I couldn't agree more with Ralph Katz (July 4 letter) that "meaningful elections (in Israel) can be had only after years of freedom from fear." His reference to the Teamsters Local 560 in the United States is a very striking example. The "fear within that union" is very reminiscent of the fear of Palestinians from a brutal occupation under which Israel gracefully offered to organize an election.
And when he said "if the Arab states want peace with Israel... they need only respond to Israel's offer, which was made in 1948 and has never been withdrawn," unfortunately, he failed to tell us what the offer was. Was it something like this?
"I assume that most Arabs of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron would flee, like the Arabs of Lydda, Tiberias and Safad, and we will control the whole breadth of the country up to the Jordan... After the formation of a large army in the wake of the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and expand to the whole of Palestine... The acceptance of partition does not commit us to renounce Transjordan" (Ben-Gurion);
"The bisection of our homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized" (Begin);
"I have learned that the state of Israel cannot be ruled in our generation without deceit and adventurism" (Sharett).
These revealing utterances of three prime ministers of Israel are taken from a well-documented book, The Birth of Israel; Myths and Realities, written by the late Israeli historian Simha Flapan.
July 20, 1990