BRADENTON, Fla., March 17, 2010 -- The recent diplomatic flap over the Israeli announcement of construction of 1,600 Jewish housing units in disputed East Jerusalem has focused attention on the deteriorating relationship between that country and the United States.
Since the announcement came during the visit of Vice President Joe Biden, many felt the decision was a demeaning insult and signaled an outright rejection of the peace process, the euphemism for a farce that has achieved nothing at all since the meeting of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat in 1977. Other than the assassinations of Sadat and later Yitzhak Rabin, the only milestones of the so-called "process" have been the periodic intifadas, carpet-bombings of Gaza, assassinations, border closings, suicide bombs, rocket attacks and short-lived wars.
Indeed, for all the heated rhetoric that has accompanied the entire timeline, like bad music set to a bad dream, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed that more than 55,000 housing units - about 20,000 for Jews and 30,000 for Arabs - were planned for East Jerusalem in coming years.
So often, we've learned that behind the promises from both sides are lies; behind the talk of peace is preparation for war.
And behind the timing of the Israeli announcement was the extreme right wing of the Israeli right-wing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who were apparently emboldened by his election to vent their anger at President Barack Obama's modest effort to straddle a middle rail between the Israelis and the Palestinians; the terror-prone on either side would prefer that the President be run out of town on that rail rather than merely sit astride it.
They attacked him with glee, celebrating their independence of policy directions offered by the White House; confident that the coming elections will allow Jewish voters to play the king-making role as a way to assert their own policy agenda. That is pretty good strategy, as it's almost impossible for the President to repudiate an Israeli government without facing
Amid this, The American Reporter has received dozens of emails, most of them form letters with the same content, intended less to communicate a singular viewpoint than to give us a sense of the depth and fervor of opposition to America's position on new construction in East Jerusalem and other disputed areas. Yet they may be a better measure of computer literacy rather than of anyone's beliefs; if that's the case, Palestinians are living in the past, as many Arab nations are.
We are publishing several of them below, including one of 10 or so we've got entitled "AIPAC Doesn't Speak For Me," a reaction to the right-wing assertions of the American-Israeli Political Action Committee. That organization was in the news during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York when the FBI charged some of their leadership with spying on the United States.
How strange it seemed when then-Majority Leader Trent Lott and other senior Republicans rushed to their tent to declare their solidarity with AIPAC. One doubts they would have done the same with a Muslim or Mormon or any other faith group charged with spying on Amerca, but AIPAC is the financial heavyweight that pays big bucks to senior Republicans to keep the Israeli-Palestinian status quo in place. They are very good at it, yet they do not deserve respect: They help to maintain a peace process that has only produced violence, war and endless death.
Here, then, are a selection of those letters we've received, both form emails and original notes. All are from Southern California, and were addressed to our former office in Hollywood, which closed seven years ago. They demonstrate the great power of religious ideas to generate passions that are sometimes hard to contain. We have not edited any of them for facts or grammar, so what you see is what we got.
"U.S complains much too publicly..."
The current disagreement between the US and Israel seems to be heading toward a mutually destructive path. The US is complaining much too publicly about an issue that can be resolved through dialogue among the involved parties, rather than as a precondition that must be resolved before talks can begin. Arabs can live among the Jews in Israel, so why must it be forbidden for Jews to live among the Arabs in Israel? The right of the city of Jerusalem in its entirety to continue to exist as the core of the Jewish people, with guaranteed rights to access for all concerned religions is the critical issue of this dispute. Never again will Jews be barred from this holy city! This is the ONLY way that access can be assured to all religions. Advice to the Obama Administration: Find a way to settle this argument diplomatically, rather than going off in a huff and pressing an issue that cannot be resolved without some degree of dialogue, if at all.
David S Bard
Yorba Linda, Calif.
"Settlement expansion undermines peace..."
Those of us who truly care about Israel know that President Barack Obama is right to confront Israel over its approval of a new settlement
construction plan in East Jerusalem. Settlement expansion undermines the prospects of peace. And Israel's future is dependent on reaching a
Americans are smart. We know that peace for Israel is more important than the expansion of settlements. We also know that our interests are directly tied to Middle East peace and to Israel.
Peace talks will not succeed without genuine, sustained American
leadership. All sides must know that there will be a price to pay for
frustrating peace efforts. President Obama enjoys my support when he
demonstrates such leadership.
Long Beach, Calif.
"Voters want US to stand with Israel..."
The U.S.-Israel relationship is based on shared values and commitment to freedom of religion, press, speech and the right to vote. By an 8 to 1 margin American voters want America to stand with Israel.
Those bent on harming Israel previously caused dozens of injuries to people at Jerusalem's holy sites, including at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest place. Today they are using the re-dedication of the Hurva Synagogue to foment for violence.
Recently the leader of Hamas in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, urged Palestinians to unleash a new intifada (uprising). "Jerusalem is ours, the land is ours, and God is with us," Haniyeh said. His threat of mass violence came in response to an Israeli comprehensive package to preserve Israel's national heritage and religious sites.
Jerusalem's holy sites must remain safe and open to all religions - and only have been since Israel took control of Jerusalem in the defensive war of 1967. Before then, when both Christian and Jewish holy sites were under Jordanian control, Jews were forbidden to pray or visit these sites. In recent years, Palestinian terrorists and rioters have desecrated and destroyed Jewish and Christian holy places in areas under their control.
