From: Ismail Zayid
To: The Halifax Herald
Sent: Sunday, August 19, 2001 11:50 PM
Subject: Blaming the Victims.

19 Aug. 2001
The Editor:
The Halifax Herald:
Dear Editor:
In your editorial {"Escalation" Aug. 18} you are again blaming the victims, the Palestinians, for the violence and terror in the occupied Palestinian territories. You justify the extraducial murder of Palestinians and the F16 and the helicopter gunships rocketing and missiles killing Palestinian men, women and children. the label of terrorists is liberally applied to Palestinians, but never to Israeli soldiers or settlers casually shooting and murdering Palestinian children. At no time the word "occupation" is mentioned. Are you aware that the Palestinians have been subjected to the most oppressive illegal occupation, including humiliation, torture,collective punishments, expropriation of their land for the creation of illegal settlements, demolition of thousands of their homes and uprooting of thousands of their olive trees and orchards? These practices have been described by the International Committee of the Red Cross as war crimes and by a U.N official as "an affront to civilisation."The late Professor Israel Shahak,who was Chairman of Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights, described this occupation in these words: " The Israeli occupation regime in the occupied one of the most cruel and repressive regimes in modern times." It is relevant to point out that international law entitles all peoples,including even the Palestinian peole, to resist foreign occupation. U.N. resolution 31/34 of Nov. 1976 reaffirms " the legitimacy of the peoples' struggle for independence,territorial integrity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means,including armed struggle."
It is of relevance to this issue to correct the history of your correspondent Mr. Hennigar [letter Aug. 17] who quotes some of the myths of Golda Meier. In 1948, when Israel was created, the Jews in Palestine owned exactly 5.6% of the land. the rest has been since then illegally expropriated. Incidentally it was Mrs Meier who told The Sunday Times in 1969 :"There was no such thing as Palestinians. They did not exist." As to his statement that it was the Arabs who launched the 1967 six day war, I will let Israel's own leaders at the time relate the facts in their own words.  Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of Staff of Israel's army at the time stated: " I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it" {Le Monde, Feb. 28,1968}. Menachem Begin, while prime minister, addressing Israel's Defeence College on Aug. 8,1982,stated: " In June 1967,we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in Sinai did not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with our selves. We decided to attack him" {The New York Times, Aug. 21,1982}.
Alas there is a need for some honesty and a measure of justice if there is to be peace in The Holy Land and bring to an end the needless murder of Palestinians and Israelis. For this to happen, the words of Rabbi Eric Yoffe, President of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, in his address to the Union, are relevant. He stated: " In order for there to be peace, Israel must end her occupation and her rule over the Palestinian peole." This would be in compliance with international law and repeated Security Council resolutions.
Yours sincerely
Ismail Zayid,MD.