SIGNATORIES OF THE GAZA-BLOCKADE AD REPLY TO THEIR JC CRITICS
As a signatory of the Jews for Justice for Palestinians advertisement on Gaza, I must correct Eylon Levy’s assertion that “Israel has no legal obligation for provide Gaza with anything... as it unilaterally withdraw in 2005” ( Letters, April 25). As a matter of fact Israel neither withdrew in 2005, nor indeed suggested that withdrawal was its intention.
Under the disengagement plan issued by the Cabinet on June 6, 2004, the future status of Gaza is dealt with in section B (3) entitled “security situation following the relocation”. Paragraph (1) reads: “The state of Israel will guard and monitor the external land perimeter of the Gaza Strip, will continue to maintain exclusive authority in Gaza airspace and will continue to exercise security activity in the sea off the coast of the Gaza strip.”
Thus the military control of Gaza that began in June 1967 continued after what Israel called variously “disengagement” or “relocation” from Gaza. As a consequence the occupation of Gaza continues and Israel remains obliged by the relevant provisions of the Hague and Geneva Conventions for the welfare of the civilian population under occupation.
It is in Israel’s hands to end this situation immediately by unconditionally withdrawing from all the territory it occupied in 1967. John Strawson University of East London Stratford High Street, London E15
There was by no means any “admission” in the JC advertisement that “the violence in Gaza, Sderot or Ashkelon was initiated by Hamas and that the Israeli response was self-defence”, as is claimed by Byran Reuben ( Letters, April 25). To quote the actual words of the ad: “We condemn all violence against civilians, whether Israeli or Palestinian. We also insist that the rocket attacks on Sderot and Ashkelon cannot justify the scale of death and suffering wrought by Israel’s action against Gaza. The blockade of Gaza will simply perpetuate the vicious cycle of terror rooted in the long Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestinian land.”
This makes clear the root cause of the cycle of terror, in which Israel’s retaliation for Palestinian revenge at- tacks is grossly disproportionate and only produces more violence against Israeli civilians. Deborah Maccoby Clapton, London E5
I do worry when “free speech” has to be bought at the price of several thousand pounds before it can appear. It would be even better if the content was what was debated rather than the permissibility of making it in the first place. The JC has carried adverts from JfJfP and other peace groups before and has not felt the need for an exceptional editorial as on this occasion. The same issue was accompanied by an interesting and varied collection of articles in the magazine celebrating 60 years of Israel’s independence. Where was the editorial comment on the acceptance of adverts there — including one censured recently by the Advertising Standards Authority for suggesting that the Occupied West Bank constituted part of Israel? Where is the editorial comment on the acceptance of adverts in the magazine (and in a recent property supplement) on the acceptance of adverts promoting homes for sale in the Occupied Territories? Dan Judelson Chair, Jews for Justice for Palestinians firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent JfJfP advertisement with its traditional Pesach message drawing attention to hunger, suffering and affliction has evoked some “traditional” responses from contributors to your letters pages.
First there was the casuistical son. What did he say? “What occupation? Gaza’s no longer occupied. Everyone knows that.” Then there was the rapeapologist son. What did he say? “Look at the way these Arabs carry on. They just ask for it. So we give it to them.”
Then there was the simply paranoid-racist son. What did he say? “The Arabs, they’re just out to get us. That’s what they’re brought up to.”
And what of those other thousands of sons and daughters, readers of the JC? Their personal sense of decency is in such conflict with their identification with Israel that they are silent. They know not how to ask its government: “Why are you doing this to the people of Gaza?” That is why we have to ask for them. Murray Glickman Ilford, Essex
These words at the opening of the Haggadah: “This is the bread of affliction, let all who are hungry enter and partake thereof”, have a particular resonance for me as, perhaps, for many Jews.
This year, as I read them, I felt the horror of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Together with the fuel blockade which is making the delivery of food by UNRWA all but impossible, the siege is inducing real starvation. This strategy was developed by Ariel Sharon’s henchman, Dov Weissglas, who laughingly said Israel would put “the people of Gaza on a diet”. This demonstrates that Israel, who controls all access to Gaza since its “withdrawal” in 2005, is responsible directly for the damage it is inflicting on a subject population.
It is therefore reasonable to enquire how far our own Jewish community goes in its efforts to react to our sages’ plea to dispel hunger, especially at Passover. If the responses of the letter writers and the extraordinary JC editorial, castigating those, like me, who signed the JfJfP advertisement, are anything to go by, it would seem that many in mainstream British Jewry have little awareness of our proud heritage of social justice.
I read with anguish the insensitive letters trying to defend this wholly indefensible siege and would say that if we Jews are so immune to the suffering cries of those over whom we hold dominion, we are indeed, as a community, in desperate straits. Diana Neslen D.Neslen@dsl.pipex.com
When fringe groups like JfJfP place full-page ads in our national newspapers, such as the one that appeared in the JC before Peasach, the response must take the same format, so that the lies, distortions and absence of context are exposed to the same readers. There is no better use of funds for Israel’s hasbarah, for silence is invariably interpreted as a tacit admission of guilt. Roslyn Pine Upper Park Road, Manchester