APRIL 30, 2004
H.D.S. Greenway has bungled the facts in his column “Sharon’s plan obliterates hopes for peace” (op ed, April 23). He deplores Israel’s proposal to cede Gaza to the Palestinians while retaining parts of the West Bank and refers to Israel “within pre-1967 borders.” But Israel has no “borders” with the West Bank and Gaza–only the armistice lines where fighting stopped in 1949 after the first Arab war to destroy the reconstituted Jewish nation. Arab states refused to recognize those lines as borders, not wanting to recognize Israel or forswear their “right” to pursue her destruction.
Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967, the territories are disputed–not, as Greenway claims, “Arab”–land, and the borders are to be determined by negotiations. Moreover, the drafters of the resolution believed the armistice lines should not be permanent borders because they would only invite further aggression. Israel’s vulnerability to attack was obvious; the pre-1967 lines rendered the country barely 9 miles wide at its narrowest point.
Britian’s Lord Caradon, chief architect of 242, said, “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial.” Lyndon Johnson agreed that full withdrawal was a prescription for “a renewal of hostilities.” President Bush, too, has referred to “the armistice lines of 1949” and the fact that it is “unrealistic to expect” Israel to return to them.
COMMITTEE FOR ACCURACY IN MIDDLE EAST REPORTING IN AMERICA