fighting it through terrorist proxies, America will not shy from its duty to support Israel against continued aggression.
So, we are back to my basic statement, I believe there can only be a military solution to the problems facing Israel and the Palestinians unless the countries in the Middle East change their policies and accept the reality that is Israel. The question becomes, do these countries want to be drawn into a war that they will surely lose? Do they want to see tens of thousands of their citizens die? Do they want their cities crushed to ruin? Do they want their economies destroyed? Or would it be worth accepting a compromise in Palestine to avoid such a disaster?
Make no doubt, those are the only two choices available.
Jingle bellsSir-- In "Jingle bells, jingle bells" (Al- Ahram Weekly, 27 Dec. 2001--2 Jan. 2002) it was said that "Children in several European countries receive their holiday gifts on 6 December, the eve of Epiphany." 6 December is St. Nicholas Day; Epiphany is on 6 January and also on the eve of it children of several countries receive gifts. And don't forget St. Lucy (13 December) especially in Sweden!
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