Israel is responsible for escalation of violenceThe MIT Committee on the Middle East strongly condemns the Israeli bombing attack on PLO headquarters, and subsequent Israeli threats toward Jordan. The attack was conducted by American-made F-15's, within Tunisian territory, and resulted in seventy-three deaths. Israel justified this attack as retaliation for the recent murder of three Israelis in Cyprus. We are opposed to all acts of violence in the region and do not wish to distinguish Israeli acts of violence from other acts, but believe that there is an important difference between state violence and the violent acts of individuals or small groups. Israel's policy of retaliation has not eliminated terrorism or done anything to solve the causes of terrorism, but has resulted in further escalation of violence.
The attack closely followed the visit to the United States by King Hussein of Jordan, during which the Reagan administration praised efforts to bring about peace in the Middle East; however, the threats against Jordan by Defense Minister Rabin, the day after the bombing, show an obvious intention to undermine any peace process and to destabilize the politics of the region. This attack was just another political effort, like the invasion of Lebanon, designed to increase hostilities and to diminish possibilities for peace.
Apparently suffering from retaliation-envy, Reagan initially condoned the attack, thus disregarding his own statements about peace and showing the Arab world his lack of credibility. The administration did manage to abstain during the UN Security Council vote (amidst apologies to American Jewish leaders), but this will not diminish Arab skepticism of the real American position on peace in the Middle East.
The results of these acts were displayed by the Achille Lauro highjacking, and then the state-initiated highjacking of the highjackers. In the midst of the activity, charges, and counter-charges, the path to peace is again diverted, and the path to war more likely.
Ur Shlonsky G->
Mark Anderson G->
Michael Diener '86->
and four other members->
of the MIT Committee->
on the Middle East->