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19 March 2002

The Rt Hon Mr Jack Straw, MP
Foreign Secretary
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.

British government 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 countries.

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 Shi’ites.

Naim Dangoor


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