Gaza's Past and Present

To the editor:

After reading the piece by Sara Roy in your Commencement Issue (“The Peril of Forgetting Gaza,” Opinion, June 4), I must express my bewilderment that the well-respected Crimson would allow such a one-sided piece to be printed. Ms. Roy fails to mention major facts that have contributed to the tragic condition of Gaza’s people since 1949.

Ms. Roy’s bias against Israel is well documented. Her review of the book Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad was rejected by Tufts University’s Fletcher Forum on World Affairs as “all reviewers found the piece one-sided.” Ms. Roy ignores the major source of Gaza’s tragic situation: Hamas, internationally recognized as a terrorist group whose military power is growing thanks to abundant support from the Iranian regime. Since 2006, when Hamas won Gaza’s elections, it has failed to fulfill any of the promises it made to Gaza’s people and dashed all their hopes for a better life.

Instead of working to improve living conditions in Gaza, Hamas has used its governing power to launch innumerable terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and to start a civil war in the West Bank and Gaza to try to vanquish its arch-rival, Fatah. Gaza’s ruling party has been responsible for horrifying atrocities in Israel, including exploding buses and attacks on shopping malls and peaceful religious gatherings. Hamas has been steadfast in its refusal to consider recognizing Israel’s right to exist and has no plans to pursue peace talks with Israel for the good of the people of Gaza.

Everyone blames Israel for the Gazans’ plight. No one talks about the treatment of Gaza’s inhabitants during 19 years of Egyptian rule (1949-67), nor about the fact that, during that period, the Arab world and the international community largely ignored the plight of the residents, who have been deliberately kept in “refugee camps” for close to 60 years instead of being allowed to build new lives for themselves.

In the words of Professor Amnon Rubinstein, a respected parliamentarian identified with the Israeli Left, in the Jerusalem Post, March 31, 2009: “The suffering of the people of Gaza is…[a] tragedy…[that] could disappear overnight if Gaza was governed by leaders who prefer life and peace to death and war.”

Nina Weiner

New York, N.Y.

June 24, 2009

Nina Weiner is the President of the ISEF Foundation, which has distributed over 17,000 scholarships to Israeli College students from poor backgrounds, for over 32 years.