Dear Honi Soit,
I am unimpressed by Fahad Ali’s one-sided letter which appeared in last week’s edition.
Like most Israelis and Jewish people, I believe in a two-state solution – two indigenous peoples of the land, living side by side in parallel national self-determination. This should have been the case since 1948: a two-state solution was on the table in 1937, 1947, 2000, 2005 and 2008 and is still on the table today. Unfortunately, the West Bank PM Mahmoud Abbas walked away from the negotiating table again just this week.
That the Palestinian leadership has never stepped up has meant huge injustices on both sides, including, as Fahad points out, the dispossession of 700,000 Palestinian Arabs. What he chooses to omit is the fact that approximately 800,000 Jews also became refugees in 1948, when they were expelled from Arab lands.
I’m the first to tell you that Israel is not blameless, but neither are the Palestinian leaders. Not only have they continued to reject statehood if it means recognizing any state of Israel alongside them, but worse – they have continued to indoctrinate their people that the only way to self-determination is through violence and the genocide of the Jews. Go to www.palwatch.org if you want clear proof of this. This official policy of incitement has resulted in the suicide- and homicide-terrorism which has killed and injured thousands of Israeli civilians. Fahad likes to cite individual incidents, so I shall mention the 2011 massacre by two Palestinian cousins, one aged 18 and one a minor, of five members of the Fogel family in their beds, including 3-month old Hadass – decapitated.
Fahad talks about human rights, but why doesn’t he count the Palestinian Authority’s indoctrination of children to become terrorists as an abuse of their human rights too? He also fails to mention the fact that the reason for so many civilian deaths in Gaza is that Hamas hides and fires weapons from schools, homes and hospitals and uses Palestinian civilians as shields. (See proof from Hamas in their own words athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0wJXf2nt4Y).
Israel supplies Gaza with petrol and electricity. It was not Israel, but rather 23 Palestinian NGOs who, this week, blocked a joint UNICEF-EU desalination plant for Gaza which would have supplied 75,000 Gazans with fresh water.
I’m proud to tell you that in my 20 years, I have been to Israel four times. It is an amazing place, the third Commonwealth of the Jewish people, with a history of 3000 years. It is a tiny country (that fits into Australia 369 times), a home to 8 million people; Jews, Arabs, Christians, Druze and more, where both Hebrew and Arabic are the official languages. The country is far more ‘normal’ than what is seen in the press, with everyday Israelis being just people, like you and me. To see just a little of the country’s diversity, check out the Australian Union of Jewish Students’ campaign http://iamanisraeli.me/.
It’s possible to be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian – that is, pro-peace. Both peoples deserve peace. Both peoples need to look forward and not back. We should encourage any movement that promotes dialogue between the two peoples; every joint Israeli-Palestinian project, from “Combatants for Peace” to “Blood Relations”. Google them to see what fantastic work they do bringing people together. This is why I oppose BDS, which punishes all those Palestinians and Israelis who want to walk forward into a future of peace and justice for all.