Re: “Needed: New Thinking On Palestine/Israel Divide” (Opinion, Nov. 13). Yes, new thinking would be invaluable. But before the brainstorming, how about some old fashioned learning to get the facts straight on Israel, just as we require Torah study before commentary.
The writer, Peter Geffen, could use some Israel 101. He makes the common mistake in referring to the “return” of West Bank land, but the Palestinians never possessed it, spurning their own state in 1947 — instead, attempting genocide of the Palestinian Jews. It was Jordan who illegally attacked, occupied and annexed the West Bank/Eastern Jerusalem, including the Western Wall.
Geffen refers to the “courage of even Yasir Arafat.” But Arafat took all the benefits of Oslo, making him one of the world’s richest leaders, and gave Israel terrorism instead of peace. And he completely unnerved President Clinton at Camp David by claiming no Jewish connection to the land of Israel.
Israel 101 would explain that Israel did not “seize” the West Bank, Old City, etc. in 1967. Israel was attacked by Jordan, after asking them to stay out of the war, and took the areas in fully defensive actions. Israel had no choice but to administer the territories until Arab countries agreed to negotiate land for peace, as required by UN Resolutions 242 and 343, which Egypt finally did in 1979, getting back the Sinai. The Palestinians never even participated in the 1967 war and were never sovereign, so the widespread pejorative of Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian lands is subject to serious dispute. And many Israeli communities in historic Judea and Samaria (renamed the “West Bank” of Jordan, after her 1948 aggression) and eastern Jerusalem were justifiably reestablished in Jewish-owned areas from which Jews had been ethnically cleansed in 1948 and prior. And much more …
Yes, let’s do creative thinking, but first, let’s get the facts and teach them to our children.