Monday, April 16, 2007

It Would Make More Sense if Portland Did This

Olympia is considering a sister city arrangement with a terrorist haven on the Gaza Strip.

The idea originated with Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old Olympia activist who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 while she stood in front of a Palestinian home to try to protect it from demolition. Israeli authorities and activists who were with Corrie dispute who’s to blame for her death.

Proponents of the sister-city relationship say it would result in cultural exchanges and friendships.

“There’s a reason to meet those people,” said Andrew Ford Lyons, board president of the Olympia-Rafah Sister City organization. “There’s a reason to know how those people are.”

Opponents — including some Jewish residents — say choosing Rafah as a sister city amounts to taking the Palestinian side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and supporting a region that has harbored terrorists.

“To form a relationship with Rafah would certainly leave the appearance that we’re enlisting the city in the Palestinian cause,” said Alan Corwan, past president of Congregation B’Nai Torah in Olympia. “There’s enough city business out there that the council needs to focus on. I don’t know why they need to do this.”

It's really a Portland kinda thing.



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