Yan Vishkautsan of Israel writes:
Dear Mr. Manning,
In a search for
other material, I have encountered your article on the
Israeli military operation in West Bank and have read it with a great deal
of interest. After all, it is surely interesting how the Middle East
fighting is reflected in oh so distant New Zealand. Here in the fray we
rarely have an opportunity (or luxury) to take a step back and to look at
the goings-on objectively.
I couldn’t help myself but to respond to few of the choice items.
…Israel will now ease back on its offensive that has left
thousands dead in Palestinian cities, towns and camps throughout the West
Bank and Gaza…”
mention thousands dead – where the information comes from?
Independent sources, IDF, Palestinians? Is it possible to be more
forthcoming with your sources?
“Grotesque parched human forms sit, lie, decompose…”
Yes, but you
have omitted the reason why. You have carelessly (or
I do not want to guess here) forgotten that the Palestinian Authority
refused for weeks to remove the bodies. Guess why? Yep, you are right –
waiting exactly for the below mentioned journalists who are now getting
“The journalists are getting
inside Jenin now – but only after Israeli
soldiers buried the dead in mass graves…”
I do not know if you are
aware that you are using slanderous and blatant
misinformation spread by Palestinian Authority here? IDF did NOT bury the
Jenin’s dead (aside of its own, of course). Even the removal of the bodies
from the streets was prevented by the Israeli High Court of Justice
injunction and is carried out now under supervision of ICRC.
“War crimes occurred there. We are certain of that.”
Doesn’t it seem to you that the above is a bit
prejudgemental? Who are the
“we” you are mentioning?
“Sharon’s announcement however in no way means
this murderous rampage is
Here is an example of a strong opinion, if I have ever seen one.
actions are indefensible. The indefensible continues. We
this insult to humanity has only begun.”
another one. Both items given only to underline the set of
mind of the
Not knowing you or
your writing history, I am to judge only the article I
quote on two aspects: use of factual information and objectivity.
On the first it is clear to me that you are
ready to use hearsay or
propaganda without any qualms. I believe that the above examples show more
than enough blunders for a relatively small piece. For some reason you never
allowed any quote from an Israeli source to slip into your delivery of
second – objectivity – the conclusion is no less damning to
Are you aware of the causes for the
“murderous rampage”, as you so easily
brand the IDF operation? If so, why not mention, at least as an
afterthought, that during the month preceding the operation suicide bombers
in Israel murdered more than 120 Israelis?
Are you aware of the way the fighting of
Jenin was carried out by IDF? That
instead of carpet-bombing the area where the armed terrorists were hiding
(of course, among unarmed civilians, as is their time-honored habit), IDF
sent in infantry to fight in impossible conditions? Does the name Dresden
ring a bell? Do Afghanistan and “collateral damage” ring a bell? Please name
another army that would have taken the same way IDF has chosen, to suffer
numerous casualties as a consequence and to be slandered nevertheless.
Why is it
that your editorial does reflect only the Palestinian
(which is undoubtedly enormous) without even fleetingly mentioning the other
side’s ordeal? Are you aware of the fact that half-truths could be more
damaging than outright lies?
Are you aware that the
great majority of Israelis (half of whom are not
Sharon supporters) support the military operation? That even the people
(like I, by the way) of Israel who were staunch supporters of all peace
initiatives and believers of the peace cause have turned their backs to the
murderous, cheating and double-tongued creature called Chairman Arafat.
War is hell, Mr. Manning. I am not an expert on
the exact text and meaning
of Geneva Convention you mention (which one, by the way?), but one thing is
clear to me: if Sharon is to be tried as a war criminal, he should share the
bench with Arafat.
So to conclude my
(inexpert) evaluation of your article: 0 on factual
delivery and 0 on objectivity.
I hope that the
beautiful NZ has other and better sources than this
unfortunate article. And I challenge you to publish this letter.
Yan V. [Israel]