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THE HISTORICAL ISRAEL

The Mail

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

Knowing as I do that it is difficult for The Crimson to be objective concerning Jews, and having written before to the editors, I am reluctant to write regarding the polemic outrage perpetrated by E. Hanauer ("Justice for the Palestinians," May 8). This diatribe was published on the 25th anniversary of Israel--a date on which other journals tried to impartially assess Israel's successes and failures.

Little concern is shown by Hanauer for the historical facts and actual behavior in the Mideast. Twenty-five years ago, two nations were created, one Jewish and one Arabic -- created with the expressed approval of the Arab leadership. Israel, then two small patches of land connected by an eight mile wide corridor, was immediately attacked by Arabs (armed by the retreating British). It is this attack which created the refugee problem; it is the irrational intransigence of the Arab leaders which held and still holds these refugees as political pawns. Israel, a nation barely one year old, offered then and repeatedly to work with these Arab governments in settling all refugees both inside and outside of Israel. Had Arabs agreed to work with infant Israel for the benefit of other Arabs in 1948, there would be peace today.

A second set of facts justifies in part the "oppression" of those Arabs now living in Israel (oppression so harsh that the standard of living of those Arabs who remained in Israel from 1948 is now among the highest of any group in the Mideast). This fact is the record of Palestinian terrorism against both Arab and Jew over the past 25 years. Patience and hard work are required to solve the problems of the Mideast -- qualities which Israel, certain elements notwithstanding, has always been willing to provide. But in the face of continued Palestinian demonstrations of "good faith" like Munich, how can the Jews be anything but patient?

A final point: do Mr. Hanauer and those like him raise their voices when eleven Jews are rounded up in Baghdad and hung, when Syrian Jews live at the mercy and whim of the state, or in concentration camps in Iraq? In the face of such tremendous external pressure, no nation has been as even-handed or as liberal in its treatment of ethnic minorities as Israel. Let us pressure those who deserve to be pressured -- the governments in Amman, Cairo, Baghdad and so on. Laurence Cohen

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