Friday, December 28, 2007

More on Language is Important

The following letter to the editor, published in the Waterbury Republican-American December 28, is a follow-up to an earlier letter discussed on this blog in the post Language is Important.

It's a nice example of following one good letter with another.

There's a tendency for supporters of Israel to just react, since basically we just want Israel to be left alone to live a normal, peaceful existence. Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of just reacting; we need to take the initiative and look for opportunities to not only control damage, but to promote a positive image for Israel.

As we approach the secular new year, one valuable resolution is to write letters (and, if you can, op-eds) to newspapers on a regular basis, without waiting for the haters to attack.

Palestinians Never Controlled Any of West Bank

In his Dec. 20 letter, Israel should think twice before ceding more land to Arabs, Mark Shea described the way Israeli concessions, including withdrawals, have led to even more Arab terrorism rather than peace.

This season of peace finds Gilad Shalit still held by Hamas, the terrorist group that kidnapped him after Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Since Israel turned Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority, thousands of Kassam missiles have been launched at Israeli towns.

Israel also left Lebanon more than seven years ago, withdrawing behind the border as delineated by the United Nations. Yet Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser are spending another holiday season in captivity, if they are even still alive. Hezbollah, which crossed into Israel to kidnap them, has not even had the humanity to let the Red Cross visit.

Yet, even Shea fell into the trap of using misleading terminology repeated by Arab propagandists, in referring to pressure on Israel to return to the Palestinians the West Bank.

The term return falsely implies Judea and Samaria were in the possession of Palestinian Arabs.

During the 1948 war, that territory was captured by Jordan, which before that was already in possession of approximately 78 percent of the territory of the Palestine Mandate. Israel found itself administering that territory after being attacked by Jordan in 1948. Thus, if Israel was to return the West Bank to any entity, it would be to Jordan, not the Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, the Palestinian Arabs were never in possession of any part of Judea, Samaria or Gaza before Israel gave territory to them as part of the Oslo Agreements.

It's unfortunate the Palestinian Arabs destroyed Oslo, as the Arabs have destroyed every attempt at peace. As much as Israel has tried to make peace with the Arabs, peace will remain only a dream until its Arab enemies reconcile themselves to the existence within their midst of the non-Arab, non-Muslim, Western-oriented democracy called Israel.

Yoel Benzev

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