The following letter was published on Jan. 12, 2009 in USA Today:
Roots of the conflict
Eric Rozenman, Washington director, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America – Washington
USA TODAY’s editorial on Gaza [January 7] misstated cause and effect. There is no “cycle” of “Israel punishing innocent Palestinians in response to terrorism, inevitably stirring up more resentment and retaliation.”
From September 2000 to September 2002 of the Al-Aqsa intifada, about 80% of Israel’s fatalities were non-combatants, while 54% of Palestinian fatalities were combatants and 12% of Palestinians were killed by their own side. The side targeting innocents has been the Palestinian.
There have not been “years of punishments” engendering “animosity toward Israel.” There have been Israeli counterterrorism operations, dealing with the result of years of Palestinian incitement in schools, mosques and mass communications, incitement that violates peace process commitments.
The editorial states that the Palestine Liberation Organization came to accept Israel and that its leader, Yasser Arafat, rejected a two-state solution. Arafat did so to avoid accepting a Jewish and new Arab state side-by-side and at peace.
The editorial says Hamas won elections because it promised better services and an end to corruption “but it remained committed to terrorism.” Not “but”; the correct wording is “and.” It campaigned as uncorrupt and better at anti-Israeli terrorism.
The analogy to Northern Ireland fails. Irish Republican Army bombings did not peter out. A British military force spent years preventing the IRA from winning via terrorism.