From: Ismail Zayid


Sent: Tuesday, November 28, 2006 3:17 PM

Subject: Peace in the Israel/Palestine conflict is vital.


Nov. 28, 2006


The Editor,

Dalhousie Gazette.


Dear Editor:


Mr. Mira Etlin-Stein raises a number of questions in his column: { " The Israeli-Palestine conflict:Is peaceful dialogue possible?" Nov.23}. The answer to this question is yes. Dialogue is possible and peace is vital, so that paece and security can be assured for both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.


It is admirable that Mr. Etlin-Stein states that he is pro-peace and against the occupation and Israeli policies and actions. However, some of his statements are contrary to the facts on the ground. He states:"Israel is a democratic country with an independent and progressive judiciary, one which has upheld human rights for both Arab-Israelis and Palestinians." Unfortunately, Israeli democracy and human rights practices are selective. The noted Israeli author, Maxime Ghilan, stated in an editorial in the Feb. 1983 issue of the Paris-based magazine, Israel and Palestine, : "Israel is a Western-type democracy for Jews only......Arabs, who are citizens of the state of Israel are less fortunate...They are not granted equal economic priviliges, are prevented from access to public housing and loans given only 'to those who served in the IDF and allied services', bodies into which most Israeli Arabs are not admitted. Finally, Israeli Arab workers are economically discriminated against, receiving lower pay than their Jewish counterparts.....Arabs in the territories, conquered by Israel since 1967, have no rights whatsoever. Their children are shot. beaten up, jailed; their young men assassinated. Their women are brutalised. Their cars are wantonly destroyed by hammer and bomb. Their elected mayors and leaders are deposed......Their politicians are often deported. Foreign settlers jeer at them, provoke them, squat in thier homes and on their lands. International law, concerning the behaviour of conquerors in conquered land, is opely flouted."


The late Professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil  Rights, summed it up accurately in his statement: "It is my considered opinion that the state of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term. In this state, people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried today mainly in co-operation with the institutions of the Zionist movement." (Quote taken from The Racist Nature of Zionism and of the Zionist State of Israel, an article published in Pi-Ha’aton, the weekly newspaper of the students of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Nov. 5, 1975.)

Derek Tozer, an Israeli thinker, stated: "The official policy of the government (of Israel) is unequivocal. Arabs, like the Jews in Nazi Germany, are officially ‘class B’ citizens, a fact which is recorded on their identity cards."

The predicament of Israel’s roughly 1.2 million Arab citizens is evident, as the 2003 Israeli State Committee of Inquiry made clear: "They suffer systemic discrimination in employment, housing and education, and lack of equal access to state resources."

Israel’s new Citizenship Law, passed recently by a wide margin in the Knesset, denies any Arab Israeli citizen the right to reside in Israel with his/her spouse if they marry a Palestinian. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned the law as racist, and Israel-based B’Tselem human rights group, claims that it contravenes the Israeli Basic Law.

It is vital that Israel's apologists begin to understand that for peace to be secured for Palestinian and Israeli peoples in this tortured land can be assured only if Israel is willing to comply with international law and terminate completely its illegal occupation of Palestinian land, that has been allowed to stand for 39 years in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions.

Yours sincerely,

Ismail Zayid, MD.

Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University [Retd.]