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Recent history provides answer

Friday October 26, 2001



Jim Mellander (Forum 10/22) talks about “root causes” for the 9-11 tragedy first as if the “root causes argument is bogus” but later suggesting that we need to go back to 1453, 1683 and 1912 to look at conflict between the Arab and Western worlds. I suggest we go back to February 16, 1988 when the New York Times reported the incident where the Israeli soldiers were caught burying alive young Palestinians, or the February 25, 1988 CBS Evening News report showing the Israeli soldiers holding down and breaking the arms of the Palestinian children with rocks, just to remind ourselves that the Palestinians of the West Bank and the Gaza strip have sufficient reason to hate their Israeli masters and to be ready for terrorism training camp. Probably we have simply put out of our minds that our Israeli allies have been brutalizing and terrorizing these people for a very long time, and our government, while giving the Israelis stern warnings about their behavior continues to give them all the support they need to continue on their path of terror. Until we stop giving them full support, until we insist on a real settlement of the “Palestinian Problem,” enforced either by the U.N., by NATO or some other regional entity, the escalation of terrorism in this region will not stop. 

Jim, you and I both know that this hotbed of terrorism would have ended decades ago except for the U.S. support of Israeli. I know also that the Palestinians are not mere innocents, and I know that U.S. support for Israeli interests seems to stem from good intentions. But our foreign policy has simply failed to protect our deepest American interests, which can and should include humanitarian interests as well as economic interests. 

I am sorry that you consider Mr. Azevedo’s (Forum 10/19) hope that looking within will be helpful to be naive. Those who succeed in the task of self-understanding surely come to understand that we are all similarly human, with good and bad aspects, and that when we wish to understand our enemies, those who are strangers to us, or simply those who appear different, we need simply put ourselves in their shoes and ask what we might have done. 

If we understand why humans are prepared to commit suicide for a cause, then we can work to solve the need for that cause and the camps for terrorists will very quickly find no new recruits. 

Thomas de Lackner