Dismantling Israel Is Not the Pathway to Mideast Peace

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), October 25, 2009 | Go to article overview
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Dismantling Israel Is Not the Pathway to Mideast Peace


Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Maurice Harris, Rae LaMarche, and Craig Weinerman

In their Oct. 13 guest viewpoint Jack Dresser, Mariah Leung and Chris Barghout argue for a "one-state solution" that would replace Israel, the West Bank and Gaza with a single, secular, democratic state.

Claiming that this is the only just solution, they ignore justice for Jews. Their "just solution" would dismantle Israel as a Jewish state, while leaving more than 20 Middle Eastern states that officially enfranchise Islam or Arab national identity as part of their constitutions.

How is that just?

Theirs is a narrowly targeted plan for taking away the one place in the world where Jews have some form of collective sovereignty.

In their polemical analysis, Dresser, Leung and Barghout grant Jews no right or need for sovereignty, but rather describe Israel's history as nothing but an aggressive land-grab.

They ignore many crucial aspects of the creation and history of Israel, such as the failure of secular democracies to prevent the slaughter of millions of Jews during World War II and the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees that no country would receive following the war.

They ignore the political alliances with the Nazis made by key Palestinian leaders during World War II, and the fact that Arab leaders rejected the 1947 United Nations decision to create two states (one Jewish, one Arab).

They give no weight to the deeply rooted historical and religious connection Jews have always had to this part of the world, nor do they acknowledge the right to collective sovereignty of the 600,000-plus Jews who were living in the land before 1948.

They ignore the role that widespread anti-Semitic teaching in the Islamic world currently plays in inflaming hatred and violence against Israel, and they don't propose justice for Israeli Jews from Arab countries, where between 1948 and 1967 some 800,000 Jews fled persecution or were driven from their homes by Arab regimes. These Jews are the forgotten refugees of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The only aspect of this complex conflict they focus on is the Palestinian refugee crisis of 1948, the nakba, and they unfairly assign all the blame for this genuine tragedy to Israel. Courageous historical investigation by Israeli scholars has confronted Israeli society with many disturbing facts about forced expulsions of Palestinians during the war. Some Palestinians were forced to flee by Israeli army units - others left voluntarily before the fighting began, as civilians often do to avoid harm.

It is important to keep in mind that the Palestinian exodus of 1948 took place in the context of a war of survival for Israel, a war that was launched against Israel by five Arab countries upon its birth as a state - a U.

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