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Someone Told the Truth. Get Him!

Last week, Howard Dean -- whom, I should point out, I do not endorse for President, simply because I have not yet decided whom to endorse -- did something fairly radical while discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: he told the truth:

"I don't believe stopping the terror has to be a prerequisite for talking, you always talk. I don't find it convenient to blame people. Nobody should have violence, ever. But they do, and it's not our place to take sides.

"We all know that enormous numbers of the settlements that are there are going to have to come out," he added.

Predictably, the backlash was immediate:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) accused him of advocating a "major break" from the United States' long-standing policy of explicitly siding with Israel in the Middle East.

"If this is a well-thought-out position, it's a mistake, and a major break from a half a century of American foreign policy," Lieberman said in a statement. "If it's not, it's very important for Howard Dean, as a candidate for president, to think before he talks."

Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) said: "It is either because he lacks the foreign policy experience or simply because he is wrong that governor Dean has proposed a radical shift in United States policy towards the Middle East. If the president were to make a remark such as this it would throw an already volatile region into even more turmoil."

Dean responded quite thoughtfully:

In an interview, Dean sought to clarify his statement but did not back down from his belief that the United State cannot negotiate peace unless it is seen as a neutral party in the region. "Israel has always been a longtime ally with a special relationship with the United States, but if we are going to bargain by being in the middle of the negotiations then we are going to have to take an evenhanded role," he said.
What a radical concept!

This reminds me of something I've thought for a while now, that there are (at least) two great unspoken truths in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict:

The Palestinians must realize that Israel will never agree to the "right of return" (the idea that large numbers of Palestinians can establish Israeli residence and citizenship if they so desire). If Israel were to grant such a right, it would be destroying the Jewish nature of its state, and no state will ever voluntarily destroy itself.

The Israelis must realize that most or all of their settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are going to cease to exist. The Palestinians will one day have a sovereign state, and no sovereign state is going to tolerate dozens or hundreds of foreign islands within its territory. Anyone who thinks those Jewish settlements will still exist in a hundred years is living in a fantasy world.

Cheers to Howard Dean for being brave enough to tell the truth. I hope he continues to hold to his stance and doesn't back down in the face of pressure.

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