Monday, May 14, 2007


Today is the 59th anniversary of the end of the British mandate of Palestine, the date in our calendar upon which the State of Israel was established. The United Nations had also resolved on November 29, 1947 to establish an Arab State on part of Palestine at the same time but the Palestinian leadership rejected the international community's partition plan and joined five Arab armies in what they called a war of extermination against the newborn Jewish State, a war that they lost and which gave rise to what the Palestinians now call the "catastrophe."

Writing in Haaretz, Professor Shlomo Avinery of the Hebrew University last week suggested that the Palestinian people need to take a look at themselves and accept some - not all - of the responsibility for their so-called catastrophe.

"What troubles me and other Zionist Israelis wishing to be attentive to the Palestinians' pain and willing to help rectify injustices and accept a historic compromise, is the Palestinians' complete unwillingness to acknowledge that in 1948 they and their leaders made a terrible historic mistake - of both political and moral proportions - by rejecting the international compromise they were offered." .

Since, the mistake is compounded with each passing year as the Palestinian downward spiral continues, Avinery's suggestion that they would have done better had they accepted the "half-full glass" is an argument worthy of merit and one which the international community should continue to encourage to help avoid further suffering on both sides.

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