THUMBS DOWN to Mazin Qumsiyeh for the many outright errors in his November 3, 2002 cover story, “The Cucumber and the Cactus,” in the Hartford Courant’s Northeast Magazine.
Qumsiyeh refers to “the terrorism started by the Jewish colonists in the early 1940s” and to “the expulsion of about two thirds of the Palestinians [in 1948].”
But terrorism was not initiated by the Jews — it was they who had long been the targets of Arab terrorism as far back as 1920. Forgotten in Qumsiyeh’s account too is the Hebron massacre of 1929 in which 59 Jewish men, women and children were killed–23 killed and dismembered in one house alone–and many others tortured and maimed.
Qumsiyeh contends Israel’s presence in the territories is “intended to force us off our lands,” ignoring not only the population boom among Palestinians but the Barak/Clinton offer of September 2000 to cede much of the territory.
Furthermore, how does Qumsiyeh explain the observation by Arafat’s senior lieutenant, Abu Mazen, that up to 300,000 have returned “to the homeland” since Oslo?
Equally false is Qumsiyeh’s statement, “Immediately after the 1967 war, any non-Jew outside of the areas occupied in 1967 lost his residency rights.” In fact, as of 1993, Israel had dispensed compensation to 12,692 people, and as of 2001, had allowed 184,000 refugees to return to the territories.
And so goes the remainder of the article, with distorted charges of Israeli injustice on a grand scale: of “arbitrary arrest, torture, disappearances, random killing, home demolitions and economic deprivation.”
Not once in all this is there mention of the Arab terror that has spawned Israeli acts of self-defense.
The author closes with a final analogy equating Israel with Apartheid South Africa, another nod to the standard propagandistic line about Israel.