Letter to the Editor-Journal News
April 21, 2006
I must comment Mr. Philip Cohen in his reply to Mr. Victor Lama, a consistent apologist regarding Arab violence and critic of Israel’s right to exist. There was a Jewish governmental presence in that area of the world that pre-dated the rise of Islam by 1700 years. Kings David and Solomon ruled the land where modern day Israel and the West Bank exists from 1000 to 925 BC. After hundreds years of Babylonian, Persian, and Greek occupation, a new Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom existed from 165 BC until the Romans conquered the area, in 63 BC. From that time on, despite incredible pressure from outside conquerors that included: the Egyptian Hyksos, the Arabians, the Crusaders, the Turks, Napoleon and the British there always remained a Jewish presence in what is modern Israel. There has been continuous Jewish settlement in Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron, and Tiberias from Biblical times. Despite expulsions that forced Jews out of land that they had inhabited for over 3.5 millennia, Jewish residents and settlers continued to cultivate a barren desert into arable land. With the victory of the Allies over the Central Powers in 1918, Turkish rule ended, and a Homeland was promised the Jewish people. Therefore one must not ignore that history, and the fact that outsiders had forced the Jews either out of their land or submitted them to the sword. Despite that ugly historical reality 84,000 Jews still lived in the Mandate Area in 1922. Without those historical events, there would have always been a land of Israel and the Jewish population would have been many, times larger. Against incredible Arab opposition and threats of annihilation, the Jewish Agency in Palestine accepted the United Nations partition plan, in 1947, that gave the Jewish population of 650,000 a small, disjointed fraction of the British Mandate. But did the Arabs compromise with that plan? No! They declared war on the fledging state and have sustained the cycle of hatred and violence ever since. Today the Jews of Israel live and enjoy a multi-cultural democracy that guarantees democratic rights to all races, creeds and religions. What can be said of the Arab world and all of their oil riches? A history of violence, religious fratricide, intolerance, prejudice, hatred, discrimination, dictatorship and mayhem is the Arab legacy. The list is endless and their irrational demands and conduct has spawned the violence that has beset Beirut, the West Bank, Gaza, Iraq, and caused the Iranian and Kuwaiti wars along with the multiple wars against Israel. It is time for the Arabs to come into the modern world, to end their violence to others and themselves, and seek peace as the path to follow.
Richard J. Garfunkel