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U.S. Denies Visa to Arafat

December 04, 1988

The State Department's decision not to grant Arafat a visa to address the U.N. is counterproductive to U.S. interests in the Middle East. By alienating virtually all the Arab states in the world we can only increase the Soviet Union's position as a moderating, unbiased force in the region. Furthermore, the negative U.S. response to Arafat's peace proposals are causing them to fall apart before they have even been fully examined or understood. We are increasingly being viewed as standing alone in the corner by supporting Israel's constant opposition to negotiation. All sides are tiring of the bloodshed in the occupied territories and Lebanon. What is to be gained by suppressing dialogue between the antagonists?

In addition to isolating ourselves and showing the world how we are controlled by the Israeli lobby, we are weakening the United Nations and our position there. The U.N. helped to create Israel; it should certainly be given the chance to listen to the people who were affected by that decision.

Worse yet are the moral implications of our actions. Arafat wants to talk peace with the people of Israel. He has shown the intelligence to move from being an all-out terrorist to a statesman who is willing to negotiate and compromise on key issues. Regardless of past activities, a serious peace proposal by the leader of the Palestinian people should be heard and considered. How else will peace ever be obtained? By not even permitting peace plans to be voiced we are contradicting our own cherished values of freedom and progress, and are allowing ourselves to be stained with the blood of helpless children.

GLEN P. GARHARD

Goleta

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