Friday, January 30, 2009

Writing the Wrongs by others

Dear Editor:

One of the more interesting pieces of information attributed to Khalil Sakakini in the article "Gaza violence sparks clash of opinions at home," published January 22 was that "the Israeli Defense Force's chief of staff stated that the Palestinians must be made to understand on a primal level that they are a defeated people." What makes it particularly interesting is that Sakakini's assertion is a complete fabrication. The former IDF chief of staff, Moshe Yaalon, actually made a statement with almost the opposite meaning, that the Palestinian Arabs must be made to understand the Israelis are NOT a defeated people!

Information about the fraud is included in a report by CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, available at .

This reversal of meaning is typical of anti-Israel propagandists like Sakakini, who also like to falsely accuse Israel of sins of which the Palestinian Arabs are guilty, as when Sakakini falsely accused Israel of "the indiscriminate killing of the Palestinian community in Gaza."

Thus far, Israel Defense Force investigators, far more reliable than the Hamas' "Ministry of Health" in Gaza, have identified approximately 950 of those killed in Gaza. As reported by Ynet News, "700 are believed to be militants and most are believed to be Hamas operatives." Only 250 were civilians. Of the other 200 or so still unidentified, most were young men in their 20's and thus also likely to have been combatants rather than civilians.

According to historian Michael Oren, this low level of civilian casualties is unprecedented in urban warfare, where it is typical for ten times as many civilians as combatants to be killed. This low level is all the more astounding given the way Hamas deliberately operated from within residential areas and used schools, hospitals and mosques to store munitions, hide terrorists and launch attacks.

At least one mosque in Gaza was blown up not by Israeli bombs, but from the detonation of the munitions stored in the mosque by Hamas.

In contrast, indiscriminate killing of innocent Israeli civilians is a deliberate strategy of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the other terror groups operating out of Gaza. The Kassam rockets launched from Gaza have no other purpose than to murder civilians and foment terror.

With more than 7,000 Kassams launched from Gaza since the Palestinian Arabs rejected peace and the establishment of their own state in 2000, every Israeli family in Sderot, the primary target, could put one in their living room and there would be plenty left over to give away as souvenirs.

There was perhaps one statement of Sakakini which contains a kernel of truth: "Any true negotiations must be based on compromises and concessions from both sides to achieve the more illusive peace."

Israel has already given Gaza to the Palestinian Arabs. Thanks to Israel, roughly 95 percent of the Arabs in the rest of the disputed territories live under their own government, the Palestinian Authority. Israel long ago offered to the Palestinian Arabs almost all the disputed territories and even offered to redivide its capital, Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, even the supposedly "moderate" chair of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has not budged from the extreme demands Yasser Arafat was making at the start of the Oslo Experiment back in 1993.

Yes, any true negotiations must be based on compromises and concessions from both sides. As long as Israel is the only side prepared to make concessions and compromise, there will be continued conflict, including suffering and death.


Alan H. Stein
President, PRIMER-Connecticut
Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting

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