Have Your Say

Article excerpt

Misreading history

Mike Fegelman's June 8 letter, Incorrect assumptions, in response to Dianne Baker's June 5 letter, Pawns in their game, about the economic and political status of the Palestinians, offers a series of misreadings of historical and geopolitical fact. I'll limit myself to just three of them and a suggestion.

Fegelman claims UN Resolution 242 was designed to recognize Israel's possession of Palestinian territories because it conquered the land "in a defensive war." Resolution 242 does not mention defensive war; it does emphasize "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war."

Instead of recognizing Israel's right to Palestinian land, it makes the necessity of Israeli withdrawal the first of two main requirements for a "just and lasting peace." Israel has been rebuked repeatedly by the UN because of its failure to meet that basic requirement.

He also makes the absurd claim that Israeli settlements make up less than three per cent of the West Bank's overall territory. A more realistic figure is provided by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, which uses Israeli government figures to show the settlements take up 42 per cent of the territory; another 10 per cent of the Occupied Territories has been annexed to Israel by the wall it has built to seal off the West Bank.

Fegelman claims the West Bank was never "taken from the Palestinians" because it was controlled by other political entities. Very simply, the UN resolution (181) that underpins the modern Israeli state was designed to create two political entities, one Arab, one Jewish.

Neither existed before the UN resolution since the whole area -- comprising both Jewish and Arab nascent states -- was controlled historically, as Fegelman notes, by the Ottomans and then the British. Both are invented states with a UN stamp of approval. Accepting one means accepting the other.

CHRISTOPHER PETTY

Winnipeg

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In 2004, the World Court in The Hague determined the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are occupied territories and Israel's transfer of Jewish settlers into these Palestinian territories is illegal.

Thanks to the American support and the propaganda efforts of pro-Israel groups, the rule of law however could not stop the ethnic cleansing of 60 per cent of the West Bank.

Area C is now almost free of Palestinians. In 1967, the Jordan Valley had about 250,000 Palestinians. Today, it's less than 50,000. In violation of international law, the Palestinians have been confined into non-contiguous cantons separated by road blocks, settler-only roads, Jewish settlements and the Israeli wall.

Israel fully controls their freedom of movement and is "warehousing" the Palestinian population on the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. This is no longer just an occupation or an apartheid system; it is a policy of despair that disregards the rights of the original inhabitants of the land and secures superior privilege for the new settlers.

MARTINA LAUER

Chesterville, Ont.

Food for thought

At a recent visit to a not-so-big-box store garden centre, the woman in front of me in line was purchasing a beautiful ready-made basket of garden greens.

We spoke of its convenience for the garden, and for meal preparation. The cashier, a woman of about 21, was shocked to hear that the lettuce greens were edible.

When I asked her where she gets her salad greens, she responded she always just got hers from the grocery store, and did not know you could buy it, grow it, and eat it.

Have city-dwellers become so far removed from our food sources that this could actually occur at a garden centre? …