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In his letter of May 14, Richard Foster implies that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is the principle cause of armed conflict in the Middle East, and that our nation’s support of Israel is evidence that we, too, do not desire peace in that region.
Nowhere in his letter does Mr. Foster even mention Hezbollah, Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, each of which is a terrorist organization that is openly and actively committed to the elimination of the state of Israel as a Jewish state, and each of which operates from territory adjacent to Israel (Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territory).
These organizations represent an existential threat to Israel. Mr. Foster bemoans the fact that they have only “AK-47s, suicide bombers, and rockets of questionable accuracy” with which to attack Israel, which has “the fourth-largest army in the world and a cache of nuclear weapons” with which to defend itself.
Perhaps Mr. Forester would like to see these terrorists armed with more deadly weapons with which to attack Israel. More fundamentally, does he even accept the sovereign existence of the state of Israel?
I suppose that, ultimately, where one stands on this issue depends on which side one thinks is the aggressor and which is the defender. To clarify this choice, I ask Mr. Foster, and readers of the Monitor, to consider the following two hypothetical scenarios, each with an imagined precondition and a hoped-for result.
(1) Precondition: Israel relinquishes control of the Palestinian territory and acquiesces in the formation in a sovereign Palestinian state with borders essentially those of 1967. Result: Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad THEN lay down their arms, cease firing rockets and sending suicide bombers into Israel, and disavow any intention of seeking the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel – they accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Peace reigns!
(2) Precondition: Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad all lay down their arms, cease firing rockets and sending suicide bombers into Israel, and disavow any intention of seeking the elimination of the Jewish state of Israel- they accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. Result: Israel then relinquishes control of the Palestinian territory and acquiesces in the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state with borders essentially those of 1967. Peace reigns.
Now, given the stated preconditions, which of these results do you believe is likely?
Mario E. Schillaci