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Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

An open letter to Dar Al-Hayat-LBC political editor, Zaki Chehab

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About Maurice Ostroff
 

From Maurice Ostroff                     August 9, 2006

 

As an Israeli, I am writing to you in your capacity as political editor of Al Hayat-LBC TV and consequently as a man of great influence in the present tragic conflagration overwhelming both our countries. 


Hezbollah's frequently declared objectives are to obtain the release of Lebanese prisoners in Israel and to recover the Shaba's Farms area for Lebanon.


Referring to your August 8 interview on Sky News, some savvy viewers ask how you justify your statement that the Shaba's  Farms area is Lebanese territory and that Hezbolah was therefore fully justified in starting the conflict in order to gain this small area.
 
It is difficult to understand your contention since the UN has ruled unambiguously that the Shabas Farms area is Syrian and that its fate is subject to future Israeli-Syrian negotiations in terms of resolution 242; a view confirmed for example by Lebanese journalist Khairallah Khairallah. In an article in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), April 11, 2005 he wrote that Hezbollah uses the Shabas Farms as a pretext for perpetuating Lebanon as an arena for regional struggle, adding that at the time Israel occupied the Farms in 1967 they were under Syrian control.

 

I hope you will agree that if Hezbollah believes the UN ruling was incorrect, the proper forum for attempting to effect a reversal would be representations to the UN, rather than sparking a violent conflagration. After all, Arab causes are always assured of overwhelming support in that body.


Instead, Hezbollah accumulated a huge arsenal of sophisticated weaponry at huge cost during the past six years and has continued to fire missiles on Israeli civilian populations throughout that period. The final provocation, which came on July 12, has caused enormous human misery. Hundreds of people have been killed and more are dying hourly. I use the word people deliberately, not Israelis nor Lebanese, because human misery is human misery. Parents are burying their children in reversal of the natural order. Thousands are maimed, millions displaced from their homes, careers wrecked and businesses and properties destroyed.
 
In an effort to bring about an early cessation of this awful state of affairs, I ask you sir, to use your position of influence in a positive manner by conducting  an urgent poll among viewers of LBC-TV and readers of Al-Hayat asking

 

a)  If winning the Shaba Farms is WORTH all the pain and suffering

 

b)  Would it not be more beneficial to all, if the hundreds of  millions of dollars spent on sophisticated  weaponry by Hezbolah, be diverted for education, hospitals and creating industries which will provide jobs.

 

c) If they would call on Hezbollah to allow implementation of SC resolution 1559 immediately so that the carnage can stop NOW.
Hezbollah has the fate of millions of people in its hands. Why prolong the agony one hour longer?



I would appreciate receiving your considered reply


Maurice Ostroff



 
 

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