[123. Writer untruthful

I cannot but agree with Philip Schlussel (Dec. 9 letter [122]) that "one must be truthful and candid when speaking for his constituency." I wish he had practiced what he is preaching.

First, he claims as facts that "the Arab nations were fully mobilized and were publicly declaring that they would 'drive Israel into the sea.'" These are not facts but lies. In his book 1949 The First Israelis, based on recently declassified Israeli official documents, Tom Segev said that "it became apparent that the Arabs had not always refused to discuss peace with Israel." This is really a mild statement in view of what Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary on April 16, 1949: "The Syrians have offered to make separate peace with Israel;" an of what Eliyahu Sasson, from the Israeli foreign ministry, stated in one of his telegrams: "The Egyptians kept reiterating that they regarded the armistice agreement as only the first step toward the future." Unfortunately, as Segev himself put it, "Israel missed a number of opportunities to make peace." The reason was (and still is) that Israel was interested in grabbing more land than making peace.

Second, he considered "ridiculous" the idea of a "conspiracy" between the British government and the Zionist movement citing as evidence the "ban on Jewish immigration in 1939." This ban was something punctual to respond to a specific situation. But the overall policy was quite different. Lloyd George, a British Prime Minister, in his testimony before the 1937 Palestine Royal Commission stated: "It was contemplated that...if the Jews...had become a definite majority of the inhabitants, then Palestine would thus become a Jewish commonwealth. The notion that Jewish immigration would have to be artificially restricted in order to ensure that the Jews should be a permanent minority never entered into the head of anyone engaged in framing the policy." This was the origin of the tragedy of the Palestinians and the theft of Palestine.

December 14, 1993]