Nuclear weapons don’t fuel Arab-Israeli conflict

To the Editor,

I very much enjoy reading the "Political Showdown" between Keith Harris and Lori Moreth. In this past weeks’ issue on Friday, April 16, Harris mentioned something that I found very disenchanting.

In the discussion of President Obama’s call for nuclear disarmament, Harris used this topic as a springboard to discuss his feelings on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Aside from his failure to keep on topic, the article is so replete with half and un-truths that I felt compelled to respond. While I may not be an expert on nuclear affairs, I have studied and am involved with the situation of the Jews in Israel.

I will address each of the issues with Harris’s piece point by point and explain the facts that were not included in the debate between Moreth and Harris.

1. "Israel often makes a large show of promoting peace while quietly undermining it."

FACT: Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that carries the agenda of democracy and peace amongst a slew of nations that refuse to even acknowledge its existence as a legitimate political entity. For the last 1,940 years, Jews have been living in Israel peacefully only to be ridiculed, beaten or worse by those who settled Israel after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish expulsion that followed. Since the late seventh century C.E., the primary perpetrators of such attacks were Muslim/Arab residents following the Muslim conquest of the area.

In recent history, Israel has bent over backward to accept peace agreements even though they were not necessarily in the best interest of their living conditions or security. Just a few examples are the proposed mandate of 1937, the partition plan of 1948, the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 in 1967.

More recently, the Barak-Clinton plan of 2000 proposed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 shows just how far Israel has been willing to go for peace (and how far the "Palestinians" are not).

2. "…throughout the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been going on since the times of the Cold War…"

FACT: A brief overview of the history of this conflict will demonstrate that it dates far before the Cold War, unless Harris was referring to the actual call for Palestinians to be viewed as an independent people with their own nation. This did not become a significant political movement until after the "Six-Day War" in 1967 and Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. Until then, Palestine was largely regarded as a southern province of Syria.

3. "…several deals have been brought to the table, which have been agreed upon by the Palestinians and backed by the United Nations, only to be refused by Israel and the United States."

FACT: More often than not, it is the reverse that is true (see my first point above for more clarification). That being the case, I’m not sure how this strengthens Harris’ position (nor what it has to do with nuclear proliferation).

4. "Iran was not invited despite being a consistent proponent of nuclear non-proliferation."

FACT: According to U.S. Intelligence, Iran had a nuclear weapons program until 2003, when it was discovered and "officially" scrapped. Harris goes on to say, "We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons." This sounds like there is quite a slew of controversy existing between those two statements.

5. "Israel has, over the past several decades, exhibited a pattern of imperialistic warfare and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people…"

FACT: Israel has acted more civil than any other nation ever faced with a comparable threat as that of the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah and others. Such terrorist groups have done nothing but intentionally target civilian populations within Israel and have categorically rejected Israel’s right to exist.

In stark contrast, Israel has only acted in self defense and specifically targeted "military" outposts. All civilian casualties were incidental and unintentional. To equate that with "imperialistic warfare" is not only inaccurate, but completely absurd.

6. "Until the United States and Israel, which is essentially [a] nation-sized military base for the United States, begin to act with integrity in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is unlikely that the world will be able to make any great strides toward nuclear disarmament or general peace."

FACT: Before, I thought that Harris was simply just grossly misinformed. However, to blame Israel, and U.S. support for Israel, for global failure of nuclear disarmament is either the ranting of a madman or pure anti-Semitism. I think someone already tried to blame the Jews for global problems. It didn’t go very well for either side.

Yossi Madvig

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