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Sunday, April 21, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

A destructive foundation

I'll be the first to say that the United States likes to get too involved in matters overseas. Usually, it is over something that our country should have never poked its head into. But for once, I'm actually happy that we were involved.
Last week, during a visit to Israel, Vice President Joe Biden was outraged by an announcement by the country stating that there is a plan to build 1,600 housing units for Israelis in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in East Jerusalem – a traditionally Arab location. To Biden, the announcement is hampering any peace efforts that Israel and Palestine can ever begin to work on.
"We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them," Biden said.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed, stating that Israel must prove its commitment to peace.
And they're right.
I'm pleased to see members of the United States government, who are usually pro-Israel, finally put their foot down on a situation that is beyond absurd.
Both Israelis and Palestinians are obviously tearing the situation apart, in both directions, like the groups have done since problems began in the region. But the fact of the matter is that, while the Palestinians might overdo the "innocent victim" card that they are playing, they are right. It's a stupid move when the two sides seem to want peace.
According to Isi Leibler of the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli publication, President Barack Obama and members of the White House "are cynically distancing themselves from us in order to curry popularity by capitalizing on the anti-Israeli hatred which has engulfed the world."
Leibler couldn't be farther away from the truth. Does the writer – or any Israeli, for that matter – realize the implications of building these homes? Is the hatred and anger that building them will cause – not to mention the possible damage to said buildings – worth the trouble?
Israel instead needs to invest the time and money into coming up with a way to promote peace with Palestine. There are no excuses.
According to Mohammed Said El-Nadi of the Palestine Telegraph, the United States isn't the only major world player that's upset about the decision. The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton "believes the timing of the announcement was intentional and says there are ‘no guarantees' that Israel seeks peace."
Many Israelis are stating that American-Israeli relations have been at an all-time low and that this is just adding to the problems. But they need to look in the mirror.
That's not to say that Palestine is innocent when it comes to creating peace between the two nations. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could have begun peace negotiations prior to Biden's visit. It isn't a one-way street, and his lack of care is 50 percent of the problem. But Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hasn't done anything to help matters, either. His government's decision to build these homes has only put them farther back from uniting.
The fact of the matter is that Israel isn't guaranteed the praise of members of the United States government when they make decisions that are as childish and as ill thought-out as this. It made a bad move. Instead of getting defensive and angry, Netanyahu and his government need to move to the real issue at hand, and that's promoting peace.
Instead of whining and playing the victim card every time something happens that can be disagreed with, both parties need to step up to the plate and unite. Don't be stupid. It's sad to say, but if these homes end up being built, it will only be a matter of time before parties clash and probably destroy the area.
It's a shame that I have to think this way, but sadly, it's the truth. The fighting is pointless. Israeli men shouldn't be throwing wine at innocent Palestinian women, nor should Palestinian men trash Israeli property. Nor should bullets or rockets be shot at one side or the other. The fighting is pointless. Life is too short for this nonsense. It's a shame that it's 2010 and the two parties can't even make real attempts to work out their problems.
At the end of the day, one thing can be taken from the entire situation: a foundation built on peace will be far stronger than any foundation that questionable homes could be built on.

E-mail: stephen.marth@ubspectrum.com


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