December 4, 2012

Another View: Column on Israel continues false portrayal of conflict

Hamas doesn't just launch rockets from Gaza, it wages a political battle as well.

By Robert Leikind

Robert Schaible's polemic ("

Maine Voices: Israel's victim image belies its drive to control, abuse Palestinians

," Nov. 24) provides a stark illustration of why peace between Israel and her neighbors remains so elusive.

In order to paint a portrait of Palestinian victimization, he cherry-picks data, removes it from context and then weaves the pieces together to create his desired portrait.

Here are a few things he chose not to tell the readership of the paper:

Hamas has categorically, publicly and repeatedly rejected Israel's right to exist. Its charter describes Jews as "apes" and "monkeys," promotes vitriolic anti-Semitism and openly calls for Israel's destruction.

In the past weeks alone, Hamas leaders have publicly declared that Israel is an illegitimate state that must be destroyed. Most importantly, in the wake of the current cease-fire, Hamas rulers have also declared that under no circumstances will they ever enter into a peace agreement with Israel.

This rejectionist spirit has pervaded Palestinian-Israeli relations for decades. Prior to Israel's establishment, Palestinian leaders twice rejected plans for a partition that would have created an independent Palestinian state.

And, in the last two decades, Palestinian leaders have three times walked away from negotiations that could have led to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on nearly all of the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.

There is no doubt that there are Palestinians who would choose peace with Israel. Peace, however, would require compromise on critical issues and a readiness to accept Israel as a permanent presence in the Middle East.

Years of vitriolic hatred have left the majority of Palestinians unprepared for such sacrifices. Regrettably, Schaible's commentary continues this sad tradition.

Robert Leikind of Newton, Mass., is director of the American Jewish Committee in New England, headquarted in Boston.

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