From: Ismail Zayid
To: The Halifax Herald
Sent: Saturday, November 04, 2000 11:43 AM

Subject: Killing Children

The Editor
The Halifax Herald

Nov. 4, 2000

Dear Editor:

Your correspondent, Mr. David Currie, in his letter {"Sacrificing Children", Nov. 4} displays insensitivity and, at best, ill-information.

He states: " It is not sanctions that are killing Iraqi children". He obviously believes he has more knowledge than UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross [ICRC], the UN Sub-commission on the Protection of Human Rights, Mr. Denis Halliday, Assistant UN Secretary General and UN Human Coordinator in Iraq, Mr. Hans Von Sponeck, the following UN Human Coordinator in Iraq and even our Canadian Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade [SCFAIT]. Mr. Halliday described the monthly killing of 5000 Iraqi children, due to sanctions, as genocide and resigned, his post in disgust, in 1998. Mr. Von Sponeck, who followed him in the post, resigned, in 1999, for the same reasons. Our own parliamentary SCFAIT voted unanimously, in April this year, to call on our government to call for end to the sanctions, but the government took no action. If all this is not enough to persuade Mr. Currie of the true cause of the killing of Iraqi children, regardless of the behaviour of Saddam Hussein and his sycophants, then logic is in short supply in our world.

As to the senseless cold-blooded killing of Palestinians, including children, by the Israeli army and settlers, let me remind Mr.Currie of the conditions under which Palestinians are living. The West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem have been under illegal occupation for 33 years, in defiance of international law and Security Council resolutions. The people have been subjected to the most brutal occupation, been systematically tortured, de-humanised, their land expropriated for the creation of illegal Jewish settlements and thousands of their homes demolished, and whole villages erased from the face of the earth, including my own village, Beit Nuba. All this is being carried out in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and condemned universally by human rights bodies, including Amnesty International, UN Human Rights Commission and Israel’s own human rights groups, including B’Tselem and The Israeli League for Civil and Human rights. Palestinian men women and children have been resisting and demonstrating for over 30 years against this illegal and oppressive occupation, requiring no permission from Mr. Arafat or others. It is perhaps relevant to remind Mr Currie and others that it is a recognised legitimate right for all peoples, including even Palestinians, to resist foreign occupation. We all supported Europeans resisting foreign occupation during the Second World War.

What we all must call for now, including Mr. Currie and our Government, is for Israel to implement Security Council resolutions and withdraw completely from illegally occupied territory. This is the practice that was adopted for Iraq’s illegal occupation of Kuwait.

Yours sincerely

Ismail Zayid, M.D.