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March 13, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-03-13

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Page 4-Thursday, March 13, 1980-The Michigan Daily
An Israeli examines the Palestinian problem

International conflicts in general and the
Arab-Israeli conflict in particular entail a sub-
tle and delicate balance between emotions and
facts; between 'hot' ideologies and beliefs and
'cold-blooded' calculations. Students of such
conflicts must be aware of the existence of this
balance, and further, must be careful not to
make inferences on the basis of a single
element in that balance.
It is particularly disturbing when emotions
become the prime guide for empirical analysis.
The article by H. Scott Prosterman (Daily,
Feb. 29) offers an excellent example for such a
tendency toward emotional bias. I would like to
respond to a number of arguments raised in
this article.
Prosterman says he is qualified to' make
judgments by virtue of his being a member of a
family that has many survivors of the
Holocaust. Well, Mr. Prosterman, here are my
"qualifications" to answer you. I am an officer
in the Israeli reserve forces. I have fought in
two Arab-Israeli wars as well as in numerous
incidents against Palestinian guerrillas bet-
ween these wars. Many of my friends are the
victims of these wars.
Also, I come from a family that has many
survivors as well as non-survivors of the
Holocaust. Does this personal record make me
more or less qualified to make a diametrically
opposed judgment to that which you have
made? I believe that it does not. Neither your
family's record nor mine makes us authorities
on Mideast Politics. The sole basis for making
authoritative judgments is our relative
familiarity with the realities of the conflict,
with its participants, and with their values,

fears and expectations.
There are, as Mr. Prosterman suggests,
similarities between the history of the
Palestinian people and that of the Zionist
movement. Both peoples have been a target for
oppression by the ruling elites of the countries
in which they were dispersed; both managed to
maintain their' national identity in spite of this
oppression, and managed to avoid complete in-
tegration into their host societies. Moreover,
both peoples succeeded in developing a high
level of education and political participation
which far exceeded their numerical proportion
in the host societies.
BUT HE WHO points out these striking
similarities should also be aware of the crucial
differences between the two national
movements. Two major elements come to
mind in this respect. First, Zionism has
never-even in its most extreme ver-
sions-established an ideology whose major
theme calls for the liquidation of another
people or nation-state. The PLO, on the other
hand, from the time it was formally established
in 1964 to the very present, is explicitly loyal to
its national charter which calls for the
liquidation of the state of Israel. Its ideology is
based on the idea of politicide if not genocide.
The second crucial difference, between these
two movements concerns political realism.
Zionists have always viewed politics as the drt
of the possible. Thus they learned to give up
ancient dreams in exchange for the limited op-
portunities offered by international reality.
Perhaps the most important decision in Zionist
history was the decision to accept the plan for

By Zeev Maoz
the partition of Palestine in 1947; to settle for a
state the size of New Jersey, rather than trying
to accomplish the unrealistic goal of getting the
whole of Palestine (the eastern bank of the Jor-
dan included). It has been the Palestiflian
national movement which has consistently and
fiercely rejected the idea of partition of
Palestine into two states. Thus if anyone is to
be blamed for the misery and suffering of the
Palestinian people, it is not the Zionists, not
even the Arab states, but the Palestinians
themselves.
But Mr. Prosterman claims that the PLO is
undergoing a rapid process of moderation. His
evidence? Well, here we have a slight problem.
H4is only source is a set of impressionistic
remarks made by an American professor, who
happens to be an expert in the French
language, and not in Middle Eastern politics.
Although there is some evidence regarding the
shift in tactical objectives of individual
Palestinian leaders, the bulk of it still points in
the other direction. Said Hamami, the former
PLO representative in London who met with
Israeli "doves" was assassinated by his own
"comrades." Issam Sartawi, who was invited
by Bruno Kreiski to accept the "Kreiski Peace
Prize" together with a Zionist doveish leader,
Aryeh Eliav, was called to Beirut and charged ,
with treason. If a decision to accept the two-
state solution has been made, why has it not
been publicized?
WE ARE TOLD by Mr. Prosterman that

