I want to congratulate you on the excellent January issue that finally came my way. If there were prizes for excellence in magazine publishing, this issue would surely get first prize.

With a broken heart over what Edward Said called the “surrender,” I cannot help admiring your ability to knit together all the most important views of those who must live with these realities, devastating as they are.

What puzzles me is that virtually nobody, except briefly in your article on Lebanese Palestinians, even mentions “reparations.” It is not only the Lebanese refugee camp inmates but those “privileged” to live in the proposed Palestinian bantustan and the millions in the diaspora who have such claims. All the talk we are hearing is about “foreign donors,” which is fine, but why act as if the Israelis do not owe an enormous debt (I mean simply in dollars and cents, never mind the morality).

In 1948, I and my family moved into a house in Ramla, just then “cleansed” of the local population. We did pay rent to something called a “Custodian of Enemy Property.” I am sure that particular “enemy” whoever he was, never got a penny of it. That’s why later when I made modest, but for me still sizable, contributions to Palestinian children’s health organizations and the like, I always told myself quietly, “I am just paying my rent“ — 40 years later! But isn’t it time the Israelis and the world’s Zionists paid some real reparations?

Last, but not least, from time to time I recall my leader in the German “Habonim” who shook my hand warmly when I left Berlin (a 13-year old) to go to Palestine saying: “Remember, always remain a Zionist, and don’t become a Palestinian.” I still puzzle sometimes what in the world he meant by that…anno 1933!

Miriam M. Abileah
Toronto, Ontario

I enclose my subscription renewal for one year. Because of your financial position, I have decided to become a Sustainer. I work in the public sector where cutbacks and privatization have been on the agenda for a long time, and I have seen many small and very worthy organizations go to the wall. I do not want to see that happen to MERIP. Most of my political energies and spare cash go into the lesbian and gay movement, but MERIP is very special and I therefore want to give what support I can.

I’ve been a reader for 25 years on and off. I don’t work in the field and come to it as a relatively uninformed lay person, albeit with a long-standing interest in the politics of the Middle East and in politics generally. I find your magazine outstanding in terms of the quality of its political analyses and its writing. No other magazine I read gives me such food for thought. I go on reading it because I enjoy it — and because I support wholeheartedly the political commitments that lie behind it. You are needed now more than ever.

So I desperately hope you will survive to continue publication for very many years. I shall try to respond to your future appeals and to find you new subscribers.

Gaby Charing

How to cite this article:

"Letters (March/April 1994)," Middle East Report 187-188 (March/April 1994).

For 50 years, MERIP has published critical analysis of Middle Eastern politics, history, and social justice not available in other publications. Our articles have debunked pernicious myths, exposed the human costs of war and conflict, and highlighted the suppression of basic human rights. After many years behind a paywall, our content is now open-access and free to anyone, anywhere in the world. Your donation ensures that MERIP can continue to remain an invaluable resource for everyone.


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