Leila Dabdoub demands of a Jewish writer "a recognition that indeed
a wrong has been committed" in 1948 (Palestine-Israel Journal, Vol.
~ No.2, 1997). This is not what I would expect from the managing
editor of a magazine dedicated to peace between two peoples.
Demanding apologies for past wrongs leads•to friction, not
friendship. Is Ms. Dabdoub ready to recognize that it was wrong for
her forebears to declare war on their Jewish neighbors on November
30, 1917? Is she ready to apologize for the attempt to kill the
Jews of Jerusalem, including my aged parents, by starvation? Does
she recognize that there is no duality between the massacre at Deir
Yassin, which occurred either during or after a fire fight designed
to lift the siege of Jerusalem, and the slaughter of 76 Hadassah
and Hebrew University personnel on the road to Mt. Scopus?
Harping on the wrongs of the past only makes it more difficult for
Jews and Palestinians to join in the intensive efforts needed to
overcome the current obstacles to peace.
J. Zel Lurie
Delfray Beach, Florida
Comparing atrocities, arguing which killing was worse, that of the
Palestinian inhabitants of Deir Yassin or that of the Jewish
doctors and nurses of Hadassah Hospital, leads nowhere, except to
perpetuate mutual misunderstandings and hatred. Horrible things
happen in wars. However, Ms. Dabdoub's demand of Israelis to
"recognize that indeed a wrong has been committed" in 1948
addresses something quite different. The birth of the State of
Israel in 1948, greeted with joy by its Jewish population, was
experienced by the Palestinian population as a tragedy, both
individually and collectively. The gaining of a homeland by the
Jews resulted in Palestinians being deprived of a homeland and
becoming a people of refugees. One may argue that it was the
Palestinian and Arab leaders' shortsightedness, stubbornness and
their "all-or-nothing" attitude that caused the 1948/49 war, but
this does not make the Palestinians' plight less real. This
historical fact should be recognized by all, especially by
Israelis, as, otherwise, it will be difficult to find a common
Co-Editor of the Palestine-Israel Journal
There Is Only One Cyprus
Much to my surprise, I noted in the Palestine-Israel Journal the
caption describing the activities of Dr. Hussam Mohamad as being
"assistant professor of international relations at the Eastern
Mediterranean University in 'North-Cyprus.'''
The Palestine-Israel Journal is said to examine "the crucial issues
in the conflict" and as a joint venture of Israelis and
Palestinians, you know better than anyone that distortion of
information is not only harmful, but also a powerful means to
diffuse propaganda and alter public opinion. Whereas the situation
of Israel and Palestine cannot be compared to the one of Cyprus, I
am appalled to note that a journal lead by Palestinians who know
perfectly what occupation, dispossession and deprivation entails
can actually publish the caption cited above without having the
feeling that this is distortion of information and pro-occupation
There is no country named North-Cyprus. There is only one Cyprus, a
united Cyprus, which has been occupied since July 1974 when the
Turkish military forces landed on the island and occupied the
northern third. In 1983, Rauf Denktash proclaimed his community an
independent republic called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
which has not been recognized by any international body. Since the
occupation by Turkey, Greek Cypriots were chased from the northern
part of the island and dispossessed. Violation of human rights has
become a common practice in the satellite-state of Turkey and the
latter continues incessantly to promote the settlement of mainland
Turks in the northern part of the island. Don't these practices
ring a bell?
The existence of the State of Israel within the pre-1967 borders
cannot be disputed; however, referring to the occupied parts of
Palestine as Israeli territory is legitimizing the confiscation of
territories gained by military force, a pure violation of UN
resolutions. The same goes for "North Cyprus" and by referring to
the northern part as such, you actually legitimize the Turkish
claim for a divided Turkish-Greek Cyprus.
I sincerely hope that the coming editions of the Palestine-Israel
Journal will not contain this grave error and that you will require
Dr. Mohamad to represent Cyprus as a united republic with two
Mieke van de Capelle
The Palestine-Israel Journal regrets that the inclusion of
"North-Cyprus" in the biographical note of Dr. Hussam Mohamad (Vol.
IV No. 3/4, p. 66) was misconstrued as though the Journal were
taking sides in the Greek-Turkish conflict in Cyprus. However, to
denounce it as "pro-occupation propaganda" and "distortion of
information" is quite unjustified.
While the Journal is especially sensitive to issues of occupation,
dispossession and denial of the right to self-determination, the
terminology used by our contributors to identify themselves is
formulated by them and not by us. The Palestine-Israel Journal
stands corrected: an internationally recognized country called
North-Cyprus does not exist.
Shame and Foreboding
There was a time in the State of Israel when Independence Day
expressed real happiness and national pride, but this was long
before the present flamboyant celebration of the fiftieth
anniversary in extravagant and expensive presentations. This year,
contrary to the official sloganizing about "together in hope,
together in pride," Independence Day was a time of deep division
and controversy, not of pride but of shame, not of hope but of
We were witness on this national holiday, of all days, to a
dangerous act of incitement by Jewish settlers and extreme
rightists who laid what they called the cornerstone for a new
neighborhood at Har Homa Gabal Abu Ghneim). Whatever they may say,
Har Homa is not a part of Jerusalem.
On the same Independence Day we saw how insidious forces succeeded
in an act of crude and ugly artistic censorship against the jubilee
performance of the Batsheva ballet, one of Israel's outstanding
flag-bearers in the world of arts.
It is a cause for special concern that both these grave steps were
taken by religious circles which unhesitatingly went ahead in
spreading a message against peace and for discord and hatred.
Rather than a celebration for the whole people, they presented the
world with an image of bitter and violent internal and external
There must be within the religious camp elements still capable of
listening to reason. I call upon rabbis and religious leaders to
draw back from such destructive and provocative policies before it
is too late.
Dani Ben Shoshan
Bat Yam, Israel