Alumni respond to the editor

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By Emily Feldman

Rhea Howard is right in her assertion that an editorial writer has the right to express his or her opinion; however, an editorial writer is not entitled to print inaccurate facts. Howard should be ashamed that she wrote an op-ed laced with factual inaccuracies.

Howard falsely claims that Israel “was artificially created by the United Nations from land belonging to Palestine.” There has never been a country called Palestine in the Middle East. The land was subjected to the British Mandate from 1920 to 1948 and, before that, was controlled by the Ottoman Empire. The U.N. General Assembly Resolution 181 called for the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. It was approved on Nov. 29, 1947. The Jews in Palestine accepted the resolution, but the Arabs in the Palestine Mandate and surrounding Arab countries rejected it. Immediately after, the five surrounding Arab nations of Trans-Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq attacked Israel.

Howard states that Israel “launches attacks on Palestine, which result in countless civilian casualties—including children.” Israel’s attacks on Gaza and the West Bank have always been in response to terror attacks on its citizens. The Israeli Defense Forces are trained in warfare methodology to minimize civilian casualties, even at their own risk. In the rare event in which Israeli soldiers do attack civilians, they are forced to suffer the consequences.

Howard falsely claims that, “Hamas, a subsection of Palestinians who do not represent the nation as a whole, retaliate and also kill civilians.” Hamas does not just retaliate and kill citizens, their charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel, with phrases such as: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”  Hamas is not a subsection of Palestinians; they control all of Gaza. Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in 2006 in a democratic election and is still overwhelmingly popular. It is also a designated terrorist group according to the United States and the European Union.

It is interesting that Howard never differentiates between Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas controls only Gaza, not the West Bank—but something tells us she’s unaware of this basic fact that is at the center of the Arab-Israeli conflict. She also repeatedly refers to Palestine as a “nation,” which is inaccurate. If Palestine were a nation, this would all be a non-issue.

Howard falsely claims that “more Palestinian children are killed than Israeli children because Israel’s weapons are far more powerful than those used by Hamas.” More Palestinian children are killed than Israeli children because the Palestinians intentionally use civilians—including children—as human shields. In April of 2008 Hamas MP Fathi Hamad, who now is Hamas’ Interior Minister, proudly stated: “The Palestinian people … have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.” This shows their gross disregard for human life, even among their own people.

While apologizing for the terrorist group Hamas, Howard falsely claims that, “from a logical standpoint, it makes sense that they use terrorist tactics to confront Israel.” There is never anything logical about terrorism. Palestinian children are brought up to hate Jews and taught that their destruction is the only way to bring peace. There is nothing that seems logical to us about bringing your children up with such hatred. If Hamas acted rationally, it would come to the negotiating table and make progress with Israel towards a two-state solution. But since Hamas admits that it doesn’t believe Israel has a right to exist, it is unwilling to even have the conversation with Israel.

Howard claims that she is “in favor of a two-state solution and I do believe that with civil discourse this is possible.” However, nothing in her piece backs this up. The overwhelming majority of Israelis, including the Prime Minister, believe in a two-state solution.

Howard never acknowledges Israel’s efforts towards this goal.

These points highlight the most glaring inaccuracies in Howard’s op-ed. Howard should be embarrassed with this sloppy piece of journalism. One’s “opinion” should never be one that misconstrues history.

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