From : "Princess Vespa" To : letters@nypost.com Date : Mon, 22 Apr 2002 15:21:25 +0000

To the editor:

Since I am a Jewish and I support Israel's recent military incursion it's likely (wrongly) assumed by many that I lack any objectivity. There are standards for reason, logic, historical scholarship, critical inquiry and empiricism that near us to what we would deem objectivity or something closely approximating it. I read a variety of mainstream American publications and thus far have only seen one that cited the extremely strong evidence that Mohammed Al Durra was not killed by Israeli gunfire. The case was plausible enough that German media coverage, which included an aired television documentary, presented the evidence, ultimately inferring that it was highly improbable that Mohammed Al Durra was killed by Israeli gunfire. Publications around the world created an enormous international stir with (edited) footage and photos of Mohammed Al Durra's death, presumed to have been the result of Israeli gunfire. Failure to report forensic evidence in light of the extensive coverage of the tragic event constitutes a position I can only label anti-objective. Publishing the Al Durra evidence would neither confirm nor refute the general charge of the use of excessive force by Israelis. It could only refute one charge, of a single incident that was championed as proof of a general charge. That's where the real potential embarrassment lies. Also, any objective discussion of the death of Palestinian children by Israeli fire has to account for Palestinian children participating in terror attacks because the incidence is not isolated. This does not, by any measure, imply or purport that any use of Israeli fire against Palestinian children is vindicated by default. But to dismiss the reality of the participation of Palestinian children in the intifada from investigations into Israeli use of force is anti-objective. Jonathan Podhoretz in his NY Post article "The War Crimes Lie" (4/22/02) would have further served in the interest of objectivity had he printed the entirety of Peter Bouckaert's statement to the WashPost. I don't know if Mr. Bouckaert issued any follow up statements but it's extremely doubtful to me that he views fighters (and alleged terrorists) seeking haven among civilians as consequential; he seemed to have stated "It's been incredibly difficult to tell the difference between fighters and civilians" matter-of-factly, which lends credibility to the truth of it, though I arrive at the same judgment as Mr. Podhoretz, specifically that the onus of responsibility for civilian engagement and casualties in this circumstance lies with those who seek haven among civilians. This does not disallow the probing and evaluation of Israeli methods of war but rather it provides compelling and credible evidence that Israel does not deliberately target civilians as part of a brutal campaign of extermination or psychological warfare. Anyone who believes that those seeking haven from prosecution or -return- fire among complicit civilians, innocent civilians, or in holy places are unworthy of the burden of condemnation should consider the implication, namely that outlaws of any kind and even of the worst kind would be able to find safety or control negotiations if their choice of shelter entirely precluded their apprehension on the overriding moral grounds of safeguarding civilians, whose safety, in fact, would be grotesquely undermined were this principle embraced and abided. If Mr. Podhoretz had included Mr. Bouckaert's entire published statement to the WashPost it would've helped highlight a frightening anti-objective political and ideological trend that preconceives a soothing and generic notion that the Israeli and Palestinian sides are equally responsible for anything and everything. Mr. Bouckaert is further quoted as having said "I think it's clear that in the end what actually happened in Jenin will fall somewhere in between what the Palestinians are alleging and what [the Israeli army] claims. But only an independent authority can establish what actually happened." Objectively, I find Mr. Bouckaert's statement deeply disturbing as he provides no evidence or basis for his hefty speculation, he says "I think" but then unambiguously adds "it's clear" and then he ends with a definitive statement (which should've exclusively comprised any conclusion) that "only an independent authority can establish what actually happened." I would hope Mr. Bouckaert isn't part of that independent authority.

Debbie Solomon


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