Friday, March 18, 2005

Basic facts vs new myths

In her March 12 letter “Democracy Goes Forward,” Ann Bardacke questions the facts in the March 5 letter “End Deadly Occupation” by Diane Adkin. Anyone who is honestly interested in the facts of the Palestine occupation has lots of places to look. Start with the New York Times. It has published the stories of the illegal settlements. Look on the web. The Israeli group B’Tselem carefully monitors human rights violations and is considered quite accurate. There are many other sources and most facts can be verified by more than one source.

The best thing anyone can do is go to Palestine and see the facts “on the ground.” Tuesday I returned from Palestine where I visited sites throughout the West Bank. I experienced the checkpoints, the closures, and the apartheid wall. I talked to people whose ancestral land had been taken without compensation, and to others whose homes, gardens, and water systems are under “demolition orders.”

Bardacke’s points about democracy and past events do not change the facts. The State of Israel is today executing an illegal, military, racist program to get rid of the Palestinians and take their land. Peace and justice demand an end of the occupation.

Vancouver WA

Monday, March 14, 2005

Letter to the Oregonian

I was horified to see the recent report on your paper's failure to present a balanced picture of the Israel/Palestine dispute and your failure in most instances to even record the great multitude of Palestinian deaths.

I am sad to say that I find this inadequacy and lack of professionalism to be reminiscent of media in my own country when we were slaughtering large numbers of 'natives', claiming, of course, that they were all terrorists.

The media has a responsibility to readers to see that they are properly informed. Publication of Zionist propaganda in place of news will not help.

Yours faithfully,


Quick not to the Oregonian

Just a note to tell you that PMW's note about the Oregonian's bias against palestinians will keep spreading... and spreading... until you emit an apology and correct your course.

best regards from germany -- D.G.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Letter to TimesOnLine

I looked in vain for any facts, or even claims, to justify the emotive heading of the article 'Tide of extremism is rising against us, say Jewish students' By Sean O'Neill and Yaakov Lappin. But try as I might, all I saw was condemnation of Zionists for their support of Iaraeli crimes. The Times used to be a responsible paper, not given to encouraging or reporting racism without any evidence.

It is inevitable, and right, that students looking for peace and justice in Palestine(which requires the end of Israeli defiance of international law) should object to and condemn those who support such defiance. This happened with South African students who supported the crimes of apartheid. No-one tried to claim that they were condemned because they were white!

It is sadly too easy for Zionists to refuse to condemn Israeli crimes, except to accuse their critics of anti-Semitism. It is sad to read of a Minister of the Crown being taken in by this but having watched her performance on the new anti-terrorist legislation, I can hardly claim surprise. She does seem more impressed by propaganda than by facts.

Yours faithfully,


Tide of extremism is rising against us, say Jewish students

Friday, March 11, 2005

Letter to the International Herald Tribune

I was somewhat surprised to read your article 'Israel, in a shift, wants Syria to leave Lebanon' By Steven Erlanger. It seems to contain as much propaganda as news.

The article claims that Hezbollah is opposed to a possible peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians. This is no more than Israeli propaganda, unsupported by any evidence and denied by both Hezbollah and the Palestinians. Immediately following the Tel Aviv bombing, Israel sought to blame Hezbollah but has, as usual, produced no evidence for such a claim and now points the finger, equally without evidence, at Syria.

I have no objection to a responsible newspaper publishing Israeli propaganda but I submit it should say what is and that such claims are denied and are unsupported.

Similarly, I have no objection to you stating that Israel, or US for that matter, has sought to blame Syria for the death of Hariri, but again you should state that such claim is without any supporting evidence. I wonder why you don't?

Yours faithfully,

Israel, in a shift, wants Syria to leave Lebanon

Monday, March 07, 2005

Letter to Time Magazine

Dear Sir,

In your published interview of Mahmoud Abbas, the question is raised about President Bush's extraordinary claims about his power to change international law over refugees, settlements and occupation in Palestine. He has no such powers. US may well be the most poweful country the world has ever known but that does not confer rights to change the law at will, nor to reward Israeli crimes, however much Bush might like to believe he has those rights.

He talks glibly about freedom and the rule of law but the two must go hand in hand. There can be no freedom wihout the rule of law for otherwise the world is in a 'might is right' situation.

The law does not confer on anyone, neither Bush nor even Sharon, the right to deny the refugees their rights of return to their original homes and homelands, enshrined in the Universal Declaraion of Human Rights, but sought by Bush and Sharon to be denied because the refugees are not Jews.

The law does not confer on anyone, neither Bush nor even Sharon, the right to build settlements all over Occupied land and to move alien settlers onto that land. This denial is conferred in the Geneva Conventions.

The law does not confer on anyone, neither Bush nor Sharon, the right to acquire land by force of arms, as Israel has tried to do with Arab East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This denial is enshrined in countless UN resolutions.

It is the rule of law which separates the civilised from the savage.

Yours faithfully,

C. L.

Escaping Arafat's Shadow

Sunday, Mar. 06, 2005

For his first interview with an English-language magazine since taking office in January, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with TIME's Jerusalem bureau chief, Matt Rees, and correspondent Jamil Hamad last Saturday in his West Bank office. After buzzing an aide for a cigarette (he does not carry his own pack, believing, he joked, that "this keeps down my consumption"), Abbas talked for an hour about his challenges.

TIME: What do you think will be the consequences for Palestinians of events in Lebanon?

