Right of Reply / The wonders of the new history

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Article/book #: 24694
Title: Right of Reply / The wonders of the new history
By: Joseph Heller (comment 1)   Yehoshua Porath (comment 1)   Joseph Gorny (Gorni) (comment 2)  
Published in: Ha’aretz
Date of issue: Saturday, 20 August 2005

Commentary (by JB):

This document contains two replies to Avi Shlaim's comments in this article.

Groundless claims

Unfortunately, Avi Shlaim misleads his readers with his claims that Israel missed the chance for peace, while the Arabs are dyed-in-the-wool peace lovers. When he comes to cite specific examples, Shlaim totally ignores the basic fact of the Israeli-Arab conflict: the uncompromising demand for the "right of return," which expresses an ideological and practical rejection of the very existence of the State of Israel, not to mention innumerable speeches and articles that call for the extermination of Israel. All the diplomatic contacts he mentions become worthless in light of the intentions to exterminate us, and Shlaim cannot dismiss them as simple rhetoric.

Even if we assume that the proposals are serious, it is clear as day that Hosni Zaim's demand for half of Lake Kinneret in return for the ostensible settlement of a quarter-of-a-million refugees in Syria, was a proposal that no Israeli leader could have accepted. It would have meant surrendering Israel's only plentiful source of water. Similarly, the demand by King Abdullah of Jordan for a wide corridor between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which was supposed to cut Israel in two, did not accord with the Israeli national interest. The same is true of the example of Egypt's Abd al-Nasser, a well-known peace lover who never rescinded his demand for the return of the refugees and for turning back the clock of history.

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