Page 4, 29th May 1981

29th May 1981
Page 4
Page 4, 29th May 1981 — Israel and Arab rights

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Locations: Jerusalem


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Israel and Arab rights

J. CiARNEL. May 15, makes assumptions about the meaning of my letter of April 24 which go beyond anything I said or believe to be the case.

Any idea that Israel would go into voluntary liquidation was as far from my mind as complacency about the consequences of any attempt to eliminate that state by violence.

My point is that unless Israel is willing to do far more to redress injustice than she has shown herself ready to do in the past 33 years. her adversaries will be driven to violence in the effort to secure their rights.

Though I believe, and Balfour also appeared by implication to believe in essence. that the establishment of Is..ael in the way it was established constituted an injustice to the Arabs. I was not and do not call into question the legitimacy of Israel's national sovereignty in 1981, or indeed for many years prior to that.

A nation has been brought into existence. But I am not a Palestinian. Israel's demand for recognition from a people upon whose rights she has trampled from the moment of her Foundation and has consistently refused to recognise is a bad example of putting the cart before the horse. The injustice I had in mind was the expulsion of the Palestinians from their homeland followed by the seizure of their land and possessions, the adamant refusal to allow them to return and the disregard for the human rights or those living in the occupied territories.

In case anybody is tempted to repeat the ancient canard about Arab responsibility for the Palestinian exodus. read Erskine Childers on the subject.

If one believes, as I do, that the road to justice does not lie through the destruction of Israel. a procedure which would add one more tragedy to those that have already occurred. it follows that the injustice done to Palestinians cannot now be totally reversed.

But at least the right of selfdetermination and to establish themselves in ZI national home should not be withheld from them.

Sell-determination means what it says and it is neither here nor there that Jews should be willing to determine Palestinians as part of Jordan when the King of Jordan agrees that they have a rignt to decide for themselves.

I find it rather curious that we should her so much from Mr Garnel and his friends about the authority or the United Nations in regard to the partition of Palestine and so little about the authority of that body in the matter of sovreignty over Jerusalem — a position reached in circumstances which make it much less open to legitimate challenge than the decision of 1947 and the other decisions flowing immediately from that.

John Dingle Surrey ONCE AGAIN Urbanus makes a scurrilous, totally unfounded attack on Archbishop Capucct, the former Melkite Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem, s ho in 1974 was convicted in an Israeli court for alleged gunrunning, and subsequently sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. As I have previously stated in these columns before, the Archbishop was 'framed'. and his hunger strike was a protest against his conviction and the conditions of Israeli jails.

The sole condition of his release was exile from Israel, and promise not to visit any country bordering Israeli territory. The Archibisnop publicly stated on his release that he would continue witnessing for the legitimate rights of the Palestinians.

The recent meeting between Cardinal Casaroli, Secretary of State and Farouk Kuddomi foreign officer l'or the PLO, was presumably made through the normal Vatican diplomatic channels, and not through Mgr Capucci, who is now Apostolic Visitor for Greek Catholic Melkites residing in Western Europe. and not a Vatican Diplomat.

The meeting between the Vatican Secretary of State and PLO representative was to discuss the status of Jerusalem, and to know the views of the PLO on the Middle East situation. A similar meeting had been scheduled between the Cardinal and Israeli foreign minister. but cancelled at the last moment by the Israelis.

The Vatican is in fact represented in Jerusalem by an apostolic delegate to the Holy Land, representation to the Hierarchy and Catholics of the territory, and not to the Government, similar to that in this country.

Receiving the diplomatic credentials of the new Ambassador of Egypt to the Holy Sec last November, the Pope expressed his hopes for "A comprehensive peace .... a peace which provides for an equitable solution to all aspects of the Middle East crisis including the Palestinian problem. and question or Jerusalem.

Indeed hopes for a peace solution in the Middle East can only be raised when the Palestinians are given back their human rights. and rightful territory, and the repressive intransigent policies of the Begin government cease.

C. J. Williams Northampton

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