Israeli Elections - Again
By A.D. Freudenheim

27 January 2003

It was almost two years ago that I wrote about the consistency with which American Jews - and the U.S. government - have supported Israel's harsh policy towards the Palestinians throughout this recent Intifada. Another Israeli election is now upon us this Tuesday, just as Americans are about to be distracted by the annual ritual of our president's State of the Union address. In discussing both these events yesterday, my wife asked me whether I thought Israel's election returns would be tallied in time to be mentioned in Mr. Bush's speech, and indeed it is an interesting question.

If Ariel Sharon's conservative Likud party wins, there may be obvious glee within Mr. Bush's Republican party, which shares some of the same views of the world, not least regarding the dangers both men believe is posed by Saddam Hussein and Iraq. If Israel's Labor party wins - not the likely outcome - the administration could find itself equally pleased, since one key position of Labor leader Amram Mitzna is that there must be an aggressive effort to achieve peace with the Palestinians - and a true attempt at Middle East peace would surely reflect well on Bush if he chose to support it. Either way, current American policy is very much entangled with support for Israel, particularly as it relates to the handling of the Palestinians.

It is not the elections that should be the news, however, if the president and his writers choose to mention Israel; instead the focus of any presidential commentary on Israel should be on the problems that have outlasted several governmental coalitions. Mr. Bush should encourage both Israelis and Palestinians to make peace, and quickly. It should demand a halt to construction of the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories along with demanding a halt to terrorist attacks by Palestinians.

Mr. Bush might also suggest that Israel take the bold step of forcing the Palestinians to confront their own worst enemies - their "leaders" - not by brutalizing them into submission (as they have tried to do for the last few years) but by showing Palestinians how impossible it will be to create a viable state under Arafat's corrupt regime. (Withdrawing from the territories and allowing Palestinians greater autonomy within their own lands, while simultaneously enforcing a strong border with Israel, would put the Palestinian people in the position of having to decide their own fate, instead of being able to blame Israel for their lot in life.)

Last year's State of the Union speech gave us the "Axis of Evil," the key phrase for the subsequent year in foreign policy. Wouldn't it be nice it this year's speech held out the promise of peace instead.

Copyright 2003, by A.D. Freudenheim. May not be used in whole or part without written permission. However, you may link to this page as desired! Contact A. D. Freudenheim for further information.
This page is part of: The Truth As I See It.