To the editor:
I am deeply disturbed by the letter to the editor posted Oct. 15 by Kristi Warab. Her numerous errors and omissions feed antisemitism.
First, Warab’s letter references “sensational headlines,” suggesting that the descriptions of rapes, murders, and kidnappings by Hamas are exaggerated or untrue. Yet there is verified testimony of numerous journalists as well as photographs and video footage.
Second, she refers to Gaza as an “Israeli-made ghetto” in which Palestinians “cannot go to school without being harassed” and pregnant women “left to give birth at checkpoints.” These statements are blatantly false, and one wonders how they evaded any sort of fact checking prior to publication by the Current.
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and has had no presence there since. The security wall separating Gaza from Israel has been built and reinforced in the intervening years because bombs and incursions from Gaza have threatened Israeli cities. She also fails to mention that the Egyptians have also chosen to keep their border with Gaza closed.
Third, Israel is working not only to defend against terrorists but to liberate innocent Palestinians. There is no free speech or women’s rights under Hamas. If you are LGBTQ, you are executed. Civilians are used as shields to protect Hamas fighters.
Fourth, Israel was not responsible for creating the Palestinian refugees. In 1948, the UN voted to divide the Palestinian territory into both an Jewish and an Arab state. The Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected. Immediately after the Jews declared Israel a state, five Arab nations attacked and instructed Palestinians to flee their homes, promising that they would be able to go back once the Jews were destroyed. Palestinians who ignored this order became Israeli citizens and enjoy a standard of living beyond that anywhere else in the Arab world. The two million Israeli Palestinians are doctors, pharmacists, teachers, politicians and judges.
Fifth, most Israelis want nothing more than to live in peace with their neighbors. Israel has continually accepted peace plans rejected by Palestinians.
A few additional points:
Arab countries in the Middle East have allowed Palestinians to languish as refugees for generations. Israel absorbed the 800,000 Jews that were forced to flee their homes in Arab and Muslim lands.
The Jewish people are indigenous to the land of Israel and numerous ancient artifacts confirm this. They are not colonizers. The word “Jew” comes from the word “Judaea” — one of the names for the ancient land of Israel. The name “Palestine” is the term the colonizing Romans gave to replace the name Judaea after they destroyed the holy Jewish temple in 70 AD. The Romans changed the name in order to attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the land.
Gaza receives humanitarian aid from throughout the world, but much of it is diverted by Hamas to build rockets and underground tunnels to carry out terrorism.
Israel’s so-called blockade is only to prevent supplies that could be used for terrorism, and it is maintained by Egypt as well. Israel cut off electricity and water this week but has promised to restore it the moment Hamas releases the hostages abducted from Israel. Since the initial submission of this letter, Israel has restored water to southern Gaza in order to encourage civilians to evacuate from the northern area that will be bombed.
Many of the Israelis living in the communities attacked by Gaza were involved with the peace movement and lived close to Gaza to provide humanitarian resources.
I cannot think of a more appropriate message than the “Stand with Israel” email sent by Acting Superintendent Michele Cresta, and I commend her.