open reply from Maurice Ostroff to the 18 SA Jews
signed the article:
reject Israelís violations of international law"
and Guardian" March 30 to April 4, 2007
donít dispute your humanitarian motivation especially since your views
are based on a report by the respected Professor John Dugard. But it is
always sad when intelligent people express views with best intentions, but
based on misinformation.
honesty demands critical analysis of the accuracy of this report that
stimulated your protest. For those of you, to whom facts which can be
fully substantiated are important, the following information will be of
interest. If however, you are not open to considering views which may
differ from your own, donít bother to read further.
questioning Professor Dugardís sincerity, his sources are open to
question. It is a pity he
didnít consult the like of journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who has an
intimate knowledge of the Palestinian terrain. An award-winning journalist
and television news producer, he has reported from the West Bank and Gaza
Strip for more than twenty years. An insider with an intimate knowledge of
the Palestinians, at one time he worked as editor of the PLO's newspaper
told the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia on April 27, 2004 that the
world receives an inaccurate picture of what happens in the Palestinian
region. The PAís tyrannical approach and control of the media creates an
atmosphere of intimidation and fear among Palestinian journalists and
foreign journalists allow themselves to be misled by some of their
is certainly in a better position to assess the actual situation than
short-term visitors who canít speak Arabic and depend on Palestinians as
guides and translators. He relates that when foreigners interview
Palestinians through translators, the translators often mistranslate and
even reprimand interviewees critical of the Palestinian Authority.
is another very disturbing aspect to Dugardís report. His unbalanced
mandate as special rapporteur on Palestine,
is limited to investigating only violations by Israel, not by
Palestinians. He has been
faithful to this mandate, presenting the case of a prosecutor determined
to obtain a conviction while making no pretence of acting as a neutral
mandate is however, unrestricted and natural justice requires that unlike
Dugard, you must examine and weigh all available evidence including the
Palestinian provocations, which produce Israeli reactions.
casualties to which you refer, did not occur in a vacuum. They were the
tragic result of operations in reaction to attacks by Palestinians.
closures of crossing points only take place to avoid terror attacks like
the one by the female suicide bomber who detonated a bomb at the Erez
Crossing killing four Israelis and wounding 10. Hamas and the Fatah Al
Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed joint responsibility
am not aware of Palestinians seeking medical attention in Egypt as
referred to by you, but last year some 80,000 Palestinians from the West
Bank and 40,000 from Gaza came to Israel for medical treatment. All this
despite the risk that occasionally bombs are discovered in ambulances at
checkpoints and despite the history of two suicide bombers who arrived in
Israel by ambulance and then blew themselves up at a hitchhiking station,
killing 21 Israelis, See http://tinyurl.com/28cg8q
real tragedy is that Palestinian extremists have deliberately prevented a
thriving cooperative situation with Israel. See http://tinyurl.com/2nsnmz
the uprising, up to 100,000 Palestinians worked in Israel, A
successful industrial zone was created at Erez employing about 5,000
workers in some 200 businesses half of which were Palestinian-owned. This
was part of a larger Gaza Industrial Estate (GIE), slated to provide up to
50,000 jobs. A joint industrial zone was also planned south of Tulkarm
intended to provide jobs for more than 5,000 Palestinians and additional
areas were planned for Jenin and the Kerem Shalom area near Rafah in Gaza.
the GIE was forced to close when it became the target of deadly
self-destructive trend continues. Even as recently as last May,
opportunities were lost when Gazan gunmen wantonly destroyed thousands of
greenhouses and other projects left behind by the Jewish settlers who had
been evacuated; projects that could have provided income for over 4,500
Bait Hanoun. Your
reference to the November 2006 Beit Hanoun incident repeats erroneous
information. The BBC, which cannot be accused of favoring Israel, reported
the total damage as 18 killed and 40 wounded. Your source exaggerates this
to 82 killed and 260 injured adding 279 homes plus other buildings
destroyed, though even Palestinian sources reported only six adjacent
structures damaged by the explosion.
in your letter is any reference to the fact that Israeli civilians are
being bombarded daily by rockets fired by Palestinians from civilian areas
into civilian areas (a double war crime). No international law prevents
Israel from responding. In this instance shells aimed by Israeli artillery
at a rocket-launching site hit the wrong target due to a malfunction.
