Kenneth J. Bialkin’s Opinion article, “Time for a Change in U.S. Mideast Strategy” (Feb. 12), is well intentioned but flawed. What Bialkin fails to take into account are the viewpoints and influence of radical Islam and of Iran and its agents, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.
These influential Islamic entities do not share the West’s opinion about what is good for Islam. The West believes that education, economic prosperity and freedom of expression are good for Islam. Radical Islam believes that the spread of Islam, strict implementation of Sharia law and the elimination of Israel are good for Islam. And who is better qualified to supply the correct answer — a nation of materialistic infidels whose man-made laws are full of error, or a cadre of God’s worshippers who enforce God’s perfect laws?
Bialkin writes that several trends are making it more necessary for Arab countries to recognize Israel’s right to exist. One is the increasing economic disparity between Israel and its Arab neighbors. It seems to me, however, that radical Islam has a ready answer, which many Middle East Arabs are content to believe: that the economic disparity is due to Jewish treachery and manipulation of the world economy.
Failure of Palestinian progress in self-government is another trend. While I might agree with Bialkin that Palestinians would be better off under a stable democratic government, does it follow that Palestinians, even with international encouragement, are ready, willing and able to do something about it? Besides, Palestinian behavior seems to me to be inconsistent with a desire for peace and reconciliation. There is always a reason not to negotiate peace —recently, for example, the reason has been Israeli settlements.
It may be true that some moderate Arab governments would be willing to make peace with Israel. But for the present I feel that radical Islam will stand in the way of peace.
Williston Park, L.I.
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