To the Editor:
For those of us who had hopes that Mahmoud Abbas would be a different kind of Palestinian leader, his op-ed, "The Long Overdue Palestinian State" is disheartening, to say the least (May 17).
Distortions fill the piece, most egregiously his description of the 1948 war. In fact, contrary to his assertion, it was the Arabs, including the Palestinians, who rejected the United Nations partition and invaded Israel upon its declaration of independence. The refugee problem flowed directly from this Arab act of rejectionism.
The notion espoused by Mr. Abbas that going to the U.N. for support of a Palestinian state because there is no other way is belied by the events of the last 10 years. Israel over that period has made two solid offers to the Palestinians for statehood, only to be turned down. And for the last two years the Palestinians have refused to come to the table even when Israel suspended settlement building.
Unfortunately, these latest pronouncements by Abbas are consistent with his recent behavior. His coalition agreement with Hamas, the terrorist and rejectionist Islamic extremist group, and his decision to go to the U.N. to achieve support for a unilateral Palestinian state go a long way toward dashing hopes that the Palestinians had finally found a leader who was a peacemaker.