Orchestrated violence a face-saving manoeuvre

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 October, 2000, 12:00am

I refer to the letter from Sayed Gouda headlined, 'Evil regime removes peaceful mask' (South China Morning Post, October 7).

I was saddened but not surprised that Mr Gouda was selective with his facts and arrived at a one-sided judgment of the situation in Israel.

First of all, prior to Ariel Sharon's visit to the controversial holy site in Jerusalem, Palestinians had already killed two Israeli servicemen and severely wounded an Israeli citizen. Just like any other Israeli citizen, Mr Sharon has the right to visit a holy site. That should not provoke violence.

Mr Gouda referred to a Palestinian child who was killed. It is always tragic when children are caught in the crossfire, regardless of which side they are on. However, let me remind Mr Gouda that parents should be more caring and thoughtful before taking their children to violent demonstrations.

We have seen parents carrying their youngsters on their shoulders and allowing them to carry dangerous firearms. Don't parents bear some responsibility for the safety of their youngsters? We have children and we would never expose them to such danger. Additionally, Israel's soldiers are young men, some as young as 18. They are someone's children too. Palestinians have used slings and molotov cocktails and they have also used guns. Are Israelis supposed to accept this?

Palestinians destroyed Joseph's holy site. Surely, Mr Gouda would not argue that this was acceptable?

Mr Gouda is correct about one thing; the present situation was orchestrated. It was orchestrated by the Palestinians' leaders. We know some Arabic and we have Arabic friends and we are aware that Yasser Arafat and his colleagues, in order to save face, orchestrated the violence.

If there is a sincere desire for peace, a visit by Ariel Sharon to one religious site would not have led to such an outbreak of violence. Has Mr Gouda seen the videos teaching Palestinian children to hate and to kill? We have.

It is tragic that parents permit such material for their children's education.

Let me remind Mr Gouda that 70 per cent of Jordan is Palestine, which illustrates that we should be looking at the bigger picture when trying to understand the land problem in the region.

Regarding the holy sites, until the sites were cleaned up by Israel, one could barely have stood the stench and filth. It is curious how the Palestinians now suddenly show so much concern for such sites.

In closing, let me say that I pray and hope for peace for both sides.


New York, US