Letters to the Editor

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GAZA: Remember Israel’s blockade runner?

Letter by Bernice L. Youtz, Tacoma on June 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm | 16 Comments »
June 8, 2010 9:17 am

I seem to remember that in July 1947, a ship purchased and captained by the Haganah, a Jewish underground unit opposing the British Mandate, attempted to land on the coast of Palestine with 4,515 Jewish refugees from Europe. The British Navy boarded the ship in international waters and towed it to Haifa. The passengers were eventually returned to Europe.

The ship was the Exodus, hailed by Americans for the heroic exploit which would be detailed a few years later in a blockbuster novel, followed by a film which has become a classic.

There were terrorists in those years as well: the Irgun and Stern Gangs and the Haganah. Americans praised them also, for the best of reasons. We knew little about the Arabs of Palestine and failed to ask. Some of those terrorists would go on to become leaders of the young state of Israel, including future prime ministers Menachem Begin and Itzak Shamir.

If some in the leadership of Israel today could extend a hand to Hamas and say, “We practiced terrorism when it suited our purposes; then we retired and went into politics. We invite you to do the same; together we need to work on the problems and the future of both our peoples,” then we might have some hope for peace.

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