The Sun’s editorial, “A dangerous turning point in Israel” (July 8) notes the arrest of six Israelis for the killing of a Palestinian teenager and “strong words from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others” condemning the crime. It adds that these actions “should send a message to militants and radicals on both sides that the growing vigilantism in Israel and the occupied territories will not be tolerated.”
The equivalence is false. The kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, subsequently found murdered, was widely celebrated last month in Palestinian society. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ criticism of the crime was itself widely criticized by his public. Palestinian Authority media continued almost daily anti-Israel incitement, including a portrayal of the murdered teens as “vermin.”
From Arab rejection of a “two-state solution” proposed by the British in 1937 through rejection of the U.N.’s 1947 partition plan to the present the conflict has been, in no small measure, an Arab war — hot or cold — against a Jewish state in any boundaries. Hamas and now reportedly some Fatah units are firing rockets at the “settlements” of Sderot and Ashkelon — towns inside Israel’s pre-1967 lines.
The editorial says Mr. Netanyahu “was slower to speak out” about the Abu Khdeir killing than Muhammed’s relatives wanted. In fact, shortly after the body of the Palestinian teenager was found on July 2, the prime minister called on Israelis to obey the law and asked investigators to quickly look into what he called “the abominable murder.” On July 3, Mr. Netanyahu pledged to find the perpetrators and described the killing as “a despicable crime.” But the Hamas members suspected of killing the Israeli teens have vanished, although the mother of one says that if he is indeed guilty, she will be proud.
The Sun worries about a lack of empathy among Israelis as well as Palestinian Arabs for those on the other side. Does it know that while Arabs celebrated the kidnapping of the Jewish teens, an Israeli cardiology unit saved the lives of five Palestinian youngsters — and neither side found either development unusual?
Eric Rozenman, Washington, D.C.
The writer is Washington Director of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.