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Letter to editor: False facts used in article

Dear Editor,

Mary MacDonald and Leah Aubrecht, in their article published March 11, titled ” Re: on the neglect of Palestinian suffering,” make a series of falsifications of history that must be corrected.

They are disputing the statement made by Professor Amal Ghazal about the Palestinian people being the indigenous people of Palestine. The historic facts speak for themselves. The Palestinian people of today are the descendants of the Canaanites and Jebusites and other tribes that lived in that land since history began. This fact is confirmed by Professor Maxime Rodinson, who is Jewish and was professor of history at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He stated:

“The Arab population of Palestine was native in all the senses of the word and their roots in Palestine can be traced back at least forty centuries.” [Maxime Rodinson. [“Israel and The Arabs.”Pelican. 1968].

Furthermore, the authors claim that the Arabs were the aggressors in the Six-Day War, in June 1967, and Israel is allowed legally to acquire the occupied land. The fact is that it was Israel that waged that war of aggression in 1967, against Egypt, Syria and Jordan. This fact is confirmed by the statements of Israeli leaders at the time, denying the claim that President Nasser of Egypt was preparing to wage a war of aggression against Israel in June 1967:

Yitzhak Rabin, chief of staff of the Israeli army at the time, stated: ” I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to the Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” {Le Monde, Feb.28,1968}.

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol stated: ” The Egyptian layout in the Sinai and the general military build- up there testified to a military defensive Egyptian set-up, south of Israel” [ Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 18,1967].

Modechai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet minister at the time, stated: ” All this story about the danger of extermination [of Israel in June 1967] has been a complete invention and has been blown up a posteriori to justify the annexation of Arab territory” [ Al Hamishmar, 14 April 1972,  and quoted in Le Monde,  3 June 1972].

Menachem Begin, a cabinet minister in June 1967, stated, while prime minister, addressing Israel’s National Defence College, on Aug.8,1982: ” In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai did not prove Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with our selves. We decided to attack him” [The N.Y.Times, Aug.21,1982].

As to ” Syrian provocative attacks,” let us let Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Minister of Defence at the time, tell us the facts as reported by Serge Schmemann [ The N.Y. Times. May 11, 1997 ]: ” He [Moshe Dayan] said he regretted not having stuck to his initial opposition to storming the Golan Heights. There really was no pressing reason to do so, because many of the firefights with the Syrians were deliberately provoked by Israel, and the kibbutz residents, who pressed the Government to take the Golan Heights, did so less for security than for the farmland…I know how at least 80% of the clashes were started. We would send a tractor to plow some area, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. and then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that is how it was”.

I think the Gazette readers deserve to know the facts, so that they can make fair judgments and balanced views.

Yours sincerely,

Ismail Zayid, MD.

Retired professor, Dalhousie University.


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