Don’t blame Israel

The political cartoon in the Oct. 12, 2000, issue by Kloss is an outrage.

Anyone with an ounce of humanity and an interest in evenhanded media coverage would agree.

This cartoon is a prime example of the gross misrepresentation and untruthfulness that is so prevalent in today’s media coverage of the current Middle Eastern crisis. The simple-mindedness and bias exhibited by Kloss can only promote unwarranted anti-United States, anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment and opinion. The cartoon, which depicts the state of Israel, supported by the United States, massacring Palestinians, is so far off base that it offends all sense of morality.

If Kloss had a clear and unbiased view of the facts of this very serious crisis, he would have drawn a very different picture. The true picture would show Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak bent over backwards, body contorted, as he has tried everything in his power to secure a lasting and meaningful peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Just a short time ago at Camp David, Barak had gone where no Israeli leader before him had ever dared. The Israeli offer, in exchange for real peace, was the return of 92 percent of the West Bank and a capital for a new Palestinian state in East Jerusalem. The Palestinian response to this offer was one of violence against a variety of Israeli targets. A violence that started well before Ariel Sharon’s ill-advised visit to the Temple Mount.

The loss of human life is not something that any sane person wants. The violence that has erupted within Israel and the Palestinian Authority Territory cannot end unless Arafat takes responsibility, as a true leader should, and call for an end to it. Not a symbolic gesture, similar to changing the PLO Charter so that it no longer calls for the destruction of Israel, but real, honest action. Action that shows a commitment to no longer teaching Palestinian children hate and violence against Israelis in their schools and textbooks. There is little chance to resume the peace process unless the Israeli people believe the Palestinian Authority, led by Arafat, is truly committed to peace.

This will take positive action, not just words or new changes in the PLO Charter. Think of what the impact would have been if, during Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount, he had been welcomed and protected by the Palestinians. This is the type of action that would show Israel and the entire world that Palestinians truly want a lasting peace and believe that all people have a right to worship at the region’s religious holy sites, even the hated Sharon. Actions such as this, not the throwing of stones, will lead to political resolution of the conflict. The alternative, more violence and eventual war, is not acceptable.