Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 5:26 PM
Subject: Who is the biased party?

Canada Palestine Association
POBox 1085
Halifax, NS,  B3J 2X1
Mr. Sol Kasimer,
Chief Executive Officer,
YMCA Canada
25 Feb. 2001
Dear Mr. Kasimer:
We are stunned by your statement {Globe & Mail, Feb. 23} accusing the international YMCA delegation's report on their visit to the occupied Palestinian territories as biased. Every statement in that report has been verified and corroborated by virtually every human rights organisation, including Amnesty International, UN Human Rights Commission, Israeli B'Tselem Human Rights group, the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists and many others. For over 33 years, Israel has been in violation of virtually every article of the Fourth Geneva Convention, including collective punishments, detention without charge, torture, deportation, denial of access to religious sites, demolition of thousands of homes, including total villages, like Emmaus, Yalu and Beit Nuba [my own hometown] and expropriation of property and creation of illegal Jewish settlements, and many other acts of violation of human rights. Israeli brutal and oppressive illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza has been allowed to continue for over 33 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions, because of the unquestioning support of the US and its allies and the deafening silence of some bodies like YMCA Canada, that claim to care for human rights, freedom of speech and religion and justice.
In your criticism of the report, you mention that it "did not consider the part Palestinian violence has played in the conflict". As I stated, the massive violation of the human rights of Palestinians has gone on for over 33 years and did not start in response to the current Intifadah, if that is what you have in mind. Deplorable as the killing of innocent civilians is, be they Jewish, Christians or Muslims, it is hypocritical to compare the violence of predominently stone-throwing children with the artillery, rockets and Apache gunships of Israel's army resulting in hundreds killed and thousands of Palestinians maimed and injured, mostly children, in this recent Intifadah. Furthermore, you forget that it is a legitimate right for any people under foreign occupation, even Palestinians, to resist foreign occupation. You may recall we all stood in support of the French and other Europeans resisting Nazi foreign occupation. You question the lack of talking to the Israelis, by the delegation. Did it occur to you that the catalogue of human rights violations reported is manifest and requires no explanation? Furthermore, Israel has a longstanding record of refusing cooperation with other human rights bodies, including UN Human Rights Commission, examining this concern.
Finally, the Palestinian people are calling on all those who care for human rights and justice to speak out on this massive suffering and oppression that the Palestinian people are subjected to, and demand implementation of international law and termination of this illegal occupation. We believe it behooves you, if you have any doubt, to go and visit the occupied territories and see for your self the magnitude of this suffering.
Yours sincerely
Ismail Zayid, MD.
President, Canada Palestine Association.