Originally from webpage http://sf.indymedia.org/news/2003/05/1607372_comment.php#1609212
[Slightly edited, generally for punctuation and clarity.]
Good Morning, Moshe -- Thoughts on Israel, Palestine
Good Morning, Moshe,
My unhappiness with Israel is based on history, and works by well-known and respected authors, as well as television news reports. I do not consider my sources to be propaganda, malicious or otherwise; nor do I believe that facts and figures in libraries around the world are sources of propaganda either.
Israel's inability, since its formation, to be upfront and honest is legendary. It's always been, “Poor us... We didn't do it... It was their fault... It was self-defence... It was…” -- and on and on, ad nauseam. A peace activist, a journalist, a UN worker murdered. “It wasn't our fault.” There is never an apology. Always going to be an "investigation." We are used to it by now--even though we do not accept it and know it to be untrue.
Remember the night time bombing of an apartment building in July, 2002, wherein not only was Salah Shehadeh, a Hamas leader, killed, but fourteen civilians, nine children, hundreds injured. And there was Sharon, the real butcher of the Middle East, gleefully telling the cameras, "This operation, in my view, was one of our biggest successes." Nine children murdered. And we get, “[it] was one of our biggest successes.” Please!
We were told that the people of Israel were "horrified" at the massacre, and I'm sure they were. In the same breath Peres was telling us it was "self-defence." Please! Israel NEVER says it's wrong. And that is very, very SAD. There is no responsibility for its cruelty and savagery. It is always the fault of the other party. I don't like it, my friend. I simply do not like it at all. AND THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE.
Civilized nations would have arrested Shehadeh and charged him for his crimes, if any, and a court would assign his guilt or innocence. Imagine if every country assassinated alleged offenders? Yet Israel goes on its murderous way, knocking off one so-called militant after another, blowing up another house, sometimes with people inside (as was the case back in 1954, in another massacre led by Sharon).
With respect to the recent conflict, Ariel Sharon knew damn well what he was doing when he puffed his way to Temple Mount, accompanied by his thugs, on September 28th, 2000. He had been asked not to do this (we are told by a brilliant PBS documentary regarding the Clinton-led peace talks), but knowing the Palestinian psyche, he went ahead anyway. We see the result.
The Israeli Government loves tossing around the word "terrorist," but it ignores its own terrorist leaders, like Shamir and Begin, who had their gangs in Palestine in the ’40’s and ’50’s, then went on to become Prime Ministers of Israel. And now Sharon.
We remember the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, some 17,000-plus slaughtered, mostly civilians. We recall the refugee camp massacres at Sabra and Shatila, with mass graves still being located. "It wasn't our fault," even though Sharon was found "indirectly responsible" by an Israeli commission of inquiry.
I've seen Fergal Keane's brilliant "The Accused," and I've read the tirade of abuse that was hurled at him. Why are you bringing this up twenty years later, friends of Israel demanded to know. They forget that Israel, even to this day, is still hunting down war criminals fifty years later.
It's the double standard that angers me, my friend. Strange as it may be for Israel to believe, it is no more important to the scheme of things than any other nation on earth, than any other peoples on earth. Israelis, despite what they seem to think, are just people. So are we all. They are no better than anyone else. They are not superior to anyone else. A siege mentality is not applicable here unless it suits the Israeli image, of course.
Brilliant Canadian, Gwynne Dyer, devoted Part 3 of his critically acclaimed series, "War," to Israel. It is a history lesson in itself.
Robert Fisk and John Pilger give us a rational and honest, not to mention courageous, coverage of events in the Middle East. The fact that they are constantly vilified for their work is proof they are telling the truth. Israeli writer, Israel Shamir, I also trust. Even Ha'aratz had a headline recently claiming "He Must be Stopped," referring to Sharon.
The Israeli army is out of control. The killing of James Miller on Saturday, and it was, “Oh, we (Israel) didn't do it.” Rachel Corrie was run over by a bulldozer. “It was her fault.” Two other peace activists were shot, one in a coma, and when his parents come to visit they are shot at. What is it, Moshe? What has this army become? This is not self-defence. This is murder.
I look at the images on television, and I see the hovels the Palestinians are living in. I see the hopelessness, the utter despair. It's as if they are living in an open-air prison or worse. This is what your country has done to another people. And you expect us not to be angry?
There is no work, no money, children going to school with tanks, guns, missiles everywhere. The horrific effect this must be having on these children is unimaginable. Some of them have never known any other kind of life. It is tragic. And if they fight back in the only way they can, they are terrorists. If they are, my friend, so is the Israeli army.
The suicide bombers who blow up Israeli civilians and property are guilty of murder as well, but one does not make the other less guilty. Perhaps if the Palestinians had their own army and equal weaponry, then we could call this conflict a "war," as Sharon likes to refer to it.
I am happy to know you are helping out in any way you can. Others should follow your example. I am sure that there are good, decent people in Israel just as there are in any nation of the world. Sadly, these are not the ones we see or hear.
It is only the horror we hear about. Daily on our news reports we hear, "The Israeli army shot and killed…," and another number of Palestinians, mostly civilians, are being buried by their grieving families. And every time we're always told that, "It was self-defence. We were attacked," etc., etc. Sorry, my friend, I do not believe it.
The Palestinians, or anyone else for that matter, have a right to fight for their people, their freedom, and fight in the only way they know (or can) with the limited resources they have. We are not talking about a level playing field here, are we?
Vilifying Israel, incidentally, is no different than Israel vilifying anyone else, and as you know, they do it well. Spreading hate against Israel is no different than Israel spreading hate against anyone else.
There is no law that states Israel is set apart, that says it cannot be judged on its conduct, that it can kill at will, disregard international law, and moral, ethical and judicial conduct. So why is this tyrannical behaviour allowed to continue? Why is it encouraged by the Israeli leadership with help from the U.S.? The only one responsible for the actions of Israel is Israel itself.
Those of us who write our thoughts, for the most part, are doing so out of a genuine concern for our fellow humankind, and I don't care much if it is Israel or any other country on earth. If I believe something is wrong, I shall point it out in any forum available. If you consider us spreading "hate" because we dare criticize Israel, then that is your problem, not ours.
The situation in Israel (and in the terrortories [an apt typo: where Israel is the terrorist]) is not so complex that a little truth and compassion cannot create understanding. Voting out the Likud party and its fanatics might be a start.
Oh, and, Moshe, it is not up to us, who comment, to visit Israel and stop what we believe are atrocities committed against the Palestinians. The ISM (the Int’l Solidarity Movement) hasn't fared too well in its efforts to protect the civilian population, has it? We can (and do) write letters to our governmental representatives, etc., but this is [really] up to the people of Israel.