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July 20, 2006



It's a common theme running through criticism of Israel and the conflict around it, some arbitrary date is mentioned with no consideration for what happened before it, as if plucked out of the air.

Parris takes 1967, without considering that the reason why the year is significant is because Israel's neighbours attacked it, it is obvious that peace was far from the agenda in that year, so why would rewinding back then make any difference ? Trying to make out that pre-1967 everything was okay is quite myopic.

The fact is, no-one can go back before 1919, when the beginnings of the Middle East mandates were established and the current geography of the region was being carved up between the interested parties, it is an uncomfortable truth that the design of Israel was done at the same time as nearly all of it's neighbours, so arbitrary dates are irrelevant.

Why pre-1967 ?, Why not pre-1988, pre-1972, pre-1949, pre-1948, pre-1947, pre-1919 ? All equally significant, all practically useless.

I am waiting for a serious commentator to stick their neck out and state that it is absolutely essential that Arab states and organisations recognise Israel as per the UN, treat it as a sovereign state, and establish normal relations.

The Saudi peace plan of 2002 nearly achieved this, but was derailed by terrorist groups, one reason why the Saudi response to the current situation is one of dismay with Hizbollah.

The solution lies in the realpolitik of the situation, as long as we pander to ideologies we will get idealogical mercenaries that will fight to the death and settle for nothing less than total capitulation, and that applies not only to Israel but to all Arab nations.

Jack Ryan

Israel "back within the pale"? What an astonishingly cloth-eared phrase.


Why don't we solve the Kashmir problem by returning borders to their pre-1947 state?

Jake Hayman

OneVoice is a grassroots, non-partisan Israeli-Palestinian group working to empower moderates to stand up against extremism and seize back the agenda for conflict resolution. At a time when extremists are once again dominating the agenda, its need to exist and to deliver could not be more crucial.

From OneVoice Youth Leaders, Saed Bilbeisi and Elad Dunayevsky

Dear International Friends of OneVoice,

There are rockets flying into Israel’s Northern towns as far down as Haifa as we write this, while the people of Gaza are in fear for their homes and lives, without electricity and running water. People are suffering, people are dying and people are afraid. It’s a crisis. We are writing to tell you though not to give up on us, or to give up on hope for an end to the conflict.

The situation today makes it very difficult to talk about conflict resolution - to see an end to the conflict. Sometimes it is easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, at the moment the tunnel is dark. But this crisis and this conflict will end, and we say that with sobriety and rationality. As much as we feel helpless today, as rational people we must see any crisis as an opportunity to rise up and overcome the reasons that brought that crisis.

The situation will come to an end, when we do not know. In the meantime both people suffer so badly. Believe us that no-one is happy with this life. We want everyone around the world to know that we, and many friends and colleagues like us at OneVoice, are working to change this situation. We are ready. We are ready to do anything necessary to help end this situation. We have done so many activities and introduced so many people to OneVoice and it always gives them hope and energy. We can not and will not lose all of this however hard it is at this moment. We will strive to improve this life.

A resolution to the conflict may seem like a dream, but let us dream it and keep helping us do whatever we have to do to make it a reality. The day will never come when Israelis and Palestinians are prepared to accept living with this situation. How far we are from the day when we have a situation we will accept is hard to say, but we will work for it, even as the fighter jets and rockets go overhead, we will work for it.

Thank you,

Saed and Elad

Saed has been involved with OneVoice for around a year. He visits the OneVoice office to meet with other youth leaders and staff at least once a week and has even pioneered his own workshops on OneVoice in Ramallah, which have recruited many new volunteers. He spoke about OneVoice in Synagogues, community centers and campuses during OneVoice’s International Education Program tour to Canada.

Elad has also been volunteering for around a year. He uses his Arabic and Hebrew language skills to speak with both Arabs and Jews about the work of OneVoice and has served to educate and recruit activists in the Region and also in the US, where he spoke at over 10 venues on behalf of OneVoice during their International Education Program tour to New York.


1967 is hardly an arbitrary date. Parris picks it presumably to chime with UN Resolution 242. There is, of course, some ambiguity in the language of 242 as Rustow, who helped draft it, explains:

Resolution 242, which as undersecretary of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce, calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved.

The problem with that formulation is that the Israeli occupation is one factor preventing such a just and lasting peace.


There need be nothing anti-Jewish in doubting the wisdom of having established Israel; plenty of Jews thought the whole Zionist scheme foolish in the late 19th century. Judging by how few German Jews wanted to enter Palestine in 1933-39, plenty of 20th Century Jews agreed. However, we are where we are. And where we are is the circumstance that if Israel ever badly loses a war, its population will be murdered. Personally, I haven't a clue whether there is any action Israel could take that it could be confident would reduce that risk, or the risk that its opponents would attack it.

John Barr

"Israel’s best and perhaps only security for the future would be to rest upon a settlement that everyone the whole world over — everyone but the anti-Zionist fanatics — could see was reasonable".

Everyone but the anti-Zionist fanatics? That's a hell of a qualifier considering the circumstances.

jim braiden

"Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast."
Ah I see. Have 6 million of your people murdered- gassed, shot, starved, raped, subjected to sick medical experimentation and the world just loves you.
Have 5 million of your people dare to defend themselves from a bunch of Islamic Fascists and you squander all that good will.
It would seem once in the Camel Corps always in the Camel Corp.
Jim Braiden


I'm sure there are plenty of fascists on both sides. The question remains why Israel retains the moral high ground when it comes to the return of its kidnapped soldiers (note that Arabs "kidnap"; Israel "arrests" and "detains") when it is currently holding 300 Palestinian children in inhuman and degrading conditions:



Jim, are you saying that he's wrong about that, or that he's right and it's a crying shame?

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