Unpublished letter to the editor of The Hartford Courant, referring to an op-ed that had originally appeared in The Washington Post and reprinted in The Courant.

Michael Tarazi, a PLO adviser, in his column, "Peace Through 'De-Occupation," perpetuates the big lie that Israel is an occupying power, but he provides no legal support. In fact, there is no basis in international law at all for his claim.

Until 1967, the West Bank and Gaza had been occupied illegally by Jordan and Egypt respectively, whose control was recognized only by Great Britain and Pakistan. Israel gained control of the territories, reluctantly, in its 1967 war of self-defense. United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 do not require Israel to withdraw from all the acquired territories, acknowledging that Israel's right to defensible borders. Israel has been willing to cede most of the land in return for a secure peace.

The truthful designation of the West Bank and Gaza is "DISPUTED territories," whose status is subject to negotiations. Although he waves the banner of the Geneva Conventions to distract his readers from the truth, Tarazi cannot support his allegation that the Jewish towns established in the disputed territories on previously uninhabited land are "illegal." With all the figures that he cites, he fails to mention that Israel ceded civil control over 98% of the Palestinians.

Another big lie is Tarazi's blaming the towns in the disputed territories for the suicide-homicide bombings, which he excuses with the term "resistance." Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their backers in Syria, Iraq and Iran, have made it clear that their goal is to drive the Jews from the entire land of Israel, including the pre-1967 borders. When Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat takes genuine steps to rein in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and when people like Tarazi cease justifying acts of murder and terror, then Palestinian Arabs will have a real opportunity to enjoy the rule of law and control over their own affairs.

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