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Deportations in Palestine

September 07, 1988

In response to "Wishful Thinking That's Harmful" by Yosef Goell ( Op Ed Page, Aug. 30):

Deportation, which Goell lauds as humane, is perhaps a solution to the Israeli problem, but not of the Palestinian one. The point is not whether deportation of Palestinians will prevent "an unthinkable blood bath," or "bring the uprising down to a tolerable level of violence." The point is to solve the Palestinian problem by creating a Palestinian national entity--in concert with the Palestinians. We have no idea who these recent deportees are--the evidence, I assume, is classified--but at least some of them are the very leaders that Israel should be talking to.

Goell seems to blame the outbreaks of violence on the Palestinian leaders, not the policies of Israeli occupation. The only reason that the future of the occupied territories stands out as the major issue of the coming elections in Israel is precisely because the so-called leaders now being deported adamantly continued Palestinian opposition.

If we follow Goell's speculative logic--that had the deportations taken place at the outbreak of the uprising--there would have been a "tolerable level of violence" (only 60 Palestinians killed) and the uprisings would have been snuffed out early on. Thus, the Israeli government could have returned to its pre-uprising policy of pretending that the status quo in the territories would go on forever with nary a peep of protest as Palestinians continued to work for lower wages than Israelis, pay taxes for services they never receive, and watch their land taken away and developed by "settlers" who receive modern housing, new power supplies and abundant irrigation.

Israeli policies have ripened this latest crop of leaders. Frozen out of any political dialogue the Palestinians are forced to use stones rather than words to express their frustration.

In this sense, perhaps the Palestinians have merely been reading their history books, and remember the effects that certain "reckless acts of violence"--committed by the Irgun and Stern Gang--had on the English, forcing that occupying government to hand the Israeli-Palestine problem over to the United Nations in 1947. Jews who then carried out "reckless acts of violence"--using bullets, not stones--are now themselves politicians. Goell has to look no further than the example of the present prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, himself an ex-terrorist.



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