Arafat cannot officially recognize Israeli's
right to exist because it is the only bargaining
chip the PLO has. But consider for a moment
the following scenario. The PLO accepts a
modified version of U.N. Security Council
Rtesolution 242, which includes the Palestinian'
right of self-determination (incidentally, such
an offer was made by the U.S. back in 1977, but
was rejected by the PLO Central Committee).
The U.S., according to its stated policy, would
be the first to officially recognize the PLO, and
the rest of the world-i.e., those nations which
have not yet done so formally-would soon
follow. The pressure on Israel-political and
economic-would be tremendous. Even the
most intransigent state (and Israel is not)
would have to back off in the face of such a
pressure. The result? A two-state solution
would be clearly imnposed on Israel. The
Palestinians would get their state and Israel
would get its security.
Why does such a scenario not take place? The
answer is quite simple. The PLO is not a
monolithic unit. It is a loose and shaky coalition
of hawks and doves; of extremist militants who
view even the thought of a two-state solution as
treason of the worst kind (e.g., the PFLP,
Hawatma, Jibril), and moderates like Hamami
(may he rest in peace) and Sartawi.
Regardless of Arafat's own positions, he has
to hold the delicate balance between the fac-
tions and prevent its complete disintegration.
The minute that Arafat recognizes Israel's
right to exist and/or decides to sign a peace
treaty with the "Zionist state" will be the

PLO's last minute as an umbrella organization
of the various factions. The Palestinians nee
their own Ben-Gurion. Arafat has not fit the b
so far.
This is indeed a vicious circle. The PLO will
not accept Israel's right to exist as long as
Israel does not declare willingness to negotiate.
Israel will not recognize the PLO or negotiate
with it as long as the PLO denies Israel's right
to exist. Which.of the parties should be the first
to jump?
I believe that it is basically up to the PL
Given its maximalist ideology, given the s
fering of its people and given the fact that some
influential Israelis feel quite comfortable with
the present status quo, the ball is in the PLO's
court.
The PLO has to realize that Sadat got the
Sinai only after he had made his historic trip to
Jerusalem. If Arafat is indeed the kind of
moderate and pragmatic leader portrayed by
Mr. Prosterman, then he should be the one to
make the spiritual-if not the physical-trip to
Jerusalem. It is time the PLO stopped blami*
other nations for "selling out the Palestinian
cause" and took their destiny in their own han-
ds, if they ever want to have their own
homeland.
Zeev Maoz is a graduate student in the
political science department. He is engaged
in research on the Egyptian-Israeli peace
process.

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Ninetv Years (f Editorial Freedom

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Vol. XC, No. 127

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Boycott classes tomorrow

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I T'S NOT EASY to get national
attention for any cause these days,
what with skilled media consultants
employed by dozens of different per-
sonalities and competing interest
groups. Perhaps the only way, short of
violent alternatives, that students can
get a share of attention from national
policy makers is by massive demon-
strations of alliance with a particular
point of view. The class boycott
scheduled tomorrow to protest
President Carter's registration plan
provides just such an opportunity.
Some members of the University
community have answered those
calling for the boycott with thek
argument that war fever ought to be
met with attendance to studies, not by
skipping classes. Not unreasonably,
these boycott opponents argue that the,
nation's growing militarism can best
be answered with informed resistance.
The planners of the boycott
(Washtenaw Committee Against
Registration for the Draft and the
Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan, among other groups) have
replied to the opponents' argument

quite effectively: They have linked the
boycott to a three-day teach-in
featuring workshops on all aspects of
war resistance and speakers ranging
from local anti-war figures to Ramsey
Clark, former U.S. attorney general.
The large demonstration on the Diag
January 30 attracted cameras from
Detroit, as well as play on network
news programs and in major
metropolitan newspapers. It is likely
that an organized boycott, where
students are not only expressing-
discontent, but actually making a
sacrifice in support of the new anti-war
cause, would be even more highly
publicized. Perhaps the President and
his cabinet can be made to see that
draft-age Americans are simply not
going to sit still for conscription this
time around.
Surprisingly, Congress has also not
gone along with the administration's
. call to arms. The President's proposal
has met with stiff resistance in the
House, and on Tuesday, the Senate
greeted the proposal with similar skep-
ticism. It's good to have friends in high
places.

-V (F E't MPOiSt - P
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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

MSA president explains

finances

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To the Daily:
I have been disturbed as of late
concerning the recent right side
column by David Meyer ("Go the
easy way-take MSA," Daily,
Feb. 28). In particular, there are
several factual errors. However,
there are several sections of the
column which border that gray
area between truth and falsity. It
is not my intention to create fur-
ther controversy over this matter
but I feel compelled to inform the
public of what I believe to be in-
cumpetent journalism.
First and foremost are the
allegations by Mr. Meyer con-
cerning the financial accoun-
tability of the Michigan Student
Assembly (MSA). If Mr. Meyer
had checked his facts first, he
would have found that my trip to
Washington, D.C. cost the studen-
ts $350 rather than the $600 he
alleged. Also he intimated that
MSA comes up with money only
when they need it and not for-
student organizations. There
again if Mr. Meyer had checked
further, he would have found out
that MSA budgeted money in Sep-
tember for travel to appropriate
conferences. Why did he wait
until the trips had been taken to
object? MSA, as the official voice
of students on this campus, has a
responsibility to increase their
effectiveness and to strengthen
the role of students in the broad
range of policy making, local and
national. The statement by Mr.
Meyer concerning the funding of
student organizations,f"MSA
decided it could not afford to
finance half of the almost $30,000

