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April 14, 2002
A letter to the BBC

By Ruwieda Shakhshir


Once again, I would like to commend the BBC on your coverage of the ongoing violence in palestine and israel. Unlike most other media outlets, the BBC more frequently delineates the horrendous reality of Palestinian life under more than fifty years of devastating israeli occupation and often draws attention to obvious hyprocisies and falsities in israeli rhetoric. As your correspondent in washington, Justin Webb, pointed out earlier today, North Americans have great trouble acknowledging the rightful claims and justified complaints of the Palestinians, which I believe is a result of the blatant and disgusting bias of the American media. I would like to sincerely urge you to maintain your perspective and journalistic integrity, especially in light of the palestinian suicide in jerusalem today.

The importance of putting such acts into the historical context of the Palestinian people as a people that have been struggling to exist under Israeli occupation for the past fifty years cannot be stressed enough. Please do not miscontrue this support for such acts: I have friends who are Palestinians, Palestinian-Israelis, and Jewish Israelis and thus I understand that death, no matter on which side of the divide it falls on, is equally devastating, upsetting, heart-wrenching and detestable. However, the Palestinians have a right to self-determination, autonomy, and independence and this includes armed resistance against violent occupying forces.

In addition, given that the nature of Israeli occupation includes: the demolition of civilian houses, expropriation of Palestinian land for the purpose of expanding illegal settlements, imprisonment without fair trail, security checkpoints, identity cards, closures, the presence of armed military personel and heavy military equipment around and in Palestinian territories and many other terror-based tactics; it is shameful and hypocritical for anybody to accuse the Palestinians of inciting terror without also openly acknowledging that the Israeli government is, and has been for the past 50 yrs, using on the Palestinians policies that institutionalise terror in an attempt to force them to accept Israeli occupation and relinquish their legitimate struggle for independence.

Furthermore, it is imperative that the Israelis be forced to remember their own history with terrorism, or as im sure they would put it, their own struggle for independence, in order to encourage prudence and the cessation of callously hypocritical remarks about Palestinian resistance activities. the initial activities of Zionist terrorist groups, such as the Stern gang and the Irgun, in Palestine are well documented by many, including the British who, like the Palestinians, experienced zionist terrorism first hand. for example: the Stern-gang's most renown victim, Lord Moyne, was murdered in 1944; later in 1946, Irgun, under the command of Begin, blew up the King David Hotel, murdering 91 britons, arabs and jews; and in 1948, both terrorist organisations were responsible for the 1948 massacre at Deir Yassin, during which up to 250 innocent palestinian civilians were murdered.

As the author of "The Palestinian Catastrophe", Michael Palumbo wrote:It is ironic that the news media laments PLO terrorism but fails to mention that it was the Zionists who first used political terrorism in the Middle East.* Tim sebastien, in his interview on 'hardtalk' w/ Danny Naveh, did an excellent job of attempting to circumvent the empty, biased and ultimately false Israeli argument of 'Palestinian terror' as an excuse for this war for it honestly can be identified as nothing else - on the Palestinian people. The interview was commendable, one of the best on that I have ever seen, as Sebastien brought to the forefront issues that are of the utmost important - and yet are continuously disregarded in face of nonsensical Israeli rhetoric - such as: the obvious use of excessive force; mass murder and destruction; collective punishment; continued settlement building; perpetual occupation; and, the impact this aggression will have on future Palestinians and their desire to negotiate. However, I would frankly be very interested to hear what Israeli officials would say when reminded of their own romp in the hay with 'terrorism', which resulted in the successful abortion of Palestine and the birth of israel.

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