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March 29, 2002 - The April 1 edition of Newsweek carried the ominous headline: How will Israel survive? Most of us thought we'd never have to hear the question again. But with psychopaths cashing in on Iraqi-sponsored life insurance policies at the expense of innocent Israeli civilians daily, the dramatic headline is more than fitting. The problem isn't the headline, however, it's that Newsweek answers its rhetorical question with cliches and historical misconceptions that have contaminated mainstream coverage of the Middle East for years.

Israel, one of the most technologically advanced and humane nations on earth, a marvel of postwar economic and scientific development, is under attack. A concerted Arab effort to encourage terror against Jews (Iraq's payment of suicide bombers' families would be enough for any sane nation to declare war), coupled with the rise Muslim fundamentalism puts Israel's existence into serious danger for the first time since 1973.

Over the past decades the PLO, the world's leading terrorist organization, has morphed into the Palestinian Authority, but their goal remains the same: the destruction of Israel.

Palestinians, pawns in a regional push to eliminate Jews in the Middle East, have instigated a war against the civilian population of Israel -- a portion of which was previously sympathetic to their cause. Over the past decades the PLO, the world's leading terrorist organization, has morphed into the Palestinian Authority, but their goal remains the same: the destruction of Israel. Journalists have long overlooked the historical details of this conflict. The widow struggling to cross an Israel checkpoint, the boy throwing harmless rocks at an occupying Israeli tank, the story of a disenfranchised people is dramatic. It sells. Instead of factual reporting, the mainstream media has placed culpability on both parties, creating a perception of equal aggression, of a 'cycle' of violence.

Since the Arab world has transferred its failed military campaign against Israel into a diplomatic and public relations siege, they have used an underprivileged Palestinian population as their primary weapon against Israel. Jordanian King Hussein described this strategy as early as 1960 in an interview with an Associated Press: "Since 1948 Arab leaders have approached the Palestine problem in an irresponsible manner. They have not looked into the future. They have no plan or approach. They have used the Palestinian people for selfish political purposes. This is ridiculous and, I could say, criminal."

What King Hussein understood about his own people, American journalists are still oblivious to. Arabs have been negligent of Palestinian rights, many times prolonging their misery in effort to undermine Israel. This plan is bearing fruits now, as homicidal fanatics with little to lose, blow themselves up among women and children in Netanya, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

It all begins with the presumption that the West Bank and Gaza are 'occupied territory.' While most Israelis have come to terms with the fact some form of Palestinian autonomy is forthcoming, at the very least these lands should be considered 'disputed' territories. The phrase 'occupied territory' has become universally accepted, however, despite its historical complexity. Newsweek's recent coverage of Israel, for instance, uses the phrase countless times without even mentioning a challenging view.

Fact is, Jews have had a continued presence in Israel for 3,000 years and have never relinquished their claim. Arabs rejected the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947 calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, with an all out war to eliminate Jews enacted by the Arab world. After the 1967 War -- another war of Arab aggression -- Israel recovered a small remnant (13% in whole) of what was promised to them by the UN -- eventually handing back the Sinai Desert for peace with Egypt in 1977.

Between 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt, who governed the West Bank and Gaza, respectively, never offered to surrender those lands to form an independent Palestinian state. No Palestinian organization ever sought an independent state. No Arab country had even suggested its existence. An Arab Palestine has never been the name of any nation or state. 'Palestine' was a geographical term used only to identify administrative boundaries within larger empires, nothing more.

The purpose of a separate Palestinian State was defined faultlessly by the late Zoher Moessein, head of PLO bureau of military operation:

"There is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians and Lebanese; we are all members of the same nation. Solely for political reasons are we careful to stress our identity as Palestinians. Since a separate State of Palestine would be an extra weapon in Arab hands to fight Zionism with. Yes, we do call for the creation of a Palestinian state for tactical reasons. Such a state would be a new means of continuing the battle against Zionism, and for Arab unity."

An offshoot of the occupation myth is the 'refugee' fabrication. It states that a significant portion of the Arab population was driven out of Israel by force during the 1948 War. It makes for good copy, but it's false. Egyptian activist, Edward Said, the most famous of these "refugees," for example, has been exposed as a fraud, as has this revisionist history.

Mark Twain, a man, one would think, as devoid of 'imperialistic Zionist' intentions, wrote in 1867 that Palestine was "a desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds." Yet, Arabs have claimed that over a million refugees were forced from their homes during the 1948 War of Independence -- this number includes Arabs whose relatives entered Israel from 1946 onward. The number of Arab refugees is probably closer to 400,000, most of whom took it upon themselves to flee despite Jewish assurances that they would not be harmed. The contention that Arabs were removed by gunpoint is totally incorrect. Research by the Arab-sponsored Institute for Palestinians Studies in Beirut found that "the majority of the Arab refugees in 1948 were not expelled and 68 percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier."

In her meticulously researched book, From Time Immemorial, Joan Peters proves that a roughly equivalent number of Jewish refugees were expelled from Arab nations during the same period -- 120,000 from Iraq alone. It is estimated that one million immigrants were integrated into Israel's society from 1948-1950.

None of them, on the other hand, were confined for life to refugee camps.