letters | echoes of history in the Middle East

Israel’s deeds fomented conflict

Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian protester Friday.
AFP/Getty Images
Israeli security forces detained a Palestinian protester Friday.

IN HIS op-ed article (“In Middle East, who’s David and who’s Goliath?” (Feb. 14), H.D.S. Greenway cites Israel’s fears of its neighbors and asks, “. . . how could it be otherwise considering the history of persecution of the Jewish people over the centuries?” Perhaps Israel’s expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948, its relentless expansion, and its history of military adventurism in the region might have greater impact on its neighbors’ sentiments than anti-Semitism does?

Greenway also declares that the withdrawal of Israeli settlers in Gaza “. . . was a partial success because it removed 1 million Palestinians from Israel’s control and responsibility.” Israel still rules over Gaza’s airspace, harbors, and most of its land crossings. It restricts what and who may enter or leave the territory. In what sense does this not constitute control?

Finally, contrary to the Israeli author Ari Shavit’s crocodile tears over his country’s ethnic cleansing in 1948, the issue is not whether or not the Palestinians can forgive; it’s whether Israel is prepared to take material and specific responsibility for these crimes.

Richard M. Nasser