You will also recall that when Israel disengaged from the Gaza strip, American Jewish donors
bought more than 3,000 greenhouses from Israeli settlers in Gaza
for $14 million and transferred them to the Palestinian Authority. Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who brokered
the deal, put up $500,000 of his own cash.
The greenhouses were a centerpiece of Palestinian
plans for rebuilding Gaza after 38 years of Israeli occupation and were slated to provide jobs
and export income for Gaza.
But on Sept. 13, 2005 MSNBC reported
that Palestinians looted the greenhouses walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps and plastic sheeting in a blow to
fledgling efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.
4. THE ANC, THE PLO and HAMAS
your empathy for the PLO as fellow freedom fighters is understandable, the parallels between the ANC struggle against apartheid
and the Palestinian struggle are not congruent. Whereas the ANC Charter nobly states "South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international
disputes by negotiation - not war" article 9 of the PLO Charter declares the direct opposite. It states bluntly that the armed
struggle is not merely tactical, it is the overall strategy. The Hamas charter leaves no doubt that there is absolutely no
room for peaceful negotiation. Article 13 unambiguously states, "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international
conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. There is no solution for the Palestinian
question except through Jihad.”
Nor would the ANC tolerate the incitement to indiscriminate violence against
uninvolved civilians, (women, children and invalids alike), which continues in mosques and PA controlled media and is taught
in schools from the earliest age.
THE CONTINUING INCARCERATION OF GILAD SHALIT
While writing, I am tempted to appeal to
your eminent group of sincere persons dedicated to preventing human rights abuses, to assist in relieving the suffering of
Gilad Shalit, who is not even permitted a visit by the Red Cross.
By way of contrast, Palestinian prisoners
in Israel enjoy visitation rights, including
conjugal visits, access to telephones, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts, lawyers' visits and even academic studies
at state expense.
The continued mental torture of Shalit’s
family compounds the crime immeasurably. What greater torture can there be than tormenting parents with 24/7 anxiety for three
years about whether their son is dead, and if alive in what condition? To compound
the heinous crime, Hamas recently held a public rally during which a boy dressed in IDF uniform masqueraded as Gilad Shalit
reading a letter in Hebrew, telling the jeering crowd, how he misses his parents.
No human being with a conscience can refuse
to protest this diabolical cruelty.
6. ISRAEL and APARTHEID
like most states in the world, including South Africa,
is far from perfect. We have our warts, but apartheid is not one of them. The
recent brouhaha in Israel about certain
religious schools in Petach Tikvah refusing to accept some Ethiopian pupils allocated to them, is an excellent example, not
of Israeli racism as many have eagerly rushed to exclaim, but the exact opposite. Immediate,
vigorous protests by Members of Knesset, the media and the general public soon reversed the situation, evidencing a committed
adherence to the concept of equality enshrined in the Declaration of the State which declares that Israel will "ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all
its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex"
The litmus test is that, in complete
contrast to the despised South African laws, which enforced apartheid, the Israel
high court upholds the civil rights of all citizens without distinction. Nevertheless, one can always find a few parallels
between Israel and apartheid; as one can with almost any other country,
even the new South Africa. Only today
it was reported that a South African was granted refugee status in Canada.
more closely resembles an apartheid state than Israel.
For example, Trevor Phillips, leader of the Commission for Racial Equality has warned that British society is becoming more
divided by race and religion and that the nightmare of fully fledged ghettos could happen in the country.
based Independent Race and Refugee News Network (IRR) produced statistics revealing that in 2003-04, there were 52,694 racist
incidents and an alarming increase in racially motivated murders as well as a devastatingly high incidence of Black deaths
in custody. Their reports also show that the percentage of persons living in unfit dwellings is much higher for all ethnic
minority groups than for their white counterparts. Sounds very much like apartheid does it not?
Of course, any informed logical person
realizes that these statistics, quoted out of context, reflect a completely unrealistic picture of Britain, with its laudable history of racial tolerance, universal justice and strenuous
efforts to ensure racial equality.
An unblinkered visit to an Israeli hospital
will convince the most biased individual about the complete absence of any form of racial discrimination. Arab and Jewish
doctors collaborate easily and in some hospitals Arabs outnumber Jewish patients. Especially noticeable after bombing incidents,
is the equal treatment given to victims and perpetrators. An Israeli nurse has been quoted saying, “All patients are
human beings, but sometimes when we experience these terrible deeds and see the mangled bodies of victims, we have to suppress
our emotions when treating the perpetrators. It is so difficult to understand how they can do the inhuman things they do”
The Hadassah Medical Organization treats
thousands of patients of diverse ethnic backgrounds annually, without any trace of discrimination. Its international reputation
for promoting peace in the Middle East region by providing equal treatment to Palestinians
and Israelis was recognized by nomination for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
Does this remotely resemble the apartheid
we knew in South Africa?
As Nelson Mandela remarked when the Elders
was formed, your group can speak freely and boldly, indicating that you are not required to defer to stereotyped popular prejudices
and preconceived opinions, nor to use misleading mantras like "occupation" and "apartheid" but rather to dig deeper for the
truth, so that in Mandela's words, together you will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there
is conflict, and inspire hope where there is despair.
May I respectfully suggest sir, that
you refer to two short video presentations that I submitted to the Goldstone Mission, containing some information not readily
available in mainstream media They are available at
This open letter is being publicized as
will any response I hope to receive from you.