August 2007

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News and Opinion

Letters to the Editor

What Occupied Land?

One of the things that has disturbed me since 1967 is the concept of "occupied land" or land that doesn't belong to Israel. In looking at maps by no less a figure than Sir Martin Gilbert, when Israel was partitioned by the United Nations (the only time they acted in good faith towards Israel) the land was supposed to be divided into a two state area, with Jerusalem as an "international city".

Now we all know what happened, or we should if we are going to be part of the debate. The Arabs vetoed the idea of a two-state deal, and when Israel declared her independence she was immediately attacked by several of her neighbors. However, before the attack occurred, the mullahs told the people living in what became Israel to leave, so "we can drive the Jews into the sea." Of course, that never happened. What did happen though, was that the Arabs captured part of Jerusalem, and our sacred city was divided in two.

So the Arabs occupied East Jerusalem, supposedly an "international city" and from then until 1967, they went about desecrating Jewish cemeteries, and otherwise turning Jerusalem into a fourth world city. In 1967, when the Israel Defense Forces prevailed and captured the old city, all of a sudden the "international city" that Arabs occupied for close to 20 years, was their city. Only then did the UN and the rest of the world said "you can't do that, East Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs." The Israeli's agreed, in good faith, to a two-state solution, and each time the Arabs rejected the idea. The Arabs keep whining about the "occupation", and the world keeps tsk, tsking at Israel, you have to give it back.

First of all, if there was an occupation, it was back in 1948, and it was perpetrated by the Arabs, not the Israelis.

Secondly, they demand the "right of return." The heck with them. They (and the rest of the world) seem to forget that Jews living in Arab countries, whether in North Africa or the Middle East were kicked out as soon as Israel declared her independence. Israel absorbed these Jewish refugees into their country, settling them in cities, towns, moshavs, kibbutzim, wherever they could find a place for them to live. Not the Arabs; they prefer to let the so-called Palestinians languish in refugee camps. Of course, I saw a photo in the Jerusalem Report not too long ago, of one of the "refugee camps"; it was a three story apartment building. Sorry, that doesn't qualify as a refugee camp.

And by the way, there already is a Palestine, it is called Jordan, whose population is 60% Palestinian. So I wish Tony Karon, Trudy Rubin (of the Philadelphia Inquirer) and the rest of the drum beaters for the "Palestinian cause" would stop using "occupied land." If you are going to call yourselves reporters, how about brushing up on your history? You should know the facts, all the way back to the beginning. When a country wins a defensive war no one expect that country to "give back" except for Israel. As far as I'm concerned, there is no giving back, it wasn't "theirs" to begin with. The United States and Israel can continue with their charade as far as I'm concerned.

How about peace for peace, not peace for a piece of land that wasn't theirs to begin with.

-- Rachel Garber, Philadelphia, PA

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice welcomes the submission of articles and letters to the editor letters @ pjvoice.com. Please include name, address and phone number for identification purposes. We cannot publish every submission we receive. We also reserve the right to edit submissions for length, clarity, grammar, accuracy, and style, though we will never intentionally distort the author's intent.

Editor-in-chief Charles Smolover editor @ pjvoice.com

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