Editors, the Gauntlet,
Re: "Viewpoints: Can there be peace in the Middle East?" Oct. 19, 2000
H.R’s statement regarding news coverage of the Middle East as "pro-Palestinian" is not just ridiculous, but an insult to his/her own intelligence. The Western media is predominantly biased against the Palestinians. They use terms like "fighting," "violence" and "clashes," whereas these are terms usually used between two adversaries that have some comparable strength against each other. What is happening in Palestine is the genocide of Palestinians. They use the term "died" frequently when referring to Palestinians and always the term "killed" when referring to Israelis. It is not common for 200 young, healthy people to just die all of a sudden within the space of a few weeks whilst walking down the streets.
They try to refrain from using the term "killed" against the Palestinians as this will portray the Israelis as murderers. They say "Violence has killed over 200 people," giving the impression that equal numbers of Israelis and Palestinians have been killed. They fail to mention that of 95 per cent of them are Palestinians and it is not "violence" that has killed them, but armed Israeli soldiers who murdered them. When two undercover Israeli agents were killed by a group of Palestinians, it made the headlines and President Clinton condemned it in a statement. The killing of over 50 Palestinian youths under the age of 16 is mentioned as a statistic.
A statement given under oath by the photographer for France 2 TV, who filmed the murder on Oct. 3, 2000, is a detailed eye witness account of the killing of 12-year-old Mohamed Al Durrah. It provides, as if any were needed, definitive evidence that he was murdered in cold blood, not "caught in the crossfire," as news organizations continue to misreport. Mohamed is not the first child to be killed; there were thousands before him. His murder was the first to be captured live on TV.
H.R.’s knowledge of the Middle Eastern history and politics seems to be non-existent. Israel’s 33 year occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza is the all-encompassing violent reality that forms the backdrop to the current conflict. Israel has refused to live up to its obligations under UNSCR 242 and withdraw to its 1967 borders, even though its right to live in peace and in secure borders has been recognized by the Palestinians. Israel has even reintroduced its armed forces into numerous Palestinian centres in the occupied territories, which is another principal cause of the current conflict.
H.R.’s saying that "Palestinians fire first" is what provokes the Israeli soldiers to open fire is pathetic. Is the indiscriminate use of the automatic weapons, exploding bullets, helicopter gunships, tanks, rockets and the bombing of cities by Israelis a justified response to the Palestinians who "fire" rocks and stones? On Oct. 7, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1322, which "condemns acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life" and "calls upon Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention." But then again, it was only "cross-fire" and under International Law, Israelis are allowed to murder old women and children in "cross-fire" because they suffered so much in the Holocaust 50 years ago.