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Interviews With Dukakis, Jackson

June 05, 1988

The searching probe of Dukakis' views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must dishearten all those working for peace with justice in the Middle East.

When someone decries the Reagan-Shultz Administration's support of aggression and racism in South Africa, Central America and everywhere but the Holy Land, you know with whom you are dealing: a Democrat running for office. Dukakis pays grudging lip service to the idea that Palestinians might possess human rights, denies them their only voice, the PLO, and goes the Administration one step further by declaring permanent the 1967 Israeli conquest and annexation of East Jerusalem. So much for the universally accepted principle of the inadmissibility of territorial gain by force of arms. Why? Because the Israeli lobby outspends all the above combined in U.S. election campaigns.

Dukakis appears to offer Palestinians in the 21st year of Israeli occupation--characterized by land and water grabs, state-sanctioned systematic torture of prisoners, demolition of homes, deportations, illegal settlement, commercial and labor exploitation, and now the brutal suppression of their desperate uprising--precisely nothing. Why? Because the PLO is "committed to the destruction of Israel," he says, and PLO leader Yasser Arafat's statements are "ambiguous." Did his staff show him Arafat's interview in the March 13 N.Y. Times restating, "I accept all U.N. resolutions including 242 and 348"? Those resolutions call for Israel to withdraw from occupied land in return for a peace settlement.

On March 20 at the Westwood Federal Building, 1,000 Jews, Arab-Americans and others rallied under the banner of the Coalition for Peace in the Middle East. A message was read from Hassan Abdul-Rahman, the PLO representative in Washington, now muzzled by fiat of the Israeli lobby's servants in Congress: "We, the Palestinian people who have suffered so much and for so long . . . reiterate our commitment to peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis in two states, side by side, in our historic land between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea."

That is a program supported by nearly the entire world community, the majority of Americans in opinion polls and a large minority of Jewish Americans. The United States' $3 billion-plus annual gift to Israel makes us an accomplice to all its acts. But according to Dukakis' all-too-conventional wisdom, it entitles us to zero influence over the nuclear-armed Zionist state. One devoutly hopes that the predicted next President will take a crash course on Palestine.

ANTHONY SAIDY

Chapter President

American-Arab

Anti Discrimination Committee

Los Angeles

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