Israel has always longed for peace |

Israel has always longed for peace

It is disappointing to read one-sided and misleading op-ed pieces such as Mary McGroryOs Dec. 6 column regarding Israel and the Palestinians. A reader might get the erroneous idea that Israel has no interest in peace.

The truth is that Israel has always sought peace. In 1947, the United Nations proposed a plan whereby land that was owned and occupied by Jews would become Israel and the land owned and occupied by Arabs would become an Arab state, with Jerusalem under international control.

The Jews accepted the plan and the Arab nations rejected it, and indeed attacked Israel. The Arab armies were unsuccessful, and the Kingdom of Jordan took over the land between Israel and the Jordan River that could have been an Arab state. Thus, the first possible creation of a OPalestinian StateO was thwarted.

Following defensive wars in 1956, 1967 and 1973, Israel entered into a series of negotiations that resulted in peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan as well as the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians in 1991.

Despite a process of creating zones of increasing autonomy for the Palestinians as agreed, the Palestinians failed to end terrorism and failed to amend their charter, written in 1964, that called for the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians also engaged in numerous security agreement violations.

Two years ago, with the assistance and encouragement of then President Clinton, the Israelis proposed the creation of a Palestinian state with an acre-for-acre trade of land that Israel was to retain for security purposes, and the sharing of parts of Jerusalem. This, too, was violently rejected. Indeed, the Palestinians have never put forth a peace proposal. All that has come from the Palestinians is increased violence.

Ms. McGrory states two interesting points. The first is that Israel has a press that Oprints much fuller accounts of IsraelOs wrongs and Palestinian reprisals than the papers here.O The second is that Obombings decrease when there is a glimmer of hope . . . .O

She draws wrong conclusions based on misunderstandings. Regarding the first point, Israel has a vibrant free press. The people of Israel, like Americans, have a variety of opinions. This is the hallmark of a democracy. Unfortunately, the Palestinians live under repression from their own governing entity, the Palestinian Authority.

She also misunderstands the situation in believing that the Palestinians are reacting to OIsraeli wrongs.O Israel isnOt bombing buses of schoolchildren, shopping centers or restaurants. The Palestinians are doing so, and Israel responds as any government would respond to attacks against its citizens.

The second point is that bombings decrease when there is a glimmer of hope. In truth, the situation is reversed. Hope increases when the terrorist bombing decreases. If the Palestinians end terrorism and seek to rebuild the trust that has been destroyed over the last two years, it is quite possible that meaningful negotiations can result. The onus is clearly upon the Palestinians.

Finally, a note regarding accuracy regarding Ms. McGroryOs final paragraph. She says: OWe need bluntness in the discussions of the war between Israel and Palestine.O Statements like this create a belief in a falsehood. There is not a State of Palestine. Statehood implies more than territory. It implies living by the standards of nations. The Palestinians have failed to do so.

There is no doubt that peace would benefit the entire region. Peace takes partners, and so far the Palestinians have failed to step forward.


Rabbi Matt Friedman is the leader of Congregation BOnai Harim in Grass Valley.

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