- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

In 1948, the United Nations generously gave 55 percent of Palestine away to form the Jewish state of Israel without consulting the native population. Another example of Western democracy at work. Now letter writer Glenn Helms argues that the war that then started in response to this gross injustice was not a war of independence but of survival (“Israel’s war of survival,” Tuesday).

If this was a war for survival, why did Israel use terrorist groups, namely Irgun and the Stern Gang, to drive Palestinian villagers out, confiscate their property and never allow them back?

For example, in April 1948, all the inhabitants of the Arab village of Deir Yassin were butchered, although it was nowhere near the borders of Israel. (It could be claimed that these acts were not sanctioned by the Israeli government. That claim is weakened by the fact that the massacre did not stop the leader of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, from twice being elected prime minister.) Afterwards, Deir Yassin was bulldozed and made into a settlement for Orthodox Jews. The streets were named after the Irgun units that did the massacre.

Alas, Israel’s war was not so much about surviving as acquiring Lebensraum.


Harrow, Middlesex

United Kingdom

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