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OPINION

Letter: Don’t blame Israel for lack of peace

Re: The Detroit News’ Oct. 23 guest column “Quest for permanent peace in Middle East”: According to Imad Hamad, Palestine and the Middle East were quiet, peace-loving areas until the colonialist Jews came, people with no historic connection to the area.

The Jewish people have had an uninterrupted physical presence in Palestine since approximately 1000 BC. Modern Jews came to a turbulent Arab world, established the state of Israel, have been under constant existential threat.

Two states for two peoples living in peace has long been the ideal, one that most Israelis would be happy to accept. The United Nations formally accepted this principle and created Palestine in 1947, but that move was rejected by the Palestinians based on the view that the Jewish presence was (and is) the colonial occupier.

Israel renewed the Palestinian state offer repeatedly, but it was rejected without a counteroffer. A fact ignored is that all of Israel, and not just the West Bank, is considered occupied. No non-Muslim sovereignty is recognized anywhere in the Arab world; like Israeli Jews, non-Muslims such as Egyptian Copts, Iraqi Chaldeans, the Kurds and others have subservient status at best.

In 2005, Israel totally withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Here was the Palestinians’ opportunity to create the base for their own state. Instead, the strip was taken over by the Hamas movement, whose charter includes the uncompromising demand for the physical destruction of Israel and its Jewish population. Hamas has proven its intentions by subjecting Israel’s border towns to thousands of rockets. Given Hamas’ strength among Palestinians, Israel’s fear is that a West Bank withdrawal will lead to a violent Hamas presence there as well.

Israel and the West Bank together are tiny, about the size of New Jersey, and Israelis are wary of putting Hamas within a nine-mile distance of its international airport. Wouldn’t the U.S. feel the same?

To say that there is no solution is frightening, but before judging Israel, let’s examine how Arabs mistreat themselves, and how the Arab world is imploding in self-directed violence. Great imagination is not needed to see what Israel’s fate would be were her defensive ability to fail.

Les Goldstein

West Bloomfield