The Problem Resides with Those Who Hold Power

Counterpoint: Palestinians Need to Reform Within, Set Down Weapons

Will Youmans attends the Boalt Hall School of Law. Respond at [email protected].

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Micki Weinberg claims that since some Palestinian groups commit acts of terror, the Palestinians do not want peace ("Students Rally Against Israeli Military Actions," Feb. 7). On the other hand, we are supposed to believe, Israel does want peace.

The fundamental difference, shooting a hole in this argument, is that Israel is represented by a government that works in the interest of the Jewish Israeli population. That means its actions are representative of that group of people. Random Palestinian groups or suicide bombers were not elected, and are thus not as representative of the aspirations of the Palestinian people. In fact, Israel opposed a recent French proposal for elections. It is much more politically expedient to blame everything on Yasser Arafat.

Israel elected Ariel Sharon, whose record on peace is clear. He opposed the peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, refused to support the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, and voted against the Oslo peace process in 1993.

This is a clear articulation of Israel's real interest in making peace.

In the distorted world of pro-Israeli advocacy, one can generalize the will of the Palestinians by the actions of an unelected few suicide bombers, but the actual manifestations of Israeli will in its elections are ignored in favor of a better PR slogan: "Israel wants peace." "Israel elected a right-wing nut" just takes up too much space on a banner.

If Israel wanted peace, it would not demolish Palestinian homes and displace families. It would not have an army that shot at peaceful protesters (thus leaving room only for militancy). It would not consider Palestinian children fair game in its brutal military occupation. I do not justify violence, but in this context, is it really that hard to see where suicide bombers come from? Ask one question: Would there be any if Palestinians could have a viable homeland and meaningful lives?

Suicide bombers clearly are not part of a military strategy, but are the actions of the weak against a much more powerful enemy. The problem clearly lies with those who hold power.


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