162. Palestinians' right needs to be upheld

In her letter of May 16, [161] Edith Halpern agrees that the Palestinians "deserve" a state of their own on one condition: "as long as they accept the fact that Israel is, and has a right to continue to exist." Arafat who has already done that, would certainly be grateful for her generosity. But in the name of reciprocity, championed by Netanyahu, why can't we impose the same condition on Israel: The Israelis deserve a state of their own as long as they accept the Palestinians' right to have a state.

Ms Halpern's review of 50 years of history is skewed. The Israelis were not "defending themselves." They were foreign-born intruders who wanted, in the name of a racist Zionist ideology, to dispossess an indigenous people, some of whom are still carrying the keys of their stolen homes and the deeds of their stolen properties. I wonder who wants to push the other into the sea?

Furthermore, the 1947 decision was not about the creation of Israel, it was about the partition of Palestine into two states. The Palestinians were indeed unhappy because while they constituted two-thirds of mandate Palestine, they were given less than 50 percent of their homeland.

Finally, the 1947 partition stipulated that 40 percent of the Jewish state would be populated by Arabs. The goal of Ben-Gurion was to reduce that percentage if not to eliminate it. In other words, what is called the war of independence was in fact a war of ethnic cleansing.

May 16, 1998