Don't blame Israel for tragedy in Gaza by Roy Clancy
They've been joined by voices here at home eager to pin the blame for the tragic loss of life solely on Israel.
Fortunately, most Canadians have little difficulty understanding why Israel has resorted to such harsh actions.
For years, that country has been pummelled by rockets that place one-eighth of its population at mortal risk.
Cries for Israel to now back off and calls for an immediate ceasefire ignore the fact that when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, the violence only increased. Or that Hamas used a previous six-month truce to double the range of its rockets.
While the bloodshed of innocent civilians is deplorable, we cannot forget that the Palestinians who chose Hamas in a democratic election weren't unaware of that organization's intent to destroy Israel and its predilection for terrorist tactics to achieve that aim.
Hamas hides amongst its own people to launch its implements of death toward Israel, then screams murder when Israel retaliates to protect its own citizens.
Yet this bloodshed is Israel's fault, according to fanatics such as Ontario CUPE president Sid Ryan, who is calling for a ban on visiting Israeli academics in response to a Dec. 29 bombing that damaged a university in Gaza. If that site was used as an arms storehouse, Ryan should aim his vitriol at the academics who run that institution.
The moderator of the United Church of Canada called for an immediate ceasefire, in a statement suggesting Israel is chiefly to blame. "Peace cannot be achieved through violence," said David Giuliano.
The good reverend should tell that to Hamas, which could employ the non-violent methods of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi to win sym-pathy for the legitimate grievances of its people.
The cowardly terrorist tactics of Hamas show it is interested neither in peace nor improving the lot of Palestinians.
The world should direct its enmity accordingly.
First let me commend the London Free Press for publishing a wide variety of opinions on its letter page on the current crisis in Gaza. However, the London Free Press published a Point of View "Don't Blame Israel for tragedy in Gaza," By Roy Clancy, on January 7, 2008.
This opinion piece is full of nonsense, historical inaccuracies and factual errors that it is not fit to be published in a responsible news paper.
However, given the bias and lack of knowledge of many Canadians and in particular journalists like Roy Clancy it passes as informed opinion when in fact it greatly misleads readers who expect that there is a at least some factual basis for the published opinion.
However, even uniformed opinions have a right to be expressed.
There is, however, a duty for the media to allow contrary opinions be provided and that factual errors be corrected.
For example, contrary to what Mr. Clancy alleges, and while Israel formerly withdrew its 8,000 illegal Jewish settlers and soldiers, Israel has never ended its control and its siege of Gaza.
Virtually all authorities still consider Gaza Israeli controlled occupied territory that functioned as an open air prison for 1.5 million Palestinians.
Clancy asserts that that when Israeli soldiers withdrew the violence increased in Gaza.
The facts speak for themselves.
In the three years after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire.
On the other hand, in 2005-7 alone, the IDF killed 1,290 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children.
Not a single Israeli was killed by Hamas rocket fire in the year preceding the current Israeli onslaught.
The continuation of Israeli siege, the denial of sufficient food, medicine and fuel supplies to allow Gaza to survive and the collective punishment of over one million civilians in Gaza was in itself a violation of the truce.
Israeli soldiers attacked Gaza on the 2nd, 5th and 8th of November, 2008.
It was Israel that broke the truce.
On November 15, 2008 Hamas retaliated for numerous Israeli attacks and provocations and only after Israeli forces had killed many members of Hamas and other Palestinian civilians.
Hamas honoured the truce it had signed with Israel and in fact offered to extend it but wanted Israel to lift the siege and allow food, fuel and medical supplies and to end the starvation of Gaza .
Hamas also called for an end to Israeli attacks in the West Bank.
It was Israel that refused to extend the truce as its current political leaders were behind in the polls and they wanted to show how tough they were by killing defenseless Palestinians.
Clancy's claims are false yet he has the gall to attack church and labour leaders who have criticized Israel's attack as "fanatics."
Clancy also quotes Mahatma Gandhi oblivious to the fact that Gandhi was anti-Zionist and would no doubt be appalled by Israel's violent behavior.
Gandhi said, "Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct."
I wish people would also inform themselves of the views of Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, George Orwell, Arnold Toynbee and Nelson Mandela on Palestine and Zionism. The uninformed would be in for a rude awaking.
To provide balance the argument I suggest that the the London Free Press publish an opinion piece from Professor Avi Shlaim, a Jewish and Israeli Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and author of numerous books on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, "How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe," published in highly respected Guardian in Britain, which provides much need factual information and opinions contrary to the uninformed opinions of Mr. Clancy and other individuals who unquestioningly support Israel.
There are numerous other Jewish and Israeli exerts including Dr. Richard Falk, Professor Noam Chomsky, Dr. Norton Mezvinsky, Dr. Jeff Halper, Dr. Neve Gordon, Dr. Jennifer Loewenstein, Professor Oren Ben-Dor, to name a only a few, who provide contrary informed opinions.
Those who unquestioningly condemn the Palestinians to a brutal existence of living under Israeli military occupation for 42 years, support continued theft of Palestinian land and deny Palestinians even the most basic political and human rights should carefully examine their conscience and the reasons for holding such views.
Edward C. Corrigan
Barrister & Solicitor