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March 25, 1988 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-03-25

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dressing the current unrest in
the Middle East. Calling it a
turning point, Abraham said
the weeks of violence "will
become a major feature in
Palestinian history!'
He said that as a result of
Israel's reactions to the
violence, the European
Economic Community refus-
ed to ratify trade agreements
with Israel and that a
number of prominent Jews —
including filmmaker Woody
Allen and New Republic
publisher Martin Peretz —
have denounced the violence
and called for an end to the
Abraham said he recognizes
Israel's right to exist within
secure borders, and that this
same right must be granted
Palestinians before peace will
be achieved in the region.
Abraham, a Fulbright
scholar, denounced United
Nations Resolutions 242 and
338 and explained why these
have been criticized by the
Palestinians. The resolutions,
he said, contain no reference
to the establishment of a
Palestinian state. They call
for "a just settlement of the
refugee problem. That's it.
That's all they offered the
Secretary of State George
Shultz, during his recent visit
to the Middle East, also came
empty-handed to the Palesti-
nians, Abraham said. He said
Palestine Liberation
Organization head Yassir
Arafat had arranged for
Palestinians to meet with
Shultz, but that the latter
would have no part of it.
"So on the one hand you
have the rhetoric — that the
Palestinians should be there
and should help determine
their own future," he said. On
the other hand, the meeting
organized by Arafat was
Abraham then proceeded to
outline other occasions when
he said Palestinians have ex-
tended their hands in peace.
In a claim he said is
substantiated in the book The
Birth of Israel by former New
Outlook editor Simcha
Flapan, Abraham said that as
early as 1952, Israeli leaders
had made up their minds not
to negotiate with the Arabs
and were determined to ex-
pand the borders of Israel.
Abraham also said former
Egyptian President Gamal
Abdel Nasser promised peace
in 1970 if Israel agreed to
withdraw from territories it
captured in the 1967 War.
This comment came back to
haunt Abraham. When the

floor was opened to questions
after the lecture, more than
one member of the audience
expressed ire at Abraham's
portrait of Nasser — who once
voiced admiration for Adolf
Hitler — as a man eager to
make peace with Israel.
Another foiled attempt at
peace cited by Abraham oc-
cured in 1984. That year, he
said, Arafat "reiterated his
long stand that direct
negotiations should be held
with Israel under U.N.
auspices!' and that there
should be "no victor and no
Several times during his
speech, Abraham said that
Arafat has accepted U.N.
Resolutions 242 and 338,
which guarantee Israel's
right to exist. He said this has
even appeared in the Israeli
daily Maariv.
According to Abraham,
these accounts challenge the
popular notion that all
Palestinians are rabid ter-
rorists and that Israelis are
always initiating peace ef-
forts. "In fact, it's the exact
opposite if you read the record
honestly," he said.
Abraham did not place
blame for rejection of Palesti-
nian peace efforts solely on
Israel's shoulders. He also
said "real peace works
against the efforts of the U.S."
He said the United States
fosters Israel's dependency by
providing it with substantial
military and economic aid,
while Israel serves as a "wat-
chdog" for the U.S. ad-
ministration by guarding
Arab control of oil and par-
ticipating in American efforts
to gain influence in Iran.
If peace was established in
the Middle East, he con-
tinued, Israel would be of no
more help to the United
States than a country like
Luxemborg — and that, he
said, "doesn't serve im-
perialist interests?'
Abraham further cautioned
that if moves are not made to
bring about Middle East
peace, Israel could find itself
in a war with a Soviet-backed
Syria. And with each new
confrontation, "the world
comes closer to the brink of a
nuclear Holocaust!'
During the question-and-
answer period, several
members of the audience
grilled Abraham on his
stance that the Arabs have
made numerous attempts to
extend the olive branch. One
man mentioned specifically
the War of Independence,
when the Arabs attacked
Israel on all fronts.

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