A Call to End the Cycle of Violence in Israel and Palestine

[1] As the United States considers various responses to the September 11 attacks, including bringing to justice the perpetrators of the attacks, we, as a nation, should be giving attention to the root causes of terrorism and the anger, fear, and sense of hopelessness that prompt a few to act desperately and violently.

[2] All of us who actively seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians, whether we are, or are perceived by others to be, pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian, recognize that ending the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine is key to building confidence and starting productive negotiations between the two. Breaking this cycle of violence is also an important factor in preventing the kind of terrorism that rocked the United States on September 11. The cycle of Palestinian-Israeli violence that must stop, however, is not limited to drive-by shootings, assassinations, suicide bombings, helicopter missile strikes, mortar attacks, and tank shelling. The cycle of violence includes the violence inherent in decades of occupation: imprisonment without trial, demolition of homes, torture, intimidation, destruction of thousands upon thousands of olive trees and other crops, confiscation of land and the building of settlements in disputed areas, economic strangulation, and so on.

[3] The need for the U.S. to take actions that will help break the cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, end the occupation, and promote the rule of law and the protection of human rights is greater now than ever before. One of the things the U.S. should do is support, not veto, proposals at the United Nations for the introduction of observers and peacekeepers in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, perhaps NATO troops as some have suggested.