Indulging history

It is interesting that the letter exchange between J Roderick Walters (13 November), Julius (20 November) and Hannah Rose (27 November), regarding the population of Palestine at the beginning of the 20th century, has diverted hugely from what the original article ("No peace in our time", 30 October) was actually about - the current state of affairs.

The inflated discussion of "who is in the majority" or "who was there in the first place" is ongoing among Israelis and Palestinians alike. The answers depend largely on which history books one reads, and how far back one looks: somewhere there is an answer to please anyone's agenda.

This discourse is typical of today's impasse on the conflict. Both sides are digging into a past that cannot be reverted, searching for an absolute truth that will prove their case right, instead of dealing with the acute need to find compromise and a solution to the present problems.

Yuval Zorn
London SE4

This article first appeared in the 04 December 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Nation of fools