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The roots of the Middle East troubles



There is a gap between what US and Arab sources report. US sources make only minor reference to US support for Israel, whereas all Arab sources say it is the primary cause. Gulf Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Saudi Arabia on September 23, described Israeli attacks on Palestinians as "state terrorism" and called for international protection for the Palestinians. There is evidence that the US is putting strong pressure on Israel to moderate its response and demanded that Shimon Peres meet with Arafat despite Sharon. It appears that Washington is still concerned about disturbing the Jewish lobby, but its failure to speak frankly is alienating not only the larger Arab community in the US but also the Islamic world generally. Most Americans believe that American Arabs are Muslim. In fact, the vast majority are Christians (Catholic 42%. Orthodox 23%, Protestant 12%) as against 23% Muslim. The Arabs are richer and better educated than the national average. Simply in terms of crude politics, it is time that American politicians pay more attention to the Arab American lobby.

Ronald Hilton - 9/26/01


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