Peace is preferred

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

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To the Editor:

“…Our faith teaches that there is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers, who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial, and who will not forsake us so long as we obey his commandments and walk humbly in His footsteps.” Such prophetic words were echoed by President William McKinley in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1897.

McKinley also posted that “peace is more preferable than war in any contingency.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, and supporters of Hamas, a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist group, should heed the words of McKinley, who was assassinated in Buffalo, NY in 1901.

Since the US government gives over $3 billion in foreign military aid to Israel, according to Wikipedia, President Biden has both a moral and professional obligation to promote peace between the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. Since 1948, Israel has occupied what, geographically, was previously Palestine. As a result of the 1948 Arab – Israeli War, over 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were driven from their homes and became Palestinian refugees. Within this context, it is no wonder that Palestinians feel oppressed, subjugated, and dehumanized, given that Israelis continuously build settlements into Palestinian territories, like Gaza and the West Bank, as determined by various international agreements since the aforesaid war.

President Joe Biden has taken a weak-kneed approach to the ensuing conflict, sometimes making statements about protecting the interests of Israel as a buffer against militant elements (like Hamas) in the region. Yet, Palestinians continue to maintain that they live under apartheid-like conditions, such as those which existed in South Africa until the early 1990s.

When I think of honest brokers to negotiate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, the honorable President Jimmy Carter comes to mind. Of his many books, The Blood of Abraham and Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid argued extensively about what all engaged parties should do to foster peace in the war-ravaged Middle East. Carter excoriated Jewish sympathizers who maintain that Jews are entitled to the Israel as it now exists topographically.

Moreover, what many people fail to understand is that the Jews as referenced in the Bible are not the same Jews that left various European countries over decades of oppression to settle in the Israel formed in 1948.

In any event, President Carter urged Hamas to avoid violent attacks against the Israelis. Additionally, Carter also realized that many international partners regard Israel as the only viable democracy in the region and tend to give Israel the benefit of the doubt on many matters where Israel should have been raked over the coals for human rights violations per international agreements.

Members of Congress are not on the same page in analyzing the aforenamed conflict. Some believe Israel can do no wrong. They apparently have not read the Book of Judges where God of the Old Testament allowed enemy armies to beat down the Israelites until they repented of their disobedience. I used to teach this to my Sunday School students at the Indian Woods Baptist Church in Windsor in the early 1980s.

Finally, Congressional Representative Ilhan Omar recently stated poignantly, “American taxpayer money is being used to commit human rights violations. Congress must condition the aid we send to Israel and end it altogether if those conditions are not followed.”

Keith W. Cooper

Greenville, NC