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In Response

In January, 2003, William Carlotti published an anti-Israel letter in The Voice that was totally disconnected with the reality of the terrorist campaign launched by the Palestinian Arabs when they had been offered a sovereign state. Marvin Peyser responded with the following dose of reality.

By Marvin Peyser

William Carlotti, in his recent anti-Israel letter (The Roses Smell, January 24) has accused a previous pro-Israel writer of being oblivious to reality. Mr. Carlotti appears an intelligent man, but one wonders if he ever reads the newspapers or has any idea of what is actually happening in the area. Has Mr. Carlotti ever heard of suicide bombers, car bombs, drive-by shootings, the Netanya Passover Massacre, the bombing of Hebrew University, the numerous bombings of civilian buses, (often occupied by children on their way to school,) or the countless ambush-shootings of passing motorists? Perhaps he just doesn't care about that. Not once in any article that he has written has he indicated the slightest abhorrence of these acts, nor shown the slightest sympathy for the innocent Israeli victims, nor has he ever even acknowledged that these attacks occur. It is dishonesty on his part to accuse Israel of wanton disregard for Palestinian civilians, when it is Palestinians who deliberately kill Israeli civilians. This dishonesty is apparent when we read his reference to baby-murderers as "leaders of the resistance."

Figures were released this week showing total Israeli casualties from September 29th, 2000, to January 25th of this year. During this span there have been 16,209 attacks against Israelis involving lethal weapons. Yes, that figure is correct. Palestinians have attacked Israelis 16,209 times with murderous intent, not including rock-throwing or even firebombs. This is an average of 19 attacks per day, most, thankfully, being unsuccessful. These attacks have resulted in 724 Israeli deaths, of which 70% have been civilians. Mr. Carlotti has the sides mixed up. It's the Palestinians who are in the business of terrorizing civilians, not the Israelis. The same study also found that 15% of the Palestinians killed during 2002 were at the hands of Palestinians themselves, not Israelis. This figure includes suicide bombers, murder victims (many Palestinians suspected of collaboration with Israel were summarily shot) and "work accidents," where bombs being prepared for use against Israelis explode prematurely.

A very telling statistic demonstrating this is the percentage of women killed on each side. Females constitute over 30% of the Israeli deaths, while less than 4% of Palestinian deaths have been female, and this total includes those female suicide bombers who deliberately blew themselves up in order to murder Israeli civilians. This statistic is compelling. It shows that the Palestinians are deliberately targeting women (and children), while the deaths of Palestinian civilians by Israelis have not been intentional. Apparently Mr. Carlotti will not allow Israel the right to defend itself, in the face of unrelenting attacks and aggression by Palestinian terror groups. Yes, it is true that some Palestinian civilians, including women or children, have died in the crossfire, but there is a significant fundamental difference. When this happens, there is no celebration in the Israeli streets, no passing out of candy and sweets, no waving of bloody hands to TV cameramen, and the Israeli mothers do not make statements saying how proud they are of their soldier sons.

There is one sure way to end the carnage in the area. Israel sincerely wants peace, but it takes two to tango. If a new Palestinian leadership would abandon its dream of driving Israel out of the area, if Palestinians stopped attacking Israelis, there would be no Israeli military response. This fact has apparently eluded Mr. Carlotti and all those who criticize Israeli actions. Does anyone recall that before the Intifada started in September 2000, that there was no Israeli occupation. 95% of Palestinians were living under Arafat's jurisdiction, not Israel's, and they controlled 42% of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The negotiations at Camp David and Taba offered the Palestinians almost every inch of the remaining land, dismemberment of most of the settlements, additional land within Israel as compensation for this retained land, plus shared control of the Temple Mount. The Palestinians walked away from this offer, which U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross called the most magnanimous offer that it was possible to make. An op-ed in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat (July 21, 2002) said, "...the solution was within reach. But the Palestinian leaders refused to extend it a hand...Clinton presented proposals to the Palestinian leaders on a golden platter, and they answered him with an Intifada of armed struggle and suicide bombings..."

That is why all the strident anti-Israel articles and harangues against the so-called "Israeli occupation" are phony. If the Palestinian leadership would live up to what they had agreed to at Oslo, where they renounced violence and promised to apprehend terrorists and resolve all disputes peacefully, then the current control of Palestinian towns would soon end. Today there is not one terrorist in any Palestinian prison anywhere. (Some terrorists have been arrested, but under their revolving door policy none of them has spent more than about two months in a Palestinian prison before conveniently "escaping" or being released outright.)

In this country we call our sports teams by names such as the Giants, Jets, or Huskies, but the Palestinians name their teams after suicide bombers. This past week the newspaper "Al Hayat Al Jadida," an official daily newspaper of the Palestinian Authority, announced that a Palestinian soccer tournament, as well as one of the teams, would be named in honor of Abed Odeh, who carried out the Passover Massacre in Netanya, killing 30 people and wounding 140 others. In Palestinian schools, children from the earliest grades up are taught hatred of Jews, (not only Israelis, but all Jews) and how wonderful it is to be a suicide bomber. Photos have appeared in the American press of little Palestinian children dressed by their parents in mock explosive belts.

Just this week there was a news story where headlines proclaimed that Israel had sent tanks deep into Gaza, killing 12 Palestinians. Before condemning Israel for this "escalation," the reader should read the fine print in the story, which explained that Palestinians had fired 16 Qassam rockets indiscriminately at the Israeli city of Sderot. The purpose of the Gaza raid was to destroy the factories where these rockets were made, something Arafat had promised to do years before. 13 such factories were destroyed, these having produced not only rocket launchers, but also mortar-shells, anti-tank weapons, and other weapons. Many of these factories had recently been relocated deeply into Gaza, which deliberately put the Palestinian civilian population at greater risk. Since September 2000 terrorists have fired over 1400 rockets and mortars at Israelis, most of them at civilian targets. It was also revealed that two Hamas terrorists blew themselves up in a "work accident" preparing explosives in Gaza, killing not only themselves but a 15-year-old Palestinian girl, her 17-year-old brother, and wounding 11 others.

Mr. Carlotti, who is a master of Internet cut-and-paste, has quoted from the web page of 516 Israeli reservists who have refused to serve in the disputed territories (Gaza and the West Bank,) and from B'Tselem and some professors who agree with this position. They are permitted to do so because Israel is a flourishing democracy, the only one in the area, and free speech is a cherished right. In a country of 6,000,000 people, where nearly every adult male is in the reserves, the number 516 is actually a very miniscule percentage of all reservists, not at all a significant number. In fact, when a reserve call is sent out, the number of reservists reporting for military duty is usually greater than 100%, as many reservists, realizing the danger to their country, volunteer for active duty. The supposed "civil-rights" organization B'Tselem, so admired by Mr. Carlotti, is actually a pariah organization in Israel, admired mainly by the same left-wing professors (Israel has them too, not only the United States) who support the "refusenik" reservists. B'Tselem, which concerns itself exclusively with criticizing Israel and overlooks all Palestinian civil-rights violations, was critical of the Palestinians only once, when the Palestinian police arrested a B'Tselem field operative. B'Tselem, like Mr. Carlotti, acts as if it is totally oblivious to the fact that a war is going on in the region.

Mr. Carlotti is the one who should wake up to reality and smell the roses. More than anything else, Israel wants peace, but it cannot make peace on its own. It must have a partner-in-peace, but that partner is currently nowhere in sight.

Voice News February 7, 2003




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