Letters To The Editor: Israel/Palestine - Irradiated Food - Whenuapai Airport – Supporting The Iraq War...
Publishing sheer lies
I refer to your article at: http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0402/S00002.htm
you have published that 19 civilians were killed. As you can see from Palestinian sources, this number is a fabrication. 15 Palestinians died. And this includes members of terror organisations such as Hamas, al-aqsa martyrs brigade, child combatants, and as far as I can figure out the statistics even includes a suicide bomber!
A similar article appeared in the Guardian/Observer in the UK. This is what I wrote to them regarding their falsehoods.
Will you be printing a rebuttal of what you have already published?
I write in regard to your article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1136469,00.html
Israel's 'execution' troops face death quiz
In your article you write that Israel killed 4 gunmen and 15 unarmed civilians including six children. You state that 19 deaths occurred during a 3 week operation between December 16th and January 6th, including two 'executions'. Yet, even in your own article, you state that one of these events occurred after January 6th.
You state: "Conal Urquhart reports from Nablus on what the army says was an anti-terrorist operation, but witnesses describe as cold-blooded killing."
And yet throughout the article you state: "Witnesses were unable to say what was happening because they were keeping their heads down. Qassas was taken to the next door garden, where he was questioned. Nobody saw what happened to him." AND "Noam Hossfatter, a spokesman for B'tselem, an Israeli human rights group, said they were examining Qassas' death with a view to pressing the army to investigate: 'At the moment there is no eyewitness, so we cannot yet say there was an execution but if someone was in custody and was then found dead it would suggest something very unusual took place.'
So who are the witnesses referred to in the title describing this as cold blooded killing?
After doing some research on the Internet, I have concluded that your article is highly inaccurate and downright misleading.
According to http://www.jmcc.org/banner/banner1/killed/killnov03-dec03.htm and http://www.jmcc.org/banner/banner1/killed/killjan-feb04.htm there were only 15 Palestinians who died. These included: Majdi al-Bahsh, Jibril Awwad, Fadi Hanani, Amjad al-Masri (aged 15), Amer Kathem Arafat and Rawhi Hazem Shouman. I can ascertain from these webpages that 15 Palestinians died between 17/12 and 3/1 in Nablus. I am not sure who the other 4 unarmed civilians are whom you refer to in your article.
Again, these statistics are supported by the Palestinian Human Rights Group. According to the following, 15 Palestinians from Nablus died between December 18th and January 11th. http://www.phrmg.org/aqsa/Dec.03_eng.htm
I assume that the four gunmen in your article are Majdi al-Bahsh, Jibril Awwad, Fadi Hanani and Ibrahim Atari (who was killed after Jan 6th), who are all members of terror groups. Being members of terrorist cells they obviously cannot be categorized under your category of the '15 unarmed civilians'.
Indications of these men being part of Palestinian terror organizations
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for the bombing, which was the first of its kind in nearly three months. In a call to the Associated Press, the PFLP said the attack came in retaliation for the killing of two of its members some ten days ago.
Fadi Hanani, 25 and Jibril Awad, 24, were killed during an Israeli raid on Nablus's Old City on December 18.
Two of the militants belonged to the military branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the third to the radical Islamic movement Hamas' armed wing, Palestinian sources said. The two PFLP gunmen were named as Fadi Hanini, 25 and Jibril Awaad, 27, and the Hamas militant as Majdi al-Bahsh, 24 (Arab Times, Middle East).
As the Israeli army were beginning to pull out of the city on Tue Jan 6, they received information from a Palestinian collaborator that Ibrahim Atari, an Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade activist, was sheltering there.
So who exactly are your 15 unarmed civilians (including 6 children)?
Do they include 15-year-old 'stone thrower' Amjad al -Masri? Though the picture at the following website does not show Masri himself, it is evident that unarmed civilian is an inappropriate term to use for combatants armed with concrete blocks they are dropping on people. http://www.honestreporting.com/articles/critiques/Throwing_Stones.asp
As for your other unarmed civilians:
Four Palestinians were killed in Nablus on Saturday. Rawhi Shuman, 19, and Amer Arafat, 26, were killed by the IDF while preparing to hurl firebombs and shoot at soldiers, media sources reported.
And do the four other unclarifiable unarmed civilians include Iyad al-Masri, 17, who blew himself up? Is he one of your 15 unarmed civilian children?!
As for your claims about Abdul Qassis: According to the Palestinians authority's own website, there were eyewitnesses to the deaths of Abdul al Qassis and Ibrahim al-Atari. This doesn't quite match up with your version of events.
