“Extending change to Israel and Palestine” (Jan. 25) calls on President Obama and Israel to give hope to the Palestinian people but the only ones who can do that are their own leaders, who stole hope from the Palestinians and are continuing to keep them in despair.
The Palestinians never had their own country. They rejected the state which should have been created by the same UN vote which sanctioned the rebirth of Israel. They again rejected an independent state after Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza.
Israeli disengagement from Gaza has created a de facto state, but Palestinians are using it to attack Israeli civilians. Arabs who fled the 1948 war are still living in poverty; an equal number of Jewish refugees, driven from their homes in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Muslim nations, were absorbed by tiny Israel.
In the most recent oppression of the Gazans, Hamas has attacked fuel depots and border crossings. It has fired rockets from apartment blocks and hidden explosives under schools and hospitals while commandeering fuel and food for its militias. Its extensive tunnel network is used to smuggle munitions while civilians are given no protection (contrast this with Israel’s sirens and bomb shelters to protect its people from Hamas’ numerous rocket attacks).
Throughout the Muslim world, anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish invective spews from schools, mosques and mass media. One million Arabs have full citizenship in Israel, with freedom of religion and speech and the right to vote and serve in the government. Somehow, the world accepts as a given that Jewish settlements are an insurmountable barrier to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank.
The truth is that Israel would be annihilated if she stopped fighting to defend her people. If Hamas would stop fighting, there would be peace.
Former Laboratory Coordinator (1980-2006), School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Did you know that every time Israel dropped a bomb, leaflets were dropped, SMS text messages were sent and phone calls were made to warn the civilians of where an attack will occur and to advise them not to be around?
Did you know that Hamas stores its missiles in hospitals and school and puts women and children inside so when Israel tries to bomb the missiles, innocent people die? Did you know that Hamas doesn’t have a uniform so it is easy to confuse a civilian death with that of a Hamas terrorist?
Did you know that Hamas has sent thousands of missiles over the past few years into Israel not aimed at army bases or Israel soldiers, but aimed at civilian cities?
I was in Israel over winter break and I saw all this from both sides. Unfortunately, the media in America won’t tell you this.
There is indeed a need for change in the Arab-Israeli conflict. There will never be peace unless both parties have a positive vision. The tragedy of the Palestinian cause is that it was built not for its own sake, but for the negation and destruction of Israel.
Its lack of a positive vision goes back to 1948, when Jews accepted the UN’s two-state solution and the Arab world rejected it, with six Arab armies invading the tiny new state. In the following decades, there were two refugee populations—Arabs from Israel, and Mizrachi Jews from Arab lands.
In 25 years, Israel turned the tent camps that housed the latter into development towns. The descendants of Jewish refugees from Arab lands form about half of Israel’s population. Many are residents of Sderot, the target of 8,000 missiles in the last seven years, and over 500 during the six-month “ceasefire” with Hamas.
There were a similar number of Arab refugees, but no comparative attempt to uplift them. Between 1948 and 1967, Jordan controlled the West Bank and Egypt controlled Gaza. They should have set up a Palestinian state there—but refused to. Egypt used the population of Gaza as cannon fodder for raids into Israel.
Whatever the sins of this tragic recent war, it is another round in a conflict that cannot be solved by one-sided Israeli concessions. Ideally, there should be a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one. That outcome won’t be advanced by blaming Israel for fighting back against a group whose publicly stated goal is the murder and expulsion of all Jews in the Holy Land. Whatever Israel’s mistakes and sins, most have been forced on it in wars of survival.
Professor, School of Mathematics