The Same Questions for Sen. Obama
In January, President Bush visited the Palestinian Authority. We offered him some questions we thought might better acquaint him with Palestinian thinking on subjects of concern to the American people (see JINSA Report #735).
In January, President Bush visited the Palestinian Authority. We offered him some questions we thought might better acquaint him with Palestinian thinking on subjects of concern to the American people (see JINSA Report #735). In the spirit of bipartisanship, and because we didn’t get answers from President Bush, we offer Senator Obama a similar set of questions he might ask Abu Mazen when he travels to the region:
- The Bush Administration has referred to “the occupation that began in 1967.” What year did the Israeli “occupation of Palestine” actually begin?
- When Americans refer to “Israeli settlements,” they mean houses for Jews built east of the 1949 Armistice Line. Would you show me where “Israeli settlements” actually are on your map? (Looking at the map, ask, “Where is Israel?”)
- When Israelis are asked where they conceive the State of Palestine to be after a peace agreement, they respond with some variation of the West Bank and Gaza, with some arrangement for Jerusalem. This corresponds with State Department thinking about where Palestine will be. Where do you conceive the State of Israel to be after a peace agreement? (Sen. Obama, “In the sea” is not an acceptable answer here.)
- You are receiving American money, equipment and the help of an American Army General to improve your security force capabilities. How can you give the American people confidence that our military is not simply producing more capable Palestinians terrorists? How can you give the Israeli people confidence that you will use these capabilities to protect the people of Israel from Palestinian terrorism, since some of that terrorism has been conducted by your own Fatah forces?
- Gilad Shalit was captured while you were in control of Gaza. Why has he been denied visits from the International Red Cross? Will you join me in a demand that the Red Cross visit him?
- And, speaking of Gaza, it was under your control there that Qassam rockets began to be fired at Israel. Even during the temporary “cease fire,” rocket and mortar fire has not ceased. If I am elected President, I will not tolerate fire from Canada or Mexico into the United States, even into sparsely populated parts of North Dakota or Arizona. Will you join me in a demand to end to the firing of rockets and mortars at Israel?
- Palestinians call the establishment of Israel in 1948 the “naqba,” the catastrophe. Is the catastrophe the fact that a Jewish state was established in part of Mandatory Palestine, or that the Arabs did not permit the establishment of the corollary Palestinian Arab State? If the former, how do you think the United States can help you correct the injustice, and why do you think we would?
- May I make an unannounced visit to a classroom in the Palestinian Authority and take home samples of textbooks and lesson plans?
And one additional question:
- Ahmed Abdel Rahman, one of your advisers and a top Fatah official, welcomed the release of Samir Kuntar and Dalal Mughrabi. “This is an historic victory over Israeli arrogance,” he said, describing Kuntar as a “big struggler” and Mughrabi as a “martyr who led one of the greatest freedom fighters’ operations in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” He saluted “Hezbollah and its leaders and fighters.” In the United States, these men are considered the vilest form of murderer – Kuntar smashed the skull of a little girl with his rifle, and Mughrabi “operation” killed a young American woman taking nature photographs and a group of bus drivers and their families on an outing. Why did you also send greetings to Kuntar on his release? Why is there a school named for Mughrabi in Hebron?