ABBAS: It's clear-cut. President Assad said he will withdraw. But for us, we don't know yet the consequences. We don't know the demands of the Americans.

TIME: In Washington, many think the growing democracy movement in the Middle East comes from President Bush's pressure.

ABBAS: I don't think that we made democracy because President Bush pushed us. We decided that we should have a democratic process, and we did it without any pressure.

TIME: Now that you've been elected, your progress depends on your cease-fire with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Islamist groups opposing peace. How secure is it ?

ABBAS: I concluded a truce with Hamas when I was Prime Minister. After I became head of the Palestinian Authority, I conducted talks with them, and they accepted without any pressure on them. It is a democracy. We have to deal with them accordingly.

TIME: But when they launch suicide-bomb attacks like the latest one in Tel Aviv?

ABBAS: They said they are not responsible and they'll stick to the cease-fire. All of [the Islamist factions]. Even those that are in Damascus.

TIME: Who was responsible, then, for the Tel Aviv attack?

ABBAS: It was individuals. We arrested five. If you ask me who is responsible, the Israelis are responsible. The bombers came from the suburb of Tulkarem to Tel Aviv, crossing the wall. So who is responsible? The wall and the Israelis.

TIME: Hamas won seats in municipal elections in January. Now the P.L.O. has an opposition?

ABBAS: This is proof that they are going to be a political party, which is good.

TIME: Israelis and Americans are shocked to think Hamas could be in your parliament.

ABBAS: Why not? They should be in the parliament. They will share responsibility. Israel has more than 33 political parties from right to left and in between.

TIME: What's your plan to reach a peace agreement with Israel?

ABBAS: We suggested to the Israelis and Americans to work in back channels on final-status issues while we are working on earlier phases of the road map. If we start now, we have a lot of time to work with the Americans to find ideas, to find compromises. But if we go [without preparation] to the third [final status] phase of the road map, and then we get a make-or-break situation like Camp David [in 2000], it's unworkable.

TIME: President Bush wrote Israeli Prime Minister Sharon a letter saying that in a final deal, there will be no right of return and there will be adjustments to the 1967 borders and the status of Jerusalem.

ABBAS: President Bush doesn't have the right to prejudice final-status issues. These issues should be discussed in the final stages, not now. He can't make commitments on behalf of the Palestinian people. It is our right to say yes or no.

TIME: To get a final-status agreement, do you think you will have to make unpopular decisions, unpopular compromises?

ABBAS: I promise any compromise will go to a referendum. People will accept it or not.

TIME: Do you think you can achieve a deal in one five-year presidential term?

ABBAS: I have to do it because after that I won't be President anymore.

TIME: Yasser Arafat was a symbol for Palestinians around the world. Do you see yourself as a different kind of leader?

ABBAS: There are differences in our ways of thinking. I want to put everything on the table, and you can take it or leave it. Even when I was running for the elections, many friends advised me not to. But I said, "No, I have to tell the people everything. Either they'll elect me or not."

TIME: Are you worried that might anger people? Are there threats against your life?

ABBAS: Everybody is under threat. We are Muslims. We believe that when life comes to an end, it comes.

TIME: It's risky just to be a Palestinian?

ABBAS: It's risky. But it's also risky to be an American. You remember the Twin Towers. So if you believe in God, you won't be afraid.

TIME: You were born in Safad, in what is now Israel. How did it feel when you went back for a visit in 1995?

ABBAS: Very sad. It's my country. I know every street and store. But now I'm not allowed to be there. That's life. I'm not asking for Safad. I'm not asking to return there.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Letter printed in Atlanta Constitution

The following letter was printed in response to Israeli diplomat Shmuel Ben-Shmuel's article entitled "Palestinians rule prospects for real peace".

The idea that Palestinians — a virtually defenseless, occupied people — are in control of their destiny is laughable. Israel, the region's superpower, holds all the cards in this conflict.

Israeli expansionism is the primary reason for the violence of the past few decades. Israel would have had peace a long time ago had it decided to return the land it took in 1967 and obeyed U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which declares "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war."

Flouting international law for decades, under the protection of the United States' U.N. veto, and then eventually implementing only a small portion of the U.N. resolution, doesn't demonstrate that "Israel is a country that seeks peace and is ready to pay a high price to achieve it," as Shmuel Ben-Shmuel writes.

Eric Ridenour

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

On "several weeks of calm"

A suicide bombing in Tel Aviv “ended several weeks of calm” (2/26/05). “A familiar pattern appeared in danger of re-emerging: a truce, a Palestinian attack, Israeli retaliation, another Palestinian attack…” (2/28/05). These news stories are wrong. The truce and the “calm” were broken long ago.

Since President Abbas assumed office on January 15 till now, 43 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children, have been killed by the Israeli army.

During this “calm” 7838 Palestinians - 379 of them children - sit in Israeli jails, routinely abused, half of them never charged with a crime. The construction of the illegal wall through the West Bank, the confiscation of Palestinian orchards, the demolition of Palestinian homes continue, while Israel adds another 6000 new homes to major settlements. During this ‘truce’ the daily horrors of occupation - arrests, checkpoints, total curfews
imposed on communities - continued for every Palestinian.

The unreported deaths of Palestinian children in Hebron and Ramallah 2 weeks ago, and other violent incidents in the Occupied Territories are just as criminal as the deaths in Tel Aviv. They are all murder.

There is a way out of this conflict: end the Israeli occupation of
Palestine, and US funding of that occupation. Justice will end the

Camas, WA