The "road map to peace" between the Israelis and Palestinians may be doomed to failure because leaders from both sides are listening to extremists, according to a Golden Valley man who spent a traumatic childhood in Israel.
"The Israeli leaders listen to settlers and the extremists, and the Palestinian leaders listen to their own extremists and the terrorists," Irv Lubin said.
Lubin, 60, immigrated with his family to Palestine – then part of the British Mandate – in 1943 two days after he was born in 1943 in San Francisco.
He said the family returned to San Francisco in 1957 or 1958.
His father, Rudolph, was born in Station Manchuria, China, and his mother, the former Dorothy Light, was born in Germany.
But while Lubin remains pessimistic about the peace process, he said he wants the violence to stop.
He called for concessions on both sides with a mixture of compromise and tough talk.
He said the Israelis should withdraw from their settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In the road map initiative launched June 4, the Bush administration called for creating a Palestinian state on the land that Israel has occupied since the Six-Day War in 1967.
In turn, the Palestinians need to renounce terrorism and accept Israel's right to exist, Lubin said.
He also favors designating Jerusalem, which has been under Israeli control since the Six-Day War, an international city because "it should belong to everybody."
The Israeli government should not compensate Jewish settlers forced to withdraw from settlements on the West Bank and Gaza, Lubin said.
He also opposes paying reparations to Palestinians uprooted from their homes following Israel's war of independence in 1948, because they supported terrorism to regain land.
"They supported it by doing nothing," Lubin said.
And once Israel withdraws from Palestinian lands, the Israelis should be allowed to respond to future acts of terrorism by attacking in force, Lubin said.
"I want a one-year amnesty against any war crimes after each and every attack," he said.
And while he denounced Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat as a terrorist and said the United States should not have forced the Israelis to negotiate with him, Lubin said he respects suicide bombers.
"They believe in something, and they are following their beliefs," he said.
Lubin sat down for an interview with the Golden Valley Enterprise June 25, days before Palestinian militant groups agreed to a three-month cease-fire and Israel began pulling out its military from Bethlehem.
He said he lacks respect for the Palestinian leaders and does not have "much more respect" for the Israeli leaders, few of whom he identified by name.
Lubin said he still has nightmares from his childhood spent in a military outpost in the Negev Desert.
He said he kept a diary in Hebrew beginning around the age of 5 or 6 and carried a gun and rifle at all times.
"From 1948 until we left it was a very bad time," Lubin said.
"I don't want to remember anymore.
We were bombed.
We were shot at."
He continued, "It was too much violence.
We had to get away."
While Lubin said he does not respect the leaders of the Palestinians, he admires them as a people, and has met some thousands of miles away from the Arab-Israeli conflict: in Kingman.
"I know quite a few Palestinians in Kingman," he said.
"They are a great people.
They know I'm Jewish.
I have so much respect for the Palestinians."
Lubin described Palestinians and Arabs as a whole as being "highly intelligent" but uneducated.
He said education is the key to solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
"The only solution, apart from concessions on both sides, is education and hope for the Palestinians and the Jews.
Show them they can make money, they can have water and electricity and land.
Both sides have to be educated.
"I just want to see the war stop – all war," Lubin said.
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