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October 09, 1985 - Image 4

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday October 9, 1985 The Michigan Daily

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Washington's mideast 'policy'

Vol. XCVI, No.25

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Mideast opportunism

By Jeffrey Parness
An all too common phenomenon occurred
last week in Washington D.C. - the Reagan
Administration went back on an original
statement. The occasion for this reversal was
the United States response to the Israeli bom-
bing of the P.L.O. headquarters in Tunis.
The exchange between the White House and
the State Department and the reassessment
condoning the Israeli raid before the watchful
eyes of the American media highlights the
fact that the so called U.S. "policy" of
retaliating against acts of worldwide terror-
sim is nothing more than a rhetorical respon-
se to a very real and devastating problem.
As U.S. forces were being withdrawn from
Lebanon following the tragic bombing of the
Marine compound in Beirut, Administration
officials claimed that the U.S. would have to
sit on the sidelines for a while in order to for-
mulate a feasible policy for dealing with
events in Lebanon and the Middle East in
general.
A few months later, amid continued bom-
bings of U.S. facilities and kidnappings in
Lebanon, the Administration announced that
its policy would be to retaliate against any
acts of terrorism committed against the
Parness is a junior in LSA.

United States when it could be determined
exactly who was responsible for these acts
and from where the operations were being
carried out.
While U.S. forces were still engaged in
Lebanon, their attempts to retaliate against
the shelling of the Marine compound at Beirut
Airport led to the U.S.S. New Jersey's ran-
dom shelling of the hills east of Beirut and to
the failed air raid which led to the Robert
Goodman hostage drama.
The administration's policy of direct and
immediate retaliation against the per-
petrators of terrorism began to gain accep-
tance in Washington as Reagan and Shultz
began to make numerous threats against
would-be terrorists.
Their policy was put to the test during and
after the TWA hostage crisis as the ad-
ministration warned of possible retaliatory
measures - which were subsequently never
carried out because those responsible for the
hijacking and the murder of Robert Steithem
could not be pinpointed.
And now we have the raid in Tunis.
Following the murder of 17 Israelis in the
West Bank and in Cyprus carried out by
Palestinians operating under the PLO's
worldwide network including their new "for-
ce 17," Israeli warplanes flew 1500 miles to

the source of these crimes and destroyed
Yasser Arafat's PLO headquarters, located
in Tunis since the PLO's expulsion from
Lebanon.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Yit-
zhak Rabin, these offices were in contact with
Palestinians in Jordan who have been in-
filtrating into the
West Bank over the Jordan River's open
bridges and inciting Palestinian violence
against Israelis in the past few months. The
PLO claimed responsibility for these mur
ders; the Israelies pinpointed where these
operations were originating and destroyed
the PLO complex in Tunis from which acts of
terrorism were being committed.
Yet following President Reagan's initial,
acceptance of the raid, George Shultz, who
was at the United Nations catching heat for
the U.S.'s support of the Israeli raid'
pressured the White House to reverse it'
original statement that the raid was a-
"legitimate response" against "terrorist ac-
ts." The following day, the official U.S
statement was that the aerial attack could ndt
be condoned even though it was "understan-
dable as an expression of self-defense."
Long term policy or short-sighted statem-
ents? What is it going to be, Mr. Shultz?

L AST WEEK'S convoluted
response by the Reagan Ad-
ministration to the Israeli bombing
of the Palestine Liberation
Organization's headquarters in
Tunisia is only a sampling of the
possible consequences of having a
foreign policy whose chief gover-
ning influence is opportunism.
In trying not to alienate any
powers in the Middle East, the
Administration has put itself in a
position where it is unable to help
any of them. When the Ad-
ministration issued a statement
regarding the Israeli action (stated
by the Israeli government as a self-
defensive move in response to the
slaying of three Israelis in Cyprus
the previous week) the gover-
nment's spokesmen found them-
selves tripping over previously
stated positions, and each other,
unable to commit total support to
any given party.
The debacle began on October 2
with a firm endorsement of the
bombing as "a legitimate respon-
se" against terrorist attacks. On
October 3, however, it seems the
White House hadn't checked with
the State Department, and
Secretary of State George Shultz
had to smooth things over -
someone seemed to have forgotten
that the U.S. had friendly relations
with Tunisia. According to Shultz,
the new position was that the raid
was, "understandable...but cannot
be condoned."
Subsequently, Shultz revealed
that the U.S. had strongly en-
couraged Tunisia to take in the
P.L.O. after its expulsion from
Lebanon. Therefore, the
Americans obviously had a hand in
getting Tunisia involved in the
P.L.O./Israeli conflict.
The issue was further com-
plicated by the fact that Israel used
American-made F-15 fighter-
bombers to carry out the bombing;
which raises the questions of

