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December 2006

A Rebut To The Dennis Ross Interview

Ambassador Dennis Ross has provided a singular point of view of the Middle East that requires greater amplification if peace is to occur in the Middle East. Both sides have committed atrocities and it does not matter now who started it all, for the Middle East is descending into chaos. The wall Israel is building is a symbol of failure of the Middle East peace process.

There has been great consternation and widespread coverage of the President of Iran claiming he threatened to wipe Israel off the map. What is remarkable is the ease with which this quote is circulated throughout the mainstream press without scrutinizing it, since it was delivered in a foreign language, Farsi. According to Juan Cole the Iranian president’s comment is “ from an old speech of Khomeini, does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all. The second reason is that it is just an inexact translation. The phrase is almost metaphysical. He quoted Khomeini that ‘the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.’ It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks."

The current occupant of the White House has said that Iran is part of the axis of evil: how accurate is this statement? The United States government in 1953 actively overthrew the democratically elected government in Iran. The United States government itself has not been consistent in supporting democracy. What about the sale of nuclear weapons secrets to countries around the world by officials of the Pakistan government? What actions did the U.S. take to prevent the export of nuclear technology by Pakistan? Our great country often stands on quicksand.

It appears our own government has not been honest with the American people, e.g. Gulf of Tonkin incident to lure the U.S. into war with Vietnam (I was a veteran there in the U.S. Army) and now this Iraq WMD fiasco and lies. Our own democracy may need a reality check.

My own experience in Iran was written for History News Network.

How can peace and diplomacy occur when there is so much misrepresentation? Do some people prefer war and destruction? The dropping of U.S. made cluster bombs in Lebanon by Israel inflicting damage and death to women, children and other non-combatants is a very serious matter that requires investigation by the U.S. government. Rachel Corrie, an American, was killed by an Israeli soldier operating a U.S. made Caterpillar bulldozer. Has Rachel Corrie's death been independently investigated as a possible crime?

In a recent speech former President Carter said, "Palestinians are deprived of basic human rights, their land has been occupied, then confiscated, then colonized by the Israeli settlers."

It is about time that the peace process in the Middle East begins in earnest and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the U.S. government in promoting peace be justified because continued failure is not an option and the sooner diplomacy resumes the sooner the conflict can be resolved.

Henry Pelifian


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