Thursday, March 19, 2009

Letter to Editor

Begin kept the faith

Sir, - In "Netanyahu as prime minister - deja vu?" (March 11) Daniel Pipes analyzed what he alleges were broken promises by previous Likud leaders. He stated that "Menachem Begin was elected... on a nationalist platform that included annexing parts of the West Bank" but "instead removed all troops and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula."

I would have credited Mr. Pipes with the intelligence to differentiate between the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula.

Prime minister Begin never considered giving up any claim of the Jewish people to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). His discussions at Camp David dealt with some form of administrative autonomous self-government for the Arab residents of those areas regarding their internal affairs, but not the ceding of sovereignty.

On the other hand, the Jewish people have never had a historical or legal claim to the Sinai desert. In return for a peace treaty with Israel's largest Arab foe in all wars until that time, Begin returned the Sinai to Egypt, giving up valuable strategic depth, some low-quality oil fields at Abu Rodeis, and agricultural settlements on the Mediterranean shore at Yamit.

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