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Violence in the Middle East



Many stronly divergent opinions have been received on this subject, and we present, abridged, selected views, representing the opposing sides. It would be unWAIS to bowdlerize the statements. From Argentina, Sebastian Di Tella sends a long and vehement statement:

"It seems now everyone is happily condemning Israel. Ariel Sharon is definitely responsible of all of this death and suffering, but he is not Israel, as in the same way not all of the Palestinians. are terrorists. I really don't see exactly what is Israel doing wrong in this situation. What would you do if you where in charge? Let the manifester burn and kill the way as they please? The Israeli army is doing more or less the only thing it can do. Do you really believe Israeli soldiers are bloodthirsty demons bent on killing all Arab kids? If they really wanted to kill everyone, they wouldn't use rubber coated bullets. Comparing this situation with what happened in Europe during this century is ridiculous. It is a very asymmetrical situation. The Israeli army is trying to suppress the uprising, while the manifesters are there to kill. "

My comment: To say that everyone is happily condemning Israel is incorrect.. They are terribly sad. Of course, not all Israelis support Sharon, A majority want peace, but not Sharon-style. It is terrible to see how much harm one man can do, like shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Questions remain: Did Sharon go to the Temple Mount with the approval of Barak?

Siegfried Ramler presents a reasonable Jewish viewpoint, which I strongly support: "This latest crisis demonstrates clearly the consequence of abandoning the peace process. Though much progress was made at Camp David, resolving many of the areas of contention, the talks broke down on the issue of Jerusalem and its holy sites. Internationalization of the sites under UN stewardship, with equal access to all religions"

WAIS is concerned with presenting different viewpoints, and here we have an excellent case. We have presented the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli positions. There are variants. The US has threaded to veto a UN measure condemning Sharon, because it does not wish to appear to be abandoning Israel. In Berlin, political leaders attended a service in a synagogue allegedly as a gesture of support but really out of fear of crypto-Nazis. Measures were taken against parties thought to be a front for them. The French, historically linked with Lebanon, took a more neutral view, implying much less sympathy for Israel. In Spain, Felipe Aznar welcomed Arafat as the special guest at a party meeting in Formentor, Mallorca. He called for the creation of an international commission, including Arab countries, to examine the situation. Spain views itself as Europe´s link with North Africa and has deep historical ties with the Islamic world.

The revival of the term "Nazi" was interesting as an example of the down-grading of a respected term, "nationalist." Jose Maria Aznar called ETA "Nazis," implicitly putting the Basque Nationalist Party in the same category. President Chirac of France did the same. Of course, the Palestinians called Sharon and the Israelis Nazis.

Ronald Hilton - 10/07/00


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