Letter: Of insincerity and inhumanity

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am appalled by the apparent inability of many of my fellow Jews to express unqualified condemnation of Israel's callous and inhuman behaviour in expelling 415 Palestinians from their own illegally occupied country. Although Rabbi David J Goldberg (23 December) deplores what he calls Israel's 'over-reaction' to 'the murder of Nissim Toledano', he attempts to justify this by writing that 'Israel has been repeatedly attacked by guerrillas and terrorists' without mentioning the underlying reason for such attacks nor the daily killing of Palestinians by Israeli troops, such as the murder in cold blood of a 10-year-old girl by an Israeli soldier reported in today's Independent.

Rabbi Goldberg praises Israel for taking 'strictest precautions to avoid civilian casualties' in a raid on Beirut airport in 1968, which was a 'reprisal' against an attack by 'two terrorists' who 'had travelled on Lebanese passports', but what about Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and its bombing raids, which killed 33,000 and injured 49,000 people, 84 per cent of whom were civilians?

An 'Israeli commando squad' is lauded for avoiding 'civilian casualties' when 'three top PLO officials were gunned down' in Beirut in 1973 (not 1974, Rabbi Goldberg), but there is no mention of the seven bystanders who were also killed, one of whom was Clara Morelli, an elderly Italian neighbour, and another Um Yusef, who, with her husband, was murdered in front of their children. Incidentally, the 'commandos' carried British passports.

Yours faithfully,

MARION WOOLFSON

Painswick,

Gloucestershire

24 December

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