19 March 2002
The Rt Hon Mr
Jack Straw, MP
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Dear Mr Straw
I am unfortunately
unable to attend with the delegation of Sephardi Jews visiting
you Wednesday at 1 pm, though my son, David, will be there.
I wanted therefore
to mention some important points I would have liked to make
had I been present.
policy is that UN Resolution 194 is still applicable. This
requires the return of the Palestinians to Israel proper,
which was the main cause of the failure of Sharm El Sheikh.
After the establishment
of Israel, many Palestinian Arabs fled mainly on the advice
of Arab governments who wanted them out of the way and were
confident to bring them back in triumph. Shortly thereafter,
there was an exodus of similar numbers of Jews from Arab countries
to Israel and it was widely recognised at the time by the
powers and indeed by the Arab governments themselves, who
pressured their Jews to leave for Israel, that there was thus
a logical and desirable exchange of populations. But while
Israel absorbed its refugees after many years of hardship
in transit camps, the Arabs deliberately left theirs unsettled,
although they had all the money to settle them, and kept them
as a political weapon and a lever against Israel in their
continuing effort to defeat the Jewish state.
Israel alone cannot
solve the Palestinian problem. It is a regional problem, if
only because of the involvement in it by all the neighbouring
To those who say
that Zionism is the root of all the trouble in Palestine,
the reply is that Arab imperialism is the root of all the
trouble in the Middle East, which is the home also of 20 million
Kurds as well as Armenians, Assyrians, Maronites, Turkomen
and oppressed Shiites.
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