Amex Cousin Punjabi writes to Obama......... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Amex Cousin Punjabi writes to Obama.........

heh, heh.......

Dear President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator & Congressman,

It is time for change we have believed in. Change that is based on actions not words.

Our actions should be as follows:

a. Supporting the immediate ceasefire in Gaza

b. Forcing the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and stopping Hamas from launching rockets into Israel

c. Coalescing international support for stationing UN monitoring troops in Gaza

d. Infusing much needed humanitarian aid into Gaza

e. Brokering a constructive dialogue between Israel and Hamas for enduring peace with no economic and humanitarian blockade of Gaza and security guarantee for Israel

Over the past eight years, the Bush Administration has stood in support of Israel as it has repeatedly violated international boundary norms, UN resolutions, human rights and US laws.

Israel has choked Gaza since the last election where Hamas was elected in 2006. This is no different than Apartheid. Do Gazans not have the right to political representation or economic development?

The civilian death toll from Israel's recent military incursion into Gaza keeps rising and is likely to reach 1,000 within a few days. It has only been two weeks. The death toll is nearly 50 Palestinians for 1 Israeli. Are Palestinian lives less valuable?

50% of the population in Gaza is under the age of 14 and over 1000 children have been injured so far. While American weaponry, American training, American capital, and American political will in the hands of an American ally (Israel) kill, maim and destroy property around Palestinian children, are we promising a better and more secure future for our own children and our own country?

Israel continues to receive $3.2 Billion annually in foreign aid from the US, which is roughly one-fifth of America's entire foreign aid budget. In per capita terms, the United States gives each Israeli a direct subsidy worth about $500 per year. Israel spends nearly 26% of this aid on military spending, an exception no other country has been allowed. This aid has also been used to expand settlements in Palestinian areas. In addition, US defense firms sell weapons, supplies and machinery to Israel that is being directly used in Gaza. To what end?

While Israel's right to exist is not in question nor its right to legitimate self defense, Palestinians right to freedom, equality and justice is equally unquestionable. These values form the very foundation of the American vision. But, we cannot support an ally whose actions (not words) are no less vile than a twenty first century Holocaust and whose actions now threaten American values, international standing, economic well being, and most importantly, security.

Our ideological affinity and adherence to conventional wisdom have led us to inaction and a dangerous conundrum. While humanitarian reasons and the spread of freedom and democracy are reason enough for the US to support a more equitable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, our sovereign interests must come first. Israel will continue to be an ally for the US but not with carte blanche political cover from the US. It must be responsible for its own actions, and never at the expense of US political capital, international standing and strategic interests. We must realign US foreign policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio with our sovereign, strategic goals in mind that may or may not provide unfettered support for Israel:

Israel's supporting role in the Cold War chess board is no longer relevant

Democratic island like Israel in the Mideast, like many other places in the world, may be a necessary but not sufficient condition

Hostile neighbors will only do so much with an undeclared nuclear adversary like Israel, so Israel's existence is not at question

Expansion, incursion and subjugation in Palestinian areas by Israel, such as the current operation, creates blowback in the rest of the Muslim world for the US

With Israel's mature economy now, rediverting foreign aid into Gaza and West Bank will have a better return on investment for both US and Israel

Supporting the Palestinians will bring us cheaper oil and security in the long run as an ally of the Arabs also

It is my hope that we can do what is best for American interests and uphold our cherished values of equality, freedom and justice. These values are universal and know no political boundaries, racial background or time period. Palestinians, like our Israeli friends, can relate to this sense of humanity.

We need to use American ingenuity in defying conventional wisdom and ideological boundaries to come up with a practical and equitable framework for the Israeli-Palestinian problem, starting with conditional support and not unfettered support for Israel. Conditional support for Israel, as it should be for Palestinians, should be predicated on a more even handed approach, commitment to genuinely work towards a two state solution, peaceful coexistence with its neighbors, immediate cessation of its expansionist settlements, halting of any military incursions and/or economic blockade of neighboring lands, and most importantly, deliberate US interests in the region. This is difficult and uncharted territory.

As an American, I know we can and we will overcome. I urge you to bring action to words we have believed in.


US Punjabi

heh, heh.......
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