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.