To the editors:
Patricia Stoll, in an article regarding the recent confrontation at UIC during the celebration of Israel’s Independence Day, apparently has the simplistic view that the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict is merely a repeat of the civil rights movement in the sixties [“Demonstration,” May 6].
Stoll states that she is “for peace” and “for Palestine,” which I assume to mean that she is for a Palestinian state. But conspicuously missing is a description of what type of Palestinian state she favors.
Is she for the Palestine envisioned by the “sole representatives of the Palestinian people,” the PLO? If so, she is for the liquidation of the state of Israel and she is for continued and increased violence and bloodshed.
If, however, she is for a Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza alongside a secure Israel then this position is at least worth exploring. But I dare warn her that this position puts her in a dangerously small minority of Palestinian “traitors,” many of which have been killed by PLO death squads for precisely this belief (some of course have been killed for slightly lesser offenses, including selling lemonade to Israeli soldiers and for accepting positions in the civil administration on the West Bank).
To assume that a Palestinian state, even if confined to these regions, will lead to peace turns a blind eye to the vast differences between various Palestinian groups which would be competing for power there. A clear example of what would follow has already taken place in Tripoli and more recently in Beirut, where an argument among Palestinian teenagers became a bloody pitched battle.
Let us also remember that among the various Palestinian groups are fundamentalist fanatics who like their Iranian counterparts believe that heaven awaits them on the other side of suicidal martyrdom. This is not to downplay the battles which would occur between the Arafat, Habash, Jibril, Abu Musa and Abu Nidal factions which would fight for power. And if any of these groups were to launch an assault on Israel, which they are likely to do to prove their courage, Palestinians are likely to be met by Israeli howitzers and raids such as was recently seen in Lebanon against pro-Iranian fundamentalists.
The winner of the intra-Palestinian battle for power cannot be known, but if the recent history of “wars of national liberation” provide any guide then the pro-Soviet Palestinian radicals would emerge the victors. This faction is aligned with Syria–an arch enemy of Israel and a country whose leader drank the blood of a live chicken on Syrian television and who has no qualms about killing twenty thousand members of his political opponents when they present a problem. And although Ms. Stoll goes out of her way to falsely describe the term “Eretz Yisrael” as “Greater Israel” I doubt that she is aware of Syrian revanchism and the concept of “Greater Syria” (a goal which includes the territory which is Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza). Syrian divisions could easily land in Palestinian air fields and coordinate an attack against Israel from the north and east. The resulting price in human lives on all sides would be enormous.
Therefore, to conclude that peace and a West Bank-Gaza Palestinian state is synonymous ignores history and the realities of this troubled region. And to analyze this situation through a prism of the sixties is foolish.
Evan J. Winer