Could Israel learn a new way?
Seldom do we connect “property rights” with the actions of our government in foreign affairs. As an aggressive proponent of partition in Palestine (1947) the U. S. was instrumental in causing multi-thousands of Palestinian homeowners to lose their property rights. Officials of the United Nations drew a partition line on a map of Palestine. The ultimate result was the creation of the State of Israel. Without the great pressure and influence of the U.S. in the United Nations, the partition could not have been made.
If we look at just one example of the consequences of the partition, its impact takes on some deeper meanings. On a field trip in 1952 with my Palestinian students, we stopped for lunch in an area near the Partition Line. After lunch, I noticed one student standing off by himself looking depressed and unhappy. I approached and asked, “Michel, is something wrong?” He gestured toward a lovely stone house surrounded by an orchard and garden. “That’s my home,” he said softly. We both knew he could not go the 100 yards or so to get home, because it was across the Partition Line. He would have been shot if he had tried to get to the only home he had ever known before the Partition.
If we multiply Michel’s experience by the many thousands of Palestinians whose homes and lands were taken, without their permission, to establish the state of Israel, and realize that lands are still being taken for Jewish settlements, we can begin to understand the depth of Palestinian feeling.
With the violence and bloodshed on both sides escalating, each side tries by whatever means available to destroy its enemy. Could Israel learn from Abraham Lincoln a better way than the iron fist to destroy its enemies? During our Civil War, when feelings were most bitter, Lincoln spoke kind words about the South. Shocked bystanders asked Lincoln how he could do this. Lincoln answered, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
What would happen if Israel offered to help Palestine establish a sovereign state on the West Bank?
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