April 17th, 2008
I have spent the past week covering Middle East policy issues during the
presidential primaries in Pennsylvania, in my capacity as the Middle East
correspondent for the Philadelphia Bulletin.
I find that people hesitate about which would be the appropriate questions to
ask candidates for president concerning their proposed Middle East polices.
The following twenty Middle East policy questions are the questions that
American voters may wish to pose to Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain...along with all candidates for the US Congress
1. Numerous declassified security reports confirm
that Saudi Arabia continues to fund groups defined by
the US government as terrorist organizations, while
Saudi Arabia maintains an active state of war against
the state of Israel since 1948. How would you, as President
relate to the security threat posed by Saudi Arabia?
2, The current administration offers major arms sales
to Saudi Arabia, despite its pro-terror posture. Would
you, as President, continue this policy of arming the
3, Successive US presidents have supported the idea
that Palestinian refugees should be reside in the squalor of UNRWA refugee
camps, under the premise and promise of the “right of return”,
instead of being rehabilitated under the principles of UNHCR which
work to rehabilitate refugees in decent living permanent living conditions,
instead of perpetuation the unreal notion of the right
of return to villages and homes that no longer exist.
Would you, as President, call for an application of
UNHCR principles to alleviate the
plight of Palestinian refugees?
4. The Bush Administration has announced a program
to arm the Fatah, despite current terror activities of
the Fatah and despite the fact that Fatah remains on
the list of organizations defined by American law as
illegal terrorist organizations. Would you, as President,
continue to arm the Fatah?
5 The PA has used US AID funds to foster an Islamic
Sharia constitution which doe not provide juridical
status for any religion besides Islam. Does you, as President , approve of
this PA policy? Would you, as President, ask for a change in such
a constitution as a condition of future aid to the PA?
6. The Bush Administration has restrained Israel from
counterattacking in Gaza to put an end to the daily
missile attacks from Gaza. Would you, as President,
restrain the hand of Israel?
7. As a matter of policy, terrorists who fire missiles
at Israel from Gaza use Gaza civilians as human
shields. Would you, as President, recognize the fact
that casualties in Gaza remain a direct result of
this human shield policy?
8. The Palestinian Authority harbors terrorists
suspected of murder and refuses to hand them over for
trial. The Clinton and Bush Administrations turned a
blind eye to such a policy. Would you, as President,
allow such a policy to continue?
9. Palestinian Authority operates with no system of
civil liberties or human rights. Would you, as President,
condition for any future US assistance in a
human rights and civil liberties reform in the PA?
10. Christians are persecuted in the PA and are often
not allowed to practice their religion in the open in
the PA. The American consulate in Jerusalem has
refused to render assistance to Christians who are
persecuted by the PA. Would you, as President,
continue to ignore the plight of Christians who are persecuted in
the PA or will you, as President, champion the cause of Christians to practice their religion freely in the PA?
11, Syria continues to host and support a plethora of
terror groups. What would the policy to Syria, as
President, be to Syria in this regard?
12. Syria continues to orchestrate the export of
lethal narcotics to the world. Would you, as President,
support an effort to destroy the Syrian source of
lethal narcotics in the Bekka Valley?
14. Since the Golan Heights was used by Syria between
1949 and 1967 to attack Israeli communities in the
Galilee, would you, as President,
support an effort to force Israel to withdraw from the Golan?
15. The Bush Administration asks that Israel abide by
the road map for peace. Which road map would you, as President,
endorse- the road map of April 30th
2003 or the road map of May 25th 2003? [The second
road map contains the reservations of Israel, which
include detailed Israeli directives to disband terror
groups as a precondition to continued negotiations]
16. The Bush Administration characterizes the Fatah
terror organization as a “moderate” factor. Would you, as President,
share in that characterization.
17. The Clinton and Bush Administrations overlooked
the fact that the PLO never ratified the Oslo accord
“declaration of principles” which required the PLO and
Fatah to recognize Israel, denounce terror and cancel
the PLO/Fatah charter which calls for Israel’s
obliteration. It will be recalled that the PLO signed
the Oslo accords on the White House lawn on September
13th, 1993 and would not ratify these accords when
the PLO executive convened on October 6th, 1993 in
Tunis and would not cancel the PLO charter when the
PNC convened on April 24th. 1996. Would you, as President,
continue the Clinton/Bush policy of ignoring
the fact that the PLO never ratified the Oslo accord
and never cancelled the PLO charter?
18. The Clinton and Bush administration instituted a
policy of ignoring the message communicated by the
newly constituted Palestinian Authority in the Arabic
language which communicates a clear language of
continued war on Israel. Would you, as President,
insist on a change in that policy and issue a+
directive that any aid to the PA require a cessation
of calls to terrorism by the official media outlets of
19. The Clinton and Bush administrations have
consistently ignored the fact that the new Palestinian
Authority curriculum introduced by the PA inculcates
the next generation to continue the war to liberate
all of Palestine. Would you, as President,
ask for a cancellation of such a curriculum?
20. Since the Gaza withdrawal demonstrates that
Palestinians will use areas under their control to
launch missile attacks against Israel, would you, as President,
insist on future Israeli withdrawals?