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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Israel-Palestinian outcome will be two separate states

April 2, 2008

UNM Daily Lobo - Albuquerque,NM,USA
Issue date: 3/31/08
Section: Opinion


I am rather amused by Vicki Johnson's letter comparing Israel to
Communist China published in the Daily Lobo on Thursday.

Let us take a step back from these absurd comparisons. It is never wise
to compare the complexities of one region to another very different
region. In the same vein, it is futile to compare Palestinians to Nazis,
Nazis to Israelis and Americans to fascists, ad nauseam.

The idea that situations are always more complex than they appear on the
surface - though seemingly simple - is actually quite profound. Johnson,
like me, shows fondness for the Dalai Lama. It is difficult to find an
American college student who does not have some sympathy for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is a peaceful, charming and wise man reminiscent of
Gandhi. The horrors of the past week only emphasize the difficulties of
the region. China's rapid modernization program - coupled with its
desire for stability - resulted in the violent suppression of dissent.

Ironically for Johnson, the Dalai Lama is also rather fond of Israel. He
has frequently visited Israel and met with Jewish spiritual leaders -
most recently in 2006. This is not surprising. Israel is the result of a
downtrodden diaspora movement that was able to achieve statehood.

Similarly, the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of a diaspora movement
that wishes to learn from Israel's example. For such movements, Israel
is a success story. Certainly, this story is not free from the flaws of
difficulties of a very complex world.

Yet, let us address certain realities. The Dalai Lama repeatedly states
that the Tibetan people are not seeking separation but autonomy and
respect. Tibetans do not launch rockets at Chinese communities. They are
protesting, yes, but the security situation is hardly parallel to
Israel-Palestine. Hamas leadership calls for the destruction of Israel
and refuses to recognize its right to exist.

The Dalai Lama accepts China as a state, pragmatically realizing that he
must negotiate to achieve any sort of autonomy. In 2006, the Dalai Lama
said: "I want to take this opportunity, and also my appeal to Hamas, now
through violent way it won't solve, it won't achieve what it wants."

Indeed, the more Hamas uses violence to target Israeli civilians -
whether by rockets or suicide bombings - the more Israelis will appeal
to their government for protection. And because Israel is a democracy,
its leadership is accountable to its citizens. More violence will result
in a pro-national security Knesset that will be less willing to
negotiate a final settlement with the Palestinians.

Furthermore, no country should be expected to sacrifice its survival for
the safety of those who wish to destroy it. Palestinian leaders must
pursue an outcome for the long-term benefit of their people. This
outcome, realistically, will include both a Palestinian state and an
Israeli state. It will be achieved through difficult negotiation and
willingness by both sides to make sacrifices. It will not be achieved by
violently targeting Israeli civilians.

Rachel Fredman
UNM student

UNM Daily Lobo - Albuquerque,NM,USA
Issue date: 3/27/08
Section: Opinion

Readers found Richard M. Berthold's column published in the Daily Lobo on March 14 in which he compared Israel with the Nazi government objectionable.

In late 2006, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the U.S. with a massive "Iran is Nazi Germany" publicity campaign.

That approach to warmongering didn't sell in the U.S. and even earned a rebuke from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Putting aside Nazi Germany, how about comparing the systematic human-rights violations of Israel and China?

China claims Tibet as its own. Many factions of the Israeli government and public lay full claim to Palestinian land. China has transferred large populations of Han Chinese into Tibet, and Israel has used financial incentives to encourage hundreds of thousands to transfer to Jewish-only settlements inside the occupied territories.

Palestinians and Tibetans have been displaced by war and occupation. After the founding of Israel, an estimated 4 million to 6 million Palestinians became refugees, comprising about two-thirds of the Palestinian people. The Tibetan exile government estimates 1.2 million Tibetans died as a direct result of China's invasion of Tibet. There are now an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Tibetan refugees out of a total Tibetan population of about 6 million.

The Israeli government refuses to allow Palestinian refugees to return, while offering any Jew in the world Israeli citizenship. China will not even allow the exiled Dalai Lama to return for a visit. Palestinians living in Israel and Tibetans in China are impoverished by government policies of ethnic discrimination.

Israel has tortured Palestinians, and China has tortured Tibetans, including female monks. Perhaps inspired by ancient China, Israel is building a great big apartheid wall to keep out Palestinians.

What has been the U.S. government's response? The U.S. gives Israel more than $3 billion in aid per year. Israel uses U.S.-made and U.S.-financed fighter planes, combat helicopters, drones, missiles and cluster bombs to kill civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

The book The Israel Lobby argues donations and intimidation by pro-Israel groups powerfully influence U.S. political parties and candidates. China's influence over the U.S. looms much larger. China holds an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. treasuries and bonds, which keeps the bankrupt U.S. economy from collapsing and helps finance U.S. government expenditures such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. trade policy encouraged consumers to buy $300 billion of Chinese goods last year; U.S. exports were worth only $65 billion. How likely is it that the U.S. government will object to China having its way with Tibetans?

Systematic violations of human rights by governments affect all of us. The next Tibetan monk to be killed would have carried on the nonviolent teachings of the Dalai Lama. The next Palestinian to be killed might have become a peacemaker and saved Israeli lives.

This year marks not only the 2008 Olympics, but the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel and the "Naqba," the catastrophe for Palestinians. We'll be seeing plenty of propaganda from the Chinese and Israeli governments. Take a stand for human rights.

Vicki Johnson
Daily Lobo reader


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