Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pre-Emptive Strike: Michigan Rep. Throws Water on an Inflammatory Resolution

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Pre-Emptive Strike: Michigan Rep. Throws Water on an Inflammatory Resolution

Article excerpt

It is a rare scenario in which endless blood-shed is coupled with a war of words that agitates people as much as-if not often more than-the bloodshed itself. Such is the case, however, with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. So Michigan State Representative Gary Woronchak wants to limit the agitation just to what is called for to affect positive change. For that reason he wrote a letter to the state's Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Alan Cropsey urging him not to send Resolution 77 to the full Senate for consideration.

The resolution is meant to "express solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism" on behalf of Michigan's citizenry. Cropsey agreed not to move further on the issue until a discussion could be arranged with Woronchak and his constituency, which includes approximately 90,000 Arabs and Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Michigan. But Cropsey was steadfast in his original sentiments, as he asked rhetorically, "How on earth are they supposed to have any peace in the Middle East if the terrorists are trying to sabotage every peace move being made?"

Not seeming to recall the Palestinian Authority's repeated acknowledgments of Israel's existence and even of its legitimacy, Cropsey expounded further upon the history of the conflict: "What we have here from the very first day that Israel was founded is a nation surrounded by hostile territory. How much land do [the Palestinians] want and expect Israel to be a viable nation?"

He regarded Israel's "giving back" of the land it conquered in the 1967 war as a concession, and was incredulous that the Arab countries could be anything but grateful. "Are Arab nations and the Palestinian people going to guarantee the safety of Israel and talk about Israel having a right to exist and a right to exist in peace?" he asked.

Resolution 77 mentions no guarantee for the safety of Palestinians living under the conditions of Israeli military occupation-curfew, closure, seizure, invasion and attack. While the document acknowledges the "nearly 700 innocent lives" Israel has lost, the thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries sustained by Palestinians in the same period since September of 2000 is included in the general statement that "hundreds of innocent Israelis and Palestinians have died tragically in violence..."

But District 33's Republican senator is not coy about the resolution's bias, and expects to make changes to its language. "There is no question it's a one-sided resolution," Cropsey acknowledged, "but if the other side is willing to come to the table and make suggestions, I'm open to that."

While Woronchak does not take an active political stand in defense of the Palestinian cause (humbly saying he is "not smart enough" to know the truth about the conflict), his stated aim is to let his constituents' feelings be known. …

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