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Israel and Her Neighbors

Sim Prystowsky

Ernest Cassara, in his screed against Israel [Harvard Square Observer, February 6, 2006], could find nothing decent to write about the Jewish state.  He had no trouble in praising Hamas, which he is reluctant to call a terrorist group, putting the word "terrorist" in quotes.  ("If Hamas is a 'terrorist' group, as the Israel government claims...") No, Mr. Cassara, there is no "if".  Just about every democracy in the world has labeled Hamas a terrorist group and not without cause.  It has sent suicide (homicide) bombers into Israel specifically to murder Jewish civilians -- men, women and children - afterwards, referring to the murderers as martyrs.
Mr Cassara cannot understand why our government does not favor a group that preaches hatred of the Jews and their elimination.

Tell me , Mr. Cassara, were Mexico or Canada, our neighbors, to behave as Hamas does would you expect the US government to stand idly by and not take measures to protect its citizenry?  Of course there are checkpoints and  barriers in Israel and in the disputed territories, How else would you protect yourself from armed terrorist who have sworn to wipe you off the face of the earth and who have demonstrated that they mean literally what their platform proclaims.  And, yes, even assassination of Hamas' leadership could be defended.  Consider how the world would be better off had some of the totalitarian rulers who, having instigated and practiced "ethnic cleansing",been eliminated, before they had the opportunity to have so much innocent blood on their hands.

Let's face it.  Israel today does not have a negotiating partner so long as  Hamas is the ruling party.. One does not sit down with a leader, who in every utterance, indicates that there cannot be peace in the Middle East so long as Israel exists.  And the reason Israel did not consider President Mahmoud Abbas a legitimate negotiating partner, is because he would not (or could not) crack down on Hamas and disarm them.

Mr. Cassara is troubled by Israel's "overwhelming forces". Israel is surrounded by enemies and potential enemies, and only by being well armed can it manage to survive in that neighborhood. And let us not forget how much the West benefits from Israel's strong presence in the region, especially these days when Iran has begun to flex its muscles .

Mr. Cassara charged that "Israel want to hang on to the land seized from the Palestinians". Has he forgotten how Israel came into possession of this land?  Has he forgotten that 5 Arab nations attacked Israel in '48 '56 and '67 and lost?  Since when does the victor who had been attacked return land to the enemy?.  Name one country that repelled attacks and then gave back the land it gained in battle without receiving a solid promise for peace?

One last point, Mr. Cassara writes that he was part of a fact -finding group in Israel that helped "one keep a balanced prospective on Israeli Palestinian affairs".  Whatever one concludes about Mr. Cassara's article, one thing is absolutely clear -  he did not write a balanced perspective.



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