Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Arabs Can't Easily Befriend Israelis

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Arabs Can't Easily Befriend Israelis

Article excerpt

Helen Motro's Jan. 12 opinion piece "Israel the Invisible" complains that citizens in Jordan and Egypt are not welcoming and cordial to Israeli tourists.

While I agree with Ms. Motro that "peace in name is no peace," and that "hatred can only die by de-demonizing stereotypes," her call for "normalization" between Israel and its Arab neighbors and for a "two-way street" of "love and neighborliness," ignores the realities of injustice in her otherwise laudable plea for peace.

Motro's complaint reveals an enormous blind spot that most Americans and Israelis seem to have regarding Israel's relations with its neighbors; a blind spot that prevents us from seeing the Israeli arrogance of power and influence; a blind spot that allows us to accept Israel's continued illegal and egregious occupation of Arab Palestinian land 32 years after the 1967 armistice and UN Resolution 242 on the basis of "land for peace"; a blind spot that shields us from naming Israel's "ethnic cleansing" practices of Arab- Palestinian land confiscation and building illegal colonies called "settlements" on that land, of demolishing Arab-Palestinian homes and of humiliating and abusing Arab-Palestinian citizens by revoking residency permits, refusing family reunification, and of illegally detaining people without trial or charge.

This blind spot seduces us to accept the torture of prisoners and general harassment of Arab-Palestinian citizens as "normal."

If my neighbor claimed possession of 75 to 80 percent of my ancestral land, destroyed my house, prevented me from crossing my property or harvesting my orchard all because he had the guns and influence with City Hall and claimed he was doing it all in the name of security, would it be strange if I refused to welcome him in when he came to visit with a slice of apple pie?

Peace is furthered by love and hospitality, but it cannot exist without justice.

Darrell W. Yeaney Iowa City, Iowa

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