HOW ABOUT JUS­TICE FOR IS­RAEL FOR PRO­VID­ING FUEL FOR GAZA?

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

Whilst the con­cern of Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans is ad­mirable, I feel I must clar­ify some grave mis­con­cep­tions: their ad­ver­tise­ment ( JC, April 18) claims that the block­ade on Gaza is “col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment” which is “il­le­gal un­der in­ter­na­tional law”. How­ever, Is­rael is un­der no le­gal obli­ga­tion to pro­vide Gaza with any­thing — wa­ter, elec­tric­ity, food, medicine or fuel — as it uni­lat­er­ally with­drew in 2005.

There is no le­gal obli­ga­tion for any coun­try which once oc­cu­pied a nonsovereign ter­ri­tory to pro­vide it with any goods. Un­der the same think­ing, Egypt would be legally com­pelled to do the same. As such, any­thing that Is­rael does pro­vide to Gaza is not by le­gal com­pul­sion, but out of hu­man­i­tar­ian con­cern. In­deed, Is­rael con­tin­ues to pro­vide aid and to al­low Gazans into Is­rael for med­i­cal treat­ment. Per­haps this is not enough, but it is none­the­less re­mark­able for a coun­try, in this sit­u­a­tion, to pro­vide it with even a grain of salt, let alone fuel (given that half of it may be used by Ha­mas for its rock­ets on Sderot).

What Is­rael is legally com­pelled to do is not to ob­struct the pas­sage of aid from ex­ter­nal sources. How­ever, when Is­rael halts the smug­gling of 6.5 tons of po­tas­sium ni­trate for mak­ing dy­na­mite, dis­guised in sugar pack­ets la­belled “EU as­sis­tance”, it is Ha­mas which breaks the laws of in­ter­na­tional fair play and twists Is­rael’s hand into ex­tend­ing fur­ther re­stric­tions.

When the Pales­tini­ans elect a guer­rilla force into gov­ern­ment, they must bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ac­tions of those elected in their name. When a body acts in the ca­pac­ity of a na­tion state but re­fuses to ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity and cul­pa­bil­ity of a na­tion state, it is that body which must be held ac­count­able for what it brings upon its peo­ple.

Ha­mas’s mas­tery in pro­pa­ganda is as­ton­ish­ing — and we are said to con­trol the world me­dia! They have peo­ple, in­clud­ing JfJfP, be­liev­ing that Is­rael should re­spond to Ha­mas’s over­tures of ne­go­ti­a­tion based on the ’67 borders, for­get­ting the caveat that they want a full re­turn for refugees. I have pity and con­tempt for those who be­lieve Ha­mas is a vi­able peace part- ner when its con­di­tions for peace are, first, Is­rael’s po­lit­i­cal sui­cide, and then its geno­cide at the hands of Ha­mas.

Ku­dos to the JC for pub­lish­ing the ad. At least it re­futes Avi Sh­laim’s re­cent claims that we are “sti­fling de­bate” and free speech. Ey­lon Levy ey­lon­levy@google­mail.com

It would be a real Pe­sach mir­a­cle if we could see a full-page ad­ver­tise­ment from Pales­tini­ans for Jus­tice for Jews. Alas, no such or­gan­i­sa­tion ex­ists, which is sig­nif­i­cant in it­self!

In­stead we are treated to a perver­sion of “the En­dur­ing Mes­sage of Pe­sach” with no men­tion of the Eleventh Plague — the Kas­sam rock­ets which the res­i­dents of Sderot must daily en­dure. We are fur­ther asked to “re­spond to the Ha­mas of­fer of a cease­fire”, which is su­per­fi­cially se­duc­tive but is ac­tu­ally a pre­scrip­tion for catas­tro­phe. It would en­able Ha­mas — surely the present-day Amalakites — to up­grade its mis­sile in­fra­struc­ture, smug­gle in ad­vanced weaponry and send its mem­bers abroad for train­ing as well as re­new­ing hos­til­i­ties at a time of its choos­ing.

I do not know the cost of a full-page ad, but the monies spent would surely be bet­ter em­ployed in al­le­vi­at­ing the suf­fer­ing of both Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans caught up in the present con­flict. Malvyn Ben­jamin Dow­nage, Lon­don NW4

JfJfP must be un­der the im­pres­sion that they are the only Jews who pray for peace in the Mid­dle East. Most Jews would, be­grudg­ingly, ac­cept a to­tal Is­raeli with­drawal from the West Bank if it would guar­an­tee peace. But that guar­an­tee will not be given, es­pe­cially by Ha­mas which does not wish for ne­go­ti­a­tions “based on the 1967 borders” but based on the elim­i­na­tion of the Jewish state. It should also be re­mem­bered that past ne­go­ti­a­tions — the 1937 Peel Com­mis­sion, UN Res­o­lu­tion 181 of 1947 and the Camp David ne­go­ti­a­tions of 2000 — have led di­rectly to even greater tragedy for both sides in the shape of, re­spec­tively, a deeper Arab up­ris­ing; a war; and the sec­ond in­tifada. One must ask JfJfP why would this time be any dif­fer­ent from all other times? Richard Mil­lett rmill­boy@aol.com

We should all wel­come the ad­mis­sion by JfJfP that the vi­o­lence in Gaza, Sderot and Ashkelon was ini­ti­ated by Ha­mas, and that the Is­raeli re­sponse was self-defence. A ques­tion re­mains. Few read­ers of the JC vote in Is­rael, serve in the army or are vi­o­lent to Pales­tini­ans. I doubt the lead­ers of Ha­mas or Hizbol­lah see the JC. Surely JfJfP should put their ad­ver­tise­ment where the peo­ple they wish to in­flu­ence will see it? If not, I am afraid their doc­u­ment reeks of emo­tional self-in­dul­gence. Bryan Reuben Claver­ley Grove, Lon­don N3

Nu, what’s com­mon to Ne­turei Karta and Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans? The for­mer are mo­ti­vated by re­li­gious fer­vour, the lat­ter by mis­guided sec­u­lar zeal. The end re­sult is iden­ti­cal: has­ten­ing the end of the only Jewish state. JfJfP is urg­ing us to “re­spond to the Ha­mas of­fer of cease­fire”. The Ara­bic lan­guage has a dozen words for our “cease­fire”, each with a dif­fer­ent mean­ing. Ha­mas’ prof­fered one is: We agree to stop killing you while we re­group, rearm and wait till we spot a weak­ness in Is­rael, then de­liver the fa­tal blow. This is ex­actly what JfJfP are urg­ing your read­ers to ac­cept. A Soudry Glas­gow G77

At the end of your story on the Ham & High ac­cept­ing ad­verts from the BNP, there were two para­graphs on the JC ad­vert from JfJfP. The un­mis­tak­able in­fer­ence was that JfJfP and the BNP are sim­i­lar pari­ahs in the Jewish com­mu­nity, dif­fer­ent only in that the JC (ap­par­ently with heavy heart) prints ad­verts from the for­mer. I was not a sig­na­tory to the JfJfP ad­vert, but I do not ac­cept that its call for jus­tice to­wards the Pales­tini­ans at Pe­sach nec­es­sar­ily equates to sup­port for the racist far right. It is pre­cisely th­ese kind of semi-hys­ter­i­cal in­sults that dis­fig­ure our Jewish com­mu­nity. Dr Keith Kahn-Har­ris kkahn­har­ris@blueyon­der.co.uk

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