Recognition of Palestine will change Middle East

The U.S. position in the Middle East is perilous. Our policy of building nations with military presence is failing. The cost, in terms of military lives and taxpayer dollars is tragic, and it promotes more Arab hostility. It should be replaced by civilian presence. We were pushed into Iraq and Afghanistan. Now we are being pushed to take action in Iran about reactor graded (3 percent) uranium. We should reduce our military profile as orderly as possible. Russia learned this years ago in Afghanistan.

Our involvement in the Israel/Palestine dispute is a relatively small item but important in the total picture. On Oct. 23 in Paris, Palestine (Mr. Abbas) won membership in the 193 member UNESCO (United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Late in November, a bid for membership in the UN General Assembly for the Palestinian state failed.

Abbas wins standing ovations in both the UN and UNESCO. The rest of the world wants Palestine to have membership and a cessation of Israel building settlements in/on Palestine land. The UNESCO vote was a majority. The “no” vote was 8 percent. Oddly, the U.K. abstained, which is what the U.S. should do. This would bring big gains from a minimum effort.

Abbas would win his membership if the General Assembly were ‘permitted’ to vote. The UN Security Council (15 members) must recommend a full vote to the General Assembly. There are five permanent members in the Security Council — U.S., China, Russia, France, U.K. Any one can veto any action. Over the years, there is a long history of 14 yes votes to one no vote (U.S.), when Palestine needs are involved. The vote never reaches the General Assembly.

Palestine membership should be decided by the rest of the world and not by the U.S. all alone. If the U.S. abstains on the Security Council vote, many positive things will happen for many people, including the U.S.:

reduce the deployment of U.S. military

decrease Arab/U.S. hostility

help to stabilize the price and supply of oil

reduce the threat of terrorism here

L.H. BELZ

Pottstown

(pottsmerc.com / 04.12.2011)

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