November 28, 2007, - 5:44 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
These “Letters to the Editor” from Monday’s Wall Street Journal are in response to an op-ed piece written by Jeff Robbins which appeared in the paper, last week. His op-ed was good. These letters are great, and I republish them here in their entirety (the best is the last one by Charles Plushnick of Brooklyn):
Jeff Robbins’ article “The Perils of Engagement” (op-ed, Nov. 21) should be a “must read” for the secretary of state, members of the State Department and our enlightened media. Mr. Robbins would do us all a great service if he publishes a follow up scholarly article on why the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab lands, who escaped to Israel leaving all their possessions behind, are no longer refugees, while the Arabs who became refugees as a result of their violent rejection of the U.N. partition plan for two states, one Jewish and one Arab, are still living in refugee camps supported by the U.N., even at a time when, as Mr. Robbins reminds us, Arab countries are awash with petrodollars.
The so called moderate Palestinian leadership, to this day, refuses to accept the fact that Israel was created as the only (tiny) Jewish state in the world, pursuant to the U.N. resolution of 1947 and Israel’s war of survival and independence.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
One wonders whether the “poor choices” made by the members of the Arab League since 1948, so well described by Jeff Robbins, were actually intended to have the continuous irresolution we have witnessed. Mr. Robbins correctly asserts that a Palestinian state could have been formed by the League during the 1948-67 period, yet there was no attempt to do so.
More puzzling, however, is that since the 1967 war, Syria has been the only League member demanding the return of captured territory, the Golan Heights. When Egypt, and later Jordan, entered into discussions with Israel culminating in peace treaties, neither demanded a return of the territories they administered prior to the 1967 war as necessary conditions for their agreements to peace settlements.
Not only would that have been consistent with the League’s current demand for an Israeli return to the pre-’67 borders, but its consummation could easily have resulted in Egypt and Jordan collaborating in the formation of a new Palestinian state out of their returned territories. Since this condition never occurred, calling it a “poor choice” rather than a deliberate choice by two League countries not really wanting a new Palestinian state seems now to be obvious.
Mr. Robbins assumes that the Arab World and Palestinian leadership want to improve the lot of the average Palestinian; not true. He assumes they want to solve the Palestinian refugee problem; not true. He assumes they want to live in peace with Israel; not necessarily true.
If PLO leaders wanted to improve the lot of the average Palestinian, they would not have started an intifada that resulted in numerous hardships and ill feelings between them and Israel. If they cared about the refugees, they would have resettled them decades ago, throughout the world and Arab world.
It’s time to look at the true goals of the Palestinian and Arab leadership. First and foremost they want to remain in power. One must look at their culture and understand what they find of value and what they don’t. Then and only then will peace become a reality.
AMEN. AMEN. AMEN.
Tags: Arab League, Bertrand Horwitz Asheville, Charles Plushnick, Charles Plushnick Brooklyn, Debbie Schlussel These, Department of State, editor, Egypt, enlightened media, Golan Heights, Israel, Jeff Robbins, Jordan, League member, Lincoln Lincoln, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Palestine Liberation Organization, Professor, Secretary of State, Syria, the Week, United Nations, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Wall Street Journal