The Views and Personal Opinions
of Joel Block
According to the Associated Press, Arabs and Europeans at the Group
of Eight summit are annoyed with President George W. Bush over his
plan to train 100,000 teachers across the Middle East to improve
the quality of education while perhaps cutting down on possible
extremism. Other aspects of his proposed Middle East democracy initiative
have them annoyed, as well. They consider it a heavy-handed effort
to foist American ideas on the region. The AP article goes on to
say, Both Arab and European leaders say Bush must deal first
with what many consider the Middle East's most pressing problem,
the ongoing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. King Abdullah
II of Jordan, for one, came here focused on the plight of Palestinians
because no reform could be achieved away from finding a solution
to this issue.
My question is what better way to address the problem of regional
violence than by educating people and teaching them that violence
is not the solution to their problems?
The plight of the Palestinians is the direct result
of a flawed attitude on the part of the Europeans that the best
way to bring peace to the Middle East is to constantly apply pressure
on Israel to make more and more concessions to the Palestinians
while placing no pressure on them at all.
The most glaring failure of the Oslo Accords was the failure to
reform the educational system in the Palestinian Authority, an educational
system that continued to teach hatred and the virtues of violence.
Nobody should expect any changes to take place in the Middle East
without addressing the problem of education.
If the Europeans and Arabs were truly serious about bringing peace
to the Middle East, they would be endorsing President Bushs
plan for improving the quality of education in that region instead
of finding fault with it.
© Joel Block, 2004
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