Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Other People's Mail

Article excerpt

Some letters by or to other people are as informative for our readers as anything we might write ourselves.

Tragic Lack of Vision

To The Independent, July 17, 2006

I write from a suburb overlooking Beirut, from which my family and I can see Israeli war planes and gun boats systematically implementing Ehud Olmert's orders to destroy everything that the Lebanese have achieved since the end of the civil war: airport, bridges and infrastructure, tourism and prosperity.

It seems clear to us that the Israeli military and its government has one, and only one, major objective; to reduce their neighbors, whether south in Gaza, east in the West Bank, or now north in Lebanon, to the most abject possible poverty. It beggars belief that Israel's government could possibly be so shortsighted as to believe that a great mass of poor and desperate Arabs clustered around their borders can possibly be to their benefit, yet this seems to be the case.

Brian Prescott-Decie, Department of Humanities, Lebanese American University, Beirut

Palestine Under Threat

To The Independent, July 21, 2006

The latest chapter of the conflict between Israel and Palestine began when Israeli forces abducted two civilians, a doctor and his brother, from Gaza-an incident scarcely reported anywhere, except in the Turkish press. The following day the Palestinians took an Israeli soldier prisonerand proposed a negotiated exchange against prisoners taken by the Israelis, of which there are approximately 10,000 in Israeli jails.

That this "kidnapping" was considered an outrage, whereas the illegal military occupation of the West Bank and the systematic appropriation of its natural resources, most particularly that of water, by the Israel Defense Forces is considered a regrettable but realistic fact of life, is typical of the double standards repeatedly employed by the West in face of what has befallen the Palestinians, on the land allotted to them by international agreements during the last 70 years.

Today outrage follows outrage; makeshift missiles cross sophisticated ones. The latter usually find their target situated where the disinherited and crowded poor live, waiting for what was once called justice. Both categories of missile rip bodies apart horribly - who but field commanders can forget this for a moment?

Each provocation and counter-provocation is contested and preached over. But the subsequent arguments, accusations and vows all serve as a distraction to divert world attention from a long-term military, economic and geographic practice whose political aim is nothing less than the liquidation of the Palestinian nation.

This has to be said loud and clear for the practice, only half declared and often covert, is advancing fast these days, and, in our opinion, it must be unceasingly and eternally recognized for what it is and resisted.

Tariq Ali, John Berger, Noam Chomsky, Eduardo Galeano, Naomi Klein, Harold Pinter, Arundhati Roy, Jose Saramago, Giuliana Sgrena, Howard Zinn, Mieussy, France

A Grim Ledger off Violence

To The New York Times, July 20, 2006

As an American citizen of Lebanese descent, I am tired of the media's referring to "the havoc on both sides of the IsraeliLebanese border," as your editorial put it -as if there were anything approaching symmetry in this situation. There is not.

More than 10 times more civilians have been killed in Lebanon than in Israel.

Israelis will spend an uncomfortable week or two in bomb shelters, but thousands of Lebanese will return to homes reduced to rubble, and hundreds more will die from lack of clean water or medical supplies.

Despite Etgar Keret's glib assertion, this is not a war. It is a massacre, plain and simple. If the world is not going to do anything to end Israel's rampage, we can at the very least call it what it is.

Saladin Ahmed, Brooklyn, NY

Fears for Lebanon

To the San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, 2006

Thank you for George Bisharat's article in The Chronicle. …

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