Congressman Joe Pitts: ‘It is incumbent on Ariel Sharon and Yasir Arafat to restart a peace process’

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
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SHARON
Yasser Arafat and Ariel Sharon . . . in 1998. (Photo: Reuters)

Apparently, my congressman believes that the solution for peace in the Middle East will be reached by encouraging negotiations between a vegetable and a dead man.

My father recently received a form letter response from Joe Pitts (Pennsylvania’s 16th district). A year ago, after visiting me in Ramallah, my father contacted Pitts’ office, expressing his opposition to House Resolution 268, a one-sided resolution that condemned Palestinians and reaffirmed the US “commitment to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. The incredibly baffling, much-delayed response from Pitts included this gem:

With the global war against terrorism, it is now incumbent on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasir Arafat to clamp down on Palestinian extremists that have perpetuated violence and to restart a peace process that has collapsed.

Joe Pitts
Joe Pitts

This response was dated April 20, 2012. I realize that members of Congress use form letters to communicate quickly with their constituents, but when they are as outdated as this on an issue that is so central to US foreign policy, one might question the intelligence or efficacy of such a politician. I wonder to whom Pitts thought he was giving those standing ovations when Netanyahu spoke to Congress?

As Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab struggle through the seventy-fifth day of their hunger strike, Netanyahu has solidified his grip on power with his move to a coalition government and cancellation of elections. Palestinians are dying to live while the Israeli apartheid state stays alive on the feeding tube of American money and weaponry. Pitts has unwittingly provided us with a brilliant metaphor of the peace process. It is comatose, if not dead. Yet, he tells us negotiations are the answer. Arafat and Sharon must act to restart negotiations. A dead man and a vegetable.

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