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An Important Point that Must be Reiterated Over and Over

Reader comment on item: Two Years of Intifada

Submitted by David Minkin (United States), Oct 1, 2002 at 15:14

No discussion on Israel - no discussion - should fail to include one specific clarifying fact.

This fact is the crux of any discussion on the Middle East: Israel offered 97% of the West Bank and all of Gaza to the Palestinians two years ago, so that they could attain an independent state peacefully co-existing next to Israel. The response was the Intifada. The response was the murdering of babies with nail bombs. Israel can not be blamed for the so-called "occupation" (a term which is absurd if one reads the history of the war of 1967.) Yassir Arafat rejected the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel, as it was offered 2 years ago through the Clinton administration. Every official map of the Palestinian Authority shows "Palestine" where Israel now exists. There is no official map that shows two states. They show only "Palestine". Without mentioning that a Palestinian state was offered by Barak, a Middle East discussion has no reference. Most people who catch an occasional debate on T.V. or radio are absolutely clueless. The fact about Israel's offer of statehood needs to be reiterated so often that it makes our heads ache. Do not assume that this can be taken for granted.

Poverty? Yes, the Palestinian people regretfully live in poverty. Strange that Yassir Arafat would have imbezzled roughly 8 billion dollars - that's billion with a "B" - in international aid (largely U.S. taxpayer dollars) and placed it into his private bank accounts (ironically, some in the U.S.), according to his former treasurer whose comments were widely reported in the news media and yet largely ignored. This stolen money was meant for hospitals, schools, and infrastructure - good things. Instead it went into Arafat's pockets and into raw materials for nail bombs with which to kill babies. It went into 50 tons of weapons from Iran which were thankfully intercepted on the "Karine A" before they reached their destination.

Lack of a Palestinian State? Poverty? Despair? These are real problems that the Palestinians face. However, the source of these problems rests solely with the Palestinian leadership, for it has rejected every attempt by Israel to create a genuine two-state solution to the Middle East conflict.

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