Letters to the Editor: December 30

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Pointing fingers at the wrong party obstructing peace in the Middle East
Michael Koplow’s column “Annexation by Any Other Name” (Opinions, Dec. 16) implies, without directly claiming, that the projected policy of the incoming Netanyahu government will be responsible for there being no peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. His focus is on the wrong side: It is Palestinian leaders who for decades rejected peace terms that could have given their people freedom. Instead, they urge their people to continue their fruitless struggle against the Jewish state.

I could cite numerous examples of Palestinian Arab leaders’ wrongheaded rejectionism, going back to the 1920s. The most blatant were PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s refusal to consider U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s and Clinton’s peace proposals. My authority for this is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Ambassador to the United States from 1983 to 2005.
Arafat’s rejection of the 1979 Jimmy Carter Camp David Autonomy offer, said Prince Bandar, “became the mistake that played a major role in deepening the Palestinian tragedy” (from an interview in Al Arabiya, Oct. 5, 2020). Prince Bandar’s 2000 comment on the Clinton peace parameters of that year, subsequently vetoed by Arafat, were: “If Arafat rejects this, it won’t be a mistake, it will be a crime” (quoted by diplomat Dennis Ross, The Hill, Oct. 19, 2020).

Along this line, It is interesting to note Prince Bandar’s description of his conversation with Yasser Arafat after the Oslo accords were signed in 1993 (Al Arabiya, Oct. 5, 2020):

After the Oslo Accord, I asked Abu Ammar [Arafat] … what he thought of the autonomy provisions in the Camp David Treaty. He said, “Bandar, Camp David’s autonomy provisions were ten times better than the Oslo Accord.”

“Well, Mr. President, why did you not agree to it?” He said, “I wanted to, but Hafez al-Assad threatened to kill me and to drive a wedge among the Palestinians, turning them against me.” I thought to myself, so he could have been one martyr and given his life to save millions of Palestinians, but it was as God willed it.

In other words, other people will be martyrs, while Arafat kept his leadership role and lived to be 75.

Since the Palestinian Arabs are continuing their unsuccessful 100-year war against Zionists and Israel, their options are becoming more limited. But the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip can change course and use what clout they have left to negotiate the best deal they can with Israel. In time, that initial arrangement could develop into something quite satisfactory for their people.

That this has not happened is due to Palestinian leaders continuing the struggle, probably like Arafat, for their own selfish purposes, the people be damned.

JERRY LEVIN
Baltimore

Proud of our lone soldiers
Natalie Grossman spoke at the FIDF (Friends of the Israel Defense Forces) gala in September (Local News, “Baltimore native participates in IDF ‘Personal Errands Day’ for lone soldiers, Dec. 16).

So proud of our Baltimore lone soldiers!

MARTY TAYLOR
Baltimore

Letters should be related to articles that have run in the print or online editions of the JT, and may be edited for space and clarity prior to publication. Please include your first and last name, as well your town/neighborhood of residence. Send letters to editor@jewishtimes.com or Baltimore Jewish Times, 9200 Rumsey Road, Suite 215, Columbia, MD 21045, or submit them online at jewishtimes.com/letters-to-the-editor.

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