Israel is a beacon of freedom in a sea of dictatorships, a perpetual victim of state-sponsored brutality, an obvious ally in the war on terror, and now, seemingly, the only place where Sept. 11 never happened. We have declared war on states that sponsor terrorism, yet we condemn Israel's efforts to do the same. We cheer the idea of tanks rolling into Afghanistan or Iraq, yet we are outraged by their presence in the West Bank. We consider an anthrax attack on a senator to be an act of war, but caution Israel against retaliating when a cabinet member is assassinated. At what point do we acknowledge that Israel is entitled to defend itself?
"The Palestine question is central" (Oct. 17, opinion page) hits the nail on the head. We are dealing with problems we have provoked with our unjust treatment of Palestinians. Because of the American media's weak presentation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Americans are unaware of how we have supported and condoned Israel's colonization of Palestine. Only by getting Israel back to the path of peace, can we right these wrongs.
Cape May, N.J.
In "Readers Write" (Oct. 12), Eric H. Roth criticizes your editorial that questioned Israel's behavior as a US ally ("Israel as an ally," Oct. 5). It is true that Israel stands out as the only democratic government in the Middle East. But Mr. Roth forgets that the Palestinians are not treated in a democratic manner. They are subjugated to second-class status, like people of color in South Africa under apartheid. But when Roth speaks up for the rights of women under Islamic rule, I am in full agreement with him.
The terrorism that Israelis have brought to Palestinians for many years is now part of American life. On Sept. 11, the Americans were drawn into the world that the Palestinians live in every day. Now Americans know how Palestinians feel. The US is paying a high price for supporting Israel. Americans have been brainwashed in Israel's favor from kindergarten through college, and we are suffering the consequences. We have met the enemy, and it is us.
The root of the problem is multiple claims to the "holy lands." The solution is painfully obvious, but not politically correct. There are only 6.5 million citizens in Israel - yet regional stability hinges on those 6.5 million, who want their own country. It's time to rethink the need for, and the cost of, Israel as a separate country. Invite all Israeli citizens to move to Europe, Canada, the US, South America, and Australia - and let the Arab world decide how to handle the land once called Israel. As a matter of foreign policy, supporting Israel has cost the US and the world the stability we seek. Let's restore peace to that region, and the world.
Laguna Niguel, Calif.
The cost of recovery from Sept. 11 is mind-boggling. There is one positive step the US could take toward peace that would not be burdensome. The US could counter the Arab world's deep resentment of our support by redirecting the US annual subsidy of Israel. We should require this money to be used (possibly under the supervision of an international body) solely for compensation to Palestinians for their loss of land and homes. Such positive action could help make amends for US support of Israel's conquests and oppression, and would assist Israel in making amends to the Palestinian people.
Grass Valley, Calif.
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