Friday, February 12, 2010

J.Post February 12: The Israeli 'Occupation'?

Sir, - Under the guise of a passionate defense of Naomi Chazan, Gershon Baskin insists on lumping together his favored gripes under one umbrella and demands that we all seek its protection ("A dark day for democracy," February 9).

He couples human rights and civil liberties advocates with those who are against the 'occupation of the Palestinian people and territories' and thus opposed to the policies of Israel's government.

I dare say that the vast majority of Israelis are, like most Jews, supporters of civil liberties and human rights, but do not accept Baskin's stand on the 'occupation.'

His claim of 'occupation' is a dubious one, and has been at the core of the Arab-Israel conflict ever since the inauguration of the Zionist enterprise in the historical birthplace of the Jewish people. The legal right to this homeland was recognized by the Balfour Declaration and repeatedly reconfirmed by the League of Nations. There was never an independent Arab sovereignty over this part of the globe, and following the defensive War of Independence, fought victoriously against seven invading Arab armies, the territories that came under Israel's control should justly remain there.

If Baskin really is concerned about the Palestinians, he must convince them that neither cliches nor terrorist atrocities will solve their problems, but rather a willingness to accept Israel's existence, followed by negotiations in good faith.

Petah Tikva