Currently, in Israel, a cease-fire is in place that has been agreed upon by both Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government. Currently, in Washington, D.C., President Bush is promising aid to the Palestinians, aid that they desperately need, in order for them to be able to establish good, peacekeeping forces that can rein in terrorists and serve as a police force in the region that Israel is trying to move out of. Currently, in other Arab countries, governments are still far behind their promise of $1 billion in aid to Palestine, a promise that, based on the current outlook, may never be fulfilled. Currently, on America’s list of countries that receive aid, is Israel, which receives more American aid than any other country. The second on the list is Egypt. Israel needs America’s help now more than ever.
Israel’s economy is one of the better economies, and their military is by far one of the strongest in the world. But with the election of Mahmoud Abbas, and his efforts to control the extremist groups, European and American support has been shifting. Israel has been doing its part, agreeing to move out of controlled areas in the West Bank, but what seems to be the end of the second Intifada gets all of the attention in the foreign media. Where is the support for Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who is making many in his own party upset because of his evacuation plan? The American and European media have always been off base when covering the crisis in the Middle East. Some channels place too much emphasis on the Palestinian side of the conflict, and others too much on the Israeli side. But today it appears that there is very little on the Israeli side.
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush declared that he wants to give $350 million in aid to the Palestinians. This comes at a time when Israel is losing support from countries around it by the day. Syria knowingly funds terrorist organizations that have used homicide bombings to kill and injure innocent Israelis in the past, while extremists from Palestine and the United States have supported them.
There is no reason to support these types of attacks, no reason at all, and hopefully the current cease-fire can lead to a lasting peace that will end them for good. America has a rich history of supporting Israel, even when their ideologies conflicted, and Israel is one of few American allies in the region, if there are any others, despite all of the support America gives many other countries in the region.
As has been evidenced by the current war in Iraq, other countries in the Middle East do not support America or its allies; in fact many support its enemies. But America must be careful not to try and please these other countries at the expense of one of its oldest allies.
The United States has been one of the most generous supporters of Israel, and it is good to know that it has not lessened its support, but it is becoming evident that support for Palestine is much louder than support for Israel.
Anti-Israel rallies are becoming more prevalent in the United States, and it is up to the supporters of Israel to show how they are just as committed, if not more committed to supporting Israel than those who hate a beacon of democracy in the Middle East are to obliterate it. It is time for supporters of Israel to be louder than extremists who want to see it destroyed.
On college campuses especially, Israel supporters are often found responding to Palestinian supporters, rather than preempting them. This is a problem that must be stopped. Israel supporters must be pro-active and get their opinions out. For this, I want to personally recognize the efforts of Hillel and other campus organizations who organized and supported Blue and White Day, a day of support for Israel. I just hope that all students involved realize that support for Israel is not just a one-day event; it is a lifelong commitment.
Alex Chazen is a first-year political science major. You can reach him at email@example.com