Letter to the editor - 2004-12-02

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Dear Editor:

Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights espouses human rights for every human being. We condemn every war crime unequivocally. We condemn the collective punishment by Palestinian militants who have stolen the lives of 7 Israeli civilians since September (639 since September 2000). We condemn the collective punishment by an Israeli occupation army which has stolen the lives of 281 Palestinian civilians since September (3 077 since September 2000) [1]. We condemn both, but we note the disparity that has led international human rights and legal institutions to demand immediate Israeli action.

We take a clear stance on human rights. Palestinians and Israelis are dying primarily because the Israeli government insists on perpetuating systematic human rights violations in contravention of international law. In the first three weeks of the second Intifada, before a single attack on Israel was launched, a million bullets were fired on Palestinian demonstrators [2] as a sample of what would come. Israel's government, army and apologists must stop violating human rights now.

Palestine Day raised awareness of an illegal occupation that is part of the culture and psyche of Palestinians and Israelis. It is laughable that our factual accounting was dubbed "ignorant rhetoric and incendiary slogan[eering]", while the accusatory article did not contain a single fact. We challenge this paper or any individual or group to confront SPHR on its record or on the facts presented. To date, such a challenge has never been taken, and with a reference list including the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Red Cross, B'Tselem, Gush Shalom and many others, we can see why. The apologists for Israel's destructive policies smear us, but can not successfully challenge the facts. That's why they, through this paper and elsewhere, write unsubstantiated and irresponsible tirades that masquerade as news.


In peace, solidarity and resistance,

The Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights Executive

Maha Abdawi-Moussa, Financial Director

Darwish Chahbar, Vice President

Wassim El-Khatib, Information and Research Director

Rasha El-Tawil, President

Dario Kuzmanovic, External Communications

Susan Ibdah, Fundraising Director

Tarek Loubani, VP Media Affairs

Nadine Nasir, Campaigns Director


Footnotes:

1. Fatalities in the al-Aqsa Intifada, Data by Month; B'Tselem, http://btselem.org/English/Statistics/Al_Aqsa_Fatalities_Tables.asp

2. Yitzhak Laor writes: "a report published on 6 September in the (right-wing) daily Ma'ariv revealed that during the first three weeks of the [second] Intifada -- before the wave of terror attacks against Israelis even began -- the IDF [Israel Defense Forces], according to Army records, fired one million bullets." ("Diary," London Review of Books, 3 October 2002)