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March 04, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-04

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 4, 2002

OP/ED

Clbe llirbtuigta tilg

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
We are not a
rubber stamp to this
president or to
anybody else."
- Senate majority leader Thomas A.
Daschle (D-S.D) in reaction to Trent Lott's
reaction (which Daschle called "nothing
short of hysterical') to remarks which Lott
interpreted as unpatriotically critical of the
president, as quoted by The Washington Post.

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THOMAS KULJURGiS TENTATIVELY SPEAKING

Narrowing down Palestine, Israel and divestment
AMER G. ZAHR TuE PROGRESSIVE PEN

his past weekend, we
have seen what is a
common occurrence
in Israel and Palestine. Both
sides have committed vio-
lent acts, each calling its
action a response to some
act of the other. Our state
department has called for
restraint, Ariel Sharon has
labeled Palestinian acts as "terrorism" and Yass-
er Arafat has pleaded with the world, exclaim-
ing once again that he is powerless. This final
point may be true, but it is only partly due to his
restricted freedom of movement and much more
due to his own corruption, inabilities to lead,and
overall incompetence. The result of all this is
both an uneasy Israeli population and an impris-
oned Palestinian populace that simply falls fur-
ther into uncertainty, powerlessness,
homelessness, and seemingly farther than ever
from any sort of self-determination.
It seems to me that there need be some clari-
fication as we do our best to focus in on what
the real issues at hand here are. The main obsta-
cle here is of course the ongoing illegal Israeli
occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (I'm
leaving out Israel's occupation of the Golan
Heights in Syria, although it is as illegal as any
other). Recently, there has been a peace sketch
put forward by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
Abdullah, which calls for an Arab normalization
with Israel, provided it returns to pre-occupation
borders. Other Arab states have already rejected
the proposal on many grounds and there doesn't
seem to be much hope for wide acceptance.
Arab leaders have not given much reason for
their rejection, but the truth there should not
even be such a plan to reject. Crown Prince
Abdullah is in fact not proposing anything at all
other than outlining to the world what Israel is
required to do under international law (although
I'm sure he only meant to score some points
with American policy-makers).
The problem in most analyses of the Israeli-

Palestinian conflict is that they rest on faulty
assumptions. The first is an assumption of paro-
dy, and Israel and its supporters in this country,
including on this campus, knowingly forward
this misconception. What we are talking about
when referring to the relationship between
Palestinians and Israelis is not the relationship
of one nation with another, but rather of a mili-
tary occupying power with a civilian occupied
populace.
The second deficient assumption surrounds
the issue of control. Most speak as if the Pales-
tinians and Israelis have equal control. In other
words, most discourses revolve around the
incorrect supposition that the Israelis control
Israel and that the Palestinians control Gaza and
the West Bank, while in fact Israel exercises
complete military control in most of the West
Bank and Gaza and complete discretion in the
rest of it. This is evidenced every day as Israel
demolishes homes, places leaders under house
arrest and sets up degrading and protracted
checkpoints for Palestinians as Israeli settlers
travel freely through the occupied lands.
It seems pertinent here to briefly address sui-
cide attacks since it is the conditions I have
described that leads to them. Israeli occupation
does not justify attacks against civilians of any
sort, whether through a suicide bombing or oth-
erwise. In the same tone, suicide attacks and the
like do not justify military occupation. Palestini-
ans have a right to legitimate resistance, but no
one has the right to target civilians, and it is
worth noting here that while Arafat does nothing
to stop the targeting of civilians by certain fac-
tions, perhaps even his own, Sharon constantly
engages in military operations that are meant to
make Palestinian civilian life a living hell.
Finally, the most damaging misconception
has its nexus not in Israel or Palestine, but rather
right here in America. Most analysts who speak
on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict talk as though
our officials in Washington and around the
country can be even-handed. The facts are that
American politicians and policy makers aid the

Israeli military and government to the tune of $5
billion yearly. Israel is the recipient of the largest
amount of aid we dole out every year, eating up
about one-third of our annual foreign aid budget.
Another $2 billion goes to Egypt every year. It
seems that that $7 billion would be much better
spent on American education and efforts to erase
American poverty than to aid the governments
of two countries that cause so much strife and
oppression within their borders.
American presidents have recently attempt-
ed to show neutrality while calling Palestinians
terrorists and Israelis defenders, Palestinians
aggressors and Israelis victims. American lead-
ers have repeatedly stressed their support for
Israel's policy of return for Jews from around
the world to Israel while thumbing their noses at
international law as they deny the founded legal
right of Palestinian refugees around the world to
reclaim their own right of return to their lands in
Palestine. They have repeatedly supported cor-
rupt Israeli and Arab leaders like Sharon, Arafat,
and Mubarak, all the while taking no time to
critically analyze what those who are on the
ground actually think and feel.
Well, I think the time has come for Ameri-
can officials to see how we Americans, espe-
cially students, feel. We can have some sort of
impact in demanding for fair-handedness in
dealing with Israelis and Palestinians. This all
starts with a call for own university to divest
from Israel. Similar movements have ended uni-
versity relationships with the apartheid govern-
ment in South Africa, and university
relationships with Israeli companies and govern-
mental agencies fall into the same boat. Because
of the gross injustices being committed against
Palestinians with American money, and more
importantly with our tuition money, it is of
utmost importance to begin the discourse of
divestment. Let those of us with moral con-
science lead the way.

