From: Ismail Zayid
To: The Halifax Herald
Cc: Beverley Dauphinee ; Laurent Le Pierres ; Bob Howse
Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2003 11:38 PM
Subject: Blaming the Victims.

Aug.31, 2003
The Editor,
The Halifax Herald.
Dear Editor:
In your editorial : ["End of the road map" Aug.30}, attempting to present a 'balanced' view of the background to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, you omit fundamental facts. There is no mention of who initiated the provocative acts of assassination that brought about the termination of the ceasefire and end of the road map. At the Aqaba summit, on June 4, the road map was agreed to by President Bush with Sharon and Abbas. On June 5th., Sharon sent his forces and assassinated two Palestinians near Tulkarm. On June 10th. Sharon's forces attacked Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas political leader, in a failed assassination attempt. It was these attacks that brought about the acts of retaliation by Hamas.
You make no mention of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories that has been allowed to stand for 36 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions. This occupation brought about imprisonment without charge or trial, legalised torture, daily humiliation, extra-judicial assassination, demolition of thousands of homes, expropriation of territory for the creation of illegal Jewish settlements, all in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and thus war crimes,as defined by international law.
It is perhaps relevant to point out that international law and the UN Charter entitles all peoples, including even the Palestinian people, under foreign occupation to resist such occupation. It is complete unconditional termination of this occupation that must be called for by our political leaders and media. There should be no requirement for negotiation between the occupier and the occupied. When Iraq illegally occupied Kuwait, no one entertained the idea of negotiations between Kuwaitis and Iraqis, and nearly a million troops were sent to expel Iraq from occupied Kuwait.
You speak of " burning hatred is ... constantly stoked in Arab schools, mosques and by their political leaders." This is an Israeli fabrication that has been refuted in a number of academic studies, by neutral and Jewish academicians. Marc Perelman, in an article in Forward, Jan. 18,2002, titled:"Professor Debunks Charges Against Palestinian Textbooks", quotes Professor Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs, at George Washington University : " Palestinian textbooks,often cited by politicians,the press and Jewish communal leaders as being full of bloodcurdling incitement to war, anti-judaism and even anti-Semitism, are much more balanced than they're made out to be." Professor Brown, who is Jewish, goes on to say ;" The think-tank, that has been at the forefront of publicising the allegedly inciting material, the Jerusalem- based Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace {CMIP} has highlighted those passages in a way that is highky misleading and always unreliable."
 On the other hand, this hate-promotion is more applicable to Israeli school textbooks. Maureen Meehan, in an article, titled :" Israeli Textbooks and Children's Literature promote Racism and Hatred towards Palestinians and Arabs", in Wahington Report on Middle East Affairs, Sept. 1999, quotes a study by Professor Daniel Bar-Tal, of Tel Aviv University, and states: "Israeli school textbooks, according to recent academic studies and surveys, portray Palestinians and Arabs as "murderers". "rioters" and "generally backward and unproductive."
As to statements by political leaders, it is Israeli leaders whose statements of hate and racism should be condemned. Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, in a speech to the Knesset, referred to the Palestinians as "two-legged animals." Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir stated :" [The Palestinians] would be crushed like grasshoppers...heads smashed against the boulders and walls." [N.Y.Times, April 1,1988]. Rafael Eitan, Israeli Chief of Staff, stated:" When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle." [N.Y.Times, 14 April 1988]. Ehud Barak, Israeli prime minister, stated : "The Palestinians are like crocodiles, the more you give them meat, they want more..." [Jerusalem Post. Aug. 30,2002].  Rabbi Perin, in a eulogy for Baruch Goldstein, in 1994, stated : " One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."  Rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the spiritual leader of the Shas party and former Israeli Chief Rabbi, described the Arabs as serpents and in his Passover sermon, 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 damnnable."
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.
Yours sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, M.D.