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Mission Impossible?

Secretary of State Powell’s recent mission to the Middle East was rated by many as “difficult” and “impossible.” Finally arriving in Jerusalem, Powell found Sharon’s hard-line position impenetrable. By sending powerful military forces into occupied territory, Sharon intensified the oppressive controls that have produced terrorism. It is as though Israel has put the Palestinians in a pressure cooker, plugged up the safety valve, and turned up the heat. The pressure cooker is the occupation, the safety valve is the hope the Palestinians have for a decent life, and the heat is the incessant land theft via settlements. The consequent explosion of terrorism provides Israel’s excuse to use state terrorism.

Under house arrest and humiliated by Sharon, it could be expected that Arafat would not follow “instructions” (by Israel and the U.S.) to denounce terrorism. It may be that Arafat never has had (or perhaps has not really tried to have) control over the radical elements in Palestine. Perhaps he sees the violent actions of groups like Hamas as the only means his people have to get back at their tormenters.

The violence on both sides is counterproductive, bringing on endless waves of retaliation for retaliation, until many Israelis and Palestinians have lost touch with their humanity. Somehow these Semitic cousins, who know so well how to hurt each other, must fund a way to share the “loaf” of Palestine – not a few crumbs for one and the lion’s share for the other, but a viable, secure space for each.



Powell has stated he plans another mission to Israel. Powell can be a successful champion of peace by making demands on both sides so obviously fair and balanced that peace terms could be agreed upon. Balanced American aid could be Powell’s leverage to gain approval of a peace plan acceptable to both parties. Depending on cooperation, the $10,000,000 daily aid to Israel could be threatened or continued, and a like sum, under the same conditions, be pledged to the Palestinians.

Mission Possible.




Del Reynolds

Grass Valley


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