Letter: Jews, Arabs and stolen Nazi gold

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Sir: Dr Ghada Karmi (Letters, 12 September) says that the Palestinian Arabs were "dispossessed in 1948 to make way for the creation of a Jewish refuge in their country".

Does Dr Karmi really think that the Jews have no historical claim on a land which they inhabited for 2,000 years before the Arabs first appeared in Palestine (in the 7th century AD) - a land which they never ceased to claim as their own, and which they continued to inhabit in whatever numbers were allowed by successive occupying powers?

The Palestinians certainly have a claim also, and the Jews were prepared to accept the partition plan proposed by the UN in 1947. The Arabs, however, rejected the plan, and five Arab nations attempted to settle the matter by force. They could hardly complain if this resort to violence resulted in a disposition of territory that was not to their liking, and it is pleasing that Palestinian willingness to compromise now provides hope of a just settlement between two peoples both of which have valid historical rights. Those who rejected this compromise, however, should admit that their real objection to Jewish sovereignty is not political but religious: by Muslim religious law, Jews must be satisfied with subordinate status (dhimmi) and must never aspire to independence in territory declared to be holy to Islam. It is this religious motivation that lies behind the historical falsifications.


Kew, Surrey