MAP Member Opinion "Peace"  

Re: Palestinians: Rebuttal to Jan. 3 Star Tribune Letter
by Florence Steichen
Letter to the editor sent to Star Tribune, 1-4-08

Dear Editor,  

I strongly disagree with the Letter Jan. 3, “Why Palestinian dreams of statehood are still unrealized.”
The writer states:  If Palestinians hadn’t spent the last 60 years rejecting Israel’s right to exist, their dream of  statehood would have become a reality, too.  The facts are otherwise.  

In 1988 Yasser Arafat speaking for the PLO declared the state of Palestine on 22% of historic Palestine, thereby recognizing the state of Israel on 78% of Palestine.  When Hamas won elections in 2006, they offered a unity government, with Fatah responsible for negotiations with Israel and Hamas for day to day governance.  Palestinians, including Hamas accepted the Beirut Initiative of 2002,  that offered normal relations with Israel by all 22 states of the Arab League in  return for Israel’s return to the green line, the 1949- 1967 border, and acknowledgement of UN resolution 194, the right of return, regarding which Palestinians agreed to negotiate.  This offer was renewed in 2007; Israel rejected it both times.

Jeff Halper, a Minnesotan, Macalaster Graduate, Israeli citizen, Professor of anthropology, Ben Gurion University, Israel, and founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, wrote in a 2006  paper, The Problem with Israel:

“Let’s be honest (for once): The problem in the Middle East is not the Palestinian people, not Hamas, not the Arabs, not Hezbollah or the Iranians or the entire Muslim world.  It’s us, the Israelis.  The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the single greatest cause of instability, extremism and violence in our region, is perhaps the simplest conflict in the world to resolve. “ It will be a reality when Israel ends the occupation and negotiates in good faith.

Florence Steichen,  retired educator,  President of Middle East Peace Now

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