On June 7, 2010, the Baltimore Sun published a letter by CAMERA Washington Director Eric Rozenman clarifying errors in an editorial that was published a few days earlier. The letter is below:
The Sun’s editorial “A way forward for Israel” (June 2) alleges, among other things, that:
“Last year’s conflict between Israel and Hamas has already been devastating to the territory [Gaza Strip]. That’s why humanitarian aid is so desperately needed there.”
The December 2008-January 2009 battle between Israel and Hamas in Gaza left the large majority of the territory untouched. Israeli forces avoided most built-up areas. As for the “desperate need for humanitarian aid,” there is none. Israel blockades weapons, dual purpose civilian-combatant items and construction material that could be used by Hamas for bunkers and other sites. It has permitted importation, in the past few months alone, of nearly 3,000 tons of clothing and shoes; more than 1,000 tons of medicine and medical equipment; 155 tons of food, and 17 million liters of diesel fuel. In recent years Gaza and the West Bank have become the world’s largest per capita destination for international aid.
“What is required now is a means to get humanitarian supplies to Gaza that does not conflict with Israel’s legitimate security needs. One alternative would be to agree on a third party, perhaps a United Nations representative, to inspect cargo.”
Never mind that sufficient humanitarian supplies get to Gaza. The idea of third party inspection, especially by the United Nations, already has failed. After Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, it agreed to a U.S. arrangement whereby third parties would monitor the Egyptian-Gaza crossing at Rafah to prevent passage by terrorists, with Israelis observing by remote camera. This quickly broke down. Following the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, thousands of U.N. troops were deployed to uphold Security Council resolutions forbidding Hezbollah rearmament. They’ve failed utterly.
“The raid has already devastated diplomatic relations with Turkey, Israel’s closest friend in the Muslim world.” Turkey was “Israel’s closest friend in the Muslim world” but has not been for several years. Its current government, moving from the country’s previous secular and Western orientation and toward Islamic fundamentalism, courting Iran as it goes, looks for opportunities to distance itself from Israel. The leadership of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Fund — a group with links to Hamas and previously reported ties to Al-Qaeda — in the Gaza flotilla is not something a close friend would tolerate.
The Sun opines that “as long as Hamas is in power, Israel is justified in maintaining some sort of blockade, but continuing to try to enforce it alone is a recipe for more debacles like this one.” Who else would assist? The editorial can’t say, but it looks for “all involved … to make a few reasonable compromises.” That would include Iranian-backed Hamas, dedicated to Israel’s destruction and the death of the Jewish people?
Eric Rozenman, Washington
The writer is Washington Director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.