- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2001

'Israel in pieces' doesn't show the whole picture

The June 29 Op-Ed article "Israel in Pieces" by Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder is not only slanderous to decent Palestinian people, but outrageous in its irresponsibility and bias inferring, as it does, the myth that all Palestinians are terrorists. Mr. Mason and Felder say "Arabs daily decimate the Jewish population," but the death toll from the intifada is overwhelmingly Palestinian.
In addition, comparing Palestinians to the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis is patently ridiculous. The Palestinians have been occupied for more than 34 years and denied rights that international laws and treaties grant.
The authors ask why Arabs should be allowed in Israel "when Israel's own government admits that it can't stop or control their terrorist activities." Terrorists, though small in number, are not controllable by any government and are only punishable if caught. To justify the expulsion or punishment of an entire civilian population by the actions of a relatively small number of terrorists is not just, humane or even sensible. Not surprisingly, such a policy has just made enemies of a whole new generation of Palestinians.
Israel has done much more than block the entrances of highways in response to the intifada. A significant portion of the Palestinian death toll, which has surpassed 600, is the result of sniper attacks, attacks on residential areas and the prevention of dying patients from accessing hospitals. Such tactics reasonably can be considered "state terrorism," especially when used against a people whose land has been occupied illegally for more than three decades.
Israel's refusal to accept and respond to Palestinians as human beings will only perpetuate the problems in the region. This is reflected in the "comic" ending Mr. Mason and Mr. Felder give their article. I'm not sure what "cow patties on the ranges of Montana" have to do with the most serious crisis facing the world, but the reference does underscore the shallowness of the authors' analysis and its disconnection from reality.

THE REV. RICK MITCHELL
Concord, Calif.



As an American Jew committed to a peaceful and just solution to the Israeli -Palestinian conflict, I strongly object to "Israel in pieces" by Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder. This deceitful Op-Ed column bears no relationship whatsoever to the reality on the ground in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Reading it, one would think it was Israel that was under siege. In fact, the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and its brutal siege of the area is illegal under international law.
Palestinians are the ones who are physically blockaded and prevented at gunpoint from leaving their villages to get to their jobs, schools and agricultural fields even from accessing emergency medical care. In recent months, a number of Palestinians have died after being refused access to medical care outside their villages (i.e. for kidney dialysis, treatment of a burst appendix, childbirth, etc.) by soldiers at military checkpoints. These incidents are documented by Amnesty International as well as Israeli human rights organizations such as B'Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights. UNESCO, the U.S. government's Mitchell Report and the aforementioned Israeli human rights organizations all detail severe human rights violations by the Israeli army and settlers, including murder; torture; collective punishment; the systematic destruction of homes, fields and crops by settler arson; the uprooting of thousands of income-producing olive trees by Israeli military bulldozers; and the daily confiscation of Palestinian land.
Articles such as "Israel in pieces" only deflect attention away from the primary cause of this conflict the violent, immoral and illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands.

SUSAN RIVO
Arlington, Mass.

Pentagon feminists inch women closer to the front line

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) has a coveted advantage over other radical feminist groups ("Panel queries Army's plans for women," July 5). The top brass treats the committee as such a vital military asset that it gets Pentagon office space and even a dot-mil Internet address. Much more than that, it has the entire armed forces at its disposal to test its "ungendered" utopia. No university grant could come close to outfitting such a vast social-engineering laboratory.
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican, and other House Armed Services Committee members are correct to suspect DACOWITS is pushing women into combat. Rather than debate the issue head-on, DACOWITS is quietly greasing the skids by pressing for a redefinition of peripheral terms, such as "collocation." DACOWITS has asked the Army to discuss "collocation as it relates to … location of a unit on the battlefield, distance between units, time units remain together, command and support relationships."
It's a winning strategy: Inch women so close to the front line that when a real contingency breaks out, the decision as to whether women should be involved will be moot. Further, with redefinitions and explorations into military minutia, the difficult decision to put women in combat shifts from the shoulders of an individual to the desks of countless Defense Department bureaucrats.
The downside will be compromised military readiness, but, hey, we can't have everything.

BRUCE MOODY
Alexandria

Gun bill won't put gun shows on the rocks

In your July 2 story "Promoters cry foul over fine print of gun-show bill," the National Rifle Association (NRA) and some organized gun-show promoters oppose the McCain-Lieberman bill (the bipartisan, common-sense legislation requiring criminal background checks at gun shows) with the same arguments that bar and restaurant owners made when laws were pending to crack down on underage drinking and drunken driving. The tavern-keepers cried that the new laws would put them out of business. There are still plenty of bars and restaurants in America, and there will be plenty of gun shows after McCain-Lieberman becomes law.
If gun-show promoters and the NRA are opposed to requiring criminal background checks at gun shows, they should just come out and say so. Instead, they choose to hide behind hysterical and false claims that stopping criminals means ending gun shows.

JONATHAN COWAN
President
Americans for Gun Safety
Washington

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