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Criticisms of Israel ignore the facts

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Op-ed contributor G. Jefferson Price III ("For Israel, it's different this time," Nov. 20) alleges that "Israeli leaders have consistently obstructed and resisted arrangements that would have brought a dignified peace to the region."

As in 2000 and 2001, when with the United States, Israel offered Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat a West Bank and Gaza Strip state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital in exchange for peace — but he refused and launched the second intifada? As in 2001, when Israel and the United States repeated the deal, but Arafat continued the terror war? Or maybe in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a third such proposal but Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, spurned it?

Mr. Price invokes "the day-to-day humiliation and indignity heaped upon Palestinians by Israeli policies." Do these daily humiliations include rule by Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist movement designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, Israel and other countries, over the Gaza Strip? By indignity does he mean supervision by Fatah, the corrupt and thuggish party that controls the Palestinian Authority, of Palestinian Arabs on the West Bank?

Mr. Price claims "Israel has been able to act with impunity against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and the Lebanese to the north." Do those actions include Israel's complete withdrawal in 2000 from its southern Lebanon "security zone," one unintended consequence of which has been expansion of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon? Or perhaps he means Israel's total evacuation from Gaza in 2005, which instead of reviving peace prospects gave Hamas and its allies a base from which to launch thousands of mortars and rockets at Israel? Or maybe he means Israel's admitting tens of thousands of Palestinian patients to Israeli hospitals for treatment?

Opinion columns are just that, but to be worth reading, they ought to have the sort of factual basis Mr. Price's commentary lacks.

Eric Rozenman, Washington

The writer is Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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