Israel's motives in the bombing
and the U.S.'s conditions regarding
the use of American-made
weaponry.
The sale of weapons to Israel is a
definite statement that the United
States considers Israel's security a
good cause - and so it is; for Israel
as well as for American interest in
the events in the Middle East. In
order to pacify friendly Arab
nations put off by the sales, the U.S.
limited use of the weapons to self-
defense situations, and thereby
catered to more than one interest in
the area.
The Administration has endorsed
retaliation as a means of combat-
ting terrorism - a policy which
would cause them to support the
Israeli raid - yet one which might
make it appear to be perpetuating
the region's cycle of violence. In
that light, each of the Ad-
ministration's official positions
came in response to different in-
terests in the region.
Similarly, the Administration
approved arms sales to Jordan on
the condition that King Hussein
could give the assurance that the
Jordanian-Palestinian delegation
would negotiate under the terms
consistently called for by the U.S.
In so doing, it potentially angered
the Israelis and added to the
military hardware already in the
region.
The problems raised in response
to Israel's action prove beyond a
doubt that it is impossible and
naive - expecially in the Middle
East - to be so intrinsically in-
volved in almost every facet, of
every issue, on all sides. Such at-
tempts will sustain violence and
destroy the credibility of U.S.
foreign policy in the process. Until
the United States sees the poten-
tially explosive consequences of its
political opportunism it will per-
petuate violence in the area and
may one day find itself unable to
meet all of its promises.

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4

LETTERS
Tunisians give their view of Israeli raid

Some week

What feasting and carousing! A
real gorge! I must have eaten the
remains of thirty lunches. Never
have I seen such leavings, and
everything well-ripened and
seasoned with the passage of time
and the heat of the day. Oh, it
was rich, my friends, rich!
-Templeton the rat
from E.B. White's
Charlotte's Web
T IS A time worn truth that
schooling can often get in the
way of education, but oddly enough
it seems as if education can get in
the way of education sometimes
too.
This past week has seen a half-
dozen notable events strewn across
the campus in a cornucopia as
magnificent as the littered county
fairgrounds where the recently
deceased E.B. White placed his
characters.
With gems of intellectual
nourishment mixed in with piles of
garbage, there have been so many
events, in such a short space of

Initiative that featured a balanced
panel of national figures.
*Monday ushered Vice-President
George Bush in with a rather cold
welcome for a speech com-
memorating the 25th anniversary
of the Peace Corps.
*Monday evening brought
Watergate conspirator John
Ehrlichman for a speech that was
largely overshadowed by Bush's
visit.
eMonday and Tuesday mornings
brought the less-publicized half of
the Peace Corps anniversary
celebration as several national
figures gathered for a conference
on the United States' role in
developing African nations.
*And last night wrapped it up
with Civil Rights Commission
Chairman Clarence Pendleton
speaking at the Law School on
racism in America.
It may take some time before the
student, faculty, and ad-
ministrative "rats" are able to sift
through the glorious mess these
events have left behind, but the en-
tire University community, those

To the Daily:
On October 1, about eight
planes flew 1,500 miles and bom-
bed what has been called the
Great Headquarters of the
Palestinian Liberation
Organization. The casualties
amounted to at least 60 people
and a large number wounded. At
least half the victims of the raid
were Tunisian women and
children.
The U.S. governments reaction
developed in two stages. First,
the White House spokesman an-
nounced that "the operation was
legitimate and must be con-
sidered as a self-defensesreaction
to the killing of three Israelis in
Cyprus." Then, another
statement shaded the first one
but left the basic belief in the
legitimacy of the raid unaltered.
Although President Reagan
expressed his confidence in the
efficiency of the Israeli In-
telligence, it is far from sure that
the PLO had any responsibility in
the killing of the three Israelis
(Le Monde, Sept. 28th, 1985). The
PLO denied such responsibility.
Now some points must be made
clear:
.It is not quite right to confuse
a terrorist aiming at the subver-
sion of the democratic in-
stitutions in a free society, say
West Germany or Italy, with
people facing a non-democratic
situation in the occupied
territories.
*It is worth stressing that for
two years now, Yasser Arafat,
the PLO leader, jointly with King
Hussein of Jordan has been
trying to make direct peace
negotiations with Israel. In fact, it
has been noticed that the armed
actions in the occupied territories
have not been necessarily linked
to the PLO. Furthermore, Th. L.
Friedman, the Jerusalem
correspondent of the New York
Times, quoted "the widely
respected military editor of the
Israeli newspaper Haaretz," who
wrote "The events which are oc-
curing are the buds of a civil war,
another round of war between
two populations grasping the
same plot of land" (New York
Times, Oct. 3rd, 1985).
*Also, according to "one Ad-
ministration official (the U.S.)
had a hand in getting the
Tunisians to take the PLO."
(New York Times, Oct. 3rd, 1985)
One could not be struck by the
contradiction between the

