situation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank territories deteriorated
into virtually all-out war in the past week, with both sides escalating
the rhetoric and the violence. The continued leadership of PLO Chairman
Arafat seems doomed. The administration now finds itself in an uncomfortable
but familiar role as peacemaker for the Middle East conflict; Presidents
from Carter to Clinton have tried and failed to create lasting peace.
Yet while our diplomatic efforts are well-intentioned and needed,
we must resist efforts by the UN and some in the administration to
go beyond diplomacy and impose our political will in the Middle East.
that American tax dollars have been instrumental in the incredible
militarization of the entire region. We give Israel about $3 billion
each year, but we also give Egypt $2 billion. Most other Middle East
countries get money too, some of which ends up in Palestinian hands.
Both sides have far more military weapons as a result. Talk about
adding fuel to the fire! Our foolish and unconstitutional foreign
aid, though debatably well-intentioned, only intensifies the conflict.
and each successive administration pledge their political, financial,
and military support for Israel. Yet while we call ourselves a strong
ally of the Israeli people, we send billions in foreign aid every
year to Muslim states like Egypt, Syria, and Turkey- states that many
Israelis regard as enemies. From the Israeli point of view, many of
the same Islamic nations we fund with our tax dollars want to destroy
the Jewish state. So while Israeli Prime Minister Sharon understandably
touts his close alliance with the U.S., many average Jews see America
as hypocritically hedging its bets.
illustrates perfectly the inherent problem with foreign aid: once
we give money to one country, we have to give it to all the rest or
risk making enemies. This is especially true in the Middle East and
other strife-torn regions, where our financial support for one side
is seen as an act of aggression by the other.
as our money never satisfies Israel, it doesnt buy us any true
friends elsewhere in the region. Foreign aid or not, the Islamic world
sees America as a constant aggressor in the Middle East. Muslims resent
our role in bringing the Shah of Iran to power, and they resent our
permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia. They view our ongoing bombing
and sanctions campaign in Iraq as wholly unjustified, believing it
harms innocent Iraqis but not Saddam Hussein. They especially resent
our tremendous financial support for Israel. In the eyes of many Muslims,
to be at war with Israel is to be at war with America.
time to challenge the notion that it is our job to broker peace in
the Middle East and every other troubled region across the globe.
America can and should use every diplomatic means at our disposal
to end the violence in the West Bank, but we should draw the line
at any further entanglement in this deadly and ancient dispute. We
cannot impose political solutions in Palestine or anywhere else. Peace
can be achieved only when self-determination operates freely in all
nations. "Solutions" imposed by outsiders or the UN cause
resentment and seldom produce lasting peace.
for self-determination really is the cornerstone of a sensible foreign
policy, yet many Americans who strongly support U.S. sovereignty
advocate interventionist policies that deny other nations that same
right. The interventionist approach that has dominated American foreign
policy since World War I hasproduced an unmitigated series of disasters.
From Korea to Vietnam to Kosovo to the Middle East, American military
and economic meddling has made numerous conflicts worse, not better.
Washington and Jefferson had it right when they warned against entangling
alliances, and the history of the 20th century proves their point.
The simple truth is that we cannot resolve every human conflict across
the globe, and there will always be violence somewhere on earth. If
we care about the self-determination of the Israeli and Palestinian
people, and if we care about the Constitution, we must adopt a neutral,
diplomatic role in the conflict and stop funding both sides.