To the Editor:

In all of the columns and letters I have read in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian situation lately, I find some important history missing: In 1967, Israel’s neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, backed up by the armies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algiers and Iraq, well primed with Soviet arms, massed on Israel’s borders and announced to the world that they would push the Israelis into the sea. About 325,000 Palestinians, mostly Jordanians, chose to leave The West Bank at this time to get out of the crossfire.

The Arab Nations did not push the Israelis into the sea and, indeed, they quite decisively lost the war in about six days. Israel tripled the amount of land it controlled. The question I have not heard raised before is: When, in history, has a country won a war and then given back both the land and, more importantly, total freedom to its still hostile occupants? What would prevent them from attacking the victors yet again? The early settlers and armies of this country were successful in pushing the American Indians off the land (they were here first), they were starved and massacred and despite the fact that they are now citizens of this country, we haven’t given them back their land yet! We occupied Germany and Japan after WWII until we felt that those countries were no longer hostile to us, and a democratic form of government, approved by us, was in place.

Why, then, should the Israelis give land and unfettered freedom to a people who still vow to push them into the sea?

Joel Rosenbaum

November 22, 2002

The writer is a molecular, cellular and developmental biology professor.