Friday, 2 December 2011

"Reducing attacks is Israel's aim"

Goodness me, I can hardly keep up!  Below letter was published today in the South China Morning Post, the third of my letters published in the last few weeks, this one also about Israel, as was the one in the International Herald Tribune (the international edition of The New York Times) earlier this week.
Reducing attacks is Israel's aim
I. M. Wright makes allegations about stolen land and apartheid ("Israel intends to 'segregate' with policies", November 25).
When Israel was created in 1947 by UN resolution 181, Jews were in the majority in the region. They had not become so by driving Palestinians from their "traditional homes", but by a combination of long-term residence and 19th century immigration.
The immigrants bought their land from landlords often resident in Syria - to the extent that the area was often referred to as "Southern Syria".
Moreover, the partition of the British Mandate gave the majority of land to today's Jordan, which could easily have taken more Palestinians fleeing a war initiated by surrounding Arab states, but did not do so for political reasons (to keep the heat on Israel).
To talk of Israel's "apartheid" policies is to confuse intent with outcome. The intent of Israel's defensive tactics, including the wall, is to reduce attacks on its citizens, not to separate based on race and religion. That the outcome affects the "race and religion" of Arab Muslims is because that's who is attacking Israel.
Surrounded by hostile states intent on its destruction, is Israel meant to take no defensive action? To suggest giving land for peace, without ironclad security guarantees, would be national suicide. Israel has offered peace in return for security, and repeatedly been rebuffed.
The conclusion is: if Palestinians lay down their arms there will be peace; if Israel lays down its arms it will be annihilated.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay