Let's understand the historical context for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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I commend Michael Drohan for speaking his mind (“Presbyterians’ Stand Against Glaring Injustice Should Be Lauded,” July 6 letters). I do not believe his comments to be anti-Semitic. They are, however, one-sided and out of historical context. I will try to present the other side. In 1948, the United Nations voted for partition. The greatest part of the country (all the land which they now claim) was given to the Arabs. A thin sliver of land was given to the Jews, who accepted the U.N. decision, and to this day the Arabs have not accepted it. So much for accepting U.N. decisions.

The day after the last British soldier left the Palestinian Mandate, the combined armies of six Arab nations invaded Israel. Israel prevailed at the cost of 1 percent of its population. I wonder if we in the United States had been simultaneously invaded by the Mexicans, Canadians and Russians and had prevailed at the cost of 3 million dead would be willing to return this land conquered at such a high price, especially if we believed that we had a historical and moral right to this land.

Does anyone remember that from 1948 to 1967, East Jerusalem remained in the hands of the Arab Legion? During these 18 years not one Jew was allowed to pray at the Wailing Wall. Imagine the international and legitimate outcry if the Arabs were prevented from worshipping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. When the Israelis were barred from their most holy site, I do not remember hearing well-meaning voices such as the Presbyterians condemning the Jordanians. Speaking of how Arabs are treated in Israel, it would be an eye opener for Mr. Drohan and the Presbyterian leadership to explore the treatment of Jews in Arab lands. I should also mention that Palestinians in the occupied territories (a debatable concept) have made common cause with their kin whose avowed goal is the destruction of Israel.

I am neither judging nor condemning them. In their shoes I would probably do the same, but I would not complain that those I wish to destroy do not treat me like a beloved brother. I am not writing this letter to justify or excuse the way Israelis treat Arabs; I am writing to offer an explanation and state the other side.

RAY NAAR
East Liberty


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