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July, 2007



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Candidate Questions And Confessions
By Karen Nakamura

This reporter e-mailed the Democratic candidates the same question purposely tilted to the left to note their reaction. The question follows:
"The majority of the world agrees Israel's occupation of Palestine is the main cause of unrest in the Middle East not the Palestinians' efforts to gain freedom. The progressive wing of the Democrat Party is horrified at what appears to be the slow but steady genocide being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. The Nazi's treatment of the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto comes to mind. Beyond the usual rhetoric of blaming the victim, what would your approach be to getting the Israelis to stop creating obstacles, pull out of Palestine completely and create a true and lasting peace?"
Hillary Clinton's site acknowledged the e-mail but didn't respond. Her site did yield this position taken from two speeches, one to AIPAC (American Israel Political Action Committee) on May 25, and the Council on Foreign Relations, Oct. 31, 2006.
"Israel's right to exist, and to defend its people against imminent threat, must never be put in question. Israel has demonstrated restraint in the face of ongoing of attacks ... The United States ...must stand in support of Israel and send the message to Hamas and to any terrorists who threaten innocent lives ...and operate in violation of international law that this behavior will not be countenanced.

"Israel is confronting many of the toughest challenges in its history, in a neighborhood that is less secure than ever. It is vital is that we continue to stand on behalf of the shared interests in security and democracy that form the unbreakable bond between our two nations. I ...maintain my unwavering commitment to the welfare and survival of the State of Israel."

Dennis Kucinchi in contrast answered with a statement made on Nov. 16, 2006.

"We need to keep in mind that there is no such thing as a victory for one side. No "win-lose" solutions are possible, only "win-win" outcomes. Coercion of one side or the other cannot succeed, no matter how strongly one might want it, or how much force might be brought to bear. ...The Israeli Chief of Staff admitted to journalists that the policy of using ...punitive measures had not only failed to contain Palestinian violence, it was ...exacerbating it.

"Israelis are living in fear ...of suicide bombings and terror attacks... The measures ...against the Palestinian population have the support of many Israelis, because of the logic of fear. But ...this logic is leading to unacceptable outcomes, both in failing to protect Israelis, and ...human rights abuses committed against Palestinians. The daily hardships imposed by Israel and loss of land fuel the despair that leads to terror. It's time to fight terror with the only weapon left in Israel's arsenal: hope.

"We cannot do this when what investment we currently have is so overwhelmingly weighted towards military means. We shouldn't be asking which side to join, which side to strengthen so as to defeat the other. The question is; how can we use our power to foster healing and reconciliation?"

Senator Mike Gravel's campaign sent a personalized e-mail:

"Peace between Israel and the Palestinian community. It can happen, it almost seems like an impossibility after more than 50 years of violence, but if the United States were to step forward aggressively.... It will be the boundaries that existed before the '67 war, tweaked for the various interests on both sides. The key is going to be to arrive at an agreement negotiated in this spirit of will be presented to the people of Israel and to the people in the Palestinian community to vote on it."

Barack Obama's campaign confirmed receipt. His website had this speech to AIPAC on March 2.

"...We must stand up for Israel's legitimate right to defend itself. Last summer, Hezbollah attacked Israel. By using Lebanon ...for terrorism, ...Hezbollah has engulfed that entire nation in violence... and threatened the fledgling movement for democracy there. That's why we have to press for enforcement of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which demands the cessation of arms shipments to Hezbollah, ...which Syria and Iran continue to disregard. Their support, Hezbollah and Hamas, ... threatens the peace and security in the region.

"Israelis ...have made clear that they are more than willing to negotiate an end to the ...conflict that will result in two states living side by side... But the Israelis must trust that they have a true Palestinian partner. That is why we must strengthen the hands of Palestinian moderates who seek peace and ...maintain the isolation of Hamas and others who are committed to Israel's destruction."

Senator Joe Biden didn't get back but his website displayed his speech given Dec. 5, 2006, to the Israel Policy Forum.

"Despite the difficulties of the past year - from the Hamas victory to the war with Hezbollah, which incidentally Israel did not lose -we may be arriving at a moment where a renewed peace process is possible. Why do I say this? ...First, Israel has in place a government ...that understands that the status quo is unacceptable. ...And indefinite occupation threatens Israel's Jewish majority.

"Second, ... the Arabs are terrified of Iran ...because ...of the role Iran is playing in Iraq, ...its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, and ...its nuclear program. They see stagnation in the region working to the advantage of Iran... their very legitimacy now being challenged by these forces. ...One manifestation their newfound interest in supporting the Palestinian security forces under Abu Mazen. ...But I challenge them to do more - if you mean what you say-to live in peace with Israel, and then please show it. Otherwise, you may miss yet another opportunity."

Senator Chris Dodd spoke to the Des Moines Register, May 5.

"During the Hezbollah-Israeli conflict in August... the American president did not speak once to the prime minister of Lebanon ... or the prime minister of Israel for 30 days. In the middle of the conflict! Two friends! That kind of absence of leadership has been devastating to us as we've become more isolated around the world and less secure and far more vulnerable."

Another web release states, "Senator Dodd is a long-time supporter of active U.S. involvement achieve a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He believes in ...two democratic states - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace, and ...laid out in the Road Map to Peace. Senator Dodd also believes that progress towards that vision must be measured by actions, not words or timetables."

Rudy Giuliani answered without being asked in an ad in the Jerusalem Post June 8th. "As a longtime friend and staunch supporter of Israel during my entire public life, I want to share with you my deep concern for the Jewish state and ask for your support as I campaign to become the next President of the United States.

"In the 1990's, we had the blinders on with regard to Islamic terrorism. Coddling terrorists-even applauding for winning the Nobel Peace prize as was done with Yasser Arafat-is a policy we cannot return to. I stand by Israel and I'll never embrace a terrorist like Arafat, a tyrant like Ahmadinejad, or a party like Hamas. A Giuliani administration won't accept business as usual. We will stay strong amidst the threats of tyrants and we will stay on offense against the terrorists."

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