Dear New York Times,
I thought you did a tremendously good job with your editorial today
entitled "Violence on South African Farms." It's so good, in fact, that
with very minor modifications you could use it again. So I have taken the
liberty of rewriting it. I hope you won't mind that I changed the title to
"Violence in the Occupied Territories." My other changes are in [square
brackets] and I had to make a few minor deletions of information which was
Africa-specific. Otherwise it is more or less the same.
For easy reference, I included your original after my rewrite. Go ahead
and print it. No need to credit me.
Violence [in the Occupied Territories] (formerly "Violence on South
(A New York Times Editorial as Very Slightly Modified by Ali Abunimah)
Seven years after the [signing of the Oslo Accords], the depredations
of [Israeli] rule stubbornly persist [in the Occupied Territories],
where [three] million [Palestinians] endure deplorable living and
working conditions, meager wages and precarious terms of employment.
Frustrated expectations and insecurity have fueled disturbing levels
of violence in recent [months]. More than [two dozen Israeli settlers]
were murdered [in the last six months in attacks on settlements]. Many
hundreds of Palestinians, in turn, have been beaten and murdered by
[Jewish settlers] and [the Israeli army]. The violence reflects not
just lingering inequality and prejudice but a failing system of
criminal justice that is one of the most troubling [facts] of
[Israel's] racist [present].
[Israelis now control] most of the best land in [Israel and the
occupied territories]. During the colonial and [Zionist] eras,
millions of [Palestinians] were [and still are] forcibly removed from
their land. The government now led by [Prime Minister Ariel Sharon]
has established mechanisms for [entrenching] the inequitable
distribution of land. They include redistribution [to Jews] through
state [seizures of Palestinian owned land].
Many right-wing [Jewish settlers] believe that the escalation of
violent attacks against them is the result of a conspiracy
masterminded by [Palestinian] officials.
Meanwhile, [Palestinian] workers and their families have faced
mounting intimidation and violence from [Jewish settlers] and their
agents. The problem is compounded by a severely strained criminal
justice system plagued by brutality, corruption and racism. [Israel's]
Apartheid judges and police still permeate the system. Deference
toward [Israeli Jews] and indifference to crimes against
[Palestinians] remain commonplace.
Responding to pressure from well-organized [Jewish settlers], the
government instituted a "[settler] protection plan" that relies on a
network of armed, [Jewish vigilantes], many of them police and army
reservists, who have been implicated in vigilante crimes against
[Palestinians], including murder.
There is a clear need for re-evaluation of [Israel's policies].
Part-time civilians armed by the state must be brought under proper
control, and held accountable for abuses. Ultimately, significant
additional resources and training for both the police and the
judiciary will have to be found, [but first there must be an end to