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Letter: Besieged

The world watches in horror as 1.8 million Palestinians, trapped on a militarily encircled narrow strip of land, try to survive Israel’s murderous siege.

As of July 30, an estimated 80 percent of the Palestinians killed in Gaza have been civilians — a quarter of those being children.

A Human Rights Watch report has accused Israel of deliberately targeting civilian facilities. “Israeli air attacks in Gaza investigated by Human Rights Watch have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war,” the report stated.

In the guise of offering an evenhanded account of the conflict, Dan Brown (“Fratricidal Brothers,” July 26, 2014) employs a litany of historical distortions and falsehoods that only serve to equate the oppressed/colonized under siege with the oppressor/colonizer on the attack.

The Gaza rockets (responsible for only two casualties), were initially fired as a response to the collective punishment being meted out by Israeli forces after three West Bank settler youth were abducted. The reprisals, which led to the arrest of 600 and the death of 10 Palestinians, were launched even though Israel had no knowledge indicating Hamas’ responsibility.

The invasion of Gaza had nothing to do with the abducted youth, Israel’s right to exist, or the destruction of the underground tunnels. The planning for the attack was initiated after Hamas agreed to participate in a “national consensus” government with Palestinian Authority. The Netanyahu government was intent on sabotaging that arrangement.

Brown decries the “hypocrisy of American “peace activists “who whine that the Israelis live on land taken from others by military force.” Their hypocrisy is supposedly rooted in the idea that “most of the world’s population is living on land their ancestors took by force.” This is the sort of crude historical analysis that could have been used to justify the 1938 occupation of the Sudentenland — which was achieved under the threat of massive military force, and was undertaken by a nation that was also claiming to be “finally returning home.”

Brown’s “realpolitik” approach carries him to even darker regions of fascist logic when he condones the ethnic-cleansing operations that were conducted against the Palestinian population in 1948 after he speculates that the Palestinians, had they won, “would have done the same to the Jews.”



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