Letter to Joe Klein
Time Magazine Inc.
cc. Managing Editor, Nancy Gibe
6th of August, 2014
Re: August 4, 2014 Commentary: In Gaza, a Just but Bloody War
First, I am not a quack. I am a working Mediator with a law background. I have closely studied conflict since 1978 and researched Israel-Palestine since the threads from 9/11 led to the US-Israel relationship as a major source of Middle East conflict.
My family has subscribed to Time magazine for as long as I can remember.
I travelled in Israel-Palestine in June, 2014, with a delegation from Interfaith Peace-builders, based in Washington, DC. On that journey, we met intensively with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists throughout the area.
Surely, Sir, after your many years as a journalist, you have not completely abandoned your responsibility to check your facts? It would certainly seem so, upon reading your piece on Gaza. This may be difficult for you to read, but I have been reading your columns for many, many years now. I would like to offer comment upon a few of your assertions:
1. Your title: “ a Just but Bloody War”.
There is nothing just about this assault on Gaza. It is not a war, which would infer two sides of relatively equal power. It is a brutal offensive by an occupying power against the occupied.
2. “Rocket attacks had provoked Israel’s two previous Gaza incursions, in 2008 and 2012”.
This is false. I urge you to speak with Nomika Zion, a writer who has lived in a kibbutz in Sderot, 2 miles from the Gazan border, for 27 years. She is a founder of “Other Voices” and her writing has been published in your magazine. As a person who was there when those “incursions” happened, she stated to us that Israel provoked both of those attacks, then blamed Palestinians.
3. Was the “initial provocation” for 2014 the kidnapping and killing of 3 settler youth? Or might it have begun with the cold-blooded murder (captured on video) of two innocent Palestinian teens on Nakba Day? Or was it the reconciliation agreement (which you fail to mention) between Fatah and Hamas, and the formation of the unity government? This was highly disturbing to Israel; we all know internal dissention among Palestinians helps keep the 47 year occupation going. Or was it the IDF rampage in the West Bank, which continued long after Israel knew the youth were dead, which led to the Hamas rocket attacks? Sir, open your eyes! We are witnessing an ongoing onslaught against the Palestinians in Gaza, supported and enabled by the US, not a war against Hamas. Hamas is the excuse.
All we really do know is that this senseless violence will continue until the occupation is ended and these parties make a truly just peace.
4. “ Hamas lauded its kidnappers”.
We now know from Mickey Rosenfeld, Israeli Police Spokesman’s statements to BBC reporter John Donnison, that Hamas is not responsible for the attack on the 3 settler youth. Rosenfeld described the suspects as a “rogue cell from Hebron”, with nothing more than a loose political affiliation to Hamas. In other words, they may have voted for Hamas in 2006. Why would Hamas want to inflame the situation right after forming a unity government? Mr. Klein, read the Terms of Agreement. Do your research!
5. “Israel’s actions have been more prudent across the board”.
More prudent than what? Than a genocide? Have you seen the photos of Gaza? Have you read the statistics of the dead, wounded and displaced? Where is your humanity, Mr. Klein? Lost, I suspect, in your desperate clinging to a once lovely, but now gone, dream of the “Land of Israel” for the Jewish people alone. This is exactly where such a dream must lead.
6. The “anti-Israel riots”
Why are protests and demonstrations called riots when they are against unjust Israeli state policies?
7. “the parlor left has been appalled, on cue, by the alleged Israeli brutality”
Your cynical description of humans enraged by this slaughter is in itself appalling. We need no cue; the mighty Israeli military has amply provided it. And what precisely is “alleged” about the recorded deaths of nearly 2,000 Gazans, the displacement of over 1/2 million people from their homes, the 10,000 wounded, and the ambulances, hospitals, UN shelters, and power stations targeted and destroyed? Are you aware of how you have sold your soul in defending such atrocities? Can you no longer hear a questioning voice deep down?
8. “without questioning the deadly cynicism of Hamas”
You, Sir, are the one not questioning the deadly cynicism of Israel. If you know a psychologist, please ask: “What is projection?”
9. “It’s not easy to explain why you won’t accept peace”.
Yes it is. Because it is not peace to submit to a cruel regime that controls every aspect of your life – water, electricity, food, access to medical care and education, borders, airspace – then “mows the lawn” every few years, reigning down terror on civilians. I was there: I saw the sniper towers, the constant looming surveillance, the closed checkpoint holding nearly1.8 million people hostage inside Gaza. Tell me, Mr.Klein, would you accept peace on those terms?
10. “the Palestinian Authority – ousted by Hamas in a 2007 coup”
You got this backwards, Sir. Are you not aware that your own Bush administration pushed for a democratic election among Palestinians, which duly took place in 2006, monitored by international observers, described by the US Congressional Research Service as a “free and fair election”? And that Hamas was elected by a landslide? Abbas’ Fatah party came third. Then came a US-backed attempted coup – by Fatah, not Hamas.
(Undeterred by its failure, the US and Israel then unilaterally declared Abbas “President”.) Surely you have responsibility to report more accurately than this. Your writing is read by millions, you have broad influence, and you have a duty as a journalist to bear witness, not to disseminate politically-motivated propaganda.
11. “Israel remains intransigent on a West Bank agreement”.
Here at last, you speak the truth. Israel does not want a West Bank agreement; it wants the whole land, and, let’s be clear, it wants it without the Palestinian people there.
Whatever happened to the Light Unto Nations that was to be Israel?
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