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December 25, 1987 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


Israel's Options

Violent demonstrations spread from the Gaza Strip to East
Jerusalem this week, the worst outbreak in years. Israeli officials
in Washington said that they have proof that "the PLO is behind
these disturbances," but critics are focusing their anger on Israel.
What should Israel do? Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin,
speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, outlined
Israel's three options in dealing with the occupied territories. One
is to annex them, which she is committed not to do for a variety of
reasons. The second, at the other extreme, is to withdraw unilater-
ally from most of the land captured during the 1967 war. This would
be equally foolhardy because it would send a clear signal to the Arab
world that they can achieve their aims through violence.
The third and only logical alternative is for Israel to maintain
military control and leave the legal and political status open until
Jordan and appropriate Palestinians are prepared to negotiate. This
has been Israel's policy for two decades; and continues today.
Even Anthony Lewis, the New York Times columnist and fre-
quent critic of Israeli policy, concedes that "the Arabs refused to
negotiate for years, and they have themselves to blame for much of
the result." Lewis goes on to charge, though, that "the obstacle to
negotiation now is the divided Israeli government."
But he is missing one key point: while Jerusalem is indeed divid-
ed over the best method to reach negotiations, she is unified in her
conviction that negotiations are necessary and beneficial. No Arab
state, other than Egypt, agrees.
While one may question Israeli tactics in quelling the violence
or in dragging her feet in seeking a political solution to the Palesti-
nian dilemma, one must also conclude that the most reasonable way
to resolve an international conflict is through face-to-face negotia-
tions. That is how Israel made peace with Egypt, and that is how,
when Arab leaders have the courage, she will make peace with other
Arab states. The answer is not violence but direct discussion, debate
and compromise.

Vision Of Peace

On Dec. 25 the hearts and minds of our Christian neighbors will
turn toward their messiah, Jesus, who is said to have been born near-
ly two millenia ago in the little Judean town of Bethlehem. That
city, whose residents today are primarily Arab Christians, is cur-
rently in the eye of a storm of mass unrest sweeping the Palestinian
population of Israel and the territories.
Bethlehem's Mayor Elias Freij has vowed that violence will not
force the cancellation of the traditional Christmas festivities which
annually bring thousands to the birthplace of Jesus.
We hope that as the eyes of the Christian world turn toward
Bethlehem, the vision of peace and good will that is the eternal
message of this holiday season will shine brightly, despite the tran-
sitory violence now plaguing the land.

Meeting A Need

Sunday's "Chanukah Inside-Out" celebration at Fresh Air Socie-
ty's Camp Tamarack Adventure Center in Southfield demonstrates
that when quality programming is offered, the Jewish community
will support it. More than 630 grandparents, parents and children
came to participate in Chanukah crafts, a concert and sports and
playground activities.
What made this family program unique is its participants in-
cluded individuals from all facets of Jewish life: Orthodox, Conser-
vative, Reform and unaffiliated.
The closing of the Adventure Center this Monday is tied into the
loss of its rent-free accommodations, not a lack of usage. Where does
the Adventure Center go from here? To the Jewish Community
Center in West Bloomfield and its soon-to-be-built athletic field house.
The existence of the Adventure Center has been disconcerting to
some community leaders who believe its emphasis on family pro-
gramming has stolen the spotlight from the Jewish Community
Center, which should be the focal point for family activities that span
the religious-non-religious spectrum. As a result, there has been some
foot-dragging in helping Fresh Air Society find a new, more perma-
nent location.
We urge the Jewish Welfare Federation to be the catalyst in uniting
the resources of Fresh Air Society and the Jewish Community Center
to create an indoor, family oriented "camping-type" experience. For
the hundreds who have benefitted from programs at the Adventure
Center, it is clear a need exists.


Violence Is Not
A Passing Thing

The recent disturbances in
the Gaza Strip and West
Bank tragically illustrate the
costs of occupation on both
the occupied Arabs and occu-
pying Jews. Trying to control
almost 1 1/2 million people
against their will for over 20
years has only led the Arab
inhabitants from despair to
radicalization. It has only led
the Jewish State into a


grotesque distortion of the
Zionist dream. The killings
which have been occuring on
an almost daily basis in Gaza
recently are more reminicent
of South Africa than of the
ideals articulated in the
Israeli Declaration of
What is needed to stem the
tide of violence is the realiza-
tion that just as the Jewish
people would not give up its
dream of national sovereign-
ty despite incredible obsta-
cles, neither will the Palesti-


nians give up their dream of
national sovereignty. Yet the
Israeli government is now led
by a Likud Prime Minister
who is more interested in
keeping pieces of land than in
creating a land of peace. And
Likud shares power with a
Labor Party which like Likud
insists that Israel must ap-
prove of who will negotiate on
behalf of its central .an-
tagonists, the Palestinians.
It used to be that it was the
Palestinians who would take
the absurd position that they

would talk only with "non-
Zionist Israelis." Now it is the
government of Israel which
takes the absurd position that
it can choose who will repre-
sent the Palestinians in any
peace negotiations. The time
is long overdue for represen-
tatives of the State of Israel to
meet with representatives
chosen by the Palestinians
themselves in the context of
an international peace con-

Let us heed the warning of

Ezer Weizman who, in com-
menting about the Gaza
disturbances, recently stated,
"Whoever thinks this is a
passing thing is making a
very serious mistake. It is a
result of the failure to find a
political solution, and the
lack of a desire even to look
for one."

Kenneth Knoppow and
Ronald Aronson

Mideast Committee
Metro Detroit New Jewish Agenda

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