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March 07, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 7, 2002


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letters@michigandaily. com

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

This is of considerable
potential danger in
terms of poisoning
trade relationships
between a wide range
of countries."
- Peter Sutherland, thefirst director
of the World Trade Organization, as
quoted by the BBC, commenting on
President Bush's new, protectionist
tariff increases on imported steel.

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At the border and under suspicion

e were almost at
the border. The
train was stopped
and the French customs offi-
cers boarded.
"Passports please," they
declared. The officers
walked down the aisles,
guns in holsters and barely
scanned my passport once
he saw United States of America on the cover.
This was one of those standard inconve-
niences that we couldn't avoid but we could be
rid of soon.
But the train didn't move and a different set
of French customs officers, boarded the train.
"Passports please," again they declared and fol-
lowed the same procedure as the control before.
Two more sets of customs officers - this
time Spanish - boarded the train and checked
passports. One of the officers was in plain
clothes. OK, this was more than standard border
control. It seemed a little excessive for just a
routine check.
But this check was not an isolated incident.
Another friend of mine who had traveled to
Spain the day before me said that French cus-
toms officers boarded her train too. Only they
had dogs. They searched bags but this time they
had their guns drawn and ready to fire, finally
escorting a passenger off the train.
Now it's not like they tell you what they are
looking for. Instead we are all left to speculate.
Were they looking for terrorists? And if they
were was it because they were tipped off or was
it just a random check? Were they al-Qaida ter-
rorists or domestic Spanish terrorists?
Of course, something like this doesn't

ruin a weekend trip; after all, I can under-
stand the need for border patrol. Instead, it
kind of just floats out of your mind as a stan-
dard procedure not to be thought of until the
train ride home. After an adventurous cultural
escapade and many details later, we boarded
a train headed back to France.
And on the train ride home, there was no
border control going from Spain to France. I
wondered why? But this time, my friend and I
changed trains at the French border town of Cer-
bere. We had a two-hour layover so we decided
to take a walk around.
This town was gorgeous, but small and
empty. It was on the water which was bordered
by little closed cafes and the whole town was
surrounded by green mountains. And of course
like the American tourists that we were we had
to take a picture. There was only one person
close enough to take a picture - a man who
looked to be of North- African descent.
He took the picture and returned the camera.
As we thanked him, two of his friends
approached us and we could tell that although
they were speaking French, their accents were
not French. OK, fine, whatever ....
"Do you know where we can find a taxi to
take us to Barcelona?" they asked.
Barcelona? Were they kidding? We were a
good several hours away from Barcelona - a
taxi would cost a fortune.
"Well there is a train station right there. I'm
sure you could find a train to Spain. That's how
we went," my friend replied.
"We can't get to Spain on the train. We are
not allowed to cross the border."
OK. Now that was a little weird. I don't
think I need to tell you that it's a little uncom-

fortable when you're two girls talking to three
men trying to illegally cross a border.
My thoughts were thrown back to the border
control on the way to Spain. Were these men the
kind that customs were searching for and if they
were, were they dangerous?
Were they just being racially profiled or did
they really pose a threat?
Suddenly I was very aware that there was
nobody else around. To kill some time we went
to a cafe, and several minutes later the men
showed up. They went inside, where they had a
clear view of us and watched.
We were definitely going to take a cab back,
we decided. We both were uneasy. Maybe they
wanted our passports, our money
Unable to find a cab we asked the cafe
employees if they had any suggestion for get-
ting back to the train station. We explained
our discomfort with these particular men and
they didn't second guess us at all, instead the
waitress said she would drive us back to the
train station.
"We get alot of people trying to cross the
border here," she said. "I don't blame you. It
can be dangerous - especially two girls trav-
eling alone."
All of this and we were just going from
France to Spain - two European Union
countries in which border lines are supposed
to be blurred to facilitate travel and trade. But
borders still exist and while it is easier to
move between countries, borders continue to
be surveyed.
Yael Kohen is a Daily columnist writing
from Aix-en-Provence, France. She can
bereached atyaeljkohen@hotmail.com.


Palestinians must compromise, not terrorize


Last week brought a renewed explosion
of terrorism in the Middle East. In the lat-
est round of violence, more than 30 Israelis
and 50 Palestinians have died and hun-
dreds of others have been wounded.
Repeated suicide bombings, shootings
and rocket attacks have once again
returned the Israeli populace to a state of
siege, where people feel that every time
they leave their house might be their last.
With Tuesday's attacks Israel has also
witnessed a new development. A Jewish
group called "Avengers of the Infants"
bombed a school in an Arab neighborhood
leaving several Palestinians dead. Such
acts of terror targeted against civilians are
unacceptable; they are a violation of Israeli
and Jewish values, and action must be
taken immediately to ensure that no other
similar acts occur.
As pro-Israel advocates on campus, we
condemn this brutal act of violence aimed
at innocent civilians. We call on the Israeli
government to immediately arrest and pun-
ish all those responsible and demonstrate to
the world community that terrorism is ter-
rorism and that Israel will not tolerate bar-
baric attacks targeted at civilians, be they
Jewish or Muslim, Israeli or Palestinian.
We also challenge our Palestinian
cousins to follow our lead and explicitly
and unambiguously condemn terrorist
actions that are carried out in their name.

