Saturday, July 16, 2005

Paul Findley's Unrealistic Proposal

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Appearing in this weekend's Illinois State Journal Register is a letter submitted by former Congressman Paul Findley, of Jacksonville, Illinois. In his op-ed he proposes halting all aid to Israel.

Findley writes:

"Years ago, our government should have suspended all aid until Israel withdrew completely from Palestinian territory it seized in June 1967. The option remains available today. At the least, suspension of aid would liberate America from further complicity in Israel's misdeeds. At best, it would quell the insurgency in Iraq and prompt Israel to vacate stolen territory. But Bush seems totally detached from reality. So does Blair."

Mr. Findley's argument is that unless Israel immediately capitulates on U.S. demands over Israeli occupation of the West Bank we should simply cut off all Israeli aid. This is a radical suggestion, and holds little chance of working to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

By cutting off aid to Israel, it is true we would send a powerful message to the Israeli government, and to its people. But Israel's back is already pushed against the wall. Terrorist attacks haven't softened Israeli resolve, quite the opposite. The use of terror against Israel has only radicalized its opposition to resolving the problem.

By cutting off U.S. aid the U.S. would lose its most important bargaining chip with Israel, and would only isolate, and make more radical its response to pressures to compromise with the Palestinians.

Better than cutting aid to Israel might be a suggestion to increase U.S. aid to the Palestinians. The increased aid, could be spent on building Palestinian infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads, and assistance to small businesses. The increase in aid would be tied to achieving a reduction in anti-Israeli propaganda, an increase in Palestinian led anti-terrorism efforts, including sharing anti-terrorism intelligence with Israel.

And yes, it does sound as if we are not asking much from Israel, but we need to take the long view on this issue. Israel is facing an uncertain fate. Israel will in the long run make concessions with the Palestinians, and perhaps at that time the Palestinians will have the leadership willing to compromise with Israel. It's only a matter of time, and the U.S. can help the process only if it stays actively engaged with both sides.

And if anyone has any doubts about the wisdom of attempting to isolate a nation into submitting to U.S. will, we need only look sixty miles off the shores of Florida. An economic embargo still remains in effect after more than forty years, and it hasn't worked to end the Castro regime. Only Castro's death will do that. Furthermore Cuba's resolve is based upon the fears of just one man, and his circle of thugs, while Israeli resolve is based upon the very real fears on an entire nation.

Findley's suggestion, although bold, translates into unrealistic appeasement of those who vow to destroy Israel first, and then the Great Satan when they're done with Israel.

Click here to learn more about Findley's wrangling with AIPAC. I'm not sure which is more disturbing, the excerpts from Findley's book (click on the prior link), or this sweet picture of President Bush holding hands with Saudi Prince Abdullah.

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1 comment:

Dave said...

Allow me parse the Findley quote:

“Years ago, our government should have suspended all aid until Israel withdrew completely from Palestinian territory it seized in June 1967.” Maybe - years ago.

“The option remains available today.” Not so much

“At the least, suspension of aid would liberate America from further complicity in Israel's misdeeds.” True – but only technically. Much of the Arab world would still hold the US as complicit in Israeli policy.

“At best, it would quell the insurgency in Iraq…” Bull

“…and prompt Israel to vacate stolen territory.” Even more bull

“But Bush seems totally detached from reality...” Very True

“So does Blair.” Also True

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