A MIX OF IDEAS
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to Israel as the Jewish state
and no to any land swaps, says
the Palestinian Authority's
controlling political board. Talk about
a train wreck for negotiations between
Israel and the P.A. before they even start.
Once more, the Fatah Revolutionary
Council (FRC) asserted its rejection
of Israel as a Jewish state. The council
renewed "its refusal for the establish-
ment of any racist state based on reli-
gion in accordance with international
law and human rights conventions?'
Notably, the council also affirmed
Palestinian opposition to any under-
standings or agreements between
Israel and the U.S. that could "harm
Palestinian rights and prolong occu-
pation" and "make the occupier more
stubborn and radical" — especially U.S.
plans to furnish weapons to Israel in
exchange for reviving peace talks.
A long list of preconditions certainly
would render Israeli-Palestinian peace
talks moot, were they to actually resume.
The Fatal council stated it was cate-
gorically opposed to proposals for a land
swap between Israel and the Palestinians
under the pretext that "illegal settler
gangs can't be put on an equal footing
with the owners of the lands and rights:'
reported the Jerusalem Post, while Israel
has long assumed that any final-status
agreement would include land swaps.
Coming into talks with positions of
no land swaps as well as the right of
return for Palestinian refugees are hardly
nonstarters; reasoned discussion could
change such hard-line thinking relative
to settlements and borders. But acknowl-
edging that Israel is a Jewish state, with a
United Nations mandate, is an essential
prerequisite to beginning meaningful
talks. To delegitimize the Jewish ances-
tral homeland presents a fundamental
and unconquerable obstacle to peace.
The FRC issued its Nov. 27 pronounce-
ment as Israel awaits a U.S. incentives
proposal before reinstating a partial
freeze on new settlement construction
that expired on Sept. 26. The P.A. has
held firm to a stop on all settlement
building in the West Bank and east
Jerusalem before agreeing to direct
negotiations. With the right push, Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is
likely to approve reinstatement.
The backdrop for the FRC conven-
tion in Ramallah was a provocative P.A.
Ministry of Culture Administration
conference in Tulkarem. The forum was
to mark the 93rd anniversary of the
"cursed" Balfour Declaration. The guest
lecturer stated that the intent of this
1917 British plan for a Jewish homeland
in Palestine was to get rid of "this bur-
den called the Jews" — a burden that
troubled Britain and Europe, according
to the Israel-based Palestinian Media
Revisionist history has always been
a pillar of the P.A. "The P.A. has con-
sistently taught that the Jews came to
Israel not because of their historical ties
to the land, but because Europe wanted
to be rid of the burden of the Jews and
THE FAMILY OF
"wanted to get rid of the Jews and their
problems:' reported the Palestinian
newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
The FRC's juxtaposition of condemn-
ing the Balfour Declaration, then dis-
crediting the Jewish state is no accident.
It was a calculated one-two punch to
praise P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud
Abbas' puppet leadership, dismiss the
Jewish claim to Israel and forestall any
hint of renewed negotiations toward
lasting compromise. And the Palestinian
people continue to suffer from their
leaders' self-imposed state of poverty.
Exodus, The Movie, Recalled
n Mach 22, 1960, Hollywood
actor Paul Newman arrived
in Israel for the filming of the
movie Exodus, which was based on the
novel Exodus by author Leon Uris.
Although the bestseller was called a
novel and its characters were fictitious,
the book was based on an event in pre-
The movie, which lasted 31/2 hours,
had its premiere on Dec. 15, 1960, 50
years ago, in the Warner Theatre in
Both the book and the movie did a
great deal for the Israeli cause, at least
at that time.
The ship Exodus 1947 — in Hebrew:
Yetziat Eiropah Tashaz (5707) — left
a port near Marseilles with
4,515 passengers, including
655 children, on July 11, 1947,
heading for Eretz Israel [the
biblical Land of Israel], or
Palestine, in clear defiance
of the British government,
which under the White Paper
banned Jewish immigration.
(Statehood didn't come until
The British accompanied
the ship from the outset and,
approaching the Palestine
coast, rammed it and boarded
it. In the battle that ensued, two passen-
gers and one crew member were killed;
30 others were wounded.
The Exodus 1947 was towed
to Haifa, where the passen-
gers — Holocaust survivors
— were to be forced onto
other ships bound for France;
they refused to disembark
and remained on the ship
under the worst conditions
for 24 days. Eventually, the
British authorities returned
the weary passengers to
camps in Germany.
There were a great number
of journalists who covered
this grim saga of the Jewish
refugees. The world was shocked at the
heartless behavior of the British govern-
ment, which then decided to no longer
send these "illegal" immigrants back
to Germany, but instead to incarcerate
them in detention camps in Cyprus.
There is a happy ending to this story.
Most of the Exodus refugees finally
settled in Israel; however, some had to
wait until the establishment of the state
on May 14, 1948.
When remembering the story of the
Exodus 1947, one can't help but imagine
how many innocent Jews could have
been saved during the Shoah were there
an independent Israel only a few years
sooner. It helps us appreciate what the
State of Israel means and not to take it
Rachel Kapen is a West Bloomfield resident.
December 9 • 2010