0
-t

Amer G. Zahr can be reached
at zahrag@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Many Christians who are
also scientists 'accept the
theory of evolution"
TO THE DAILY:
As both a Christian and a scientist, I am
concerned about the recent letter to the edi-
tor by Nathan Lee regarding the teaching of
evolution and intelligent design (Evolution
has little proof; is the view of atheists, 2/21/02).
Lee plainly states that "atheists believe evo-
lution, and theists believe intelligent
design." I have found that many evangelical
Christians feel this same way - that there is
a conflict between science and their faith. I
would like to say to Lee that this paradigm
of conflict between science and religion is
not historically or theologically accurate and
that the two subjects of thought can be rec-
onciled into a coherent whole.
Many Christians who are scientists in fact
accept the theory of evolution as the method
by which God created. I would like to
encourage Lee to read some literature by
John Polkinghorne, Davis Young, Howard
Van Till and George Murphy. All are excel-
lent scholars in both science and in theology.
Additionally, I would recommend that he
look up the American Scientific Affiliation
(www.asa3.org) and other similar or related
organizations and see the diversity of views
held by Christians who are scientists.

Many, if not most, Christians in the sci-
ence fields accept the theory of evolution.
CHARLES CARRIGAN
Rackham student
Albright 'belittles loss of
Iraqi life' during her B-
School appearance
TO THE DAILY:
I was the one that asked Madeline Albright
the question concerning Iraq during her inter-
view at the business school last on Feb. 21. I
was really disturbed by her answer. Her claim
that the sanctions are not the cause of the Iraqi
deaths is not only absurd but it is an absolute
lie. The former secretary of state belittles the
loss of Iraqi life and the humanitarian tragedy
that has occurred in Iraq by the use of lies and
misinformation.
Let us look at the facts. The first fact is
these people were not dying before the
sanctions. Knowing this fact alone we can
disprove Former Sec. Albright's claim that
sanctions are not the cause of Iraqi deaths.
According to Dennis Halliday, former
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator,
Iraq has pumped 35 billion dollars worth of
oil since the oil for food program began in
1996. They have received only food and
medicine equivalent to 10 billion dollars.
Ten billion dollars is not enough to

divide among 22 million people, split over
five years. Do the math (the state budget of
Rhode Island, a state of with a little over
one million people, is over five billion dol-
lars per year). Let us not also forget that
people in Iraq not only need food and medi-
cine but they need the proper supplies to
provide sanitation, running water, electrici-
ty. All three of these things are critical to
preventing the spread of disease.
The people of Iraq also need opportunities
to work and educate themselves so that they
are able to obtain a change in their govern-
ment. The cases of leukemia in Iraq have
quadrupled since the Persian Gulf War and the
number of children born with defects has
increased dramatically as well. These numbers
can be blamed on the use of depleted uranium.
Who is going to pay to clean up that mess?
The fact is that the Iraqi people are suf-
fering and paying the price for a regime
that the United States government bol-
stered for many years. The other fact is
these people would be in better shape to rid
themselves of Saddam Hussein's regime if
they were able to eat and work. But the
United States government wants a starving
and dying people to clean up the mess it
played a major role in creating. And it sees
that as a perfectly rational answer to its
troubles with the Iraqi regime and the trou-
bles of the people of Iraq.
ASHRAF ZAHR
Engineering

01

VIEWPOINT

The Palestinian people
by Idris Elbakri too old to work, they live with their children,
until God calls them to meet Him. Our people
Our weddings are beautiful. We parade the are like olive trees. They are cared for when they
newlyweds through the streets of their neighbor- are a year old and when they are many years old,
hood. We feed anyone who comes to celebrate and in between, they give so much to so many.
with us. We offer good rice, good meat and good We love our olive trees. We all go olive
cigarettes. We dance in the streets and fill our picking. Our olive groves are our national parks
lives with flowers for many days. and picking olives is our national pastime. From
Our funerals are sad. We drape our dead in olive trees we've learned to give when we have
white and carry them silently to their graves. At and don't have. We've learned to stand firm on

"intifada" is our song of freedom, our rebellion
against the cage of occupation and our anthem of
hope. Some call it resistance. Some call it terror-
ism. Others call it revolutionary violence and
some describe it as civil disobedience. We just
call it "intifada."
A few of us cannot cope with their gardens
uprooted, with the homes of their sorrow and
happiness demolished and with their loved ones
decimated. They give in to despair, and take

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