"Eyewitnesses and security sources asserted that the killing of Ibrahim Al Atari, 32, and Abdel Afou Al Qassas, 27, from Nablus, was a cold-blooded execution, as both citizens were shot directly without any reason and from a very close range, according to medical sources at Rafidia hospital in Nablus. The witnesses added that both citizens were executed inside a house in Rafidia neighborhood in the city, after a large force of Israeli soldiers stormed the house, and that the citizens were unarmed, dismissing the rumors Israeli military sources and its media outlets spread that both citizens were resistance activists who were killed during a gunfight."
What gives Sue Kedgley or anyone else for that matter, the right to claim to speak for all New Zealanders.
I would much prefer to buy and consume irradiated herbs and spices than the present gas treated varieties. The quality control at source is poor and all too often are infested by weevils etc.
Also, every country should have such irradiation plants available as a line of defence against mail which has been contaminated by anthrax or similar terrorist bio-weapons. The US government ran all its mail through such machines during the anthrax scare. It would have been able to protect many more if it had not been for the anti irradiation campaigns waged by unions and green groups like our Green Party here.
Let me make my own choices and I shall leave Ms Kedgley to make hers.
Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies Kaiwaka, Northland
I recently sent a letter of disgust to the NZ Herald regarding their coverage of actual facts about the Whenuapai Airport re-development.
All views and articles are biased in favour of the Commercial Airport Option and are influencing residents of the North Shore and Waitakere to support this idea. If the Herald and online news providers such as yourself would actually print some facts then people would be able to make wise decisions instead of uneducated guesses.
A large number of people are going to be directly affected in North Shore City and Waitakere City if this Commercial Airport actually goes ahead.
The people who live in these council areas have been misinformed from the very start about this White Elephant and have been lead down the garden path by Mayors who wish to create legacy's for themselves.
The facts are plainly obvious from all reports published about Whenuapai Airport. Creating an airport at Whenuapai will greatly increase emissions pollutions and noise pollutions for all who live in the flight path increasing risk to cancers and affecting mental wellness. Property values will decrease rapidly and living will become unbearable for residents as no houses in the flight path have been sound proofed due to the fact that no one expected to have 22,000 flights over their heads. The runways are in a shocking condition, they will need 30 million just to repair them to a usable standard, and there is currently no real infrastructure (terminals, car parking, roads, shops, freight depots) there to run a commercial airport.
People have been fooled into thinking this will be a travel hub for Auckland. There will be no connecting flights, meaning overseas visitors will still have to drive to Mangere to connect around NZ, and the connecting roads will be unsuitable. Freight is a very important component for any airline and unless airlines can provide freight services the business becomes commercially unviable. Freight companies would be mad to even consider moving away from Mangere with the current amount of investment they have put into Mangere. There also would be no maintenance services which are currently provided by Air New Zealand to many international carriers.
This airport will become a burden to the rate payers as other secondary airports have around the world. Even Sydney with its population the size of NZ laughed at the idea of building a second airport there. Bob Harvey seems obsessed with this idea and is madly quoting figures about jobs and revenue lost to the Waitakere City area when the Air Force moves on. He appears to believe that a commercial airport would be the most profitable answer for the area when in reality the facts show that even building an industrial centre on the site will create more jobs and wealth then an airport. If Los Angeles and even Tokyo can survive with one why can't we?
I certainly hope that in the near future the names Bob Harvey, John Law and George Wood will be removed from rate payers vocabulary's. These men should get the intestinal fortitude to face the people who's lives they are affecting. Council task forces are already wasting rate payers cash supporting this and most resident still don't know much about it.
People need to be informed about the facts of this commercial airport and all should express their concern to councils, neighbours and politicians. Travelling to Auckland International Airport is simply a matter of time planning from the north side of the bridge and there is already millions being spent on improving Auckland's main arterial routes which will make the trip to the airport even quicker.
News providers should be doing their job and reporting these facts to the general public so they can make up their own minds rather then following like sheep going to the slaughter.
Rothesay Bay, North Shore
“I Do Support The War In Iraq”
I am a very open minded person, and yes I do support the war in Iraq and do recognize that any time weapons are used there are almost always going to be civilian casulties.
I agree that the people of the world should be shown these images so that they recognize the horrors of war. I feel that military force should be considered a last resort option.
You portray the civilian side of war and I applaud you for that.
However, I would like to state that you should maybe include pictures of those who suffered under Saddam Hussein's regime, the torture chambers and prisons that we have come across.
I believe that while it is extremly important to show the world what the results of war are, which you are doing now, you should also show what the war helped put an end to along with some of the positive outcomes of this war such as the new schools being built and the shipments of medical
Ben - USA