[55. Good faith Declaration by Israel

For Mr. Feith, a deputy assistant secretary of defense and a Middle East specialist on the National Security Council during the Reagan administration, to identify himself so blatantly with Israel as he did in his article of November 29 (Wall Street Journal) is a clear indication as to why Reagan's Mideast policy was a complete failure. In endorsing Israel's persistent skepticism of any of the Arabs' peace overtures, he suggests that they issue a declaration to prove their good faith and indicate in it that they will "defer the issue of territory" but will "agree to make peace immediately." He completely, however, rules out Arab doubts of Israel's intentions. Since two can play at this game, why don't I suggest that Israel issues a declaration like this:

We acknowledge that we committed an injustice towards the Palestinians. We came from all over Europe and used violence and deception to drive them out of their homeland. Those who stayed are living as third-class citizens (the second class are the Oriental Jews) in a Jewish state since 1948 or under military occupation without any political rights since 1967. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 which called for the establishment of a Jewish "national home" in Palestine was interpreted by us as authority to build "a Jewish state." Our so-called acceptance of the UN partition plan of 1947 was a tactical one, Ben-Gurion himself having declared that the new state had been established only in "a portion of the land of Israel." We actively pursued a policy of provocation hoping for a new war with the Arabs so that, as Moshe Sharett put it, "we may finally get rid of our troubles and acquire space." Because what we have done so far casts doubts on our good faith, we will immediately withdraw to our 1967 borders and defer the issue of peace agreement until we prove our peaceful intentions. During the negotiations, we will promptly discuss matters of substance and stop procrastinating as we always do by wrangling over procedural matters.

November 1991]