A New York Times book review inaccurately claims that Israel hasn’t tried trading land for peace.
The review is by Kenneth M. Pollack, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is writing about the book Rise And Kill First: The Secret History Of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, by Ronen Bergman.
Pollack writes, “The deepest truth is that Israel so far has not tried the one thing that could address the underlying grievances that give life to its terrorist enemies, trading land for peace.”
Actually, as the Times itself has reported over the years in its news columns, Israel has repeatedly traded land for peace, or at least for promises of peace.
In 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula under the terms of a peace treaty with Egypt. The Times reported then: “Today’s withdrawal completes a phased pullout that really began in 1974, five years before the peace treaty, when the United States helped negotiate a separation of Egyptian and Israeli forces and Israel pulled back from the east bank of the canal. A further step of withdrawal was negotiated in 1975, when Israel gave up the Abu Rodeis oilfields, which were providing most of the country’s fuel. Under the subsequent treaty, Israel has pulled out in six steps since May 25, 1979.”
In 1994, Israel withdrew from Jericho and most of Gaza under the terms of the Oslo Accord it reached with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In 1995, Israel withdrew from Nablus, “handing over the West Bank’s largest city to an advance team of Palestinian police officers,” as The New York Times reported then.
In 2000, Israel withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon.
In 2005, Israel withdrew entirely from the Gaza Strip.
People can argue about whether these withdrawals were wise. People can argue about whether peace was indeed received by Israel in exchange for the land. People can argue about whether the amount of land Israel gave away was enough. People can argue about whether the land was given away with sufficient trappings of sovereignty to satiate the Arabs.
But to say Israel “so far has not tried…trading land for peace” is not, as the Times review claims, “the deepest truth.” It is, rather, a patent falsehood. Israel has tried it. It has been trying precisely that for decades.
More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.
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