Inadequate grasp of Israeli history

Monday January 28, 2013

The Jan 25 op-ed page article by Leonard Quart ("Israel at an impasse") fails to be even-handed about the failure of Israel and Palestinians to negotiate a two state solution.

Quart does not even allude to the Nov. 1947 resolution of the United Nations to create a Jewish state and an Arab state in the mandated territories to be vacated by the British in May 1948. The Jewish authorities, led by David Ben Gurion, accepted this early plan for a two-state solution. Arabs did not. All neighboring Arab countries invaded the newly born Jewish state of Israel with the goal of killing the Jews and destroying the infant state of Israel at its birth. Subsequent Israeli governments, for 66 years, have reached out to Yasser Arafat and now Mahmoud Abbas to try to find a way to a peaceful resolution. Willingness, on the Arab side, has yet to materialize.

A few years ago, the Israeli government forcibly evacuated 8,000 Jews from Gaza to give total control of this territory, free of Jews, to the Palestine Authority. The effort toward peace resulted in thousands of rockets being launched from Gaza aimed at civilian communities in Israel.

Nevertheless, to continue to blame Israel for the lack of peace, Mr. Quart says, "Israel’s policies towards the Arabs -- the aggressive expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem, etc." In London there also are Muslim neighborhoods. Mr. Quart would not dare to suggest that Englishmen stop building in their historical capital city to placate the Muslims living there. Yet, he is offended by Jews doing the same building in Jerusalem. People build homes not "settlements" in their native land.

Mr. Quart honestly describes his almost indifferent relationship to the state of Israel and that his scant knowledge is from recent books and films. I suggest he and interested Eagle readers read these two short books: "Because They Hate" by Brigitte Gabriel, an Arab girl born in Lebanon, and "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a black Muslim girl born in Somali who was later elected to the Parliament of Holland. Mr. Quart can helpfully join his colleague, Tom Friedman, in the search for a Palestinian partner for a secure peace negotiation with Israel.




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