Letter: Through children, peace
Rabbi Robin Nafshi deserves praise and support for her ongoing efforts to bring the Kids4Peace program to New Hampshire (“A multi-faith peace effort in your own back yard,” Monitor, June 10). Hopefully the friendships developed between Israeli and Palestinian children at summer camp will endure, benefitting both communities.
Since the al-Aqsa Intifada began too many have perished: 1,519 Palestinian children were killed by the Israelis while the Palestinians killed 129 Israeli children. The cause of the rebellion was obvious: Israel’s interminable and oppressive occupation denying millions of Palestinians their freedom and other fundamental human rights.
The Palestinians were optimistic that the 1993 Oslo agreement would bring about Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories leading to the realization of their right to self-determination and statehood. Instead Israel’s colonization of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza accelerated from 1993-2000, resulting in the Israelis exerting ever more control over almost every aspect of Palestinian life.
Israeli-Palestinian relations had deteriorated so precipitously by 2000 that the incitement of Ariel Sharon visiting the Haram al-Sharif or Temple Mount, accompanied by a thousand security officers, was enough to ignite a major uprising.
Yasser Arafat did consider unilaterally announcing the establishment of a Palestinian state but relented for many reasons, among them uncompromising Israeli opposition. Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak threatened to unilaterally annex vast areas of the West Bank and the prospect of an Israeli invasion loomed.
Rabbi Nafshi mischaracterized these events, but I admire her commitment to an important project, Kids4Peace.
JOHN S. HANCOCK