Gareth Smith (NSW) responds to Vic Alhadeff’s “Hamas at Fault”, Byron Echo, 7Sep10 September 10, 2010

One expects a paid propagandist like Vic Alhadeff, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, to be rather more than just a fantasist. His claims about Gaza, Palestine and Israel stem more from fantasy than fact (Hamas at fault, Echo, September 7). He says for example, that Hamas “seized control of Gaza” but Javier Solana, former European Union High Representative, said that the Palestinian people had “voted democratically and peacefully” (Washington Post, 27/1/2006). Mr Alhadeff tells us about the 10,000 rockets and missiles fired at Israel but omits to mention that the recipient of most of these is Sderot, 14 kms from Gaza. Sderot was built on the ashes of Najd after its 620 Palestinian inhabitants were expelled on 13 May 1948.  The UN Declaration of Human Rights guarantees their right of return but Israel blocks this. Firing rockets at civilians is reprehensible but so is ethnic cleansing!

Readers wanting facts not fantasy about Gaza, should consult the UN and World Food Program’s Between the Fence and a Hard Place:The Humanitarian Impact of Israeli-Imposed Restrictions on Land and Sea in the Gaza Strip (  Mr Alhadeff ignores the siege’s impact on Gazan exports  and thus on its economy and rate of unemployment.  Perhaps he can explain what security concerns Israel has from Gaza’s previous export of flowers, citrus fruit, furniture, textiles and grapes.  Perhaps he can also explain how unemployed Gazan youth exposed to the fundamentalist ravings of Hamas can possibly lead to peaceful coexistence.

Finally, the reason why Israel “has been at peace with Egypt and Jordan” is because, unlike Palestine, they are not occupied.  Switzerland enjoyed peace during WWII because it was neutral and not occupied, but all occupied countries developed an underground resistance to Nazi occupation.  The Nazis branded members of the French resistance “An Army of Crime”, but to the Allies and Jews they were heroes.  Israel should know from this and its own experience, that the urge to freedom is irresistible and, one way or another, it will overcome.

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