Speaking up for Palestine
Dear Editor:Mr. Jerome Marks of Basalt wrote a letter published in your paper on June 8. It was an attack on Sue Gray, who I am sure can defend herself. It was also an attack on the Palestinians in their relations to the state of Israel. I wish to speak up for the Palestinians. They are so poorly represented in the U.S. media.The Israelis are abusing Geneva Conventions and are ignoring international law; when they appropriate Palestinian lands; when they build illegal settlements in the Occupied Areas; when they assassinate Palestinian leaders and when they collectively punish whole families for the actions of a single member. They are also ignoring many U.N. resolutions condemning their continuing occupation of the West Bank and of their harsh treatment of the citizens of both the West Bank and Gaza.Mr. Marks, your description of Israeli soldiers following the Geneva Conventions and treating Palestinian civilians “like innocents” may well be true of their actions during the 1967 war, but not of the 1948-49 war. The events of that war have not been forgotten by Palestinians. The Aspen Times of March 22 has two articles taken from the Washington Post, written by Scott Wilson about two Israeli historians – Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe. Both were convinced by their studies of the “states official archives” that Jewish forces also conducted an orchestrated campaign to expel Palestinians, sometimes brutally, to make way for a Jewish state.Mr. Marks notes that the Palestinians never had statehood. True. They had been occupied by the Ottoman Turks, and after World War I by the British. According to the New Columbia. Encyclopedia, Arab nationalism was stirring at this time, as was Zionism. In 1917 the British in the Balfour Declaration promised to help the Zionists establish a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, with due regard to the rights of the native Palestinians. The British also assured the Arabs they would help them create independent Arab states. The Arabs thought that this included a state in Palestine. In 1937, the Peel Commission suggested dividing Palestine into three areas; Jewish, Arab and British (mainly Jerusalem). The Zionists accepted this, but the Arabs, because the proposal included the forcible removal of Palestinians from the proposed Jewish state, did not. The British allowed limited numbers of Jews to immigrate to Palestine, and many came illegally. Israel became an independent state and was accepted into the U.N. There have been wars and peace offers by Israel, and more wars and peace offers and roadmaps, which have been obstructed by both sides.Now there is a peace offer from the Arab states recognizing Israel’s right to exist and guaranteeing its security in return for Israel’s withdrawing its soldiers and its settlements from the occupied territories, including Gaza and allowing the Palestinians to develop their own state.Considering the anguish this Israeli/Palestinian conflict is causing both Jews and Palestinians, and the anger and outrage it arouses in Islamic peoples worldwide, and the looming possibility of a war, even a nuclear war – isn’t it time for us to stop arguing about who did what and begin urging action for peace?Peter LarroweEl Jebel
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