I ran across a letter of mine that was published in the Oregonian on Monday, August 27, 1990. I answered an editorial that was comparing Israel to the behaviors of Iraq.
to the editor: Franz Schurmann (Worst case scenario: Iraq and Israel issues tied," Aug 15) states that there are some Westerners who still believe that Israel has been committing crimes similar to Iraq's.
Israel has not been seeking to eliminate the Palestinians as a people. Israel was created by the United Nations in 1948 and was immediately attacked by the surrounding Arab countries. The Arabs' own leaders told them to leave Israel. Many did, hoping to return after the Arabs won the war, which did not happen.
When the Jordanian king ruled illegally over Judea and Samaria-the West Bank-between 1949 and 1967, some 400,000 left for other parts of the Arab world. The Palestinians had been offered a chance to create their own state in 1948, but refused because they wanted the whole territory.
June 5, 1956, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq attacked Israel from three sides. When the war was over, 200,000 Arabs in Judea and Samaria left for Jordan. They were not driven out by the Jews. Note that 75 % of Jordan's population is now Palestinian. the king had to deport many because they almost took over his kingdom.
When Israel won the Six Day War, the Arab population of Judea and Samaria came under its control. Israel gained this land as a result of Arab attack. Israel has not been committing brutalities in the so-called occupied territories. It has tried to preserve law and order in this area of hostile people and has gone to great lengths to get along with the people and to improve their lot. Its policy has been not to interfere with the life of the Arab population. Israel has taught farmers how to use modern equipment, extended loans for new industrial plants and opened vocational training centers. the Arabs responded by hurling stones and rioting.
Israel constitutes less than 1% of the territories ruled and dominated by Arabs. The 1967 war cost Israel twice as many dead in proportion to her total population as the United States lost in eight years of fighting in Vietnam. Please don't put Israel in the same category as Iraq.
The letter makes me wince. I'm still fighting the accusations against Israel in 2008. It is a miracle that Israel is going to make it to its 60th birthday. Someone is looking out for her.