An Unequal Mideast Equation

Although I am critical of the violence committed against Israeli teenagers, as a progressive U.S. Jew, I also want to raise my voice against the ongoing violence committed by the Israeli military.Palestinian youth and their adult relatives have lived with the violence of a military occupation for 34 years.

This violence has consisted of the demolition of homes, the arrest and administrative detention of Palestinians held without charges, military checkpoints and closures, which have prevented Palestinians from getting necessary medical care, from attending school and earning a living, the construction of more and more settlements and bypass roads for "Jews only," and the murder of Palestinian children by the fourth largest military in the world.

Why are the Palestinians portrayed as terrorists in their fight for a homeland and freedom from occupation, while the Israelis are portrayed as "fearful," and as acting in self-defense? The equation is not equal. All the power rests with the Israelis. When the occupation ends and the settlements are evacuated, then true peace will exist for all.

Carla S. Schick, Oakland

Letter to the editor, The Christian Science Monitor, May 31, 2001
Don't minimize Israeli provocation

Clay Bennett's May 21 cartoon, picturing an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian missiles flying in the are, grossly misrepresents the tragic conflict. The Palestinians have no missiles. The homemade mortars which Hamas militants have lobbed against Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, according to press reports, have yet to strike their targets and have caused no casualties.

On the other side of the ledger, there has been a high toll of Palestinian lives and injuries since the day following Ariel Sharon's visit, when Israeli troops shot and killed seven Palestinian protesters at the Haram al Sharif, triggering the intifada.As the foremost military power in the Middle East, Israel has used tanks, land and sea-based artillery, bombs, helicopter gunships, and lately, US-built F-16s, to punish the entire Palestinian population for the actions of terrorists.

By bombarding and bulldozing homes, farms, and citrus and olive groves, Israeli forces have devastated the land, destroyed many Palestinians' hopes for the future, and boosted support and recruits for Hamas's armed ranks.

If there were no Israeli troops on Palestinian territories, there would be no stone throwers, and if there were no Jewish settlements on those territories, there would be no gunmen trying to drive the settlers out. If Israel had heeded international law prohibiting settlement on territories captured in 1967 and complied with UN resolutions for withdrawal, there would be no uprising of people trying to throw off an oppressive 34-year-long occupation.

LaVerne Kuhnke, Chicago

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