DAVID \LTON'S report "Britian in Palestinian memory" (July I I) from Shatila was not only interesting but moving. It is also misleading. I recall a day, about three weeks or su before the end of the British Mandate in Palestine in May 1948. when the Christian Arab girl who assisted me in the SPCK bookshop at St Cieorge's Close, Jerusalem. announced without previous notice "My family and I are going away to the Lebanon to stay with relatives for a fortnight or three weeks. We'll be hack wehn the Jews have all been driven into the sea," That true story is typical of many other such I could recount, the sum total of which is one of the main reasons for the continuation to this back when theJew shaveall been driven into the sea."
Hie Arab determination to prevent the establishment of a Jewish State in the Holy land and the internationalisation of Jerusalem resulted in their failure and their unprepardness to establish their own state, granted as part of the UN package resolution.
Furthermore, whereas the new ly established State of Israel opened its doors to hundreds of thousand of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, resettling them at Israel's expense. the
Arab countries depended largely upon UN assistance and finance, much of it from Christian organisations based in this country, to support and maintain Arab refugees from Palestine unable to support themselves and unqualified to secure jobs abroad. The sad outcome is, as described by your reporter, the creation of a hotbed of discontent. deliheratly fostered by PLO leader )(asses Arafat and his aides, blaming Britain. the 11N, even corrupt Arab regimes. but never admitting any share of the blame of the catastrophe themselves. David Alton is wrong in comparing the Palestinian and the Irish situations. There is no real similarity at all. The "arbitrary .fixing of borders" was the direct consequence of the failure of the Arabs invading armies. when in 1949 Dr Ralph Bunehe. UN Mediator. succeeded in arranging armistice agreements between Israel and her Arab neighbours. These were only intended as a prelude to a proper and final peace settlement. which we must all hope and pray will not he too much longer delayed.
. -11.0%4M VIES Archdeacon in Oxford
Christ Church Oxford