Apportioning blameRe: Palestinian Problems, letter to the editor, Nov. 28.
It’s convenient to blame all Palestinians for the actions of Hamas. However, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon withdrew settlers from Gaza because they were exercising colonialist prerogatives, such as diverting water for their own use and using the Israeli Defense Forces to close major roads so buses could carry their kids to school or the beach, while Palestinians endured long delays to carry on their own business. When Sharon ordered the settlers out, many destroyed their own greenhouses rather than give them to Palestinians.
Israel had been closing the borders since the 1990s for lengthy periods after suicide attacks, despite the fact Yasser Arafat had already cracked down on terrorists. This collective punishment turned Palestinian opinion, which was originally against Hamas, into resentment of Israel for destroying the Gazan economy. Israel continues to refuse to give up land retained in violation of the Geneva Convention. This will ensure Palestinians who want to improve their lot continue to suffer, while Israelis continue to be blind to their privileged position and their abuse of power.
John Kneeland, Hamilton, Ont.
I don't know which history books letter-writer John Kneeland has been reading; clearly, they've been written by those, like him, who are heavily invested in the Palestinian "narrative," and whose take-away from Israel's departure from Gaza is to deplore the handful of Israeli "settlers" (the narrative's designated bad guys) who supposedly "destroyed their own greenhouses rather than give them to Palestinians."
History records the truth of this sad episode: that, when Israel withdrew from Gaza on it own accord, it willingly left the Palestinians an entire produce industry housed in dozens of greenhouses. Instead of accepting this gift in the spirit with which it was offered, and using it to feed its own people, the Palestinians gleefully--and hatefully--smashed every last structure until nothing remained but shards and dirt.Mr. Kneeland and other fans of the Palestinian narrative should--but undoubtedly won't--look at it like this: the greenhouses are a metaphor--a stand-in--for Israel. And the Palestinians, who reject the very idea of a Jewish state because they believe all the land in the region belongs in perpetuity to Muslims, did to these structures what, given half the chance, they would do to Israel itself.