Human errors and malfunctions do occur, even in the most highly
disciplined fields such as space exploration.
reaction of IDF soldiers was described by Steve Linde in the Jerusalem
Post, on November 8, 2006. He wrote: "Can you imagine how terrible
the artillery troops who fired the shells at Beit Hanun yesterday must be
feeling now? After serving in IDF Artillery, I can only say that this is
every gunner's nightmare scenario: killing innocent men, women and
points out that, in response to Kassam rocket attacks, gunners were
ordered to "fire at the source" - which they did, firing a dozen
or so shells. He adds that whereas the Kassams are intentionally fired at
civilian targets, hoping for maximum casualties and damage, the troops who
fired at Beit Hanun were targeting terrorists, not civilians. For the
complete article see http://tinyurl.com/yhqzn3
Bank and the wall: The
wall (most of it is wire, like any other fence) to which you object would
not have been erected if it had not become necessary to prevent deadly
suicide bombings and other terror. That it has been successful in
preventing untold massacres must be balanced against the regrettable,
temporary discomfort of some residents.
the Geneva convention and international law: Your claim that 40% of
land held by settlements is privately owned Palestinian land, is
contradicted by a recent admission by ďPeace NowĒ, the most active
opponent and monitor of settlement activity, that it has made serious
mistakes. For example in regard to the largest settlement, Ma'ale Adumim,
it made a 15,900% percent mistake. Rather than 86.4% claimed as
Palestinian land, it now claims just
0.54% of that land as supposedly Palestinian. For more details see http://tinyurl.com/2a84bh
your claim that settlements are in violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention has been contested by eminent jurists like the late Professor
Julius Stone one of the twentieth century's leading authorities on the Law
of Nations. See http://tinyurl.com/ypg9hg.
regard to other claims of illegalities I refer you to http://tinyurl.com/2zvwfz
Palestinians who are subjected to hate propaganda from their earliest
years cannot be expected to think of peaceful coexistence. Any report on
the situation is incomplete if it fails to address the continuing
incitement by Palestinian state-controlled media which teach children to
emulate suicide martyrs with video clips portraying happy child martyrs in
the after-world and while hatred continues to be spewed daily in mosques
a typical sermon on PA TV, Sheik Muhammad Ibrahim Al-Madhi, called for
turning Jews and Christians into Ahl-Dhimma [protected second rate
citizens] under Muslim rule. Note that the hate is directed at Christians
as well as Jews.
cannot be unperturbed by the indoctrination of infants as shown in the
following excerpt from an
interview by Duaa Amer with three-and-a-half year old Egyptian girl,
Basmallah, broadcast on Iqra TV
How old are you, Basmallah?
Three and a half.
Why don't you like them? (the Jews)
They are apes and pigs.
Because they are apes and pigs. Who said that about them?
can view a video clip of this interview at http://tinyurl.com/kz5of
other examples of incitement at http://tinyurl.com/35efkr
PLO and Hamas Charters.
Nor can you justifiably ignore the inevitably of continued violence
attributable to the PLO and Hamas constitutions. The official Palestinian
Media Center web site confirms that promised changes to the PLO Charter
have not yet been made.
Article 9 still declares plainly that armed struggle is not merely
tactical, it is the overall strategy. Article 19 rejects the 1947 UN
partition, thereby rejecting the Quartetís proposed two-state solution
and advocates destruction of the entire Jewish state. Article 20
unashamedly deems the Balfour Declaration and the British Mandate null and
Hamas charter emphatically rejects peace. Article 13 states that peaceful
solutions and international conferences, contradict the principles of the
Islamic Resistance Movement and that the only solution is through Jihad.
you consider it possible to negotiate rationally with a party that
generates hatred based on fantasies? For example the Hamas Charter states
that freemasons, Rotary clubs, Lions and similar organizations stirred the
French revolution (though the latter organizations did not even exist at
the time), that they were responsible for World War I and the Communist
revolution and that they formed the League of Nations. Hamas promises that
these organizations will be obliterated when Islam takes control.
I hope you will treat this letter in the constructive spirit intended to
engage in serious dialogue and promote mutual understanding?
I respectfully suggest that it would be more productive to discuss
how best to resolve the conflict than engage in mutual recriminations
considered response would be appreciated. Please use the form below
to contact me
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