Israel should not be attacked to promote Palestinian cause
Letter to the editor
Earlier this week, I was woken in the middle of the night by a phone call informing me of the deplorable, yet unsurprising, actions of an anti-Israel student organization on campus. Editorials, letters to the editor and articles have been published in the past week regarding the mock eviction notices distributed to numerous students Sunday evening in their dorms and on-campus apartments. These fraudulent solicitations were used to frighten and intimidate students with the intention of invoking sympathy based on false and deliberately deceptive information. Rather than discuss the numerous University violations committed by this student organization, I would rather provide my fellow Rutgers students with an honest understanding of the true situation facing both Israelis and Palestinians.
To begin, both the eviction notice and a letter recently published in the Targum refer to the Palestinian refugee situation in Israel, but how did it originate? In 1947 the United Nations established the Partition Plan for Palestine which divided modern day Israel into two nations — one Jewish, one Arab. The Jews welcomed this plan due to their desire to re-establish a Jewish state after being in the land for over 3,000 years. The Arabs, on the other hand, rejected the UN’s plan to establish an Israeli state. Once again, the local Arabs refused to officially form two states. The following year, Israel declared its independence and was home to more than 160,000 Arabs who accepted Israel and shared equal rights and citizenship as the Jews. However, a majority of Arabs living in the region refused to recognize and accept the establishment of Israel and, along with Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, went to war with Israel. Surrounding the time of the war, an estimated 500,000 Arabs who refused to recognize Israel fled to neighboring Arab countries who, with the exception of Jordan, denied citizenship to their Palestinian comrades. Many of these individuals and their descendants today are the Palestinian “refugees” that have been referred to in the past week.
As Alexander Galloway, the former director for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in Jordan, explained, “The Arab nations do not want to solve the Arab refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront against the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.” Additionally, the UNRWA applies unique criteria to the Palestinians that are not experienced by any other refugee in the world. For example, only Palestinian refugees maintain their status as refugees after they have gained citizenship from any recognized nation. For the rest of the world, this is not how it works. The consequences of these double standards result in skewed and untruthful “facts” of the true situation in Israel.
The irony of the false accusations made against Israel in the past week is the fact that Israel has historically allowed more than 1.25 million Israeli-Arabs to live among Jewish Israelis and hold positions in the Israeli Parliament and Supreme Court. Additionally, Israel has also been the only nation in the world to offer land to create a Palestinian state. However, the repeated refusal of Palestinians to accept Israel’s offers has resulted in heightened tension and a murkier vision of real peace.
The situation in the Middle East is not ideal, and I am sure that you did not need me to tell you that. However, we cannot allow our dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs lead to fabricated, dishonest statements being spread as were earlier this week. As a proud pro-Israel and pro-peace Rutgers student, I recognize that truthful, open dialogue and discussion is the most powerful and meaningful form of communication.
Aviv Alter is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in biological sciences.