Inform readers on all aspects of issue

In response to the letter published in The Daily Targum on Sunday entitled "Establish peaceful, respectful discourse on campus," the author gave examples of justice that BAKA: Students United for Middle Eastern Justice stands for put forth by the Charter of the United Nations, International Court of Justice and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are many facts omitted by the author, which I think are important for readers to be fully informed about the issues in the Middle East.

For example, from the U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, only one paragraph out of 15 dealt with refugees created by the conflict. The Resolution's "refugee clause" is not a stand-alone item, nor does it pertain specifically to Palestinian Arab refugees. Paragraph 11 did not guarantee a Right of Return, nor did it specifically mention Arab refugees, thereby indicating that the resolution was aimed at all refugees, both Jewish and Arab — hundreds of thousands of Arab Jews were forced to flee Arab countries and were absorbed into the State of Israel. Also, because seven Arab armies invaded Israel, it was not responsible for creating the refugee problem. Instead, Resolution 194 recommended that refugees be allowed to return to their homeland if they met two important conditions: First, the refugees should be willing to live in peace with their neighbors — which has yet to occur. Second, the return should take place "at the earliest practicable date."

Secondly, the author was mistaken in the meaning of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and 338, which clearly reflects that none of the territories were occupied by force in an unjust war. The resolution, which was adopted after the Six-Day War in which seven Arab Nations attacked Israel is the cornerstone for what it calls "a just and lasting peace" that recognizes Israel's need for "secure and recognized boundaries." The resolution became the foundation for future peace negotiations between Egypt and Jordan. Because the Arabs were clearly the aggressors, nowhere in U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 is Israel branded as an invader or unlawful occupier of the territories. Professor, Judge Stephen Schwebel, former president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, explains: "A state [Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such seizure and occupation are necessary to its self-defense."

By relinquishing 90 percent of the territories conquered in the Six-Day War in a peace agreement with Egypt in 1979, Israel has fulfilled Resolution 242. It is the Palestinian extremists who have not fulfilled the Resolution by not terminating "all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area." Israel has a right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people, and the Palestinian authorities have yet to acknowledge it. I can go on and on and correct the author's facts about how the security fence is legal according to International Law — the United States has one with Mexico — and that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East that affirms in its Declaration of Independence freedoms and complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.

The author mentioned compromise, which implies that both sides must work together to create mutual understanding, but only mentioned issues on which Israel must compromise. If BAKA really cares about normalizing the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians then communication, trust and security are of the utmost importance to create an environment suitable for peace. I applaud those on campus who support peace and want to open dialogue with people who have differing opinions.

Avi Gilboa is a School of Engineering alumnus.


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