Page 4, 7th August 1981

7th August 1981
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Page 4, 7th August 1981 — Middle East peace through prayer and understanding
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Locations: Gaza, Tel Aviv, London, Venice

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Middle East peace through prayer and understanding

MESSRS GARNEL and Dingle have, it appears to me, dominated the Arab/Israeli argument,. They are so deeply entrenched in their viewpoints that left to them, the issue would never be resolved.

I beg space now, to take issue with Mr Garnel, who, (17 July), by quoting glibly, extracts out of context, appears to have adopted the role of PRO for World Zionism. I should like to answer him with a few facts.

I was a member of the British Forces during the troubled years of 1945-48. in Palestine, when Begin and Company were at their most active in committing terrorism against the British Forces, but that is past history and I will not dwell upon it.

During this period I came into contact with many Jews and heard their aspirations. They were no different from the present day. I have also read "The Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion", published at the beginning of this century, which has as its aim, "World power through World Government". The conversion of Palestine into a Zionist state. with the dream still to be realised of a Zionist empire embracing Jordan, the Lebanon and Syria.

Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first preside nt , remarked upon the "miraculous clearing of the land", after the Jewish Army, armed by the US, had driven 240,0(X) Palestinians and Lebanese from their homes in 1948.

Not a whisper was heard in the western world, nor when the Jordan valley was cleared or when 1.5 million Egyptians were driven from the Suez area, (figures quoted by Mordech ii Gun Israeli Chief of Staff), in 1970.

Some 400,000 Palestinians were by then refugees, having fled or been driven from their homes in the 1967 war. These again are figures from an authoritative source (General Ord Bull of the UN force).

Undoubtedly, the Balfour Declaration, so ambiguously phrased has contributed in no small measure to the tragic sequence of events since 1978. The Jews have consistently flaunted the Balfour Declaration as their banner to realise the dream Zionism, regardless of the suffering of millions existing in the refugee camps.

Now gentlemen, before reaching for your pens in self-righteous indignation, read on! I have visited Belsen and witnessed its horrors. I have the deepest sympathy with all who suffered under Hitler.

When Begin and Company were most active during 1945.48, they declared that they were fighting for their existence and National Home. No one begrudges them that right. How then, can they deny the Palestinians that same God-given right? Surely, their reference to the PLO as terrorists brings us back to the kettle and the pot.

What a tragedy, and betrayal of our Lord has been created by the blind intransigence of extreme factions who have soaked this land, which means so much to Jews. Christians and Muslims with so much blood.

Any student of the history of Palestine in the 20th century will have to admit that there have been gross errors on all side. Only the olive branch, prayer and understanding. rather than the gun will prevail.

Then please God, the Holy Land may be justly so called.

Mrs Charlotte Thomas

JOHN DINGLE (July 24) says he is "loth to continue this exchange-. This could mean he is near to throwing in the towel. but it does not justify him ending his letter hitting me below the belt by implying I support the denial of the right of Arab refugees h., "homes and possessions in Palestine".

This correspondence records that I support mutual recognition of rights. This is evident in my Guardian letter (I quoted). to the London representative of the PLO who rejected my suggestion that the Palestinians should recognise Israel in exchange for a Palestinian State, A positive reply from Rahif Ramlawi would have put the ball in Israel's court and inevitably led to negotiations with moderate Arab leaders.

Like most Jews, I am not an unquestioning supporter of every act and decision of whichever Israeli government happens to be in power. I know of no statesman more qualified than Abba Eban to guide Israel's foreign policy. Arab. Soviet. and EEC (Venice declaration), support for the PLO, is the only reason that the more impulsive, volatile Menachem Begin remains the leader of Israel's government, and the Labour Party favours (optimistically), the 'Jordanian option'.

I regard as nothing less than hysterical propaganda and hypocrisy, the assertion that "Israel has refused from the beginning to accept their (the Palestinians), existence as a separate people and is engaged in the violent increasing suppression of their rights and spoilation of their property".

Article 20 of the PLO -Covenant declares. "The Jews are not one people with an independent personality". Right from the beginning, Arabs were mot permitted to recognise the Jews as a separate

people entitled to live in peace in an independent State smaller than Wales, where a Jew may live as a right, not under sufference.

Within 24 hours of the edstablish ment of Israel, Ben Gurion was broadcasting from Tel Aviv his thanks to those nations which had promptly recognised the Jewish state. A loud explosion interrupted his speech. His listeners heard him say, "A bomb has just fallen on this city". The Arab war to "drive the Jews into the sea" had begun.

Jordanian and Egyptian armies annexed Gaza and the West Bank of the Jordan river; areas designated by' the UN as a Palestinian Arab State, but the Palestinian Arabs were urged to seek placation of their nationalism elsewhere.

Before June 1967, Al Fateh in its military communiques claimed 300 attacks against Israel (113 according to Israel's complaints to the UN), and boasted (accurately). of major responsibility for the Six-Day-War. Were the PLO fighting for "a homeland", or to deny Jewish right to any part of Palestine'?

The PLO is the most implacable enemy of the Jews since Hitler, Mr Dingle sees no inconsistency of his recognition of Israel and his "disposition to accept the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people", because he "deeply regrets that the Palestinians have not found it possible to modify their Charter".

This is almost equivalent from the

Jewish point of view, to someone during the era of the Third Reich saying, "I am disposed to accept Niter as the Fuerher of the German nation, although I regret he has not found it possible to abandon his antisemitism".

The point is, the Arab world is not only disposed to recognise the PLO. It has been appointed a government-inexile of the proposed Palestinian State. Since any Palestinian Arab leader who declines to affirm support for the PLO, is liquidated, a PLO take-over amounts to a military coup. (Nobody recognises the IRA as the "sole representative" of Ulster Catholics).

John Dingle considers it "instructive" that I should regard militant anti-Zionism "A major heresy". It is instructive that Mr Dingle should dissent from that view. Space alone prohibits me from listing the misrepresentation of the ITV film "Whose hand on the tap". in which spokesmen on behalf of the Arabs were PLO propagandists Bassam Shaka and a Palestinian lawyer who denigrated Zionist ideology.

J. Gamet




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