From: Ismail Zayid
To: Dauphinee, Bev
Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2006 8:25 PM
Subject: Israel defies international law.
July 9, 2006
The Editor,
The Chronicle Herald.
Dear Editor:  
                                                            Israel Defies International Law.                         
Howard Gerson, in his article:{"What is behind the boycotts of Israel?" July 9}, indulges in obfuscation and distortion of the facts on the ground. He accuses CUPE and the United Church of failing " to acknowledge the real and difficult issues faced by Israel in the context of Middle East politics and the complexities of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians." This conflict is a very simple one. Israel drove the majority of Palestinians, in 1948, out of their homeland, and is, since 1967, in illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza. This occupation still stands after 39 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions. Israeli practices during this occupation include extrajudicial assassination, detention of thousands without charge or trial, torture, daily humiliation of Palestinians at check points, denial of health care, demolition of thousands of homes and expropriation of property for the creation of illegal colonies [settlements]. These practices are in violation of virtually every article of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are, thus, defined by international law,as war crimes. Yet, Mr. Gerson claims that Israel " shares Canadian core values." It is our hope that Canadian values, unlike Israel's, are distinctly different and that Canada honours its obligations under international law and the UN Charter.
Mr. Gerson objects to CUPE and the United Church's criticism of what he calls:" Israel's passively defensive separation barrier." This wall is illegal, built largely, on illegally occupied land and has been condemned by the International Court of Justice, which called for its dismantlement.
Mr Gerson castigates Mr. Sid Ryan, of CUPE, for comparing Israeli racist policies with those of Apartheid South Africa. Israeli racist policies are manifest to anyone who cares to look at Israeli policies and practises, as enacted in its legislation and practised on the ground. These policies are not only practised against the Palestinians under occupation, but are also enforced against Israel's own Muslim and Christian citizens. These practises have been condemned by all international human rights bodies, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israeli human rights groups, including B'Tselem. The catalogue of these practises is lengthy but The late Professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor and Chairperson of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights, sums 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 cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement."{"The Racist Nature of Zionism and of the Zionist State of Israel", 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."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a Christmas visit to Jerusalem in 1989, stated: " I am a black South African, and if I were to change names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, could describe events in South Africa."
The predicament of Israel's own Arab citizens, roughly 1.2 million, is evidnt 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 Palestinian who is married to an Israeli citizen the right to reside in Israel or acquire Israeli citizenship. Only Palestinians, who are married to Arab Israeli citizens are singled out in this way. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have condemned the law as racist, and Israel-based B'Tselem claims that it contravenes the Israeli Basic Law.
It is clear that Israeli practices and laws stand in violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article One of the Convention calls on all High Contracting Parties, including Canada, to take action against any state that violates any article of the Convention. Accordingly, the boycott, called for by CUPE and the United Church, is not only legitimate but represents an action that all signatories to the Convention, including Canada, should endorse and effect.
Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, MD.