(Re: “Global issue hits home in UC,” Nov. 22, Page 1)
Zahl Damuni, co-founder of the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, states, “U.S. tax dollars are supporting Israeli weaponry against a defenseless population.” The United States does grant $3 billion annually to Israel, but 75 percent of the foreign aid is required by law to be spent purchasing American goods. Israel has turned out to be a great investment for the U.S. and the world with its inventions and discoveries in areas of medicine, pharmaceuticals, science, technology and agriculture.
Damuni fails to mention that we send $1.6 billion in aid annually to Egypt, as well as U.S. bilateral aid to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank at half a billion dollars per year. This does not include the roughly $250 million per year the United States contributes to UNRWA, which is the organization that provides refugee services to the approximately five million Palestinians and their descendants who claim refugee status.
Damuni illustrates the plight of the Palestinian refugees by stating, “Israel broke the cease-fire on Nov. 8. It started with the killing of a child.” Huh? Damuni suffers from selective memory. There was no cease-fire in effect. For the past seven years, thousands of homemade missiles have indiscriminately been lobbed into Israeli territory from Gaza. Now that Iranian weaponry and their level of technology has reached Gaza, more sophisticated missiles are aimed at civilians and reaching major cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The missile launchers are strategically placed in homes, schools and hospitals, which makes it difficult for Israel to respond. In return, Israel has chosen to eliminate members of the Hamas military wing by direct hit so as not to kill the civilian population. This has proven to be an impossible task.
In 2000, Bill Clinton tried to broker a peace deal between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and president of the Palestine Liberation Organization Yasser Arafat. Arafat was offered Gaza, East Jerusalem, as the capital of Palestine and 97 percent of the West Bank, which addressed the issue of settlements. Arafat said “No,” and the Second Intifada was born.
In 2006, Israel withdrew from Gaza so the Palestinian people could eventually claim their own homeland. Instead, the local population voted in Hamas, a terrorist organization, for their leadership. The charter for Hamas does not recognize Israel as a sovereign nation and therefore does not have a right to exist.
Israel supports a two-state solution. Anyone who supports a one-state solution supports the demise of Israel, knowing full well that the Arab population will one day outnumber the Jews. Cries of “From the river to the sea” refer to a one-state solution called Palestine.
At the rally was a Jewish man wearing a sign around his neck. It said, “I am a refugee from an Arab country.” Because of anti-Semitism against Jews, nearly one million Jews left or were kicked out of Arab countries after Israel became a state in 1948. Many wanted to remain in their homeland but were forced out with nothing more than the clothing on their backs. There is no mention of right of return for these individuals, as Damuni claims for his organization.
Perhaps someday there will be a peaceful solution in the Middle East.
La Jolla Mayor Sanders’ legacy
Dear Mayor Jerry Sanders,
The U-T San Diego recently assessed your years as mayor. The review was significant, in part, because of what was left out. The omission was no mention of your contribution toward curbing greenhouse gases to mitigate the effects of global warming. You have been a leader in this field and your efforts should have been heralded.
This month, as mandated by AB 32, a carbon market began quietly and without fuss in California. It is the second-largest carbon market in the world. You supported that legislation. Prior to its implementation, AB 32 was challenged by Proposition 23, which would have gutted the provisions setting up a cap-and-trade program and you opposed, successfully, Prop. 23, permitting AB 32 to come into effect.
In addition, you have been a strong proponent of green and sustainable businesses, making San Diego one of the leaders in this field.
You should rightly be proud of your efforts and the U-T was remiss in not including your efforts in reducing the effects of the most important environmental issue of our time.