To the Editors of the Chicago Tribune
by Steven Feuerstein

Sent to the Chicago Tribune on February 12, 2001.

American pundits, such as the extreme Charles Krauthammer, are falling over themselves to blame Yassir Arafat and Palestinians for the election of Ariel Sharon, a man who has made his reputation on his ability to kill Palestinians and other Arabs without remorse.

But all the words printed in the Chicago Tribune will not change the fact that for the past 33 years, the Israeli Defense Force has occupied militarily the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  For 33 years, Israeli soldiers have harassed, beaten, humiliated, tortured and killed thousands upon thousands of Palestinians—in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions.  For 33 years, hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers have forcibly made their way onto Palestinian land, pushing Palestinians into refugee camps, hogging water resources and destroying decades-old olive groves—in direct violation of the Oslo accords and Israel's own pledges.

There will never be peace between Israelis and Palestinians until Israel stops its violence by closing the settlements in the occupied territories, ending the siege of Palestinians towns, and withdrawing its soldiers back to its own land.