The Chronicle Herald.          Dec. 21, 2005
Extremist rhetoric should be dismissed


Regardless of Iranís presidentís statements, related to the Holocaust etc., which are unacceptable, your Dec. 19 editorial, "Mongering war and hate," contains errors and inaccuracies related to the Palestinian people, that should be corrected.

The Hebrew tribes came to the land of Canaan as invaders and were driven out by other invaders, the Romans. The land of Palestine encountered many other invaders including the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, the Crusaders, the Turks and British.

Todayís Palestinians are the descendants of the Canaanites, Jebusites and other tribes that lived in this land since history began, and are not the product of the Muslim conquest, during the 7th century AD. Law professor Maxime Rodinson, of the Sorbonne University in Paris, and who is Jewish, stated in his book, "Israel and the Arabs" (1968): "The Arab population of Palestine was native in all senses of the word and their roots in Palestine can be traced back at least forty centuries."

On the 29th of November, 1947, when the UNGA Partition resolution, #181,was passed, Palestinian Jews constituted 31 per cent of the population and owned 5.6 per cent of the land, yet they were apportioned 56 per cent of the land of Palestine. This unfair resolution was passed under direct pressure from the U.S., as confirmed by Sumner Welles, Undersecretary of State at the time. He stated: "By direct order of the White House, every form of pressure, direct and indirect, was brought to bear by American officials upon those countries outside the Moslem world that were known to be either uncertain or opposed to partition. Representatives or intermediaries were employed by the White House to make sure that the necessary majority would at least be secured."

It is true that the Arabs opposed this unjust resolution, but the Jewish leaders in Palestine rejected it or accepted it as a temporary measure. Menachem Begin, leader of the Herut party, the forerunner of todayís Likud, stated: "The partition of the homeland is illegal. It will never be recognized." David Ben Gurion, Israelís first prime minister, when announcing the creation of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, refused to define its borders, stating: "We are announcing the creation of a state in the western part of our country ....We are not obliged to state the limits of our state." He wrote later in his diaries (edited by Michael Bar-Zohar and published in 1954): "To maintain the status quo will not do. We have to set up a dynamic state bent upon expansion."

Re: your statement that the neighbouring Arab countries expelled their Jewish citizens. The Jews in Arab states were largely pressured and intimidated by Israeli officials when they were reluctant to immigrate to Israel. One example of that of Iraqi-born Israeli politician, Mordechai Ben Porat, who was directly responsible for having Zionist agents toss hand grenades in the Masouda Shem-Tov synagogue in Baghdad, causing the death of many innocent worshippers, with the object of blaming it on the Iraqis.

Finally, we should dismiss the statements of extremists, on both sides, and call for a just solution of this conflict so that Palestinians and Israelis and Jews and Arabs can live together in peace in the Middle East.

Ismail Zayid, MD, lives in Halifax.