No basis for Isreali claim to territory in West Bank
Although Andrew D. Yablon '92's column on Tuesday was headlined "Hussein uses Palestinian cause for personal gain" [Sep. 25], he ironically uses world sentiment against Saddam Hussein to hide a one-sided argument justifying Israel's right to continue military occupation of the West Bank.
Zionism is a political philosophy based on creating a Jewish state in Palestine. The claims for its legitimacy are based on the Jewish presence in Palestine about 2000 years ago. From then until the early 1900s Palestinian Arabs (10-15 percent Christians, 80 percent Moslems, and 5 percent Jews) have lived in peace in Palestine. Yablon's phrase, "the shedding of Jewish blood long before there ever was a Jewish homeland," implies a historic discrimination in Palestine of Jews. This is not true. In the late 1890s and early 1900s there was mass European Jewish immigration into Palestine. Initially this was accepted. Tension between the quickly increasing Jewish population and indigenous Palestinian Arab population began once the motive of these foreigners became apparent (i. e., the domination and occupation of the whole region).
Yablon mentions the Palestinians rejecting a "generous partition plan (which would have created a Palestinian state) in 1947." This is a ludicrous assertion for several reasons. The whole area was already a Palestinian state. At this time Jews made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine, of which the majority were recently immigrated Europeans -- people of a different culture and language. This one-third owned nine percent of the land, while the "generous partition" called for giving them 56 percent of the entire area! As a result the Arab world did protest this blatantly unjust proposal. These civilian protests were crushed by well-armed Jewish terrorist groups like the Irgun and Stern Gang. The leader of
the Irgun was Menachem Begin, a recent prime Minister of Israel. The leader of the Stern Group was Yitzak Shamir, the current prime minister of Israel. Their objective was to terrorize Palestinians in order to drive them out of the region. Two of the most notorious actions were the dynamiting of the King David hotel by Menachem Begin's Irgun, and the intentional slaughter of 248 defenseless men, women and children in Dier Yassin village by the Irgun and Stern Group in April 1948.
"Activities" of this sort continued to kill and scare away the Palestinian population. In May 1948 the Zionists declared the region an independent state named Israel. The Arab states attacked and were defeated. It is interesting to note that although the size of the surrounding Arab countries implies military superiority, in each war Israel has had more active troops and higher technology weapons than
the opposing armies combined. This "underdog" is currently the fourth strongest military power in the world, with the best air force in the world. The challenge to the "security" of Israel is merely a myth; it is the security of the surrounding nations that is threatened, especially considering the expansionist plans of Israel's founders.
Yablon mentions Israel's 1967 attack on Egypt, Syria and Jordan as a type of "preemptive" strike. If these countries were just about to attack Israel, it is hard to explain why the entire Egyptian Air Force was destroyed while still on the ground and why one-fourth of Egypt's army was in Yemen.
Yablon sites isolated terrorist activities by "radical Palestinian splinter groups." These are not illustrative of the stance of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the general Palestinian population. Palestinians want a two-state solution. In fact, in the last few years the PLO has even recognized Israel in order to begin internationally moderated negotiations for a Palestinian state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. These attempts at negotiation have been repeatedly rebuffed -- even the US Baker plan has been rejected by Israel's leader, Shamir.
Israel has been incarcerating, deporting, torturing, and killing Palestinians in the West Bank since the occupation began. In fact Israel has killed over 20,000 Arab civilians in the last decade. In the summer of 1982, more than 18,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians were killed by the Israeli military. In contrast, less than 700 Jews have died at Palestinian "terrorist" hands during the last 20 years. During
the siege of Beirut the Israelis poured phosphorous bombs, napalm, and cluster bombs into the heavily populated center of the city.
Israelis supported and helped their Phalangist allies in the massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps in Lebanon by providing maps of the camps, lighting the camps with flares and flood lights, allowing entry into the camps through the gates, and preventing the Palestinian refugees from escaping the butchery by surrounding the camp with tanks and threatening to shoot anyone who escaped. Death estimates range from 800 by the Israeli government to 3000 by an Israeli (Amnon Kapeliouk, the first journalist in the camps after the massacre). Since the intifada began three years ago, the Israelis have killed about 800 Palestinians (of an average age of about 15).
Yablon claims that the Palestinians have "hampered this cause through their intifada." He seems to have a curious, basic flaw in his logic. The intifada began as a protest of 20 years of brutal military occupation during which the population was denied practically all basic human rights. The intifada is the effect of such treatment, and not the instigation of aggression. Acts of terrorism by Israel are only too blatant. The true colors of our democratic ally shine through the the one-sided and even wrong facts to which we are often exposed. (There is only so much truth that can be hidden in pictures of an Israeli soldier armed with a machine gun, shooting at a 10-year-old boy armed with a rock.)
To many people's dismay, even the United States is subject to Israeli and Zionist terrorism. In 1985 the FBI registered seven incidents of terrorism in the United States. Five of these were by extremist Jewish groups. One included the assassination of a prominent Arab-American in California. Imagine the implications if an extremist Palestinian group assassinated a Jewish-American. On June 8, 1967, Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats repeatedly assaulted a US intelligence ship, the USS Liberty, while it was monitoring the Sinai coast. This assault lasted five and a
half hours, killing 34 and wounding 171 Americans.
One could continue citing acts of aggression on both sides, without advancing any solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dilemma. This history should not cloud the present state of affairs. The PLO, the representation of the Palestinian people, has recognized Israel's right to exist and thus agreed to United Nations Resolution 242 calling for a stop to violence and a Palestinian state in the West Bank. The ball is in Israel's court -- and Israel doesn't want to play.
Yablon's asserts that Saddam Hussein is using the Palestinian cause to further his personal gains. Yet Israel is using the invasion of Kuwait to further its own aggressive expansionist policy: (1) The Israeli Government has declared all possible negotiations for a solution to the Palestinian problem out of the question; (2) it has demanded immediate extra military arms (over $1 billion worth) to maintain its "security" during this crisis; (3) the crisis has helped push the intifada off the headline news, and preserve the status quo as Israel wants; and (5) it is shifting the blame for the intransigence of the peace process from itself to the whole Arab people.
One last point for Yablon: Only when Israel agrees to sit with the PLO under international auspices and negotiate (or even communicate) can he say that Israel is sincerely interested in a lasting peace.
Ennis Rimawi is a senior in the Department of Civil Engineering. Adeeb Shanaa is a sophomore in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.->