Christians, Muslims and Jews alike have ties to sacred areas around Jerusalem and consider Jerusalem to be their home. Nevertheless, Jews who live in predominantly Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem recently have come under fire in news reports around the world. There is no reason Jews should be prohibited to live in Arab areas, just as Arabs aren't criticized for living in Jewish neighborhoods such as Pisgat Ze'ev. No one should question the right of Jews to live in the united city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the core of the Jewish people - with thousands of years of history connecting them to this holy city.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat underscored this point on Nov. 17, 2009, saying, "Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews, Muslims, and Christians or between eastern and western Jerusalem. The demand to halt construction by religion is not legal in the United States or in any other free place in the world. I do not presume that any government would demand to freeze construction in the United States based on race, religion or gender and the attempt to demand it from Jerusalem is a double standard and inconceivable."
When will the world's leaders understand that Israel wants nothing but peace for itself and its neighbors? When will they understand that only under Israel have holy sites throughout the country been free and open to all religions? When will they put real, meaningful sanctions on Iran to stop the nuclear program and the continued arming, funding and training of Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad?
The U.S.-Israel relationship is core to America's security and our values. The time for stopping violence and starting real measures for peace is now!
Los Angeles, Calif.
"Obama hurts friends and kow-tows to enemies..."
Hillary Clinton has told Israel that it must stop acting in its own best interests. When it comes to Iran, the Obama Administration accepts its insults and continues to try to placate them. When will Obama stop hurting our friends and kow-towing to our enemies?
Long Beach, Calif.
"Israel contributes so much to the world..."
Israel is the only truly free country in the Middle East. American's
relationship with it is based on shared values and shared commitments to liberty, and by an eight-to-one margin, U.S. voters want America to support Israel in its struggle with radical Islam.
Recently the leader of the Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas urged Palestinians to unleash a new intifada (uprising). The last intifada cost well over 1000 Israelis their lives, and far more than that were maimed or had their lives irreparably damaged. What provoked this recent threat? Nothing other than Israel announcing its plan to invest in the preservation of two Jewish holy sites including the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron (which I also visited, and can attest to the need for investment). Israel's holy sites must remain safe and open to all religions. Only since Israel's defensive war in 1967 have all these sites been protected and accessible. Before then, Jews were forbidden even to visit them, and historically, Palestinians have desecrated and destroyed Jewish and Christian holy places they had the responsibility to protect.
Just two weeks ago I visited Jerusalem's Western Wall, the holiest place in Judaism. Had it been a few days later, I might have been a victim of Palestinian rioters, who injured dozens of people visiting or praying at the wall. Moreover, I saw the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City (but far from the Temple Mount), whose re-dedication now (after being destroyed by the Arabs) is being used as an additional pretext for violence.
As I learned, Israel is a country one drives across in an hour, yet it
contributes so much to the world in science, technology, and culture. It is a country which has been our unwavering ally in the Middle East. And it is a country surrounded by enemies, and wishing only peace. The civilized world must have the moral clarity to reject the vicious smearing of Israel that anti-Semites and Islamic radicals worldwide have unleashed in recent years. It needs to understand that Israel's fight is nothing other than a fight for Western values in the face of murderous intolerance and barbarism. The civilized world needs to help Israel in its struggle. Most urgently, it needs to impose damaging sanctions on Iran and support the Iranian pro-democracy movement, to prevent the Iranian regime from concluding its intense effort to perfect a nuclear bomb and use it to threaten the Holy Land, the Middle East, and the world.
Van Nuys, Calif.
"Boundary resolutions betray America's ally..."
I'm normally a dove-ish person, but I do not think that Israel should be held responsible for making peace with the Palestinians, because I do not believe the Palestinians or their Muslim allies really want to make peace with Israel.
I think instead we are in the middle of a war, and to ask Israel to go back to difficult-to-defend boundaries while so many of the Muslim states and organizations are dedicated to destroying Israel is truly a betrayal of our ally.
Perhaps when the Muslim world has had enough of terrorism and extremist
Muslims, when they stop demonizing Israel and wanting to destroy Israel, it will be possible for Muslims to understand and respect Zionism and concede some land to the Jews. Then there will be a chance for peace in the Middle East! But until then, I believe Israel should not be asked to give up land in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. We saw what happened when they left Gaza - lots of hostilities and not at all a trade-off like "land for peace." Why would Israel ever want to do the same experiment with the West Bank?
Thank you for reading this.
Marina Dl Rey, Calif.
"Arabs who sell to non-Arabs are hanged..."
I am a little bit confused, if we here in the US would forbid someone to buy a property because of their ethnicity or religion it would be not allowed, so why are we trying to pressure a Democratic country by something we don't tolerate? One should address the problem of Arabs who sell to non-Arabs in Israel are condemned to death by hanging by their Palestinian neighbors. Why has that not been addressed? If the US wants to help make a Palestinian State, would the conditions be that of it being Democratic? Or will that State be one of Islamic Rule? US should be very careful that she not create another nightmare for so many innocent people who get caught in the cross-fire. US should also find out if the Palestinian Government that is to be established would be one of a peaceful democratic nature and not according to the fanatical laws of Islam.
W. Toluca Lake, Calif.
Copyright 2012 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.