As of Saturday, January 14, 2017
To the editor:
Dear RaeLynn, I struggled much of the night trying to find a way to be strategic in responding to your comments about Israel and Palestine in Wednesday’s Crosstalk. I’ve not been able to do that. Years ago my American Jewish mentor in West Jerusalem taught me that, on this issue, diplomacy merely delays the inevitable.
You begin by saying all Israel need do is wait just “10 more days until the United States can once again begin backing its greatest ally and the only free-market and genuinely democratic nation in the Middle East.”
There may be a good reason or two to cheer a Trump presidency. This is not one of them.
• Greatest Ally—When we stop sending $4 billion to $6 billion a year, no strings attached, to Israel we will soon learn they are no longer our ally.
• Free Market Economy—There are many things you could call the Israel economy. Free is not one of them. If it was, the United States would, for example, again see the best table grapes in the world in our grocery stores. And we would have ready access to one of the world’s best beers. The problem? Those massive, luscious grapes are grown in the Hebron Valley by Palestinian Muslims and the beer is brewed in the Christian town of Taybeh. Both, unfortunately for us, are in Palestine. Israel has placed prohibitive export restrictions on any product over which they do not have direct control.
• Genuinely Democratic Nation—Give me a break! I know Trump would like to take us there, but any nation that restricts freedom of religion is not a democracy.
Finally, it’s my firm belief that any discussion about Palestine and Israel that doesn’t begin and end with the word “Occupation” is fatally flawed. There is an Occupier nation, Israel. There is an Occupied nation, Palestine.
John Newton Hickox