I do not present myself as an expert regarding the long history of the Middle East conflict. Nevertheless, I must express strong disagreement with Rabbi Meir’s view of Israel’s record during its struggle for survival (“The occupation and Israel’s human rights record,” March 2).
To my perception, the conflict began long before the existence of the Jewish state. From the late 1800s, Jewish immigrant pioneers who legally purchased uninhabited and poor quality land from Ottoman landlords were violently opposed by Muslim Arabs. They perpetrated pogroms (massacres) in Hebron and Jerusalem, among others.
After the establishment of Israel in May 1948, the violence against the “Zionist Entity” persisted and escalated. There has been a series of aggressive wars (intended annihilation) pursued by Arab enemies. When these failed, tactics of terror of various types were initiated along with incitement of hatred among youth. This perpetuates the “holy war.”
There has never been a sincere and genuine effort toward peace with their Jewish neighbors. To the contrary, in spite of false rhetoric, the enemy’s goal remains elimination of Israel and replacement with the hoped-for (single) State of “Palestine.”
All of this is well known and obvious to any fair observer.
To my perception, Israel’s record regarding these grim circumstances is the following: all loyal citizens (regardless of ethnicity or nationality) are accorded civil, political, cultural, and religious rights. Religious shrines are fully protected with unrestricted access assured.
Is this principle applied perfectly?
(Where is such perfection found anywhere in the world?)
In my opinion, Israel compares favorably in this regard with any modern advanced democracy.
The so called “occupied” territories are far more accurately termed “disputed.”
They are in large part populated by people who are conditioned toward hatred and violence by a corrupt “leadership” obsessively driven toward Israel’s destruction.
In my opinion, this “leadership” has NO motivation toward a peaceful “two state” solution.
This opportunity has been offered by Israel at least twice. It has been rejected. Painful concessions in Gaza have led to disastrous results. Terror continues unchecked, even encouraged.
I believe that Israel longs for a true and secure peace. Its many concessions lead me to reject Rabbi Meir’s conviction that is is primarily motivated by “The Greater Israel Project”!
Israel’s opponents will achieve peace with consequent full freedom and unfettered economic development when they change their “leadership,” recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and agree to sincere face-to-face negotiations.
Sadly, this does not seem to be likely in the foreseeable future.
Jerrold Terdiman MD