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Sunday, December 21, 2014

There is no simple solution to the dispute between Israel and Palestine

Editor’s Note: This is in response to “Israel’s assault on Gaza can’t be called defense,” published in Friday’s Daily Lobo.

Editor,

The recent letter regarding the situation in Gaza contains several false statements and deserves a rebuttal. Lucero describes Israel as an occupier of Gaza. In actual fact, Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza in 2005. The current conflict is the result of persistent rocket attacks from the Gaza territory on Israeli civilians. Gaza is ruled by an organization called Hamas. Hamas created a charter in 1988 that calls for the replacement of Israel with an Islamic state. Article 7 of that charter explicitly calls for the killing of Jews.

In our country, we have what is called “jus soli.” This means that anyone born in the U.S. is counted as a citizen. Not so in Arab countries; they are ruled by what is called “jus sanguinis,” the right of blood. Palestinians born in Kuwait, for example, have no Kuwaiti citizenship rights. The fact that Israelis have been living on Israeli soil for generations, according to the “jus sanguinis” way of thinking, does not entitle them to any form of citizenship, and certainly not their own state.

I used to study with a Palestinian engineering student. At the end of our study sessions, I would ask him if there was any possibility of peace between us. He was very uncomfortable with that. He eventually said, “Look, you want a piece of paper that says you have the right to be here. We will give you that piece of paper. But we will still throw you into the sea.” These notions of blood and soil are very destructive. In the case of Hamas, it is not clear that they even accept the rights of non-Islamic Palestinians. Maybe if we put our heads together, we can find a better way.

Morris Kaufman
Daily Lobo reader