Truth About PDX Zionism and Our Leaders
Its not often that one speaks the truth about Israel.
Painful truths in the Middle East
Friday October 10, 2003
Avraham Burg writes (We must compromise our dreams, October 9): "I believe with perfect faith that the entire land of Israel belongs to me." Although I applaud the brave Israelis who call for their country's withdrawal from the West Bank, I am still baffled at how an educated man like Burg believes that the ending of the occupation is a compromise on Israel's part. Until Israel and the world treats the occupation of 3 million people, who have been on this land for hundreds of years, as a clear and fundamental violation of human rights and international law, as opposed to a bargaining chip, there can never be peace.
It is debatable what the Palestinian Authority can do to stop suicide bombers, but there is no question on who can end the occupation.
· Avraham Burg is regarded as a moderate, but his message is the same as Sharon's: the Palestinians must do this, the Palestinians must do that. Perhaps his most insulting comment is that it has been in the interest of Arab states to preserve Palestinian anger - as if Palestinians couldn't possibly be angry all by themselves at having been driven from their homes and lands.
And perhaps the Palestinians have learned more than Burg is aware of from Israel: when they look at the fences and blockades that contain and collectively punish them, they see a democracy built on ethnic cleansing imposed by force. Until Israelis learn this painful truth about themselves and their history, there is no hope for peace.
· You report (October 8) that Israel may be deterred from removing Arafat by peace protesters around his camp. Surely they would be more effective sitting in Israeli cafes and on Israeli buses. No doubt the Palestinian militants would, likewise, be deterred from striking. Without the suicide bombers, there would be no barriers to peace.
· Having reported the Middle East war in 1973, I fail to recognise Jonathan Freedland's comic-book description of Israel "attacked" then and "about to be wiped off the map". Why, after all these years of watching Israel's huge, rapacious, nuclear-armed and US-backed military machine in action, must we read such nonsense? In 1973, Egypt, the only real Arab power, "attacked" its own territory, then occupied by Israel. Sadat wanted it back, as his limited war aims made clear.
According to Freedland, the present Israeli regime is merely "a clumsy prizefighter driven to fury by a fly buzzing around its ears". His description of the entire Palestinian resistance as buzzing flies would be shocking if it did not accurately reflect Israeli racism, itself a virulent form of anti-semitism.
As for his "smart weapon" being the "negotiating table": no, that's not smart at all, as the blood-soaked Sharon regime owns the table. Only when a genuine international community discards the current grotesque double standard and demands that Israel end its brutal and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories, will the murderous cycle stop.
· Last Saturday, a suicide bomber murdered 19 innocent Jews and Arabs in Haifa (Leader, October 6). Islamic Jihad, the terrorist group which claimed responsibility for this massacre, has received financial and logistical support from the Syrian government for many years. It also enjoys the use of Syrian training facilities, including the Ein Saheb camp which was destroyed by Israel at 3am on Sunday morning. The timing was deliberate, to ensure innocent civilians were not harmed.
At Ein Saheb, as in other camps, recruits, among them Palestinians, were taught how to assemble bombs, conduct kidnappings, prepare suicide belts and establish terrorist cells. Some even received aviation instruction. Israel's targeted strike was a wholly legal act of self-defence in accordance with article 51 of the UN charter. Israel has exercised tremendous restraint, despite countless acts of terrorism that have claimed hundreds of innocent lives, for which Syria bears full responsibility. Israel's only wish is to protect its innocent citizens and we have no desire to escalate the situation.
We have repeatedly asked the international community to insist that Syria ends its support of terrorism and complies with UN resolutions. Not only has Syria refused, but it is warmly welcomed in the security council. Once again, the UN condemns the victim of terrorism, while rewarding states which sponsor terrorism.
Embassy of Israel
· Israel has occupied the Golan Heights since 1967. In 1974 UN resolution 242 asked Israel to withdraw from this area. Since then, Syria has tried to regain its land by dimlomacy not force. There are about 17,000 Syrians living under the Israeli occupation - they have never formed any violent organisation or carried out a suicide bombing - and many more are living as refugees elsewhere in Syria after they lost their lands.
In 2002, Syria accepted - along with all the Arab countries - the Prince Abdullah peace plan, which included recognising Israel on its 1948 borders, in return for ending the Israeli occupation of the areas taken after the 1967 war.
Dr Rim Turkmani
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