Violence in the Holy Land

"Violence erupts in the Holy Land" by Flore de Preneuf; "The sound of silence" by Samuel G. Freedman


Salon Staff
October 6, 2000 11:45PM (UTC)

Read Flore de Preneuf's story

Read Samuel G. Freedman's story

Most of the American Jews I know (and love) are not surprised by recent events, and they are hardly "agonized" in reaching conclusions. These Jews have already been through a long, slow process of recognition that Arabs in the West Bank and even in Israel proper have been systematically denied full civil liberties and social rights. Whatever their views on the peace process, Americans have learned that the reasonable everyday concerns of Arabs -- e.g., access to land and water -- are not being addressed.

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Whether it's a "silent majority" or a simple minority of American Jews I can't say, but it's a group that's moved beyond the views of the American Jewish Committee and other supposedly "liberal" Jewish organizations. They've learned how to love their Jewishness without embracing cheap, sentimental, one-sided views of history. Recent events will only confirm their sense that something is deeply wrong in the Israeli system of governance and administration.

-- Warren Rosenblum

Your article said that Arabs in Israel are "often treated like second-class citizens." The American Jewish community has said nothing about this, and their shame is only going to grow. How can people who preach "multiculturalism" and tolerance in our country and around the world, ignore the racism that engulfs Israeli society? How can there ever be peace in the Middle East when Israel's "existence as a Jewish state" involves the same kind of oppression and bigotry that the American Jewish community works so hard to condemn everywhere else?

-- Keith Schuerholz

Samuel Freedman describes 12-year-old Rami al-Dirreh as "cowering for cover behind his father before being shot fatally in a crossfire." This is a complete distortion of the truth -- the boy and his father were deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers, as was the ambulance driver who tried to rescue them. This was murder, nothing less, and the use of weasel words such as "crossfire" allows Freedman to excuse Israeli actions while accusing Palestinians of aggression.

-- Gerard Killoran

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Regardless of the spin put on by both Palestinian and Israeli media professionals and politicians alike, one fact must be confronted by the entire world: Israel's army has degenerated from a fierce national defense force into a fascist police state that uses the guise of "national security" to murder. How can right-wing hawks blame Arafat for their army shooting at unarmed citizens? There is no excuse. There is no excuse. There is no excuse. Influential American Jews would do their home country and their religion honor by unequivocally demanding that Israel change its horrible domestic military record.

-- Carl Schmidt

What does De Preneuf mean when she says that Jews "consider" the Har ha Bait to be the remnants of the two Temples? Is she saying, like Arafat, that they were never there? The mosques were built on the Har ha Bait precisely because the site had already been sanctified by the past presence of the two Jewish temples. The Jews have rights to their holy places, too.

So the Palestinians are "frustrated" over the "slow pace and limited benefits" of the negotiations and feel that they are not "gaining anything." Are you kidding? Barak offered Arafat 90 percent of Judea and Samaria and part of Jerusalem, including the Har ha Bait, yet Arafat turned it down. Resolution 242 requires Israel to withdraw from "territories," NOT "all the" territories. Barak's proposals go far beyond the requirements of Resolution 242. Arafat's refusal to make any sort of compromise is leading the Palestinians down the road to disaster. As usual, he has found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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-- Earl Hartman


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