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Articles by Rachel Bandler

October 28, 2011
Last week, Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was finally allowed to return home after being kidnapped and held hostage for over five years by Hamas. Shalit’s release showed the immense value that Israel attributes to a single human life, and this value of life deserves praise and emulation.
September 23, 2011
Today, Palestinian leaders may attempt to achieve statehood with a unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations. This political ploy on the part of the Palestinians, if carried out, will not only fail to change the situation on the ground, but will also severely undermine peace and violate past agreements with Israel. Therefore, in the interest of true and meaningful peace, it is the responsibility of Congress to cut U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if any such unilateral appeal for statehood is made.
September 2, 2011
After decades of brutal fighting that left millions dead, South Sudan finally seceded from the North on July 9, forming the Republic of South Sudan. Led by President Salva Kiir, the South has many serious obstacles to overcome, including vast poverty, ongoing conflict with the north, and internal tribal violence. Regardless, secession is a vital step on Sudan’s journey towards a long-awaited prosperity, and it is important that the United States not only endorses the split, but also extends support to the months-old nation during this critical time of development, when the South’s government can so easily unravel.
June 3, 2011
Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ’75 addressed a joint session of Congress, almost a week after President Obama delivered a major policy speech on the Middle East to the U.S. State Department. Both men outlined bold and unprecedented plans for ensuring security and peace in the region and deserve commendation for their strong support of a sincere and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. However, Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as the Jewish state, Fatah’s reconciliation with Hamas, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ rejection of direct negotiations with Israel pose serious threats to the peace process.
May 6, 2011
This Friday marks the sixth week of widespread political protests across Syria, where hundreds have been killed on the streets and thousands more are still missing. Shockingly, however, the United Nations Security Council was not able to release even a press statement criticizing the violence in Syria. This stands in stark contrast to the firm international stance taken against Libya, and clearly demonstrates the corruption and inefficiency of the United Nations. Nothing but hypocrisy can explain the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya for humanitarian purposes, and yet not demand a mere utterance against the ongoing slaughter in Syria.
April 15, 2011
On April 1, Judge Richard Goldstone published an opinion in the Washington Post where he reconsidered his U.N. report on Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza in 2008-09. In the column, Goldstone renounces many of the report’s conclusions as factually inaccurate and based on insubstantial evidence. It is fortunate that the South African judge finally decided to publicly recognize a more balanced account of Operation Cast Lead, and as the saying goes, “better late than never.”
April 8, 2011
I am not going to lie. If your goal is to go to college, take the easiest classes possible, and get into medical school with perfect grades, then MIT is not for you. However, if you want to excel in science and engineering and live among brilliant peers and professors, all in an environment that is unrivaled, then keep on reading. Not only is it possible to be a successful premed at MIT, but I would also argue that MIT is one of the best places for shaping future doctors.
March 29, 2011
President Obama is receiving harsh bipartisan criticism for his handling of the economy, and his approval ratings are at an all-time low. Many are calling for the U.S. to reduce foreign aid and to pursue isolationist policies in order to save money. However, it is not in our best interest to take a hatchet to foreign aid. Instead, we need to carefully evaluate where our resources are allocated abroad so that U.S. interests and safety can be best secured.
March 18, 2011
This past Monday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered the 2011 Karl Taylor Compton Lecture. Secretary Napolitano emphasized the importance of the involvement of MIT minds in politics and public service for the benefit of the nation. However, it is extremely common for MIT students to greet important political issues with apathy, and for political involvement to be dismissed as irrelevant. It is time for MIT students to take Secretary Napolitano’s advice and to broaden their focus beyond the pages of textbooks and problem sets.
March 11, 2011
On Tuesday, Wissam Jarjoui wrote a response to my opinion piece “Don’t settle for settlement condition,” in which he argued that settlements were a major obstacle to peace. I hope to address a number of his claims and to further clarify why Israeli construction in the West Bank should not be made into an arbitrary gauge for peace.
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