Mar 272008
Authors: Annabelle Gillbert

I would like to address the op-ed “A Third Grader’s Approach to the Israeli Domestic Policy” printed in Wednesday’s paper.

I would first like to look at Mr. Elder’s use of a hypothetical situation to “prove” his argument.

He imagines that a group of Kurds is given the Western Slope to inhabit after being persecuted in their lands. He likens this hypothetical situation to the United Nations decision to designate part of the British Mandate of Palestine to the Jewish people in 1948.

Jews have a much longer history tied into the lands of Palestine than the Kurdish people have to the Western Slope of Colorado. Jews have inhabited the lands of Palestine (modern day Israel) for the better part of 6,000 years, the Jewish Bible (what many call the Old Testament) was written by Jews in the land of Israel and many Israeli cities today still bear the mark of ancient Jewish civilizations.

Jews were forced out of their native land time and time again, most often by brute force, and many were allowed to return only after the slaughter of six million of their friends and family.

To say that giving Kurdish people land in the Western Slope is analogous to allowing Jews to return to their homeland of 6,000 years is ridiculous and offensive.

While I do not condone every single one of Israel’s foreign policies (just as I do not condone every single one of the United States’ foreign policies), they have tried their best to live in peace with neighbors who clearly do not want peace.

Israel has, on multiple occasions, attempted to negotiate peace treaties with its neighboring countries. Each time the Israeli government has made an offer, the Palestinians have turned it down and the violence against Israel has increased.

It is important to note that on at least three separate occasions the Palestinians were offered their own state. Once in 1937, under the Peel Partition Plan, both the Jews and the Arabs were offered their own state. The Jews accepted and the Arabs denied this plan.

Again in 1947 the United Nations offered a two-state plan, again the Jews accepted and the Arabs denied the plan.

For the third time, in 2000-2001 at the Camp David Summit, Palestinians were offered a state by the Israeli government and again they turned it down.

Each time the Palestinians rejected offers for their own self-determination in the form of a state, they responded with increased terrorist action toward Israel.

The majority of Jewish people wish only to live in peace with their Arabic neighbors.

When Jerusalem was under Muslim control, Jews were not allowed to enter the holy city to pray at holy sites such as the Western Wall. However, today Jerusalem is under Israeli control, and Muslims and Christians alike are allowed to enter the holy city and practice their religion with no fear of retribution from a Jewish government.

When Syria controlled the Golan Heights, the Jews living in the area surrounding the Sea of Galilee lived in fear of daily attacks from their neighbor to the north.

Today, while the Golan Heights is under Israeli control, the Israelis have never once attacked their Syrian neighbors unprovoked, nor do they send thousands of rockets into Syria aimed at civilian targets.

Mr. Elder wrote that Israelis treat Palestinians like dogs.

Did he mention the fact that Israel has a national health insurance policy, which allows for treatment of all citizens – regardless of ethnicity or religion? He also did not mention the fact that Arabic Israeli’s have a higher life expectancy rate and lower infant mortality rate than their Arabic neighbors.

Israel is a tiny nation surrounded by enemies who wish only for the extermination of the country and its people. Yet Israel has made leaps and bounds in the areas of medicine, biotechnology and education, while its neighbors focus on violence and terrorism.

Mr. Elder, your column certainly did address Israeli Domestic Policy as a third grader would – with no critical thinking, no sensitivity and no second thought to researching the truth.

Presenting such an important issue in this manner to a very impressionable population is irresponsible and reprehensible.

Annabelle Gilbert is a social work graduate student. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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