Grahamophone

May 17, 2009

Palestine question affects us all

Filed under: Politics,Publications — grahamophone @ 2:55 pm

I just wrote this piece about the Middle East crisis in advance of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington this week. I didn’t write this because I have all the answers or because I consider myself an expert. Far from it. But I do have a personal stake in resolving the Middle East crisis.

I think everybody does.

If you have ever worried as a friend studied or worked on a Kibbutz in Israel, you have a stake in peace between Israel and Palestine.

If you have any Arab Muslim friends, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. Their families would be safer and their home countries could inch toward democracy if their governments could no longer maintain power through threats about Israel.

If you worry about Iran’s nuclear weapons, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear bluster is only strengthened by harsh U.S. criticism. His arguments would be deflated by a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine.

If you have a son, relative or friend serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. The militant insurgents wreaking havoc in both countries use the Palestinian cause as a rallying cry.

My stake in the Middle East crisis is about an uncle and cousins in Lebanon. I was born in Lebanon in the first month of the long and misnamed civil war. To a large degree, the Lebanese war was a proxy fight between Syria and Israel. My beautiful birthplace was caught in the crossfire. My cousins are all younger, and they have lived with war or the threat of war for their entire lives. One cousin will soon have a baby and decide if that child should grow up near family or in a quieter, more peaceful country.

Lebanon s relatively peaceful today, but even in peaceful years, Lebanese citizens have their movements restricted by militant Islamic groups training and preparing for war with Israel. They also listened for years to the daily flyover of Israeli jets breaking the sound barrier in the airspace above Beirut as a loud reminder of their large military presence just south of the border.

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