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Web Letter

"Have IQs dropped since I have been away?" queried Ripley from the Aliens film franchise, after being salvaged from hyper-sleep for sixty years. Churchill or Roosevelt might ask the same thing about grand strategy today in regards to the Middle East.

Enough piffling diplomacy.

The Irish peace deal was sealed with a $100 billion peace dividend, payable over ten years; the Israeli-Palestinian peace will be commenced with one: the proverbial cart before the horse. Removal of all the settlements alone, as precedent has shown, will cost $80 billion, less if some settlements remain.

Placing 500,000 Palestinians into prefabricated homes ($50,000 each) $25 billion; assorted "regional" infrastructure--inclusive of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, southern Syria and northern Egypt--providing ports, airports, highways, communication networks, schools and hospitals to promote regional industry, commerce, education, health etc., perhaps $300 billion more.

All in all, the Near East peace dividend, paid by a "coalition of the willing," will cost less than the $2 trillion dropped on the Iraq War and generate future revenues and benefits far in excess of its cost.

Does this sound as implausible as the failed means and methods employed over the past sixty years? The Europe that waged bloody wars, ethnic, religious and gratuitous, for over 2,500 years, is today represented by an economic union.

What is the difference between Haganah and Hezbollah, Hamas and the Irgun, the Stern Gang and Fatah? If three Israeli prime ministers were leaders of these previous terror groups--excuse me, freedom fighters--can the Palestinans be denied the same opportunity to demonstrate their statesmanship as leaders of a new nation, and suffer the consequences if they cannot? The answer is no.

Put the money on the table, and then talk peace.

Sioan Stephen Bethel

Brooklyn, NY

Oct 8 2009 - 10:10am

Web Letter

One thing that can be said about the American-Iranian relationship today is that it is utterly odd that the relationship is so adversarial. The United States is not threatened, largely, by Iran, if the US chooses to relate effectively to Iran. To the extent that the US is joined at the hip to the bastion of craziness that is Israel, the US is, instead of productively moving forward with Iran, caught up in a battle to preserve the nuclear hegemony of Israel in the region.

With respect to Iran, the US should demand that Israel declare its nuclear arsenal, sign the NPT and proceed forward with its nuclear program under the same terms and conditions allowed Iran. This would place the US firmly in the role of being an honest and neutral arbiter working to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons, as opposed to our current role which is "Israeli foil."

Seymour Friendly

Seattle, WA

Oct 7 2009 - 5:40pm

Web Letter

Mr. Chernus's article with its statement that Israel is the occupier of Palestine angers me.

Palestinians invaded Israel. During that short war, Israel commandeered some land which, according to the saying, "All's fair in love and war," Israel was entitled to keep. Would you consider giving Texas and other Southeastern states back to Mexico after we took them as our spoils of our war with them?

A resolution to the Israel/Palestine situation is extremely difficult to find. Both parties want the same land, which is an impossibility.

One thing is certain, though, and might be a starting point. The Palestinians want a completely Palestinian state, with no Jews. Israel wishes to have a completely Jewish state, with no Palestinians, rightly fearing a growth of their present Palestinian population would mean a majority of Palestinians in their nation. Israel would no longer be a Jewish state. There would no longer be one Palestinian state and one Jewish state. The only way to keep this from happening is for there not to be a Palestinian presence in Israel nor a Jewish presence in Palestine. Israel would be willing to give up the West Bank once the Palestinians agreed to their legal existence & their right to live in peace.

Having previously given up conquered lands in other Arab states which resulted in these lands being occupied by Iranians, Israel will not make this mistake a third time. They must be guaranteed that there will be peace along with the acknowledgement that Israel has a right to exist.

This assurance is not being offered by the Palestinians. Why should Israel trust them? Why should Israel give up anything that might be to the Palestinians advantage? Better yet, why won't the Palestinians make this promise?

So don't blame the Israelis! It is the Palestinians who refuse to state that Israel has a right to exist, that the two nations can live in peace. For sixty years, the Israelis have been bombarded by the Palestinians and other Arabs. They have the right to protect themselves from their surrounding nations, from the world that hounds them. They do what they have to in order to maintain their existence, their very lives.

They deserve to have the support of every peace loving country, especially the US.

May peace be in the future for all of us.

Adele Federman

Toledo, OH

Oct 7 2009 - 4:38pm

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