The letters by A. Elbaz, J. Krashinsky, A. Litman and J. Grossman [Sept. 26] are the classical rehash of Zionist falsification and re-writing of the history of the Palestine/Israel conflict. The courageous articles by Jon Elmer, " Riot, the language of the unheard" Sept. 12, and subsequent articles, Sept. 19 & 26 are accurate and tell it as it is.
Your correspondents quote Mr. Netanyahu: "Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies terrorism." Beautifully said, but let us look at the practice. It was Prime Minister Netanyahu who in 1997 sent his Mossad agents, carrying Canadian passports, to Amman, Jordan in an attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal with chemical weapons.
Regarding terrorism, it was Israel and the Zionist terrorist gangs, The Stern Gang, The Irgun Zwei Leumi and Haganah, that created terrorism in the Middle East. The catalogue of Israeli terrorism is lengthy and requires volumes to describe, but I will limit myself to a few examples. However the testimony of the late Professor Israel Shahak, a Holocaust survivor, and then Chairman of Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights, is relevant here. He stated, "There is nothing new in the fact that Israel is a terrorist state, which, almost from its inception, has used its intelligence service [Mossad] to assassinate people on foreign soil with any violence or terror it considers necessary for its ends."
The first act of air piracy in the history of civil aviation was carried out by Israel, in December 1954, when a civilian Syrian airliner was forced down in Tel Aviv and its passengers and crew were held for days, despite international condemnation.
The first shooting-down of a civilian airliner was deliberately carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by Israeli jet fighters over Sinai in February of 1973, on the direct orders of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, killing 107 of its passengers and its entire French crew.
The first murder through a letter bomb was carried out by Yitzhak Shamir's terrorist Stern Gang. It killed a young British student Rex Farran, in May of 1948. Fathi Shikaki was assassinated in Malta, by Mossad, in 1995 on the orders of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. We must not forget the role of Ehud Barak, once Prime Minister of Israel, who dressed as an Arab woman in the assassination of three Palestinian leaders, including the poet Kemal Nasser, in 1973, in Beirut.
The list of assassinations of Palestinians in Europe and the Middle East is a long one, and Europeans were not excluded. The assassination of the British minister Lord Moyne in Cairo in 1944, and the horrible murder of the UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem on September 17, 1948, on the orders of Yitzhak Shamir, are other crimes.
Israel's main ally, the USA, was not spared, as shown in the Lavon Affair in 1954 during the bombing of the US diplomatic centre in Alexandria and Cairo as well as the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967.
Jews were not spared either, as shown in the sinking of the Patria ship in Haifa harbour in 1940, by the Irgun, killing 240 Jewish refugees, and again in the bombing of Massauda Shem-Tov synagogue in Iraq in 1951 in order to force Iraqi Jews to emigrate to Israel. There is a great deal more about Israeli terrorism and its work on chemical and biological weapons.
Mr. Elmer's opinion regarding Netanyahu's statement on "the mass deportation of Arabs" is challenged. It is reported that he made the statement "Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories." (Benjamin Netanyahu, Hotam. Nov. 24,1989).
Your correspondents speak of "anti-Semitic Palestinian education and media." A number of international studies observe the opposite. Those who care to look into this should examine the report Israeli Textbooks and Children's Literature Promote Racism and Hatred Toward Palestinians and Arabs by Maureen Meehan, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, September 1999 pages 19-20. As to pure anti-Semitism and racism, I'll quote Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and the spiritual leader of the Shas party, "How can you make peace with a snake? The Ishmaelites [Arabs] are all accursed evil people...God regrets having created Ishmaelites."
Ms. Grossman speaks of "the concessions made by Shimon Peres." This is unbelievable. Since when has withdrawl from illegally occupied territory, in compliance with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, been considered a concession? It is this oppressive and illegal occupation that has been allowed to stand for 35 years, in defiance of international law, that is subjecting the Palestinians to crimes against humanity. Israel is practicing extra-judicial assassination, detention without charge or trial, torture, and demolition of thousands of homes, including entire villages. Take for example Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba, my own hometown, and the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of olive and fruit trees, expropriation of territory and the creation of illegal settlements, all in violation of The Fourth Geneva Convention. These acts are war crimes as defined by international law. Elbaz questions the credibility of Amnesty International. This is incredible. How about the credibility of Human Rights Watch, the Israeli human rights organisation, B'Tselem, and many UN and international observers who all described Israeli atrocities in Jenin, Balata and Nablus as war crimes.
It is relevant to note here that Israel remains in defiance of scores of Security Council resolutions, including resolution no.1405, of April 15, 2002, ordering the admission of UN inspectors to Jenin, and resolution no.1435, of September 2002, ordering Israeli withdrawl from Palestinian cities and towns. Israel remains in defiance of both resolutions. Using the Bush and Blair logic of waging war against Iraq, are we allowed to conceive that they are also planning war against Israel, for defiance of Security Council resolutions and having nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and using some of them?
The facts remain that the hypocrisy and double standards of the US and its allies are limitless. How long must Israel remain above international law?
Ismail Zayid, MD