Voice of the People.             The Halifax Herald         Feb. 6, 2002


Blaming the victims          

Dear Editor:

In your Feb. 2 editorial "Future peace," you are blaming the victims, by using a litany of erroneous arguments.

The Palestinian leaders have, repeatedly, accepted to recognize the state of Israel and live in peace with their neighbours, if Israel will withdraw completely from illegally occupied territories and dismantle all settlements, as it did in its Camp David agreement with Egypt in 1978. "The Israeli commuters who live under the constant threat of being blown up on a bus" are the squatters on illegally expropriated land.

You reproduce the Israeli propaganda, speaking of "inciting violence and hatred" in Palestinian school textbooks. Independent observers have studied this claim and refuted this charge. Furthermore, you should look at the hatred and racism enunciated in Israel's Basic Laws and practised in Israel, pronounced by Israeli politicians and religious leaders, and taught in Israeli schools.

If you are genuinely concerned about future peace in the Middle East, you, and our government, should be calling on Israel to withdraw completely and immediately from illegally occupied territory and act in compliance with international law and repeated Security Council resolutions that remain contravened for over 34 years.

Ismail Zayid, MD, Halifax

Fundamental reality

Dear Editor:

Your Feb. 2 editorial, "Future peace," rightly deplores the futility of an endless cycle of assassinations by Israel of Palestinian terrorists and of Palestinian suicide bombings targeting Israeli civilians.

But your plea for a policy of passive resistance by Palestinians appears to ignore a fundamental reality in the Middle East: the apparent goal on the part of the Sharon government of destroying the Palestinian Authority and achieving the de-facto annexation by Israel of all of the territories conquered in the 1967 war. This surely is the root cause of Palestinian terrorism aimed at Israel.

If Canada still had an independent foreign policy, our minister of foreign affairs would surely be actively promoting swift and decisive action by the Security Council of the United Nations, that would include the dispatch of a peacekeeping force, ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (including dismantling Israeli settlements in the occupied territories), ensuring peace and security for both Israel and a new Palestinian state, and putting an end to the awful bloodletting which threatens to engulf not only the Middle East, but the rest of the world as well.

Scott Burbidge, Port Williams