Friday, August 10, 2001 Back The Halifax Herald Limited

Editorial biased


By Ismail Zayid

THE EDITORIAL "Swimming in blood and hypocrisy" (Aug. 6) is laden with bias, distortion of information and a measure of hypocrisy. Its justification for Israel's extrajudicial assassination of Palestinians is a validation of Ariel Sharon, who is notorious for his war crimes and the killing of thousands of Palestinians, as the accuser, the judge and the executioner.

The editorial makes no mention of the fact that the Palestinians are under an illegal Israeli occupation that has been allowed to stand for over 34 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions. They have been subjected to humiliation, torture, collective punishment, expropriation of their land and demolition of thousands of their homes, all in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Perhaps it is relevant to remind this newspaper that international law entitles people under foreign occupation to resist this occupation. Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who was professor of neurophysiology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, summed that up well when he wrote, in discussing the struggle of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation: "That a subjugated people would fight for its freedom against the conquering ruler, with all the means at its disposal, without being squeamish about their legitimacy, was only to be expected. This has been true of the wars of liberation of all peoples.

"We call the acts of the Palestinians 'terrorism' and their fighters 'terrorists.' But we are able to maintain our rule over the rebellious people only by actions regarded the world over as criminal. We refer to this as 'policy' rather than 'terror,' because it is conducted by a duly constituted government and its regular army. . . .

"Only by putting an end to our rule over the other people can we be saved from the dire consequences of persisting in the present policy. If the present situation continues, the growing savagery of Israeli society will be as inevitable as the severance of the state from the Jews of the world. . . . Already today, the state of Israel, to which most of the world's nations were once sympathetic, has earned contempt and hatred throughout the world. . . . Above all, the state, which was to have been the pride and glory of the Jewish people, is rapidly becoming an embarrassment to it."

The editorial accuses the U.S of hypocrisy. There, it is right. But not because of the United States' lame criticism of Israeli extrajudicial assasination, but because of its continuing to supply Israel with the bullets, the rockets and the dollars that allow Israel to maintain its aggression and illegal occupation of Arab land.

The editorial refers to Hamas activists passing out candy at a mosque. There is no mention of the real religious bigotry and racism manifested in the statement by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party and former Israeli chief rabbi, in his Passover sermon at a synagogue, when he stated: "The Lord shall waste their (the Arabs') seed, devastate them and vanish them from this world. It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable." Mr. Sharon is evidently in compliance with this sermon.

I think it behooves the editorial staff of The Herald to look at the facts with a measure of fairness, so as not to mislead their readers. It is time to call for immediate and complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory. This is the only way to put an end to the abhorrent killing of both Palestinians and Israelis.

Ismail Zayid, MD, lives in Halifax.

Copyright 2001 The Halifax Herald Limited