It's Not About Israel

[Jerusalem Post] David A. Harris - British Prime Minister Tony Blair and outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan have been among the most prominent of those viewing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the root cause of many of the Middle East's problems. True, genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians would remove one of the long-standing conflicts in the Middle East. But to suggest that such a settlement would take the wind out of radical Islam's sails is unsupported by the facts. Even if Israel did not exist, would Iraq and Iran have chosen not to pursue an eight-year war that cost more than a million fatalities? Would Iraq have decided not to invade Kuwait in 1990? Would it have rethought its use of chemical weapons against both its own Kurdish population and Iran? Would Syria have refrained from slaughtering over 10,000 of its own citizens in Hama in 1982? Would it have relinquished its hold on Lebanon? Would Saudi Arabia have stopped exporting its Wahhabi model of Islam, with its rejection of non-Muslims as so-called infidels? Would al-Qaeda not have attacked the U.S. in 2001? In reality, the destabilizing factors in the Middle East run far deeper than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The sad truth is that it is political oppression, intellectual suffocation, and gender discrimination that explain, more than other factors, the chronic difficulties of the Middle East. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee.

2007-01-01 01:00:00

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