It is disheartening that here in the United States, many misconceptions exist about Palestinians. It is even more disturbing that the real facts of Palestine and Israel are not known.
In a Nov. 16 op-ed by Brandon Wales, (“Wye hurts U.S.-Israeli relations,” p. 4), he calls Yasser Arafat a “terrorist turned statesman.” Did he fail to learn in political science that three Israeli prime ministers were directly implicated in terrorist activities? Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin led the Irgun, a terrorist group in Israel responsible for the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre of 254 Palestinian men, women and children.
Yitzhak Shamir, another former prime minister, was a member of a terrorist group known as the Stern Gang. One of its crimes included the assassination of British Colonial Secretary Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944 and the assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden in Jerusalem in 1948. Bernadotte was a hero during the Holocaust for risking his life to save about 20,000 Jews from concentration camps.
In 1954, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, ordered Israeli terrorists to attack American installations in Egypt. After attempting to frame Egyptians, the Israelis were caught and imprisoned. Ben-Gurion attempted to blame the fiasco on Defense Minister Pinchas Lavon, but documents later revealed Ben-Gurion himself ordered these attacks.
Arafat has not defended his people’s right to a homeland with any more brutal methods than did the pre-1948 Israelis.
What goes on in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem is the result of long-term opposition to oppression .
One must realize that 50 years ago, Palestinian Arabs had a homeland. Today they are forced to live under an unjust Israeli occupation. They have no home. They are denied their basic right to self-determination. Out of the millions of Palestinians dispersed around the world, 1 million live in appalling condition in refugee camps.
Children are taught not to forget their homeland and will not accept slavery. They fight to be free human beings and to defend their rights. They want to live the way other people live, which is in peace. This is self-defense, not terrorism.
-The writer is a senior majoring in biology.