In response to the Jan. 4 My Word on Israel-Palestinian history:
Yet again a major newspaper publishes an opinion regarding the Israeli-Palestine conflict reflecting a strong Zionist bias. This viewpoint can be reduced to the following:
Israel is devoid of any wrongdoing; and the Muslims and Palestinians are responsible for this problem as a result of their beliefs.
I'd like to remind readers of the following:
Hamas was propped up by the Israeli government as a counter-movement to Fatah in the 1980s. Although they have a harsh rhetoric against Israel, Hamas has offered Israel a long-term treaty on many occasions, thus de facto recognizing Israel. In response, Israel conducts targeted killings of Hamas officials resulting in rockets being fired from Gaza into Israel and then massive Israeli military campaigns into the Palestinian territories. Remember the casualties are obtusely against Palestinian civilians.
Palestinian groups have conducted terrorist acts against Israelis. Every one of these acts is deplorable. Let's remember Israel was founded on terrorism. Jewish terrorist groups conducted terrorism against the Arabs and British from the early 20th century through the 1940s and beyond. The pinnacle of this campaign was the bombing of the King David Hotel on July 16, 1946, where 90 civilians were murdered. Palestinian terrorist attacks have dwindled in recent years, and there is a large nonviolent movement to end the occupation.
In 1901, the Ottoman Caliph Sultan Hamid offered Theodore Herzl designated areas in Syria and Iraq for Jewish immigration. Hence the argument that Muslims will not permit Jews to live in this region is false. Furthermore, over the last 1,000 years, Muslims have provided Jews protection when they were being slaughtered by the Europeans. Common examples are during the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition.
Saudi Arabia and the Arab League offered Israel a comprehensive peace plan in 2004. This proposal would deliver a comprehensive economic and political treaty to Israel. Israel's response? Build more settlements and ignore the offer.
As for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' statement "I will not accept a Jewish state," why should he, given Israeli policies? Conversely, I can find you 60 years of statements and subsequent action by Israeli politicians demonstrating they will never accept a Palestinian state.
Recently, Yuval Diskin, former leader of Shin Bet, offered scathing criticism of Netanyahu's policies. Moreover, he was joined by other former defense officials in this critique of the last several decades of Israeli policies.
Furthermore, Diskin has defended Abbas and attributes the rise of Hamas directly to Netanyahu. I encourage people to watch, "The Gatekeepers," a documentary on this subject.
Finally, I ask: What are you doing to improve the situation? I will state that the Palestinians can do more. But I will never ask them to take scraps of land for a state, compromise their dignity or forgo their 2,000-plus-year-old culture and history -- articles the Israel government wants them to take with a smile.
Maybe there should be 12 words to change Israel-Palestinian history: "Israel evacuates settlements and agrees to a just solution to the conflict."
Faheem Chanda is a resident of Oakland.