Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block
Letter to the EditorOpinion

Letter to the Editor: Toby F. Block

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Letter to the editor,

Responding to “Georgia Congressman Explains Iron Dome ‘Present’ Vote.”

Rep. Johnson may have been sincere in his apology about the “termite comment.” Yet, his accusing PM Netanyahu of being the “driving force” behind May’s conflict shows that he is still making ignorant remarks. Hamas claimed that it fired missiles at Jerusalem to save the Holy City, citing Israeli attempts to destroy the al-Aqsa mosque and settlers attempting to drive Arabs from their homes in eastern Jerusalem. Neither claim had any validity. Israel was not trying to destroy the mosque or to prevent Muslims from worshipping there. Israeli officers had, quite correctly, acted to stop Palestinians from hurling stones and fireworks from the mosque courtyard (as they often do, to harass Jews praying at the Western Wall and express dissatisfaction with Israeli officers’ presence on the Temple Mount). Settlers had nothing to do with the possibility that some Arab families might be evicted from their homes. During Jordan’s illegal occupation of eastern Jerusalem, Jews had been driven out and Arabs had taken up residence in the Jews’ former homes. Following Israel’s liberation of the land in the Six Day War, Israel allowed the Arabs to continue living in the homes, as owners if Jordan had transferred title to them, or as tenants if Jordan hadn’t transferred title. Tenants were required to pay nominal rents. When the Oslo Accords were signed, some tenants stopped paying rent (possibly at the order of the Palestinian Authority). Jewish owners who have been able to prove ownership of the homes (dating back to 1880s) have been engaged in a long, drawn-out case in the Israeli courts. The case is still pending, no one has been evicted, and the families who have not paid rent in decades are saying that Palestinian officials are urging them not to accept any Israeli offers to receive compensation for moving to other dwellings.

Rep. Johnson, and other progressives in Congress, have blinded themselves to the fact that Palestinian leaders are not working to build a state in which the people living under their administration could become productive citizens. The leaders’ top priority is destroying the nation-state of the Jews. To this end, they have taught their people to hate Jews and rewarded them for killing Jews. The real driving force behind Hamas’ attack in May was Mahmoud Abbas’ cancellation of long overdue elections (Abbas is in the sixteenth year of his four-year term). Abbas dropped plans for holding elections because polling showed that Hamas would do better than the PA with the voters. Hamas took advantage of the people’s anger at Abbas to further enhance Hamas’ standing by showing that Hamas, not the PA, is acting to get rid of the hated Jews and their state.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta

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