Confrontation in the Mideast

It is strange to hear Kirkpatrick urging the Palestinians to speak out because, "We are all listening for what they have to say." Since the Palestinians have been speaking out for 40 years, one must conclude that Kirkpatrick is either deaf or oblivious to Palestinians concerns. Suspecting the latter, the Palestinians need her advice as much as they need another Israeli settlement on the West Bank or Gaza.

Her words are full of half-truths and innuendoes that underline her distorted views of recent West Bank and Gaza events. While she sees young Palestinians assembling "to burn tires, throw stones and threaten motorists" the rest of the world and, even Israelis of good will, see these events as the manifestation of 40 years of neglect, misery and frustration because no one was listening to their cries of anguish.

Most real and prospective West Bank leaders have been either killed, exiled or stymied in their development through closures of universities and newspaper operations. Who, then, does Kirkpatrick propose to speak for the Palestinians? The street cleaner who is forced to eke out a living for his family by sweeping Israeli streets or the teen-ager behind bars for throwing stones at the heavily armed Israeli soldiers?

The Palestinians have been robbed of their leaders, their dignity and their humanity. They are reduced to throwing stones to tell the world they want to be treated as human beings. For me, as I am sure it is to many others, the message of the West Bank and Gaza is coming very loud and clear, i.e., the Palestinians want to be in their own homeland. Too bad Kirkpatrick chooses not to listen.



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