I have followed the series of letters on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict going back and forth over the last several issues. One thing has become increasingly clear — the two sides have both exaggerated their claims and, as a result, may have damaged their own argument.
Let me try to bring some reality to these arguments. First, Mr. Segan has written about the “1948 displacement of 750,000 Palestinians” and that they “languish intergenerationally in camps.” In 1948, the nascent Israeli government pleaded with those people not to leave. Most fled voluntarily (probably out of fear), and certainly many were involuntarily displaced. As for the camps, it was the surrounding Arab nations who would not permit the refugees to be resettled, but instead forced them into those camps. Resentment was an inevitable result, but it was not aimed at their “hosts.” Rather that resentment was channeled against the one nation that had asked them to stay.
Further, I ask Mr. Segan this question: Should any nation support the creation of a new country that has as one of its stated aims the destruction of the neighboring state that helped in its creation? I think that would be one definition of insanity.
Mr. Basson on the other hand, referred to Israel as including “20 percent Palestinian citizens.” Actually, that 20 percent is better described as Arabs, Druze, Bedouin, and Baha’i, among others. Does that include some who see themselves as Palestinian? I suspect it does, but I further believe that it is far from all of them.
Every time a writer uses errors such as these to support his or her position, it becomes more difficult for the two sides to talk to each other rather than talk at each other. We can engage in dialogue only through civility and accuracy.