Condemning terrorism is not enough,
however. Even Yasser Arafat has bowed to
international pressure and finally con-
demned the suicide bombings that are car-
ried out in the name of the Palestinian
The obvious and easy answer to the
complex question of "what causes terror-
ism?" is that the Israeli occupation of
Palestinian land is at fault. Terrorism hap-
pens because Israel is occupying Palestin-
ian land and Palestinians are simply
responding to this occupation. Unfortu-
nately, like many other complex problems
the simple and obvious solution is not the
correct one.
To begin with, this argument is based
on the assumption that it is the occupation
that has created the terrorists, not the other
way around. Following this logic we would
then conclude that without the occupation
there would be no terrorism. History, how-
ever, disproves this conclusion.
Throughout the 1960s, Palestinian ter-
rorists used bases in Gaza and the West
Bank to attack Israeli civilians - much
like they do now - during a time in which
there was no occupation to speak of. Obvi-
ously, it is not the occupation that causes
terrorism, for when there was no occupa-
tion there was Palestinian terrorism.
A skeptic might argue that it is a lack of
a Palestinian state that causes terrorism.
These people argue that suicide bombers
are simply expressing their justifiable
anger over Israel's presence in the disputed
territories; but, if this was the case, would

we not expect the Palestinians to support a
solution establishing a Palestinian state?
History once again shows this not to be
the case. Three times the Palestinians have
been offered an independent state of their
own; three times they have responded with
violence aimed at civilians. In 1937 and
then again 10 years later, the international
community offered the Palestinians a state
and both times the Palestinians turned to
violence rather then compromise.
Two years ago at Camp David, the
Palestinian leadership turned down a set-
tlement offered by Prime Minister Barak
that would have created a Palestinian state.
While Barak's offer did not meet all of the
Palestinian demands, it was an offer that
indicated Israel's willingness to compro-
mise in order to achieve peace.
Rather then respond to compromise
with compromise, the Palestinians turned
toward violence hoping to achieve their
maximalist goals.
Maybe, just maybe, the root cause of the
violence isn't the occupation, or a lack of a
Nlestinian state, but simply the unwilling-
ness of the Palestinian leadership to com-
promise. If the Palestinians really want
peace, they must learn to compromise, not
Livshiz is co-chairperson of the American
Movementfor Israel and a member of
the Daily's editorial board.
Woll is the co-chairperson of the Israel
Michigan Public Affairs Committee.



If the goal of JROTC is to
prosletyze, it fails miserably
I read Wednesday's editorial, Playing War:
ROTC does not belong in high schools, with
some amusement and more than a little bit of
disgust. The editors of the Daily apparently
feel that JROTC programs are nothing more
than a recruitment tool for the U.S. Armed
Forces and a means of brainwashing
teenagers into enlisting. This argument is
based not so much on hard data, but on the
motto of one JROTC program in Florida and
the contents of "Policy Memorandum No. 50"
- both of which could easily have been pre-
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uation and less than five percent of each class
went on to the service academies or Senior
ROTC. If the JROTC program's goal is to
"proselytize," it's doing a very poor job of it.
What did we learn from JROTC? Well, we
didn't "play war" as the title of this editorial
suggests. We didn't study combat tactics and
we didn't learn about weapons systems. We
learned first aid, civics, public speaking skills,
management and leadership techniques, as
well as how the military operates in the con-
text of national and state government. Maybe
I've been "indoctrinated," but this seems like
a pretty valuable experience to me.
My high school circle of friends now
includes a lawyer, a stockbroker, a plumber, a
restaurant manager, a human rights activist
and an environmental engineer. So much for
JROTC "locking students into a predetermined

discipline - two qualities that many people
lack today.
As a former member of JROTC in high
school, but not a ROTC cadet, I am one of
many JROTC cadets who chose not to go
into military service. In fact, only one out of
about 15 JROTC cadets in my graduating
class went on to participate in ROTC in col-
lege and he attends a military institute.
As for the comment, "military service is
a very serious commitment that requires full
freedom to choose to participate," the last
time I checked, the U.S. had not instituted a
draft and students who participate in JROTC
and ROTC are volunteers. JROTC helps stu-
dents make the decision of joining the mili-
tary because it offers them an opportunity to
experience a taste of how the military oper-

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