Facts about Israel

It is important to offer corrections to the letter by Gene Robbins regarding Israel:

First, Israel has always been an independent state, biblically and historically, and does not “occupy” any land. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman as well as the United Nations declared Israel to be an independent state. “Israel” is a Hebrew word meaning Holy Land or Eretz Yisrael. Let me reiterate, Israel is an independent state.

Second, in 2000 at the Camp David Summit, Ehud Barak, representing Israel, offered Palestine 96 percent of the West Bank; all of the Gaza Strip; a state with Arab Jerusalem as its capital and complete control over East Jerusalem as well as $30 billion in compensation for the refugees who did not move to Israel. Amazingly, Palestine rejected this offer! The Palestinian leaders prefer that the world view be one of Palestinian victimization.

Third, “the U.S. protects Israel diplomatically, financially and militarily” as Robbins asserts, because the U.S. needs the superiority of Israel’s military and medical technology; its missile defense system; its army, navy and air force, which are second to none; and its highly skilled intelligence. It is a mutual benefit. As the only democracy surrounded by authoritarian regimes, including Iraq, and the imminence of a nuclear missile threat, Israel’s location in the Middle East is crucial to U.S. security. The U.S. and Israel are the leaders of democracy in the Middle East.

Finally, does Israel really care if Palestine calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS)? I think not. It is Palestine which needs Israel. Israel’s agricultural prowess has turned a barren desert into a fruitful and bountiful land, and continues to provide superior medical assistance. It is time that Palestine’s leaders acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. This admission will be the beginning of peace in the Middle East.

Carol Sunahara

Ashland