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
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
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
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
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
"Israeli policy is to confiscate Palestinian territory."