requested" is also grossly
misleading. The Budget
Priorities Committee did not
base their allocations on whether
or not' MSA could afford it
(although ultimately that will be
a criteria). Rather, the decisions
to fund half of the amount
requested were based on criteria
of total impact to the student
body, financial need of the
organizations, ability to raise
other funds, and other factors
which were particular to the
various groups. As another mat-
ter of fact, our travel budget this
year was less than in many past
years, including those when
student organizations got much
less money in allocations.
In another aspect concerning
the trip by Michigan students to
the American Student
Association conference in
Washington, D.C., Mr. Meyer
claims that a former MSA mem-
ber attended. First of all, Brad
Canale was not a fdrmer member
at the time of the trip as he was
still Treasurer, and he is now an
officer of the Assembly, as the
Economic Affairs Coordinator.
The implication of the article was
that he no longer had anything to
do with the Assembly, which as I
have pointed out is totally un-
founded.
Another statement of Mr.
Meyer's which I find personally
repugnant, misleading, and un-
true is, "MSA members,
especially those of us who got to
see the Lincoln Memorial and the
Washington Monument, will con-
tend that student interests are

best served by flying members
about the nation to participate in
organizational meetings." Mr.
Meyer is implying that the pur-
pose of the trips was sightseeing
and I find this rather obnoxious.
In my case he never even talked
to me about my activities (as if I
had time to sightsee) and I don't
believe he asked the others about
their free time activities, either.
I uphold the right of Mr. Meyer
to disagree with priorities and
financial allocations of the
Assembly. However, as a mem-
ber of the staff of the Michigan
Daily, I earnestly expect his
columns to be factually correct
and free from misleading in-
nuendoes which only tend to
More Proste
To The Daily:
The column in the Feb. 29 issue
of the Daily titled "Myths abun-
dant about Israel, PLO, and
Arafat" by H. Scott Prosterman
perpetuates many myths that a
lot of Americans have about the
Middle East. One of these myths
is that Yassir Arafat is the core of
the problem. In America all
problems have a core and if you
get to the core of the problem,
you have the solution. The
problems in the Middle East are
so complex and have roots that go
back centuries, so to claim that
appeasing Yassi r Arafat will
provide a solution is as ludicrous
as it is dangerous. The best that
can be hoped for is a de-
escalation of the present situation
until it is tolerable to both sides.
The second myth perpetuated
by Mr. Prosterman is the
moderation of the PLO. In doing
so, he shows his ignorance of the
Arab and Middle Eastern psyche.
One of the key motivations in the
Middle East is revenge and while
it seems irrational to us, it is a

shake the truth from the people
who matter the most, the studen-
ts of the University. I hope that in
the future when Daily writers
embark on the i sometimes
seemingly spiteful: task of
criticizing the Michigan Student
Assembly they take the oppo .
tunity to speak to me. Not on
during Mr. Meyer's "research"
for his column did he talk to me
about the Assembly activities. As
president I have a responsibility
as spokesman for the student
body and I fully intend to utilize
that role whenever possible.
-James M. Alland,
President, Michigan
Student Assembly
March 11
?rman myths
survivors of the Holocaust" I
claim it is Mr. Prosterman that
has forgotten the major lesson of
the Holocaust. That lesson is no
matter how comfortable a Jew
feels in a country that is not his
own (including that haven of
freedom, .America) he is still,
Jew and will always be
recognized as one. No other
group in history has the record of
persecution that the Jews have
and when the persecutors come
again they will come for Mr.
Prosterman also. To be a Jew is
to be a Zionist and those
Americans who "vocally
disassociate themselves from the
Zionist ,movement" are trying in
vain to renounce their Judais
and haven't learned the lesson o
pre-World War II Germany.
I fear that because Americans
are impatient they will try to
swing public opinion towards ap-
peasement of the PLO, as public
opinion in England was originally
for appeasement of Hitler.
Columns such as Mr. Proster-
man's are proof of this impatien-
raT nannln ..n ilri h-a rnnra

WAMW4

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Draft quotes clarified

To the Daily:
February 24's Sunday
Magazine article on the draft
quoted me as having the inter-
nally inconsistent position of sup-

tant not to put the jargon of the
government into the mouths of
dissidents.
My personal ambivalence
toward draft counseling alluded

~Aff/ m

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