Dear Congressman David Scott

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Thank you for your response to my concerns in reference to this latest violence on Israel’s invasion of Gaza. I appreciate your letter but there are many facts that you and I disagree.

The fighting didn’t begin on December 28th as you claim. The cease fire wasn’t initially violated by Hamas firing rockets into Israel. The fighting began on November 4th and it was Israel who violated the cease fire, not Hamas. [1]

Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed six Palestinians and injured several others.

Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December was used as justification for the Israeli bombardment, when in truth it was a direct response to the Israeli attacks.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Israel has killed over 1,300 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000. Over half of the casualties are civilians, and many are children. The IDF’s opening salvo on Dec. 27 took place as children were leaving school, and one of its primary targets that day was a large group of graduating police cadets, who hardly qualified as terrorists. In what Ehud Barak called “an all-out war against Hamas,” Israel has targeted a university, schools, mosques, homes, apartment buildings, government offices, and even ambulances.

And just recently we have learned that the Israelis violated international law and the Geneva Convention with its use of white phosphorous bombs resulting in the deaths and severe burns of hundreds of innocent men, women, and especially children. Where’s the outcry and where’s the media coverage? [2]

Instead of condemning this disproportionate response by the Israelis, you choose to blame Hamas for the violence, the same way most of our politicians have done. This is the kind of unbalanced Middle East Policy that has created a monster in the Middle East. There will never be any peace between the Arabs and the Israelis until someone in Washington has the nerve to make a change.

We talk about equal treatment for both sides but look at what we actually practice. We have one standard for the treatment of Israelis that is so high they cannot be criticized no matter what grisly crimes they commit. Then we have a second standard for the treatment of Palestinians that is so low we publicly finance their ethnic cleansing and torture. America has reasonably moral policies at home but our foreign policy is as corrupt, hypocritical, and violent as any of the third world dictatorships we love to look down upon and occasionally bomb.

Notes:

[1]. Israel breaks Gaza ceasefire, assassinates six
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9937.shtml

[2]. Israel admits troops may have used phosphorus shells in Gaza
World news | guardian.co.uk
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/
2009/jan/21/gaza-phosphorus-shells

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James J. David is a retired Brigadier General and a graduate of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington DC. He served as a Company Commander with the 101st Airborne Division in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970 and also served nearly 3 years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969. He is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).

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