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Getting Facts Straight

Editor, News-Register:

I don’t think I have ever met Bill Bryant of St. Clairsville, but I can tell by his letter of 5/19, entitled “Restrain Netanyahu,” that he is a caring person with compassion, who would like people around the world have better lives. However, much of what he said in his letter is incomplete or in error.

He spoke of the Balfour Declaration and “in 1948 the United Nations mandated there be two-existing, peaceful states…” Mr. Bryant is absolutely correct when he said the 1917 Balfour Declaration was for the establishment of a “national homeland for the Jewish people” in Palestine. At that time “Palestine” consisted of 45,560 square miles of land. The British, in 1921, unilaterally cut off 77% of that to create Transjordan, which later became Jordan. At the same time an additional 1% of the land was given to Syria.

The United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 181 in 1947. General Assembly resolutions are non-binding. Res. 181 called for giving 56% of the remaining approx. 10,023 sq. mi. to the Jews and the rest to the Arabs. Thus the Jews would have received roughly 12% or about 5,613 of the original 45,560 sq. mi. Both sides were unhappy with the plan. The Jews accepted, but the Arabs did not. Since both sides did not agree, Res. 181 became part of history.

Mr. Bryant mistakenly states Palestinians living in Israel proper have few civil rights. Palestinians living in Israel have the same rights as Jews. Palestinians work in all capacities in the private sector. They work in municipal governments, serve in the military and some have risen to be high ranking officers, and many have been elected to Israel’s Knesset (Parliament.) There are laws stating Palestinians must be paid the same as Jews.

Under the Oslo Peace Accords, Judea and Samaria, aka “The West Bank,” was divided into three parts; Areas A, B, and C. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has control of Areas A & B. 98% of Palestinians in the West Bank are living under the rule of the PA. At the time Israel handed it over, it was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Under the Israelis, Arab infant deaths decreased, the life expectancy of Arab men and women went up, and there was more running water there than any single Arab country. Area C is under full Israeli control.

The PA pays monthly “wages” to the families of Palestinian terrorists who died while killing Jews or are serving time in Israeli prisons. The more Jews killed and/or the longer the prison term, the higher the wage.

The family of an imprisoned terrorist would receive the following:

$1,070/mo. if serving a 10-year term, $1,872/mo. for a 20-year term, and $2,674/mo. for a 30-year term.

He would get an additional $80/mo. per wife and $13/mo. per child. If he was a resident of Israel, it would entitle him to an additional $134/mo. and, if living in Jerusalem, he would get another $80/mo.

This is what is known as “pay for slay.”

Israel does not retaliate by killing family members of terrorists, but it has a standing policy to demolish the homes of killers. This has helped diminish terrorism.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, after dealing with repeated violence in Gaza, decided to unilaterally pull out of Gaza. It was completed in 2005 against the will of the 8,000 Israelis, some of whom had to be forcibly removed. Thus Gaza could be called Palestine.

As soon as Israel completed its pullout, Gazans destroyed hundreds of greenhouses Israel specifically left behind for Arab farmers. Other buildings which could have been used for municipal purposes, were also destroyed.

After an election won by Hamas, but not accepted by the PA, Hamas forcibly took control in 2007. Since then the PA and Hamas have been positioning for control of Gaza. The PA, responsible for public employees’ salaries, quit making payments. Then the PA cut payments for electric purchased from Israel.

The “demonstrations” referred to are at the Gaza border fence, and in reality, are RIOTS. Hamas buses the people there, brings the rocks, tires, guns, and other items to be used as weapons; and encourages Gazans to breach the border to kill Jews.

In January, the Meir Amit Institute and Terrorism Center in Israel found over the period of 42 weeks, 187 people were killed and 150 were affiliated with Hamas or other terrorist groups. The worst day of violence was on May 14, 2018 when 62 were killed. Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official, admitted that 50 of the dead were members of Hamas.

Israel goes out of its way to try to protect innocents. British Col. (Ret.) Richard Kemp told the United Nations Human Rights Council, there has never “been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties” and on another occasion he said ‘that the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) possesses a unique morality unparalleled in other militaries.”

Time and time again, billions of dollars have been funneled into Gaza to rebuild it. But not all of the money is spent for that purpose, much of it is wasted trying to destroy Israel. Too little is used to meet the needs of the population. Instead of building homes, Hamas builds tunnels. Egypt and Israel have a “blockade” in the waters of Gaza. The sole purpose is to prevent missiles and other weapons from entering Gaza. Hundreds of truckloads of goods, after being checked for smuggled weapons, pass through Egyptian and Israeli checkpoints every day. More could be done for its people if Hamas did not squander its financial resources. If Gaza is a “hellhole,” Hamas is the reason.

America’s military and coalition forces are indeed fortunate that the IDF bombed nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007. Both were purported by the international community to have military applications. Israel doesn’t want war with Iran, but it does want to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Can you imagine what might happen if Iran had nuclear weapons and provided them to all of its proxies; Hezbollah, Hamas, its Revolutionary Guard, and Syria? Some might even find their way to South America where Iran and Hezbollah have a presence!

Stuart V. Pavilack, executive director

Zionist Organization of America

Pittsburgh

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