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Palestinians Target Israeli Civilians

January 03, 2002

Re "Israeli Activists Urge Army to Probe Civilian Slayings," Dec. 31: In an article more suitable for the Hezbollah Web site than the front page of The Times, Tracy Wilkinson takes a one-sided swipe at Israel.

The article ignores the systematic campaign of terror waged against Israelis over the past 15 months, in which countless babies, children, men and women have been blown up, gunned down, bludgeoned, maimed and stoned by Palestinian Arab terrorists.

In response to this relentless assault on the very existence of its citizens, the Israeli Defense Forces have taken strong measures against the perpetrators of these heinous attacks. Tragically, some Palestinian Arab civilians have suffered. In most instances, however, these casualties have been accidental.

The Palestinian Arab terrorists, on the other hand, deliberately seek to kill and maim as many Israeli civilians as possible. One would never know that, however, from reading Wilkinson's article.

Joseph Strapp

Los Angeles

*

Wilkinson's piece detailing Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians is a long-overdue expose of the violence with impunity that characterizes Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The only silence in this excellent article is the voice of Palestinian human rights activists themselves. Wilkinson quotes only Israeli activists, ignoring the dozens of Palestinian nongovernmental organizations that have been working around the clock to document the deaths, injuries and house demolitions of the past 15 months.

Having worked at two such organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, I can testify that Palestinians are active and professional in their efforts to claim their rights. Apparently it is only when Israelis themselves criticize the Israeli army that anyone takes any notice.

Wendy Pearlman

Cambridge, Mass.

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Your extraordinary article totally lacks context. The violence in Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza is entirely due to the call for an intifada by Yasser Arafat at a time when Israel offered the Palestinians an extremely generous peace. He who lives by the sword shall and should die by the sword. The Palestinians are hoping that articles like this will cause America and Europe to come to their rescue--as they have done in the past.

However, since the Palestinians instigated the violence from which they now suffer, they do not deserve any knights or any shining armor.

Gershon Hepner

Los Angeles

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I eagerly await The Times' follow-up story on how Arafat "probes" the deaths of innocent Israelis blown apart by Palestinian terrorists virtually on a daily basis. But I guess since they are Israelis they are not worthy of The Times' "unbiased" investigative reporting.

Harvey Farr

Los Angeles

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