Fifty years ago, the U.S. quickly recognized the new state of Israel and ever since has remained its most steadfast friend and supporter.

We have given Israel over $70 billion in aid - for a long time amounting to over $1,000 a year for every Israeli citizen - and we continue to give Israel over $3 million every year.Israel has now achieved a per capita income comparable to several countries of Europe. It is now one of the world's most powerful countries militarily, has conquered and retains territory from each of its neighbors, and its potential enemies have lost any meaningful support from the former Soviet Union, the other of the two great world powers.

Surely, then, the time has come for Israel to settle its differences with the Palestinians and the other Arab states, and clearly the method must be the long-standing formula of "land for peace" and eventually granting Palestine what Israel itself demanded and achieved 50 years ago: statehood and recognition as a member of the family of nations.

This formula is supported by many of Israel's past and present statesmen, by half of Israel's citizens, by over half of America's Jewish-Americans, and by the world at large.

Moreover, there is no alternative. Israel can't absorb the Palestinians, it can't drown them out, it can't govern them, it can't exterminate them, and it can't find any other place to put them. Surely, they must be given back some of their territory and allowed to rule themselves.

Consequently it is time for a change in U.S.-Israeli relations. The cold war is over and Israel has little strategic value to us any more. It has no oil and little else we need. It is now prosperous and perfectly capable of defending itself.

Moreover, it is a tiny country of only 4 million people. In contrast, the Arab world consists of many nations, stretching form Morocco on the Atlantic coast, across north Africa, and through the Middle East to Pakistan and beyond.

It contains most of the world's oil, its most strategic waterways, the world's second most important religion, and hundreds of millions of people eager to trade with us and be our friends. Only the Palestinian problem stands in the way.

Clearly, then, the time has come for the U.S., while maintaining its special relationship with Israel and remaining totally loyal to the Israeli people, to stand firm against the policy of Israel's present government, to insist that Israel live up to its earlier commitments, and to continue the peace process and get on with the job of settling its differences with the Palestinians. Clearly this is in the interests of Israel, the United States, and the world at large.