From: Ismail Zayid
To: The Halifax Herald
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 12:28 AM
Subject: Occupation is violence.
 
March 27, 2002
 
The Editor,
The Halifax Herald
 
Dear Editor:                                                      
                                                                           Occupation is Violence
 
Your editorial {"Help wanted" March 26} is laden with falsehoods and confusion.
 
You state: " It is not helpful for Palestinian negotiators to insist on the right of return of Palestinian refugees." The Right of Return is a fundamental principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and repeated UN resolutions. This is an individual right, that cannot be waived by Palestinian or Israeli negotiators. It is also of fundamental importance to understand that the plight of the refugees is not merely the outcome of "Arab-Israeli wars" but a direct outcome of a deliberate Zionist and Israeli policy of systematic expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their homeland. This policy was orchestrated by Theodor Herzl who stated, in 1896 : " We must spirit the penniless [Arab] population across the border... the process must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, wrote to his son, Amos, in 1937 that when the Jewish state comes into being, " We will expel the Arabs and take their places." Before a single Arab soldier entered Palestine on May 15,1948, the Zionist forces had committed many massacres and expelled 350,000 refugees. This policy of expulsion is still an open policy of the Moledet party, a member of the current Sharon cooalition government. In answer to the Israeli tales about the plight of the refugees, the Israeli thinker, Nathan Chofshi, stated: " If Rabbi Kaplan really wanted to know what happened, we old settlers in Palestine, who witnessed the flight, could tell him how and in what manner we, Jews, forced the Arabs to leave their cities and villages... We came and turned the Arabs into tragic refugees. And we still dare to slander and malign them, and to besmirch their name. Instead of being ashamed of what we did and of trying to undo some of the evil we committed, by helping these unfortunate refugees, we justify our terrible acts and even attempt to glorify them."
 
The statement, about "conveniently ignoring the plight of the 500,000 Jews forced to flee their homes in Arab countries", is baseless. In 1950 and 1951, when Iraqi Jews were unwilling to answer Israeli calls for emigration, secret agents were sent to intimidate Jews to emigrate. Mordechai Ben Porat , an Iraqi born Israeli politician, boasted, years later, of his role in tossing hand grenades in Massauda-Shem -Tov synagogue causing numerous deaths and injuries, so as to blame it on the Arabs and encourage Iraqi Jews to flee to Israel.
This policy of creating self-manufactured anti-semitism was reiterated by Sharun, a member of the governing Mapai Party in Israel who stated ,as reported by Kemper, a Jewish paper, published in New York, July, 11,1952: " I shall not be ashamed to confess that, if I had the power, as I have the will, I would select a score of efficient young men, intelligent, decent and burning with the desire to help redeem Jews, and I would send them to the countries where Jews are absorbed in sinful self-satisfaction, and plague these Jews with anti-semitic slogans, such as "Bloody Jews, Jews go to Israel" and similar intimacies. I can vouch that the results, in terms of a considerable immigration to Israel from these countries, would be ten thousand times larger than the results brought by thousands of emissaries who have been preaching for decades to deaf ears."
 
Furthermore, Jews throughout history received considerable tolerance in the Muslim and Arab world. There is no better testimony than that made by Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president, who stated in a testimony before the Anglo-American Commission, in Jerusalem in 1946 : " I would not like to do any injustice. The Muslim world has treated the Jews with considerable tolerance. The Ottoman Empire [ of which the Arabs were a major part] received the Jews with open arms, when they were driven out of Spain and Europe, and the Jews should never forget that." Unfortunately, many of them choose to forget..
 
You accuse the UN of falsely charging Israel of racism. The facts speak for themselves, and I will let Israeli human rights workers and thinkers, amongst others, describe Israeli practices against Muslim and Christian citizens of the state of Israel. The late Professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor and Chairperson of the Israeli League for Civil and Human Rights, stated: " It is my considered opinion that the state of Israel is a racist state in the full meaning of this term. In this state, people are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin. This racist discrimination began in Zionism and is carried today mainly in cooperation with the institutions of the Zionist movement."  Derek Tozer, an Israeli thinker, stated : " The official policy of the government[of Israel] is unequivocal. Arabs,like the Jews in Nazi Germany, are officially 'class B' citizens, a fact which is recorded on their identity cards." Archbishop Desmond Tutu, during a Christmas visit to Jerusalem in 1989, stated: " I am a black South African, and if I were to change names, a description of what is happening in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, could describe events in South Africa."
 
Finally and In essence, if we are to achieve peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis and stop the abhorent killing of innocent civilians on both sides, it is incumbent on our political and media leaders to face the facts and stop making excuses for Israeli policies and call on Israel to end its illegal  oppressive occupation and comply with international law.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Ismail Zayid, M.D.