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Chomsky-Shahak Story Ignores Opposition's Views

The article on Noam Chomsky and Israel Shahak ["Chomsky, Shahak Discuss Jewish Fundamentalism," Nov. 8] mentions strong opposition to their views, but fails to indicate or outline any such differing views.

Chomsky and Shahak seem to selectively ignore much of the history of the conflict in the Middle East. Implying that Israel does not give Palestinians equal rights because they are not Jews is as silly as suggesting that Israel fought against Arab armies because they were not Jewish.

The reality is that Israel first took over the territories because the situation had become intolerable. Every few years Israel would be forced to defend itself against a number of much larger Arab armies, with the premise that if the Arabs win Israel is annihilated, while if Israel wins the international community steps in and stops the fighting as soon as Israel has demonstrated the ability to defend itself. Therefore Israel clearly warned at least King Hussein of Jordan that if he attacked again, he would lose territory.

Before 1967, the Palestinians in the territories had never had decent rights. Their rights and those of other Arab citizens were routinely trampled, but the international community was unable to monitor these actions closely because of the non-democratic Arab governments.

When Israel took over, it decided to build housing and economic infrastructure in the territories, which to a certain extent it did. But the Palestinians from the start opposed any Israeli involvement, in increasingly violent ways. Those who report on human rights abuses in the territories often seem to forget how deadly a rock to the head can be. That is not to say that all previous Israeli governments were concerned about Palestinian rights, or that no human rights violations have ever occurred.

Let us hope that the peacemakers on both sides can overcome those who continue to blame one side or the other for the unfortunate history of the situation.

Rennan Bar-Kana G