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Letter: Defends his Mideast views

Dear Editor,

It was interesting to read Dave Fehringer's response to my letter on the bloodshed in Gaza.

I agree with Dave that much reporting in the United States is biased, though in this case overwhelming toward the Israeli point of view. At this point in history, I don't think it's helpful to take either a pro-Israel or a pro-Palestine stance. Siding with one or the other won't further the cause of peace in the Middle East.

Events of the past month in Gaza have amply demonstrated that some members of Hamas and some members of the Israeli government are willing to ruthlessly sacrifice innocent lives to further political ends. Neither side has clean hands, and the U.S. must have the courage and fairness to hold both to the same standard which, in our massive and uncritical funding of Israel's military adventures, we have not done.

Underlying this long-standing conflict is the issue of land rights. It seems no progress can be made until there is greater accountability on the part of Israel regarding the land it stole from the Palestinian Arabs in 1948. Incoming Israeli forces destroyed hundreds of Arab villages, leaving the Palestinians a displaced people ever since.

The situation is similar in some respects to the theft of Native American lands in the western movement of the European empire. Americans need to understand Mideastern history in order to even-handedly assess the current conflict.

Dave Fehringer mistakenly calls Israel a democracy. It is in fact an ethnocracy, with Jews given rights denied to other ethnicities. For example, Israel has just banned the main Arab political parties from running for the Knesset in the upcoming February elections.

This is not exactly what we would call American democratic values.