There are a few grains of truth in Ed Kass’ commentary “A conversation we do not have but need to” (“Saving Israel From Herself,” May 27, 2021) which belie his entire misguided argument. He writes he has “no illusions about Hamas,” acknowledges “Hamas wants to destroy Israel. So does Hezbollah” and “Abbas and the current PA leadership in the past has refused to make any compromises.”
Shimon Peres described Mahmoud Abbas as “the best partner that Israel has and the best we have had.” If that “best partner” has refused to make any compromises – indeed, he has even repeatedly asserted his rejection of the core principle of the so-called “two-state solution,” two states for two peoples – how does Ed Kass believe anything Israel does can really bring about peace? It takes two to tango.
Kass repeatedly misrepresents Israeli actions. For example, he incorrectly says “Palestinians” living in what he calls “East Jerusalem” will lose their homes if they leave for a certain period of time but Jews won’t. Israeli citizens, whether Jewish or Arab, can leave the country and not lose their citizenship. Non-citizens who leave the country are in a totally different category. Arabs who aren’t citizens but are living in Jerusalem can continue to live in Jerusalem as long as they like and have all the rights of Israeli citizens except for the right to vote in national elections, but if they choose to move elsewhere then they obviously lose that status. The same situation would prevail for guests in virtually every other country in the world. They don’t lose their homes; they have chosen to move their homes elsewhere. They don’t lose their property; if they own property they retain ownership unless they sell it.
He perversely refers to the Jews who had lived in Sheikh Jarrah prior to the 1948 war as having “left for safety.” What a euphemistic way of describing the way the Jordanians ethnically cleansed all Jews from what had been a Jewish area!
And he bemoans what Israel’s situation would be if the Palestinian Authority was replaced by Hamas in Judea and Samaria but ignores the fact that, were Israel to follow his advice, Fatah’s fate there would be the same as it was in Gaza. If that happened, he’d probably blame Israel.
Kass’ “facts” are often the inversion of the actual facts and his arguments illogical. While Israel had made mistakes, as has every country in the history of the world, even the few facts Kass got right show that it is the Palestinian Arabs and their leadership that need to change – indeed, need revolutionary change – if their own primarily self-inflicted miserable situation is to improve and if peace is to ever become possible.