267.  Apologists of Israel should cease and desist

In the context of Jewish settlements and occupation, Richard Weinbaum (February 8 letter) wrote that "it is not illegal to seize and occupy territory when acting in wars of self-defense." Leaving aside whether Israel was acting in self-defense, what he wrote is doubtlessly correct. What is wrong, however, is for Israel to encourage its population to move to the occupied territories. According to article 49 of the fourth Geneva Convention: "The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies." On that basis, Israel broke international law and the settlements it built for its civilian population are illegal. For Mr. Wienbaum to say that "Jews have lived in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since ancient times" is totally irrelevant.

Fern Tannenbaum (February 8 letter) raises the issue of the "fence." To justify the building of what is really an apartheid barrier, he writes "The fence runs very close to the pre-1967 'Green Line'" If this were the case the Bush administration wouldn't have criticized the barrier route. Had he carefully read The Journal News editorial of January 22 he wouldn't have made such a ridiculous statement. In a Feb. 9 and 10 special report by Elizabeth Farnsworth on PBS NewsHour, it was clear that the "fence" rather the wall runs in some area 15 miles deep into the West Bank.

Apologists of Israel in this country, like Mr. Weinbaum and Mr. Tannenbaum should stop insulting the intelligence of the readers.
                              February 26, 2004