Viewpoint: End war of rhetoric

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    By Dan Burton

    Olympia, Wash.

    So you call yourself pro-Palestinian. So what? Or perhaps you think you are pro-Israeli. So what, again. Both statements are inherently fallible.

    They imply that one or the other is in the right and deserves the support for their goals and methods. In addition, it is because of both goals and methods that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis have enough moral prerogatives to demand peace on their terms. Remember that we are not talking about political parties and platform agendas, but two peoples in a land dispute gone sour. Peace is the ultimate goal, not the success of one party or the other. As long as peace is the goal, terms like pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli carry connotations that tie the user to a people, neither of which is making successful steps towards peace.

    Believe it or not, though peace is the stated goal, both sides’ actions betray a preference to eliminate the other rather than make peace. As long as both sides make unreasonable demands and retaliate violently when these demands are unsurprisingly not met, peace will elude the Holy Land.

    Furthermore, neither Ariel Sharon nor Yasser Arafat has the legitimacy to demand peace from the other. If you remember, it was Sharon’s ill-timed visit to the Temple Mount one year ago that brought the peace process down and initiated the violence now claiming 800 lives. On the other side, Arafat is head of what was once the terrorist PLO, infamous for hijacking before he was de facto head of the pseudo-state that is Palestine.

    Peace will only happen when both countries decide that the alternative — continued conflict and a rising body count — is unacceptable. As long as the Israelis and Palestinians believe they can absorb more of the costs of war than the other can, peace will never come to the Holy Land. It is a war of attrition, not a peace process, and until the fighting and war rhetoric stops, that is all it will be.

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