Civil disobedience is often misunderstood

To the Daily:
Karl J. Edelmann's letter
about the protest at Congressman
Purcell's office shows such a fun-
damental lack of understanding
about our action and social
change in general that I am com-
pelled to temporarily forgo my
studies and attempt to educate
this misguided soul.
First, for Dan Habib's (the
Daily photographer arrested)
sake, I would like the Daily
readers to know that he had no
desire to get arrested, that he
protested when he was, and that
he was more surprised than
anyone else that he was. Dan was
at the protest all day and was
trying to provide you, the
readers, with the most complete
coverage possible.
It was only his dedication that
caused this accidental arrest.
Since you obviously weren't
there, Karl, how can you make
the claim that his arrest was a
publicity stunt? Clearly, it was
not.
Now, on to some fundamentals
about social change, civil
disobedience, and the political
process. Karl, you've never been
arrested, have you? Have you
participated in civil disobedien-
ce? You claim that our action
was "fun and soothing to the ego.
Balderdash! I spent all day at
this protest when I should have
been, like you, Karl, in class. This
put me behind my peers - no fun.
I was herded onto a cramped bus,
taken to a garage, and processed
- no fun. I face 30 days in jail and
a $50 fine - no fun. I will be in-
volved in a long legal process -
no fun. I didn't know if I would be
let out that night or kept in jail.
(and thus miss work) - no fun,
and not soothing to the ego either.
I am now considered a
criminal, I have disobeyed the
law, and theconsequences might
reach beyond "scathing" letters-
to-the-editor - not soothing. I did
not choose to get arrested for fun,
I did it to raise awareness about
BLOOM COUNTY

the U.S. sponsored air-war in El
Salvador and to firmly state that
I am not part of it and do not wish
to support it.
You say our action wasn't a sit-
in, but was trespassing. Ever
heard of the right to protest and
express your views to your
"representatives?" If we do
really have a right to protest in
this country, to whom else should
I protest if not to my
congressman? Don't I have a
legal right to visit his office and
express my views?
Carl Purcell refuses to speak in
public on this issue, he answers
letters with form-responses, and
the media refuses to
acknowledge that an air-war is
going on.
This lack of response to
working through the system for-
ced me to work "outside" the
system. People are dying every
day in El Salvador. They are
being killed with U.S.-made
bombs and bullets. I know these
facts. It's my money, and yours,
Karl, that is being used. It's my
government that's doing it.
Knowing this, can I sit by and do
nothing?
Karl, have you ever heard of the
Holocaust? Do you know what a

"good German" is? It's someone4
who knows that his government is
committing an atrocity and does
nothing about it. I am not a "good
German." I will raise my voice
and lay down my body. Civil
disobedience is a tactic that has
been used throughout history
when people feel the system
established for change is preven-
ting change instead.
Ever heard of the Boston Tea
Party, the American Revolution,
the Abolitionist movement, the
Suffrage movement, the civil
rights movement, the anti-war
movement of the 1960's, and the
current movement to abolish
apartheid?
These are examples of suc-
cessful social change movements
that were forced to employ civil
disobedience to reach their goals.
The College Republicans and
College Democrats are two
examples of how best to waste
your time and energy if you want
change. The Republicans and
Democrats got us into this war
only the people will get us out.
Karl, you're the one who needs
to learn something about how to
affect change. And by the way,
you certainly won't learn it at this
University. - Tom Marx
October 2

In conclusion, the bombing of
the so-called Great Headquarters
(which is located in a clearly
defined urban area) and the in-
nocent casualties which it in-
volved are atrocious and the

results could have been easily
predicted. Therefore, the
American reaction is com-
promising the peace prospects
and the U.S. credibility as a
neutral moderator.

October 5
This letter was co-signed by
nine University students from
Tunisia who asked that their
names be withheld.

I

We encourage our readers to use this
space to discuss and respond to issues of
their concern. Whether those topics
cover University, Ann Arbor com-
munity, state, national, or international
issues in a straightforward or unconven-
tional manner, we feel such a dialogue is
a crucial function of the Daily. setters
and guest columns should be typed,
triple-spaced, and signed.

4

by Berke Breathed

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