The HyperTexts

Laura Khoury, even in her eighties, is concise and clear: It is we, the Palestinians, who have the right to defend ourselves.

by Hatem M. Titi

She reads a lot and does not miss one item in her weekly Time magazine. She is writing the following in response to a letter written by Mr. Jeremy Slomnicki in the inbox of the Time issue of April 16, in which he emphasizes the need for Israel to defend itself because of Palestinian terrorism. She did not write to Time because she wanted to say more words than allowed on the letter page, yet she is hoping that one way or another it will reach Mr. Slomnicki. So please circulate this to your international friends:

I am writing this to remind Mr. Slomnicki and all the Slomnickis of the world that the first perpetrators of "Terrorism" in our region were the Jewish underground in Palestine during the British Mandate. Israel did not exist then, but Jewish terrorism started before 1948. I do not know how old you are Mr. Slomnicki, but if you are under 60 years you probably need to learn about the bombing of the King David Hotel Wing of the British Secretariat in July 1947, in which one hundred Palestinians were blown up. The bombing took place on a Saturday to spare the lives of Jews who were off on that day. Ironically the man behind the bombing was Menahem Begin, who later became one of Israel’s prime ministers. The King David bombing was just the first of many terrorist acts, such as the attack on the Semiramis hotel in which a whole Palestinian family perished, and the attacks on Palestine Post offices. The list is endless, but fortunately it has been recorded by many historians and ironically some Jewish ones of conscience who had the courage to expose the truth. But surely you must have heard of the "calculated" massacre of Deir Yassin, a peaceful village near Jerusalem, in which a defenseless population was massacred, mostly women and children. That gruesome sight triggered a scare that led to the fleeing of many Palestinians from their homes. After 1967, the Jerusalem Post quoted Mr. Menahem Begin regarding Deir Yassin: "It was a blessing in disguise because it helped create the State of Israel." Of course those who did not flee were driven out at gunpoint to other parts of Palestine [such as Gaza, where 80% of the people are refugees and their descendents].

With regard to your letter, Mr. Slomnicki, that Israel has the right to defend itself, we are really tired of this cliché. Surely Israeli has the right to defend itself and so does every nation, but not when Israel is the aggressor, the occupier, the oppressor and the owner of the fifth strongest army in the world and a stockpile of nuclear weapons. So from whom is Israel defending itself? From a defenseless, dispossessed, and occupied population separated by walls and checkpoints while their homes are demolished and their farms and olive trees are razed. Are you comparing the resistance of an area under siege by the use of crude home-made missiles that might have injured a few people but hardly caused any damage, to the Israeli air strikes of populated Gaza that killed hundreds? The attack on the Jenin camp was another act of "terrorism" and not by underground militias, but by the regular and sophisticated Israeli army. So it is ironic that you should be so worried about "poor" Israel’s need to defend itself. And the implanting of settlers and settlements on Palestinian land is also an act of terrorism, especially when the settlers are there as colonizers with the sole aim of driving away the Palestinians. They raid their homes, block them from reaching their farms and groves, and use every means to deprive them of living a peaceful life.

I would like to quote a letter that appeared also in the Time magazine inbox written by Mr. Claus Frausing from Copenhagen in the April 9, 2012 issue: "Israel’s irresponsible behavior is dangerous for the security of the rest of the world. Israel is extremely superior from a military point of view, thanks to the US. But because Israel has never been able to establish true alliances of friendships with its neighbors, it is surrounded by hostile populations. A power whose security is based on military superiority alone can only act militarily. This is the real threat to the World, not the possible nuclear power of Iran."

Not only does Israel want to be the only country that owns nuclear weapons in the region, it wants to be the superpower of the region. It succeeded in having the US fight its war to eliminate what they perceived as a potential threat, Iraq, under false pretexts, and now their next target is Iran. Mr. Carter also alluded to that in Time by saying that if Iran has one war head, Israel has 300. So Iran will definitely not attempt to attack Israel knowing its strength. Surely The Soviet Union and the US during the years of the Cold War were aware of each other’s strength and none would have attempted an attack because both countries would have been destroyed.  The key word was restraint.

Because we Palestinians live under Israeli occupation, because our territories have been surrounded by apartheid walls, separating us from our Palestinian families and communities, and because we cannot move further than 20 miles without having to go through an Israeli military check point it is we, the Palestinians, Mr. Slomnicki, who have the right to defend ourselves.

If you are unfamiliar with the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, or have been told that Israel is "only defending itself," please read Albert Einstein's 1948 letter to the New York Times, then click your browser's "back" button to return to this page. If you want to understand how the the theft of Palestinian land relates to Israel's new offensive against Gaza, known as Operation "Pillar of Defense" or "Pillar of Clouds," please click here Amud Annan "Pillar of Fire." If you want to hear the opinion of the former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who negotiated peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, please click here Jimmy Carter: "Israeli policy is to confiscate Palestinian territory."

The HyperTexts