Archive for Sunday, November 30, 2003

Barbaric thinking

November 30, 2003


To the editor:

Melanie Schnebelen writes (Public Forum, Nov. 24) that she is tired of seeing Palestinians portrayed as barbarians. Her attack on Israel shows a profound ignorance of history.

First off, the Palestinians were not "forced from their homes to make room for the nation of Israel" during the Six Day War or any other war. To the contrary, in 1948, just hours after the establishment of the state of Israel, six Arab armies sought to kill Israelis and force them from their homes.

As many as 700,000 Palestinians voluntarily fled to other countries during the war that followed. Many did so at the urging of Arab leaders who promised that they would be able to return once Israel had been destroyed. Although the Arabs lost that war, they refused to integrate Palestinian refugees into their own countries.

During the Six Day War, when Israel was forced to defend itself against a plan of total annihilation by Arab enemies, 250,000 Palestinians fled their homes in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Yes, Israel has admitted that a small minority of Palestinians were at times forced to flee during Israel's actions of self-defense. This happens in wartime. However, the Palestinians have repeatedly rejected peaceful solutions. They refuse to resolve social issues with a strategy of nonviolence in the tradition of Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela.

Schnebelen justifies Palestinian murders of children and babies in buses, restaurants and shopping malls as "fighting back." I call her thinking barbaric.

John W. Hoopes,


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